An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.
Just as a chain of sales persons market and sell your product for commission, using affiliate marketing services you can get many websites to sell your product in exchange for commission, which ultimately makes it a cost effective yet profitable practice, which any business must make use of. Affiliates provide links to your products on their websites or through email marketing for commission based on cost-per-sale, cost-per-click or cost-per-lead.
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?

Both affiliate marketing and dropshipping require similar skill sets. To be successful in either you’ll need to be able to market your products by creating ads and driving traffic to landing pages where customers will buy the product. This might not sound too difficult, but it can take a while to start seeing any significant number of people actually buying products using your site or links.

Create a bonus offer for a product that an affiliate is already marketing. For example, if one of your affiliates is selling a course on driving e-commerce sales from your Facebook fan page, you can write a short and useful step-by-step guide that complements the product, such as the fundamentals of lead generation from Facebook. Ideally, the short bonus that you add to your affiliate’s product should bring extra value to all of your customers.
What is even more important, your money is always within an easy reach. You don’t need to wait for it for months – you get it into your account as soon as a purchase is made. It gives you the opportunity for further growth and development as you can use the money to boost your dropshipping store traffic. Affiliates don’t have this luxury – they stay stuck without their profit for months, so they can’t properly enhance their business performance.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
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.
Finally, we come to the last email.  I call a content email, “The Pro IMer” because it’s what every Internet marketer should do – Tell subscribers about great content that’s on your site.  If you’re only sending emails that make money, you will lose in the end.  Sometimes the best way to generate a profit is to send an email that only benefits the subscriber.
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.

The graphic summarises the affiliate marketing process. You can see that the when a visitor to an affiliate site (who may be an online publisher or aggregator) clicks through to a merchant site, this prospect will be tracked through a cookie being placed on the visitor's computer. If the prospect later transacts within an agreed period, i.e. usually 1, 7, 30, 60 or 90 days, the affiliate will be credited with the sale through an agreed amount (percentage of sale or fixed amount).

I really feel like I have imparted (as best I could) a lot of secrets of my marketing success in this email and the ones on my “info product” series (which I am now turning into a full blown eBook) I hope that people do use some of these methods and succeed and I am trying to give away more than enough for people to do so. SO I really enjoy positive comments where people are actually utilizing and taking some of the information onbaord.
A U.K. based dating affiliate network that operates a number of mainstream and niche dating sites, including Cupid.com, Flirt.com, BoomerDating.com and PlanetSappho.com. You can promote any of these sites based upon the needs of your audience, and with so many sites to choose from, it’s pretty easy for most affiliates to find at least one or two that are a good fit. Commission rates at Cupid plc can be impressive, too, with $15 paid just for free sign ups, and up to 90 percent commission paid on paid memberships.

Avoid jargon, buzzwords, and acronyms. Writing copy for emails or landing pages is different than writing the academic research paper. Marketers should cut down on flowery language wherever possible. Use a conversational tone. Check your text with the Hemingway App. Don’t worry; replacing big words with common synonyms won’t make you look uneducated. Most people in the United States read at a 7th-8th-grade level.
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.
Finally, your email marketing campaign can only succeed if you have a relevant list of quality consumers to target with your messages. Building a quality email list helps your marketing campaign succeed because it targets consumers already interested in your product. Many people end up on email lists because they sign up voluntarily. With a list of relevant consumers, you are putting ads in front of the eyeballs of consumers with an expressed interest in the products and services you promote.
A content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that serve to generate leads from a new ebook the business recently created. The company's social media marketer might then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the business's social media accounts. Perhaps the email marketer creates an email campaign to send those who download the ebook more information on the company. We'll talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute.
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