At the end of the day, I have two things to say. First, neither option is better overall than the other. It all comes down to how much effort you put into it, what connections you make, what you’re willing to invest, and the fickle vagaries of luck. Second, absolutely nothing says you’re limited to just one or the other. You can always build a dropshipping storefront and augment that income with affiliate marketing. No one can stop you but your competition and your own lack of ambition.
The downside is that Shopify is only appealing for people who have physical or digital products to sell and have a need to set up a Shopify store, including site hosting, payment processing, and all the other services offered by Shopify. This can significantly narrow the appeal for this affiliate program. But if you can distinguish yourself by educating people on how to use Shopify, how it can benefit their business, and/or make them money, you could potentially big money via the affiliate program. Add in the 2 x monthly fee commission rate, and landing just a few sales of their mid-tier and top-tier products can result in significant earnings.
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.”
Brands are using both types of marketing effectively. Both channels are useful for boosting a brand’s business and market share, so don’t feel as if you have to limit yourself to one or the other. If you aren’t already incorporating both influencers and affiliates into your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on some of the best possible opportunities to grow sales and brand awareness.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network. New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.
Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.
To those on the outside, affiliate marketing can seem like a black box. It’s inner workings are mysterious to most marketers and in many companies it’s not treated with the same seriousness as other channels. Some marketers, only familiar with the bad reputation acquired by some industry players in the 2000s, deride it as a source of spam and little more.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
If you want to target a specific group of people instead of your entire audience, then use affiliate marketing. If you’re launching a new product feature or an entirely new product that power users will be receptive to, use affiliate marketing to target specific sites that these power users spend time on. Instead of marketing to everyone, you speak to the people most likely to use your product.
“The Rakuten Marketing team developed and executed an online marketing performance strategy that far exceeded our target goals for brand awareness, new customer acquisition and ROAS in our first-ever partnership with Disney. The campaign was such a success, we’re aiming to replicate the results with the launch of our Incredibles Collection launch this year. We look forward to continued, long-term program success with Rakuten Marketing’s expertise and proven technologies.”
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.
The funny part of all this landing page, money making discussion is that the program that currently makes us about 70% of our income is one that I almost passed up promoting because of the low payout. It is a lead generation program that initially paid $8 per lead and we have since had that increased to $10 per lead because of the volume we produce (that is the nice thing about affiliate programs – if you are a proven performer, you will get higher payouts). At first I wondered how much money one could make $8 at a time – boy am I glad I took a chance with this program! So we have one landing page making us around 50-60K per year, $10 at a time. And we have many more landing pages promoting this same offer, they just aren’t performing at the same level – yet.
Love your article on drop shipping vs. affiliate marketing. I joined the WA community in summer of last year and while I haven’t made any real money yet besides a little bit from google Adsense I am enjoying the journey. I have been looking into ways to expand and looked at drop shipping. It certainly does seem to be more “hands on” than what I was wanting to do, especially since I keep myself pretty busy and am stretched to post a few blogs a week to continue to try to build my website.
JVZoo was founded in 2011 and has since rocketed to near the top as one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. JVZoo is unusual in that there are no upfront costs for either publishers or merchants (advertisers). JVZoo’s income is exclusively from charging fees (to both the merchant and the affiliate) after a sale has been made. It is also unusual in that it pays commissions “instantly” via PayPal rather than once a week/fortnight/month like other affiliate programs.
Drive traffic to your affiliate program. Once you've built a popular platform and secured affiliates to work with, you'll need to drive traffic to your affiliate program. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, but one of the easiest and most successful methods involves writing a blog post or web article and using your email newsletter to invite your subscribers to join the affiliate program of your choosing. Other methods include:
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The main downside to dropshipping is that as the store owner, you’re responsible for customer support. Fortunately, you can easily outsource the customer support to someone who specializes in it on Upwork.com for an affordable price. All you need to do is provide guidelines and general responses for the customer support representative to follow. By outsourcing this component, you free your time up to focus on marketing and optimization. This allows you to grow your business faster.