So you probably were able to guess the answer to which is better: drop shipping vs affiliate marketing. If you picked drop shipping as the winner, you are right! However, let me go through some of those reasons as to why drop shipping is more beneficial than affiliate marketing. (And it’s not just because I run drop ship stores and have a business called Drop Ship Lifestyle.)
Affiliate marketing has contributed to the rise of many leading online companies. Amazon.com, one of the first significant adopters, now has hundreds of thousands of affiliate relationships. It is not uncommon to see industries where the major players have affiliate programs–often structured in a similar manner and making similar competitive changes over time.
Packaging and delivery are processed by the dropshipper. You, as a retailer, don’t need to worry about this. The supplier will deliver the items to the buyer’s doorstep with your store’s name on the package. The dropshipping supplier will provide an upgraded catalogue, with proper descriptions and images for every product. However, we recommend that you modify the descriptions a little in order to avoid a SEO penalisation from Google.
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.
Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
Think about this. If you are the person that processes that order, again you are making more money the first time you process it. Yes, there is a little bit more work, but you also own that customer data. So if you want to sell a box of 10 pens as an upsell or if you want to sell them new notebooks or if you want to have a huge Black Friday sale, you are the one that’s marketing to that same person.
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.
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Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.
You can’t just wait to be a rich man the next day when you prepared a web site at one night. Thing are not going so far. Affiliate is not a proposition to be a fast rich. You need to work hard. I have seen companies from all over the world with completely different set of skills, but one thing that all of them have in common was that they were dedicated to their web sites.
When you create sign-up or subscription forms, include options for subscribers to self-select preferences. Even free platforms like MailChimp allow you to provide segmenting options. For instance, you can ask subscribers about particular interests, product preferences, or content interests. Options for affiliate marketers may include: 1) Newsletters, 2) Deals and Discounts, 3) Announcements and 4) New Product Updates. Some subscribers may select to receive content on all of these, whereas others might only have interest in one or two.
VigLink is an intermediary platform, so it can serve as a backdoor for affiliates who have previously been banned/suspended from working with other affiliate programs like Amazon. And while you can choose specific merchants or offers, VigLink can be set up to work automatically by scanning your published content and dynamically generating affiliate links, making it a great choice for established content producers who are looking for a simpler way to generate revenue via an affiliate program.
The only reason more people are moving to dropshipping is that with affiliate marketing they only get a fixed commission on the number of products they sell. In comparison, with intelligent advertising platforms, they can precisely target each buyer who wants to buy their products and pay only when they receive an order. Even after taking out the costs of advertisements, hosting, and customer service, they still get a commission that’s higher than what they would have earned with affiliate marketing. Moreover, users can also install plugins such as AliDropship, Dropified, and various others that are associated with dropship affiliate programs including AliExpress and WorldWideBrands.
Seriously, the most valuable advice given to me as an affiliate marketer – and that is being moved forward to you today – is to respect your audience at all times. They are making you part of their lives and are prepared to put money into your pocket. In exchange, it is your duty to give them meaningful content that addresses their wants and needs and follow up with affiliate offers that meet these objectives. Do this and you'll have all the success as an affiliate marketer you've ever dreamed of.
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.
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.