As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to both Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping and there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding what to choose. It really comes down to your personal preference and what you want to achieve. With Dropshipping, the product is key and there are a lot of logistical headaches that I outlined. Affiliate Marketing, can run passively and can generate income for years to come. I may be a little biased.


Most affiliate marketers are master experts in 1 or 2 areas. They typically master 1 huge traffic source ( PPC or SEO ) and can run circles around other digital marketers in that space. Many of them even specialize in just Facebook or media buys on Alexa top 1,000 websites. Whatever their specialty, they have invested large sums of money into figuring out every inch of it and can outperform others who may just dabble or work 9–5 within that same space.


Betfair Affiliates is the affiliate marketing program for the well known Betfair betting website. Betfair’s primary market is sports betting. It’s actually a betting exchange, so it allows gamblers to place lay bets too – in other words, bets that bank on the opposite outcome. Betfair also offers in-play betting that allows users to lock in profits before the match ends. They also have great offers for the new customers to Betfair Casino.
Now this one is the biggest for me, but drop shipping will open up new traffic sources and ways to find customers. I have ran plenty of affiliate sites in the past ten years, and I still have some affiliate sites which have generated close to seven figures in commissions alone. Affiliate marketing works, but it’s totally different from drop shipping for how you get people to your site.
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!
MaxBounty works exclusively with digital products, usually about giving one’s email or signing up for a newsletter. MaxBounty has CPA, Pay-per-call, and CPL campaigns that you can choose from. MaxBounty is involved in a large number of verticals, including market research, real estate, social games, finance, dating, and diet, but is primarily designed for marketers seeking to acquire new leads.
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.
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.
A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer? The answer is complicated. The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently. The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
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….

The links fit anywhere a normal anchor link would go. But, in this case, the traffic is tracked by a network or software and the content creator gets a cut. You probably have plenty of products around your home that came about as a recommendation after watching a cool YouTube video – it’s very likely they sent you to the site through their affiliate link!
Testimonials. If case studies aren't a good fit for your business, having short testimonials around your website is a good alternative. For B2C brands, think of testimonials a little more loosely. If you're a clothing brand, these might take the form of photos of how other people styled a shirt or dress, pulled from a branded hashtag where people can contribute.

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.


You are like a dad providing excellent quality advise for a newbie, who is an introvert that is currently bogged down in information gathering and trying to learn as much as possible. Your mails are truly motivating, encourages me to stay the course, be creative, and transparent. I hear you saying just hang in there, with my help you can make it; I have been there so just try this. Will be saving this in my archived. A matter of fact I haven’t deleted any. Thank you so much. I will definitely transfer the connection I experience with you to my subscribers. Thanks again.
“It is absolutely vital to provide them with real-time reporting. Obviously, this reporting needs to be 100% accurate with integrity. Some affiliates will be running 100+ different sources to your offer, and by offering them real-time reporting, they can quickly determine which sources are working and which are not. You save yourself money as well as your affiliates. This also helps scale quickly if you have a good performing offer,” he said.
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.

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.

Shopify is a very popular site building platform for people interested in building eCommerce stores. It has been around for the past few years and seen significant growth in its user base over this time. You can earn a staggering 200% per sale for every new customer you refer to them, which means that there is up to $2400 per new customer on offer.
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.
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
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.[18] Other methods include:
6. Reliable tracking system. Losing track of a referral and losing the commission altogether is a very realistic risk, but you are safe with Moosend. Given that you have invested time in promoting an affiliate deal, offering a reliable click-tracking system is the least a vendor can do to support their partner efforts. Moosend’s choice is GetAmbassador, a top-notch referral marketing software that will track your efforts securely across all channels.

Small blogger? I work with publishers of all sizes and bigger doesn’t necessarily translate to more commissions. Often smaller bloggers have more engagement from their audience compared to their larger counterparts. I’ve experienced this first hand too. Recently I was a top earning affiliate for a course launch – alongside bloggers with audiences 10-40x bigger than mine.
When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.
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.

Neither of these business models normally returns very much pure profit (except in a relatively few cases). Affiliate marketing can be hard due to the levels of competition, and the product owner dictates entirely. The dropshipping business model is heavily weighted in favour of the wholesaler and not the dropshipper and most often returns poor margins.

One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals.

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+.
Look to see what others say about them. I was looking at one dropshipper which had what I thought was some good products. But checking them out it turned out the products were crap and their customer service was appalling. Once they got the customers money they did not give a damn. And if you're dropshipping their product it is you who has to deal with them and will get it in the neck from your customers. And did I mention they were charging £125 per year for you to dropship their goods.
Fortunately for beginners just getting started with affiliate marketing, hard sales skills – though great to have – are not a prerequisite for affiliate marketing success. Provided that you choose a profitable niche market, set up your WordPress platform properly, and take the right steps to grow your audience, you can generate affiliate income as a relationship marketer. As mentioned earlier, if you do it right promoting the right products that can help your audience is a way to actually add value.

Build relationships. Affiliate marketing takes a lot of work and patience before any real money is made. Affiliate marketing programs drive traffic to the affiliate marketer's website, but the marketer is responsible for building lasting professional relationships with the affiliate partners out of that web traffic. The marketer must also continually seek out better partnerships with other affiliates.[24]


“At times, affiliates may not be driving traffic or converting as much as they used to, or as much as you know they’re capable. This can be a lack of new offers or promotions, or they may have promoted a certain product too many times, and their list is burnt out on it. This is more common than you may think,” he said, but added that “several things can be done to alleviate this.”

When deciding between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing consider how much money you can actually make. The commissions in an affiliate marketing business can often be low in comparison to a dropshipping model. When dropshipping, you can buy a product that costs $1 and sell it for $19.99, which allows you to keep a substantial portion of the profit after marketing costs have been subtracted.
As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.
Whether you are an affiliate marketer, or do affiliate email marketing as a side-business to complement your income and your current services, it is in your best interest to find the highest-converting programs to promote. Essentially, market research requires your investing time, energy and effort in discovering what is a win-win solution both for your client and your reputation, as well as your income.
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
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!
Honestly speaking, both dropshipping and affiliate marketing requires hard work to start. Most people enter online marketing thinking that they can easily get rich by making the website and streams of income will start popping out in no time. That is a grave mistake. Whether it is dropshipping business, affiliate marketing, or any other online business, it requires consistent effort to grow the business.
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