Affiliate marketing has now invaded Hollywood? We know it invaded US politics in Washington as some politicians (current and retired) are silent affiliate marketers or in MLM. Maybe we can look forward to hearing in the next few years about more celebrities going from actors and actresses to home-based affiliate marketers. Wouldn’t that be something?
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.

Before I get into details, I’ll say one thing up front; both are perfectly viable business strategies. They both have checkered pasts with spammy abuse and high quality use. The difference between them comes in infrastructure and setup, as well as how you go about managing the business you create. Neither is inherently better than the other; it comes down to what you want out of the business, what you’re willing to put in, and which system seems more appealing to you.
Be Transparent – You should always disclose to your subscribers if you are receiving a commission for promoting a product or service for honesty, transparency and even legal reasons. In the United States, the FTC requires that you disclose any payment that you receive for endorsing a product or service. You can read the FTC’s endorsement guidelines at http://1.usa.gov/1FRMynQ.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months on blogging, SEO, and social media marketing to get more traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
Your display ads should be visually stimulating to viewers and aim to hold their attention long enough to entice them to click to your website. Though it's natural to want to share all the details about your product, you should be as simple as possible with your display ads so that viewers aren't overwhelmed. If you include too much information right off the bat, viewers could stop reading or lose interest - simply because there's too much to read. The ad should be simple and direct.
When there are multiple affiliates involved in one transaction, payment gets much more complicated. Sometimes it’s even possible for affiliates to jump in at the last minute and claim commissions for customers brought in by other affiliates. Successful programs use multi-channel attribution to ensure the affiliates that create the most value get paid the most.
“One of the biggest mistakes I have experienced during my affiliate management tenure was during a failed launch of a new health product. I recruited all the big names in the health industry, leveraged personal contacts to get introductions to new health partners, and even used a few personal favors to get large A-list affiliate partners to promote our launch,” he said.
Affiliate marketing has contributed to the rise of many leading online companies. Amazon.com, one of the first significant adopters, now has hundreds of thousands of affiliate relationships. It is not uncommon to see industries where the major players have affiliate programs–often structured in a similar manner and making similar competitive changes over time.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go. BigCommerce uses an industry leading 90-day cookie, so you will receive credit for up to three months for the referrals you generate. Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.
Again, our potential is limitless because we have ZERO customer contact. Everything is automated. We literally make money when we sleep. I don’t care if you only dropship, you still get to deal with customers. Yes, our customers are one-and-done (you can have an affiliate business model where you do get repeats, it just is not the way we are set up). However, there are millions of potential customers, with new ones coming each day, so as long as we maintain good search engine position (again, easier said than done), we are golden.
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.
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.
The primary advantage of affiliate marketing over dropshipping is that you don’t really have anything to do with the product fulfillment process. You don’t have to connect with suppliers, you don’t need to handle transactions, you don’t need to collect money, issue refunds, or otherwise act like a store. All of that is handled by the actual store. All you do is, essentially, hand people your card, point them at the door, and say “tell ‘em I sent you.”
“Work with them to get them custom affiliate assets (custom landing page, custom email swipe copy, etc) if they are big affiliates, because they drive the vast majority of your revenue. Give them all of their assets well in advance of the mailing, so they have time to load and test. When you deliver the assets, give them their login information for your affiliate portal again, but also hand delivers their links and needed materials, so they don’t have to dig around for them in your portal. Make sure to test the link before delivery,” Spears said.
Not necessarily, but a blog is really the best promotional tool. With that said, you can always use methods such as PPC or advertising to promote a product. This is more like hit-and-run affiliate marketing, however. The best way to make the most out of your affiliate marketing opportunities is to have a blog and use it for hard and soft promotion. Learn how to start a blog here.
“A year later, I saw her at an event and asked her about it, and apologized if I offended her in some way. She said I didn’t, but that an average mailing for her did $50,000 in commissions… So when I kept hitting her up, I was pretty tone deaf to the fact that I had cost her a significant amount of money that day by mailing an offer that didn’t convert well to her list, and then I kept annoying her with follow up emails.”
MaxBounty works exclusively with digital products, usually about giving one’s email or signing up for a newsletter. MaxBounty has CPA, Pay-per-call, and CPL campaigns that you can choose from. MaxBounty is involved in a large number of verticals, including market research, real estate, social games, finance, dating, and diet, but is primarily designed for marketers seeking to acquire new leads.
I started a blog which I plan to monetize only through affiliate marketing and my own products, no ads. I’ve been working on building an audience for my blog, for about 1 year and a half, many people think is maybe too much time, but I just want to make sure that I build enough trust with my readers before I start to try to make them buy something.
In comparison with Dropshipping, affiliate marketing is a lot easier to start and manage. In a dropshipping website, you will have to actively monitor the store and order products through suppliers. All this requires time. But in an affiliate website, you don’t have to actually do any of this because you get a commission by letting people buy through your link. That’s it.
One of the major differences between affiliate marketing and dropshipping is that affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to take charge of customer support, whereas dropshipping does. Because dropshipping makes you the store owner, then you are responsible for your brand. Affiliates on the other hand simply link people to other people’s stores, meaning that they don’t take any of the responsibility when things go wrong.
The merchant is the retailer or brand that is trying to attract users or make sales. The network is the store which contains offers for the affiliates to chose from and handles the payments. The publisher is the affiliate who is producing content that attracts users or managing the website that your ads appear on. The customer is the user who visits the affiliates website then is referred to the merchant website and converts.
Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
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