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.
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.
Sounds fair. It’s just that the discussion veered from the topic of the post which was what method would make you the most money, not which one requires the most amount of work. In any case, I do both and have been successful with both business models. But in trying to replace a full time income in the shortest amount of time, online stores have greater money making potential.
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“You need to be competitive. Do your homework and determine what other similar offers are paying,” emphasized Nic DeHerrera, who has spent the past 12+ years in the ecommerce space — first, running a 24/7 contact center with 100+ employees, then filling different marketing positions and, over the past few years, managing an affiliate program with over 1,500 active affiliates.
Neither of these business models normally returns very much pure profit (except in a relatively few cases). Affiliate marketing can be hard due to the levels of competition, and the product owner dictates entirely. The dropshipping business model is heavily weighted in favour of the wholesaler and not the dropshipper and most often returns poor margins.
Connecting the dots between marketing and sales is hugely important -- according to Aberdeen Group, companies with strong sales and marketing alignment achieve a 20% annual growth rate, compared to a 4% decline in revenue for companies with poor alignment. If you can improve your customer's' journey through the buying cycle by using digital technologies, then it's likely to reflect positively on your business's bottom line.
“It is absolutely vital to provide them with real-time reporting. Obviously, this reporting needs to be 100% accurate with integrity. Some affiliates will be running 100+ different sources to your offer, and by offering them real-time reporting, they can quickly determine which sources are working and which are not. You save yourself money as well as your affiliates. This also helps scale quickly if you have a good performing offer,” he said.
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.
The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
For that reason, you're probably less likely to focus on ‘leads' in their traditional sense, and more likely to focus on building an accelerated buyer's journey, from the moment someone lands on your website, to the moment that they make a purchase. This will often mean your product features in your content higher up in the marketing funnel than it might for a B2B business, and you might need to use stronger calls-to-action (CTAs).
Dropshipping is where you curate and list products on your site. So in this example, you create a store of products but you are the middleman. You take orders, handle payment processing and customer service issues but the manufacturer ships the product for you. So instead of having a warehouse and holding product and all the costs associated with that, you partner with a drop shipper who stocks and ships the inventory. You get to set your own product price. So you basically buy wholesale and mark up the prices. Suppliers will suggest a retail price and you need to see what similar products are selling for so that you don’t price yourself out of the market. But, you get to decide what you want to charge!