I agree with most of your sentiments except on the issue of paying a membership fee. Legitimate manufacturers and distributors DO NOT charge membership fees. At most, a nominal $3-$5 service charge if your order is under a certain amount. Rarely is it a good idea to deal with a supplier that is charging any type of monthly or yearly membership fee because they are middle men and you're not going to get as great a wholesale price as you would from the manufacturer or distributor. Ideally, it's smart to contact suppliers that do not advertise drop shipping on their website, then once you become an approved Reseller ask them to drop ship for you. Many of the manufacturers that I work with offer the same product price whether you use drop shipping or arbitrage. .
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
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.
Just as a chain of sales persons market and sell your product for commission, using affiliate marketing services you can get many websites to sell your product in exchange for commission, which ultimately makes it a cost effective yet profitable practice, which any business must make use of. Affiliates provide links to your products on their websites or through email marketing for commission based on cost-per-sale, cost-per-click or cost-per-lead.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
As an affiliate, the sky is literally the limit. Since we are not constrained by how many orders we can process in a day, or how many customers we can deal with in a day, our income potential is limitless. Assuming we pick the correct niche and get good SERP rankings, we are golden. Of course this is easier than it sounds, but when you get traffic, it is free, except for your time. (We don’t use pay per click, so we rely strictly on organic search engine rankings to drive traffic.)
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
As a business model, dropshipping allows anyone to sell products from suppliers on their own website. There is no need to carry any inventory at all. When someone purchases a product from the dropshipper’s website, they place an order with the supplier. The supplier then packages and ships the product to the customer. Dropshipping is a great business model for a first-time ecommerce entrepreneur or people who want to test categories of products on their audience. Ecommerce entrepreneurs have even been known to run their ecommerce stores while studying, or working full-time.
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.
Whether you are an affiliate marketer, or do affiliate email marketing as a side-business to complement your income and your current services, it is in your best interest to find the highest-converting programs to promote. Essentially, market research requires your investing time, energy and effort in discovering what is a win-win solution both for your client and your reputation, as well as your income.
SkimLinks is probably best for bloggers who want to write content around the affiliate link rather than add affiliate links to existing products. SkimLinks offers a lot of tools to compare commission rates and offers in order to customize your content to optimize your income. Once nice aspect of SkimLinks is that it offers lots of products for non-US creators, including popular UK brands like John Lewis and Tesco.
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).
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.
Really helpful content jeff. I love your blog. I was actually thinking of doing a weightloss blog as I have struggled with losing for a long time, and now eventually have diabetics. So I will add things. I might let you look at it and perhaps you would give me your opinion. Another thing, I was promoting an offer over facebook, unfortunatly I never got sales. but this has fired me up. I must use an opt page next time. Then at least I will collect emails.

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+.
Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Writing copy for emails or landing pages is different than writing the academic research paper. Marketers should cut down on flowery language wherever possible. Use a conversational tone. Check your text with the Hemingway App. Don’t worry; replacing big words with common synonyms won’t make you look uneducated. Most people in the United States read at a 7th-8th-grade level.

Most entrepreneurs fall into two key categories: dropshipping vs affiliate marketing. Dropshipping is when the manufacturer carries the inventory and ships it to the customer on your behalf. In dropshipping, you set your own product prices and are responsible for marketing. Similarly, in affiliate marketing, the merchant also carries inventory and ships the product. However, while you’re still responsible for marketing, you don’t get to set the product price and only receive a commission. In this article, we’ll explain the pros and cons of dropshipping and affiliate marketing to decide which is more profitable.

