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.
Create a website. In order to work as an affiliate marketer, you'll need your own platform (a personal website or blog) on which to post links and advertise for your chosen products or services. If you already have a website or blog, you can use that platform to begin earning additional income as an affiliate marketer. If you do not yet have a website or blog, you will need to create one.
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.”
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).
There are many different publisher types to work with and these relationships are facilitated by an advertiser joining the network and using the promotional tools available- these are owned by the publishers. In every case the publisher takes the risk of sending you traffic at no cost to you as you only have to reward them if their traffic completes a purchase- therefore, advertisers only pay out on results.
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As a marketer, you have to always engage and interact with your audience. Relationships are important in affiliate marketing, especially if you work as an individual. People trust those they like, and if you faithfully answer questions about the merchant or product, they will most likely move further into the sales funnel, increasing your conversions.

For example, Anna is an affiliate marketer who partners with an online clothing store to do affiliate marketing for them. She sets up an ad campaign that promotes the shop’s newest collection and provides the content of the ads. Visitors who click on her ads get redirected to the store’s website. Anna gets paid for every purchase that went through her ad.
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[14]
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
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.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]
An affiliate markets and promotes a product that a merchant sells. This could be a celebrity promoting a clothing line for a brand, or a fitness instructor marketing a merchant’s line of health foods. Instagram is a great platform to notice affiliate marketing in action. You can see the profiles of normal people posting images with branded products tagged to a store. When you click on the product you will be brought to a store unrelated to the person.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
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.

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Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
Affiliate marketers are only paid when someone in their audience takes an action that you’ve committed to pay for. If you’ve committed to pay a commission for sales, they’ll only get paid after they actually drive sales. 5 percent to 10 percent commission rates are common, although commissions on products like electronics tend to be lower. If you’ve committed to pay for qualified leads, you only have to pay when they refer a lead that meets the qualifications you’ve specified.
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.”
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
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.
Influencer marketing is the process of partnering with influential people in your niche and getting their help to promote your products and services. This form of marketing is one of the quickest, most powerful ways to get brand exposure in a short amount of time. Influencer marketing is personal by nature, so when the influencers have influence over your ideal target audience, their followers are much more likely to take action to find out more about you.
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.
Find and work with affiliates. Affiliates will help grow your business and help you tap into web traffic. There are many ways to meet and engage with affiliates, but the best way to access desirable affiliates is by building a reputation for yourself. You can do this by developing a popular blog or otherwise earning a large online following, or by becoming a published author of a book or article.[15] There are other ways of meeting affiliates, of course, and each method will vary in its success and required effort. Generally speaking, the basic course of action for acquiring affiliates typically involves one of the following methods:
Targeting – Digital marketing enables marketers to dial in a targeted audience like never before. Online marketing takes full advantage of the information age using specific consumer analytics (age, location, likes, dislikes, political leanings, religious beliefs – just name a few) that allow marketers to find the prospects most likely to buy from them. 
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.
One major disadvantage of affiliate marketing is that there’s virtually no customer loyalty on its own. You can build loyalty to your blog, but most affiliate sites are narrow niches and are not designed for long-term readers. I might look up faucet reviews and read a blog about them, then click their link to Amazon to buy a faucet, but you can bet I’m not going to bookmark and keep coming back to that faucet blog. If I want to buy another one of those faucets, I’m going straight to Amazon, and you’re not getting the referral for that second sale.
All CPA marketers put their eggs in one basket. I’ve seen plenty of the greats go from zero to hero and vice versa several time in their careers. The smart ones learn to build their own business in the process and pimp their products to CPA newbies (where the real money is). So if your only focus is to make the most money you can I would advise you not to spend it all because that business model won’t last.
A relative newcomer that was only founded in 2014, ConvertKit has taken the world of email marketing by storm. According to the company, they now have nearly 20,000 active customers of their email services. Their affiliate program works by paying existing customers a lifetime 30 percent commission for referrals that subsequently become ConvertKit customers or who sign up for ConvertKit webinars and other digital products.

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.

If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.

“I found some informational articles that walked a beginner affiliate through making their first sale, step-by-step, and emailed them to her. Most likely, this person will not do too well in affiliate marketing, and it is important to recognize the difference between them and the ‘big fish,'” she said, and recommended you ask potential affiliates the following questions:


AliExpress has improved shipping greatly for the last year, not it takes less time to deliver to many countries, even with standard China post. Besides, when you offer free shipping on all products, your clients are ready to wait. Furthermore, we strongly recommend using ePacket shipping option that takes only 5-14 days to deliver and is free or costs $2-5.
I’m not sure of the exact reasons why I started to rank, but I have a few theories. It was a very long, honest, and informative post on the subject. I believe this made it stand out from all the other reviews in which the author just wrote up a basic summary of what it’s about. It also is one of the latest reviews on the book, so perhaps google freshness has something to do with it. I haven’t done any linkbuilding on this page and it currently sits at #2.

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.


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.

Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.
An affiliate markets and promotes a product that a merchant sells. This could be a celebrity promoting a clothing line for a brand, or a fitness instructor marketing a merchant’s line of health foods. Instagram is a great platform to notice affiliate marketing in action. You can see the profiles of normal people posting images with branded products tagged to a store. When you click on the product you will be brought to a store unrelated to the person.

Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search:  “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.
An email campaign is a powerful way of reaching your audience directly. Never miss a chance to collect email addresses and target your subscribers with content and offers that are relevant to them. Readers usually skim instead of reading the entire message. Keep your email clear, concise, and scannable. Include a call to action so your readers can understand what you want them to do. A/B test different headlines, images, copy, and subject lines to see what works best for your audience. And, always test your campaign before sending it.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
Now there is a big difference in those two different business models, not just in terms of how you make money but in terms of where you can advertise. With Google, especially Google Adwords and Google Product Listing Ads, they do not allow affiliate sites. You can’t upload your CSV of products and get traffic from Google if you have an affiliate site. And that is massive!

You can iron out the details of how you will go about your PPC ads for the merchant once you’re granted permission to run paid ads on their behalf. Ask about advertising guidelines (some companies are strict when it comes to advertising and their brand), prohibited keywords, and expectations from each other. Talk to the merchant’s marketing team so you can maximize resources instead of replicating each other’s efforts.
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.
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