“Cost of goods changes from time to time, product prices drop, etc. One mistake I made was not re-calculating all commissions to determine they were set correctly. After doing some digging, I realized that commissions on a few of our products were way higher than what they should have been. One way to fix this is to re-adjust commissions each year,” she explained.
Another powerful motivator is ensuring your highest performing affiliates maximize their return on investment. “In any given day, they have 20+ offers at their fingertips that they can mail, and I want them to choose mine because I pay them the most, without them needing to ask. I always give my top affiliates the absolute max I can in commissions. They drive the majority of our revenue, and they need to be treated like gold,” she said.
3: How greedy are you? Affiliates depend on the sale price of the item and your percentage cut. On Amazon it starts out at 4%. If you’re selling a $10 item, 4% is not a lot; only 40 cents. Meanwhile, selling a $5 item for $10 on your dropship storefront will make you $5 profit on every item sold. You have more work and more infrastructure to build, but you end up with significantly higher profits for similar amounts of sales.
Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
When dropshipping products, you can easily retarget your audience to help convert the sale. With affiliate marketing, since you’re sending the traffic to another website, you have no control over retargeting. With dropshipping, the traffic comes to your own website. Also, you have control over the optimization of your landing pages, product copy, website design and more. The checkout will also match your website’s branding. As you have more control, you better your odds of attracting a customer and converting them.
5: How much do you want to diversify? Dropship stores are not generalist stores. You aren’t going to compete with Amazon and have a little of everything. If your store is selling tablet cases, you might be able to branch out into screen protectors, stylus accessories, phone cases, and other accessories, but you won’t be able to add something like model trains to your shop. On the other hand, affiliate marketing allows you to build as many individual niche sites as you wish. If you want to add model trains to your roster, build a site about trains. If you then want pool accessories, do that on another site.
Before we dive deep, let's clear off one fact: both are perfectly viable business models. They both comprise checkered pasts of spammy misuse and high-quality effort. The difference is in their setup and infrastructure. Also, how you approach to manage your created business. It depends a lot on how much elbow grease you put in, and which model seems preferable to you.
Build relationships. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of work and patience before any real money is made. Affiliate marketing programs drive traffic to the affiliate marketer's website, but the marketer is responsible for building lasting professional relationships with the affiliate partners out of that web traffic. The marketer must also continually seek out better partnerships with other affiliates.
When a brand pays internet celebrities, subject matter experts or other influential individuals on an upfront basis to post promotional content on their own social media channels, websites or blogs or on the brand’s web properties, that’s influencer marketing. In many cases, brands make an effort to work with influencers who are already their enthusiastic customers, which makes that type of influencer marketing a fresh new internet-based twist on word-of-mouth recommendations.
Follow Program Rules – Each affiliate advertiser will have their own set of program rules. They may place limitation on the language that you use and the ways that you promote their product or service. Actually take the time to read the rules set out by each advertiser to avoid having your relationship terminated because you inadvertently broke one of their program rules.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
LinkConnector has struggled to stand out from the pack but nonetheless has managed to sign some exclusive deals with big name brands, including Writer’s Digest, the Disney Store, Ironman, Hats.com, and Everly. Their strictly controlled screening process for both merchants/advertisers and affiliates/publishers means that you can always rely on the quality of products on offer.
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.
With affiliate marketing you typically have a website, like the World of Warcraft Black Book site you can see below. Now you don’t actually need a website – there are loads of different ways to do affiliate marketing and some of them don’t even involve owning a website – but most affiliates prefer to have their own digital real estate. It’s also the method we teach here at Affilorama, because there's so much more potential to build a brand, and grow an affiliate strategy that will profit you in the longer-term.
One benefit of affiliate marketing is the fact that you don’t have to spend time looking for affiliates that match the types of sites your target audience visits. There are affiliate marketing service providers, like ShareASale and FlexOffers, that connect you with businesses, manage payments, offer tracking tools and make sure your content only shows up on reputable sites.
In the Affilorama lessons, we cover loads of different ways of getting traffic! Some of these methods are paid, such as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and some are free, like SEO (search engine optimization) but take a little more time and effort on your part. You can find more information on both of these traffic methods in "introduction to PPC" and "introduction to SEO."
The role of a social media manager is easy to infer from the title, but which social networks they manage for the company depends on the industry. Above all, social media managers establish a posting schedule for the company's written and visual content. This employee might also work with the content marketing specialist to develop a strategy for which content to post on which social network.
“Commissions are very serious. Every company, or affiliate manager, needs to pay out commissions accurately and on time. However, I had a client that made poor business decisions and wasn’t able to pay their affiliates (including my personal commissions). They kept saying ‘we will pay them next week.’ However, they kept saying this week after week,” Alarid shared.
Although there is complete control over the types of products to promote or market on the website, shipping cannot be controlled because product sellers handle that. Sellers ship the ordered products at their own convenience (such as waiting to collect multiple orders from a single location and sending them all in one go). Because of similar reasons, customers are often seen complaining about late receipt of their orders.
When doing a comparison between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, the biggest disadvantage of affiliate marketing is you’re paid on commission. You might’ve just spent $100 in ads only to make $50 back in commission fees. The payout for affiliate commissions is generally a lot lower than dropshipping. Even if your commissions are several hundred dollars, odds are the cost of the product is higher. This means finding the right people will cost more as well. Also, you don’t have the opportunity to set the price. For example, if people are interested in the product but feel the cost is too high, you can’t lower it to meet the demand of your audience. In addition, since you can’t set the price of your earnings, you’ll likely make a lot less than if you were the merchant.
It may seem like the same amount of work but it really isn't. You are not going to be able to advertise the same way as an affiliate. In fact, many platforms will not let you advertise affiliate products. That means you will have to put in much more work getting your pages to rank organically and doing social marketing, although there is less work dealing with customers. Also, the payoff will always be higher for dropshipping versus affiliate.
LinkConnector is something of a mixed bag, so it’s probably best for experienced affiliates who have become disillusioned with other networks and are looking to expand. LinkConnector’s bizarre mix of high-quality products and a low-quality dashboard make it hard to truly assess its viability, but their exclusive deals with some vendors can make it a true home run for publishers working in certain niches.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.