If you don’t already know what drop shipping is, it’s the retail method in which you don’t keep products in stock. Instead of warehousing, you partner with a drop shipping supplier that stocks its own inventory.  You transfer customer orders and shipment details to them, and the suppliers ship the order directly to the customer. Here’s a graph to help you understand the drop shipping business model:
Wow, Jeff! Fantastic article. Lots of great info to refer back on. You first came to my attention through the Profit Academy coaching & I sought your website from there. I love your very personal writing style. It is obvious that you are passionate about your work and care about people. You share top grade knowledge without the fluff. It is a powerful combination and why I listen when you speak. Thank you for gifting us the benefit of your insight.
Pay Per Sale or PPS – where companies pay a percentage of all sales that are qualified. These could be a percentage which was agreed by the company and it’s affiliate. Among the most common PPS program is the Amazon Associates where a publisher can earn up to 15% depending on the products that were sold. Here’s a list of places where you can find products to promote.
Our team of more than 100 marketing specialists at Cognus builds and handle Affiliate management services for you and lead to performance based results, in turn enhancing your business profitability. We have an experience of over 6 years with clients in 15 countries in generating leads, raising profits and improving online reputation for a better performance of affiliates, thereby reducing your effort with our expert Affiliate Marketers.
In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
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.
If you're focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation for a preexisting website, the good news is you don't need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you're planning to outsource the work, the only investment you'll need is your time.
As with many things in life, affiliate marketing benefits from quality over quantity. Having many affiliates that drive traffic can be seen as a good thing, but this may spread your team too thin preventing them from focusing on the quality affiliates that are generating the most conversions, especially since the strategy and marketing collateral most likely won’t be the same for each affiliate.

For example, if you’re an Amazon affiliate promoting fashion you can add integrated dropshipped goods to your store. Since you already have an audience, adding a store is an easy way to make money. In addition, the amount of work required for a store is mostly upfront work. This includes adding products to the store and writing product descriptions. Afterward, all you need to manage are your orders, marketing, and customer service. You can even outsource some of the work to make the workload even lighter.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]
Second, they are persistent when putting together a campaign, but wise enough to know when to let it go and move on to other things. The best marketers use tools to measure and evaluate their performances and are open to criticism and suggestions from subscribers and colleagues. Never get discouraged if your great idea for a marketing idea fails, simply move on to the next one.
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.

You just keep sending out something new to your email list on a regular basis and people will purchase from you. You will need to use what is called an autoresponder service to do this. You can try aweber.com or icontact.com or getresponse.com. They are three of the best. There is also a free one that is called mailchimp.com. Steve talks about mailchimp and aweber in his posts. Of course not everyone will purchase from you, some will purchase more than others.
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.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
The ninja message is best used with an email list that trusts your recommendations.  When people have come to “know” you, it doesn’t require a lot of work to promote a product – Especially one with a great sales page.  On the other hand, I advise you to use the ninja on rare occasions.  This is the most spammy email in your entire arsenal.  Use it sparingly – No more than once a month.

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.
On the other hand, if your goal is to get people to promote your product or service, special offers, discounts and more through channels other than social media, then use affiliate marketing. Target bloggers, companies and publishers with content that complements or relates to your brand base. Understand your customers’ needs and their interests so that you speak to your target audience about what matters most to them. If you sell workout gear, then partner with health and fitness publishers that focus on weight loss, healthy eating and more. This approach of speaking to specific customers with specific needs works because affiliate marketing is designed to generate leads and help you grow your revenue.

Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[34] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
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Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed]
Adgild Hop, Head of Retail Consulting at Cap Gemini commented “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time. When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses.”

Greg Jeffries has a strong fine arts background with a passion for marketing. He's been involved in Internet marketing for over six years now, and loves teaching and helping others succeed. He's made money with nearly every system and strategy that you can think of or that exists online, but a few of his strengths are in the areas of: listbuilding/email marketing, info product creation, paid traffic (Facebook ads), and search engine optimization.
Affiliate Marketing involves less work compared to Dropshipping. As far as making more money from Dropshipping I think that is open to debate and depends of your cost. Before people buy from your store you need to spend in building a brand. An affiliate marketer do not have to worry too much about that because the merchant he/she is selling for has probably taken care of that.
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