Simply put, affiliate programs, also called associate programs, are arrangements in which an online merchant Web site pays affiliate Web sites a commission to send them traffic. These affiliate Web sites post links to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement. This agreement is usually based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant's site, or the number of people they send who buy something or perform some other action. Some arrangements pay according to the number of people who visit the page containing their merchant site's banner advertisement. Basically, if a link on an affiliate site brings the merchant site traffic or money, the merchant site pays the affiliate site according to their agreement. Recruiting affiliates is an excellent way to sell products online, but it can also be a cheap and effective marketing strategy; it's a good way to get the word out about your site.

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.

This truly intuitive dashboard doesn’t just tell you about open rates, click rates and other basics. GetResponse has created a customizable experience where you decide what you need to see. You can compare the effectiveness of one email against another, watch a map that shows your subscribers receiving and opening your emails in real-time or check for weak points in your autoresponders.
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.
3: How greedy are you? Affiliates depend on the sale price of the item and your percentage cut. On Amazon it starts out at 4%. If you’re selling a $10 item, 4% is not a lot; only 40 cents. Meanwhile, selling a $5 item for $10 on your dropship storefront will make you $5 profit on every item sold. You have more work and more infrastructure to build, but you end up with significantly higher profits for similar amounts of sales.
As far as dropshipping, in my experience if you work with product manufacturers and legitimate distributors, profit margins can range between 20%-60%. It really depends on your niche or what products you choose to market. I'm currently receiving 60% profit margins in a particular niche, but having to offer free shipping to remain competitive cuts slightly into the profit, unfortunately.
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.”

Dropshipping definitely seems to be more involved as far as getting all the pieces of the puzzle working for you and advertising and managing shipping, etc. If you are not a good writer or like writing, dropshipping may be more your cup of tea. Affiliate marketing is a great option but you must be willing to do a lot of writing. If you can handle the writing, then affiliate marketing is a much better option. I chose to get started in affiliate marketing and have learned a ton since!
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
These are the guys that were developing and using tracking scripts ( before Analytics and Woopra ), CMS scripts ( before WordPress and Drupal ), spy tools ( before SpyFu and MixRank ), and split testing scripts ( before Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer ) that we now take granted in our careers. The developments in these areas were all driven by money and ROI, and became the default tools and mindset of budding online marketers.
Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it's hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you're also generating qualified leads when people download it.

#3- Different Style for Email– You’ll probably notice my email style is much different from the content on this blog.  The paragraphs are short.  I use CAPS on some words.  The character lines are less than 65 letters.  And I definitely use more of salesy type of copy.  The reason I do it this way is because this is what’s worked for me with email marketing.  Why fix what ain’t broke?
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!
Dropshipping does have the primary drawback that there is a lot of existing competition. If you’re trying to sell $10 tablet cases for $20, you can bet there are other people out there trying to do the same thing. Some of them might price their cases at $15, in which case you have to ask yourself; why would a user buy from me rather than from them? What value do I add for $5 that the competition cannot? Often, you have nothing tangible, so you have to provide that value in terms of information and trust.

Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it's hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you're also generating qualified leads when people download it.
The process is very simple: you send people to Amazon (or another affiliate program) using a special link, which puts a cookie on their machine and tags their purchases with your affiliate code. When they buy something, you get a cut of the profit – starting at 4%, I believe – because you referred them. You don’t need to do anything else. You don’t ship anything, you don’t handle customer service, you don’t even need to make yourself a trustworthy storefront. All you need to do is get people to click through and buy.

Thank you for your comments. My wife and I are interested in going the affiliate marketing route as well. What we need now are the specifics on how to set up and structure the affiliate marketing business relationships with vendors / sellers / manufacturers. What agreement(s) govern these relationships? What are the steps to going from where we are now, at square one and no current relationships with sellers, to having binding contractual relationships and receiving checks in the mail? Can anyone give us the play by play on this process?
In 09 i started in affiliate marketing and had some pretty good success, but what i found out was i didn't control returning customers (email list) in affiliate marketing as i did with my own drop shipping website. I had more control in profit, payouts, upset/down sell, emailing list etc. The main thing is you have more control with the drop ship business model than affiliate marketing

This is a fantastic in-depth post! Really love it especially when you give each different type of sales email a different name. Definitely going to read this again and again and yes I do agree with you the Authority Black Book is the best free ebook I’ve ever read. Love the breakdown you did about the 10 emails you should send out every month. Looks great to me. I think the free stuff really entices people. It’s just a matter of trying to find the right balance of giving the freebies.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.
Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….
I’d stick with Amazon if I were you. All of my Amazon sites only have Amazon affiliate links. If you use Google Adsense display ads on your site, you’re literally taking people away from your site for the sake of just a few cents with these type of ads. If you direct them just to Amazon, then you have a greater chance of earning more money from that click.
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.

Sign up for free trials to see which email marketing tool you consider easy to use. Their prices vary. MailChimp and MoonMail are the great ones to start with if you don’t have a big mailing list. They offer a forever free trial if you have up to 2000 contacts. Some of the other popular brands are GetResponse, Active Campaign, AWeber, Constant Contact, and many more.


Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing – An easy to follow online course that teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It’s written by Michelle Schroder who makes $100K+ a month from her blog. A genuine super affiliate that shares her success stories and affiliate marketing techniques with her community both on her private Facebook group and on her blog. Sign up here.

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.
As an affiliate, you are drawing people in to your site, then redirecting them off your site in order to make a sale. In the short time they are on your site, you need to capture their email address or you may never see or hear from them again. A pop-up is the best way to do this.  GetResponse lets you create pop-ups and lightboxes from within your account. See our post about pop-ups to learn how to make them in your GetResponse account.
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.)
Day by day, more and more companies participate to using this marketing method to create their own business web-site. This partnership is a low–cost model; because it is paid only when sales are completed. For instance, most affiliates pay 5% commission for every visitor who purchases a product suggested by its affiliate marketing platform. (Generally another web-site) Although commission is a very small percentage, the partnership allows affiliates to benefit from brand awareness by providing a continuous level of sales to the company.
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