In 1996, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, popularized this idea as an Internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com attracts affiliates to post links to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, by promising them a percentage of the profits if someone clicks on the link and then purchases books or other items. The affiliate helps make the sale, but Amazon.com does everything else: They take the order, collect the money and ship the book to the customer. With over 500,000 affiliate Web sites now participating, Amazon.com's program is a resounding success.
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.
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.
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.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
Ayelet Weisz is an enthusiastic B2B freelance writer, who helps companies from 5 continents increase ROI and make a difference with content. Among others, she's written for G(irls)20 Summit (a nonprofit with partners like Google and Nike), B2B companies that serve global brands (like Jacada and Pipedrive), and globally leading marketing sites (including Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Unbounce). This article was written on behalf of her client, Yomali, an international conglomerate that has helped businesses sell more online for over 14 years, connecting millions of buyers with products they love, and driving more than $1B in annual sales. Yomali's group of companies deliver holistic solutions, covering payment processing, traffic generation, outsourced support, physical fulfillment, and customer relationship management.
Financial services provider, Wells Fargo, launched their affiliate marketing program with the goal of expanding credit card acquisition beyond current customers of the bank. Rakuten Marketing designed an affiliate prospecting program that focused on building strong relationships with publishers and educating them on the products offered. This approach was aligned with creating compelling consumer-facing offers that would appeal to a publisher’s audience.
Affiliate marketing doesn’t allow you to set your own prices and so you rely solely on commission. Dropshipping, on the other hand, enables you to set the price so that you can make as much profit off of an item as you want. However, it’s quite easy to get this wrong, and if you price your products too high or too low, then you will put people off.
This is the #1 mistake affiliates make with email marketing. While it’s great to have a list to sell to, you don’t want to be selling all the time. Break up the stream of email sales offers with some content. Aim for about an 80/20 split. That would be four straight emails that give great content to your reader and then one email of take, which is the selling part.