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+.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.
Affiliate Marketing is where you promote someone else’s product and earn a compensation when you refer sales. So you, basically, find products that appeal to your audience, promote these products (or services) to others, and earn either a percentage or a flat amount on each sale that you generate for the merchants that you promote. You don’t get to dictate the price of the product or the commission earned. For example, if you decide to run a fitness site, you could promote fitness related products – gym gear and supplements. You join “XYZ Supplements” affiliate program. You write a review on your site about the product and include your affiliate links. Someone clicks on the link, gets redirected to the merchant’s website, buys the product, conversions are tracked, products are shipped to the customer, and you get paid! So you don’t have any of the headaches of selling products – your only job is to write a post and market to your audience.
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.
If you don’t already know what drop shipping is, it’s the retail method in which you don’t keep products in stock. Instead of warehousing, you partner with a drop shipping supplier that stocks its own inventory.  You transfer customer orders and shipment details to them, and the suppliers ship the order directly to the customer. Here’s a graph to help you understand the drop shipping business model:

There are a lot of ways to place these commission-earning links on your website, so you don't even have to know how to make banners. One of the most popular ways to add links is to simply include them in your content. Here's an example of a product suggestion within an article, with a link to the relevant product where it's most useful in the content:
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.

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.


This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.
An affiliate markets and promotes a product that a merchant sells. This could be a celebrity promoting a clothing line for a brand, or a fitness instructor marketing a merchant’s line of health foods. Instagram is a great platform to notice affiliate marketing in action. You can see the profiles of normal people posting images with branded products tagged to a store. When you click on the product you will be brought to a store unrelated to the person.
Paid marketing, on the other hand, involves purchasing ads on websites or search engines. If you’ve recently used Google to search for something, you may have noticed the first two or three results are paid for by companies. By paying for ads, you have better control over who gets to see your ads: people who input certain keywords, people who visit specific sites, people who belong to a particular demographic, and so on. Online advertising companies such as Google gives businesses a whole platform to create ad campaigns and monitor their effectiveness.
If you're focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation for a preexisting website, the good news is you don't need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you're planning to outsource the work, the only investment you'll need is your time.
In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
SkimLinks is primarily for established content producers (bloggers) who want to monetize their content. With a powerful WordPress plugin and scripts for just about any website type, setting up SkimLinks is very easy. And because you have access to all offers on their platform after you’re approved, SkimLinks is very well designed for affiliates who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with settings and other fine-tuning.
Email marketing has become a cutthroat game.  The best to stand out from the crowd is to send your subscribers top-notch content on a regular basis – Emails that really help the user.  When most of your messages give value first, you’ll increase authority AND trust in your niche.  This is the kind of relationship that’ll pay dividends for years to come.
JVZoo’s strength is that it allows experienced marketers to gain access to product launches and a huge range of online courses while setting up sales funnels and customized landing pages. It’s definitely not for someone who wants to monetize a blog or earn money by having users click through and buy physical products. If you’ve carved out a strong presence online in the marketing space, JVZoo might be a perfect fit.
Paid advertising — this method requires an effective combination of ad copy, graphics, and a highly-clickable link.[30] Unlike more traditional affiliate marketing strategies, paid advertising (through pay-per-click ads) earn you money regardless of whether a reader buys the product or not. Services like Google's AdSense make this quick and easy for you, and can even supply you with an advertising code.[31]
Since you are simply referring people to someone else’s online store, you won’t be processing orders. You are not having to charge their credit card and their money is not going directly to your bank account. You don’t have to deal with a potential customer calling you and saying, “Hey, my credit card isn’t working.” That doesn’t happen because you don’t process the orders with affiliate marketing, making it one of the biggest benefits.
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