There are actually several different types of affiliate marketing, but let’s focus on PPC. A good and effective PPC marketing strategy can be enough to generate profit, but it is also a difficult strategy because you’re paying for ads that might not bring in revenue. Still, it’s one of the most ideal ways to scale your marketing efforts once you’ve established or exhausted the organic route.
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.

Even if you’re leveraging the marketing efforts of others rather than doing the outreach part yourself initially, you can use those efforts to build a critical asset — an email list of buyers. Once you’ve got that list, optimize your back end with customer behavior data and a multitude of different offers and you can maximize the customer lifetime value of those list members.
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+.
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Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network, the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialised third parties vendors.
PeerFly only has a limited number of products at the moment, but they have tremendous momentum and are growing by leaps and bounds. Their payout rates aren’t spectacular, but everything is upfront and transparent, and affiliate satisfaction is very high. PeerFly is perfect for authentic marketers who want to offer high-quality products to their visitors as opposed to “get rich quick” schemes and opaque offers.
Never send an email without making sure it’s working properly. What looks good in your inbox can look broken or mangled in someone else’s. Use tools that can help you with testing your SPAM score, deliverability and the rendering of your email. There are plenty of free or freemium solutions that provide screenshots of your email in dozens of different email platforms.

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.


Paid Search Paid search, or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, typically refers to the “sponsored result” on the top or side of a search engine results page (SERP). You only pay when your ad is clicked. You can tailor your PPC ads to appear when specific search terms are entered, creating ads that are targeted to a particular audience. PPC ads are flexible, visible, and most importantly, effective for many different types of organizations. They are also contextual advertisements—ads that appear when a person is searching for a particular keyword or term.
It’s not mandatory, however I do recommend having a blog down the line. If you want to get your feet wet by trying affiliate promotions across social media, that’s great. But social media affiliate promotions don’t convert very well so you won’t earn a lot and may get discouraged. Affiliate marketing works best when you build a brand about something you’re interested in / know a lot about / want to become an expert in and you really need a blog / site to do that. If you want to start small but with a better converting medium, try a weekly newsletter (around a specific niche / topic) because it converts much higher and gets you into the habit of creating consistent content. You will need a landing page to capture emails so I’d recommend buying a domain to set one up so you can later develop it into a blog / site when you’re ready.
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.
It sounds like you have a good system going and you are correct, they both do take a lot of work. Most people will not have the time to put up hundreds of affiliate sites and stores. Given that you are comparing one affiliate site versus one dropshipped store, they both should take a similar amount of time to rank in the search engines. The advantage of the dropshipped store is that you won’t be completely dependent on SEO. If Google were to all of a sudden tank your website for your keywords (this has happened to me on several occasions), then you still have a solid customer base and word of mouth that will get you new customers.

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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.
Affiliate networks also make it very easy to find products and services to promote. They will list advertisers by category and show which advertisers other publishers are currently having the most success with. Commission Junction, a large affiliate advertising network, currently has nearly 3,000 different advertisers listed. You will have the most success by promoting products that are closely related to the content that you write about. If you had a website about investing, you would primarily want to promote investing related services like stock brokerages and stock research tools. You wouldn’t get good results by promoting unrelated services like web hosting and domain name registration services.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.

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. .

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.
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!
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Another one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs is eHarmony, which is based on the actual earnings that can be made from each referred sale. Up to $188 can be made from a single sale. In general, the members at eHarmony are typically looking to find serious long term relationships, so many of them are willing to pay extra to find similar people.
The splendour of affiliate marketing lies in this - you don’t need to invest into the marketing and promotion of your product or service, someone else does it for you. The affiliate earns their commission, the company gets to sell their product without having to invest in its promotion and sales and the customer gets the product they desired. This makes Affiliate marketing one of the most inexpensive and value for money online marketing practices.

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.
Some websites allow you to engage in pay-per-click affiliate marketing without running your own website or blog. Direct links through outside merchant websites allow you to create and make money off of ads without having to post them to your own website. For instance, you might make an ad for a dating website and advertise on Facebook; when someone clicks on your ad, they go straight to the dating site, instead of a website or landing page you have created.[6] Some affiliate networks that specialize in direct linking include Associate Programs, Affiliates Directory, E-commerce Guide, and Link Share.[7]
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.
Upselling is a sales technique where the salesperson encourages a more expensive purchase by a customer by persuading them to get an upgraded version of an item or to purchase add-ons. Remember our food processor example? That food processor could probably be best used with a book of recipes, which also can be purchased at the same company’s website.
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:
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