Love your article on drop shipping vs. affiliate marketing. I joined the WA community in summer of last year and while I haven’t made any real money yet besides a little bit from google Adsense I am enjoying the journey. I have been looking into ways to expand and looked at drop shipping. It certainly does seem to be more “hands on” than what I was wanting to do, especially since I keep myself pretty busy and am stretched to post a few blogs a week to continue to try to build my website.

Sign up for free trials to see which email marketing tool you consider easy to use. Their prices vary. MailChimp and MoonMail are the great ones to start with if you don’t have a big mailing list. They offer a forever free trial if you have up to 2000 contacts. Some of the other popular brands are GetResponse, Active Campaign, AWeber, Constant Contact, and many more.


At this point, what a lot of people are probably thinking is whether or not it is worth 15% of potential profit to have a business that is “hands-off”. By “hands-off”, people commonly think that I mean you are not processing orders or handling customer service. And I don’t want you to think this way because it’s a much more complex situation. It’s not that simple.
Smart affiliate program managers understand the value of free.  Instead of telling you to promote their salespage, many offer a valuable freebie that provides real value to prospect.  All you have to do is mention this freebie and provide a place to get it.  After that, the site owner will follow-up with a prospect and sell them on the benefit of purchasing a product.
“You want to find out how they are judging your relationship. Is it a certain commission amount, let’s say $5,000 per mailing? Or is it that they don’t get high unsubscribes? It could be that they measure their mailing on the basis of revenue per name on the list, or that they consider a successful mailing one that gives them a reciprocal back (a reciprocal you aren’t able to give because their product is not approved by your client, for example, which can lead to bad feelings if you don’t say that up front),” Spears explained.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.

William Harris is leading content at Sellbrite and is also the Founder & Growth Marketer of Elumynt, LLC., VP of Marketing and Growth for a top 700 online retailer and former head of Marketing for When I Work, a VC backed SaaS company. William is also a contributor to leading publications like The Next Web, Search Engine Journal, Social Media Today, and Sellbrite and a speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, search engine optimization, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding. Follow William on Twitter (@WmHarris101), LinkedIn, and Google+.


Firstly, regarding your own benefits, an affiliate email marketing program or virtually any affiliate program should have the potential to generate a stable, or even growing, income stream for you. Even if it is a side income, it should ideally be a decent amount of money that will add to your monthly cash flow and make this venture worth your while.
SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.

You also need to contact suppliers and make deals with them. For some products, this is easy; the suppliers don’t want to deal with marketing or sales themselves, so they set up dropshipping programs and allow almost anyone to enroll. Others are harder to contact and require a phone call to be passed through to the right department. These can be more lucrative – the barrier to entry keeps out the low-effort dropshippers – but it takes effort to set up.
Mobile devices become an increasingly integral part of our lives, it’s vital that marketers understand how to effectively communicate on this unique and extremely personal channel. Mobile devices are kept in our pockets, sit next to our beds, and are checked constantly throughout the day. This makes marketing on mobile incredibly important but also very nuanced.
We promote companies that pay us as little as $10 a referral to ones that literally pay us hundreds of dollars a referral. You might scoff at $10 a referral when you think you can make much more than that per dropship sale, but we make more from JUST ONE LANDING PAGE at $10 a referral than most people make in a year. That is just one landing page – we have hundreds. That is the potential we are talking about. Limitless.
With the boom in subscription boxes, unboxing videos have become quite popular. If your audience spends a lot of time on YouTube, then partner with an influencer who can showcase your product. The benefit of influencer marketing is how personal it is. Think about how powerful your campaign will be when followers feel as though they’re experiencing the unboxing along with the influencer. They’ll likely be receptive to clicking the link the influencer shares in order to learn more about you and your products.
#1- I Won’t Reveal My Niche – It’s a long story, but I’m not going to reveal the niche where I use these emails.  Mostly this is due to the fact that it’s way too easy to reverse engineer my affiliate site.  I give away a lot of information on this blog.  So if I gave specifics, I risk having what I teach used against me.  The best thing I can offer is screenshots of what I’ve earned lately to prove I’m not making this stuff up:  Account 1 & Account 2.
It’s understandable that affiliate marketers may have a number of different lists of people that they need to send different campaigns to. At EmailOctopus, all the lists and campaigns you create are treated separately, allowing you to do just that. We also allow you to send from unlimited domains, perfect for if you run multiple marketing websites.
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.
The links fit anywhere a normal anchor link would go. But, in this case, the traffic is tracked by a network or software and the content creator gets a cut. You probably have plenty of products around your home that came about as a recommendation after watching a cool YouTube video – it’s very likely they sent you to the site through their affiliate link!
Let your recipients know what you want them to do (sign up for a trial, claim a discount, etc.). An ideal call to action should draw attention, be clear and, of course, be clickable. Design a big button, so it’s easy to click on mobile devices. If your email is long, add another call to action, so your subscribers don’t have to scroll to find it. Make a CTA copy compelling.

If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.


When you dropship goods, you’re building an asset – your brand. With dropshipping, you’ll have your own professional website. You’ll make enough money to invest in advertising, content and other traffic and money generating techniques. In a year from now, if you decide you want to move onto another niche, you can sell your business to someone else. However, not all affiliates have their own assets. Some affiliates make their money by creating YouTube videos. Yet, you’re not allowed to sell your YouTube channel. Between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, you’re better off with dropshipping.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.

Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!


If you have a special offer or want to promote specific products or get your audience excited about an upcoming launch or campaign, use influencer marketing. Because influencers are in front of your target audience, the influence they have over their followers and the established trust have the potential to drive a great deal of awareness to your brand. The key to successful influencer marketing is to use influencers who believe in your product and don’t promote products that compete with it.

Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC has been a huge game-changer in the world of advertising. It enables marketers to generate immediate traffic that fuels leads, social shares, and sales for a website. Instead of paying for ad displays, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their ad. Traffic sources are tracked as well which identifies which ads are achieving the best result in a campaign and allow for fast and simple tweaks to test improvements.
The kind of content you create depends on your audience's needs at different stages in the buyer's journey. You should start by creating buyer personas (use these free templates, or try makemypersona.com) to identify what your audience's goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.
When deciding between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing consider how much money you can actually make. The commissions in an affiliate marketing business can often be low in comparison to a dropshipping model. When dropshipping, you can buy a product that costs $1 and sell it for $19.99, which allows you to keep a substantial portion of the profit after marketing costs have been subtracted.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
It’s understandable that affiliate marketers may have a number of different lists of people that they need to send different campaigns to. At EmailOctopus, all the lists and campaigns you create are treated separately, allowing you to do just that. We also allow you to send from unlimited domains, perfect for if you run multiple marketing websites.

At the same time, when you do dropshipping, you fully own your venture. That’s your own website with your own style and design, with your unique product descriptions, and with your own price markup. It’s up to you to decide what niche to enter, which suppliers to choose, which products to add to your online store, and what price to set. You run your business as you like, choosing any promotional methods you fancy, and you are fully in control of it.


LIVESTRONG is a popular health and wellness site. They provide readers with content to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. They don’t sell products on their site, but sites like these are able to promote products, like yours, on their site and generate an income based on the purchases their audience makes on your site. Choose affiliates whose content closely matches your product, so that site visitors are already primed and interested to take the next step and click through.
A content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that serve to generate leads from a new ebook the business recently created. The company's social media marketer might then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the business's social media accounts. Perhaps the email marketer creates an email campaign to send those who download the ebook more information on the company. We'll talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute.
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