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.

This is the #1 mistake affiliates make with email marketing. While it’s great to have a list to sell to, you don’t want to be selling all the time. Break up the stream of email sales offers with some content. Aim for about an 80/20 split. That would be four straight emails that give great content to your reader and then one email of take, which is the selling part.


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.
Your life situation might dictate that $200/day is the pinnacle of financial motivation. You can drive yourself to attain this goal, but any further and the motivation begins to slip. That’s a point of diminishing returns. Call it your comfort zone. Any work to advance beyond this point comes with the additional burden of pushing you out of that comfort zone. And so procrastination sets in, along with the dual crippling fears of failure and success.
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.
In the battle between dropshipping vs affiliate marketing, an affiliate marketing business may have difficulty managing finances. This is because some merchants may be unreliable with their payment deposits. There are many great affiliate programs that make payments on time. Yet, sometimes, one of the companies you’ve chosen to be an affiliate for doesn’t pay on time.
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. 

Find and work with affiliates. Affiliates will help grow your business and help you tap into web traffic. There are many ways to meet and engage with affiliates, but the best way to access desirable affiliates is by building a reputation for yourself. You can do this by developing a popular blog or otherwise earning a large online following, or by becoming a published author of a book or article.[15] There are other ways of meeting affiliates, of course, and each method will vary in its success and required effort. Generally speaking, the basic course of action for acquiring affiliates typically involves one of the following methods:

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.

He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

Affiliate marketers are only paid when someone in their audience takes an action that you’ve committed to pay for. If you’ve committed to pay a commission for sales, they’ll only get paid after they actually drive sales. 5 percent to 10 percent commission rates are common, although commissions on products like electronics tend to be lower. If you’ve committed to pay for qualified leads, you only have to pay when they refer a lead that meets the qualifications you’ve specified.
The downside is that Shopify is only appealing for people who have physical or digital products to sell and have a need to set up a Shopify store, including site hosting, payment processing, and all the other services offered by Shopify. This can significantly narrow the appeal for this affiliate program. But if you can distinguish yourself by educating people on how to use Shopify, how it can benefit their business, and/or make them money, you could potentially big money via the affiliate program. Add in the 2 x monthly fee commission rate, and landing just a few sales of their mid-tier and top-tier products can result in significant earnings.
There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.

Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[41]


Really helpful content jeff. I love your blog. I was actually thinking of doing a weightloss blog as I have struggled with losing for a long time, and now eventually have diabetics. So I will add things. I might let you look at it and perhaps you would give me your opinion. Another thing, I was promoting an offer over facebook, unfortunatly I never got sales. but this has fired me up. I must use an opt page next time. Then at least I will collect emails.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Affiliate marketing examples are everywhere online. Visit any niche site and chances are you’ll find some kind of affiliate marketing. You’ll notice that affiliate marketing looks a lot like display ads. With display advertising, you create ads that appear on other websites. When site visitors click on them, they’re taken to a landing page where they can learn more about your product and convert to become a paying customer.

JVZoo lets you both host and create landing pages on their own website, so it’s far better suited for professional marketers who want to flood the internet with offers, many of them for courses to make money. You don’t need your own website to participate in JVZoo, but you will need to know how to drive traffic to a landing or squeeze page in order to profit from being a JVZoo affiliate.

Products are now put in a category. The commission will be based on the category each product has been placed in whether or not the category is correct. For instance, I had a sale for a child riding toy tractor. Instead of it being in toys category which would have only earned me 3%, it was actually placed in lawn and garden category which I then actually earned 8% instead.

Affiliate marketing gives you access to regular new offers, and you tend to spend more time promoting specific products. This enables you to focus more on a particular item and see your progress much more easily via tracking tools. You can also join an affiliate network and get help, advice and management for your campaigns, and it’s completely free.


Your life situation might dictate that $200/day is the pinnacle of financial motivation. You can drive yourself to attain this goal, but any further and the motivation begins to slip. That’s a point of diminishing returns. Call it your comfort zone. Any work to advance beyond this point comes with the additional burden of pushing you out of that comfort zone. And so procrastination sets in, along with the dual crippling fears of failure and success.
Review sites feature reviews of products/services that the marketer has tried and can attest for. Each product/service review includes a link or banner ad that will take customers to the merchant partner's website. The advantage of review sites is that they require less frequent updates. Marketers simply have to make minor tweaks to their websites to ensure that search engines continue to list the website in their search results.[3]
Affiliate marketing doesn’t allow you to set your own prices and so you rely solely on commission. Dropshipping, on the other hand, enables you to set the price so that you can make as much profit off of an item as you want. However, it’s quite easy to get this wrong, and if you price your products too high or too low, then you will put people off.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways people make money online. It is a strategy where an individual partners with a business in order to make a commission by referring readers or visitors to a business’s particular product or service. But that really is quite a simple explanation. To be really successful at making money with affiliate marketing there is a little more to it.

“I use Facebook, not only as an added communication device but also to help know what is going on in the life of my affiliate partners. On the communication side of things, if I noticed they are not responding to an email, but see they are on a beach vacation with their family, I will know not reach out to them until they are back and caught up on emails,” he said.

That is an oustanding Article Jeff! When I went through Profit Academy 2 I had 2 passion Niches that i have followed, Personal Development ( TheGannonProject) and Golf (GannonGolf) which is my day Job, I have found a new love and Passion for IM. Do you think I should keep the other 2 going or in the words of the great Jimmy Russell ” Do 1 thing, do it well, do it all the way!” ( Sorry I’m a Bourbon fan). Im going to a 3 day event here in Sydney that Mal Emery is putting on and one of the “Big Names” attending the event is Russell Brunson, pretty excited about that 🙂 I’m hoping to cement my future driven works their, but would love your advice brother, as we say over here, your about as Fair Dinkum as it gets and I love you work. Thanks

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.
Success in affiliate marketing for the merchant is all about building the right relationships with the right types of affiliate. Most businesses find a 95:5 rule for affiliates, so the first thing to get right is to choose the right affiliates. To form the relationship, you'll need a great offer since if an affiliate is good, they'll have other great offers already.
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.

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. 
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]
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[14]
In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over Amazon.com sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon.[45] The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.
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.

Influencers are typically paid upfront. There is no set amount that influencers earn; this is something your brand must negotiate with the influencers you’re interested in working with. The money you pay is not directly tied to the outcome of the campaign, and there are no guarantees that the campaign will result in the results you want. Brands typically use this type of campaign to increase brand awareness.

hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?

Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
One of the major differences between affiliate marketing and dropshipping is that affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to take charge of customer support, whereas dropshipping does. Because dropshipping makes you the store owner, then you are responsible for your brand. Affiliates on the other hand simply link people to other people’s stores, meaning that they don’t take any of the responsibility when things go wrong.
The approach you choose should also depend on how much you’re willing to spend. A larger budget allows you to partner with larger influencers who can get you as much exposure as possible. However, influencer marketing is known to be expensive. Another option is to target micro-influencers in your niche who don’t have millions of followers but have thousands of highly engaged followers.

Shopify has three different account types as well as standalone third-party products like themes and apps. Commissions are paid for sales of any of these products, including users who sign up for a 14-day free trial and then convert to a paid account. Shopify also has a wide range of blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials that can be linked to with the standard commission paid on any sales that are generated.

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).
Some websites allow you to engage in pay-per-click affiliate marketing without running your own website or blog. Direct links through outside merchant websites allow you to create and make money off of ads without having to post them to your own website. For instance, you might make an ad for a dating website and advertise on Facebook; when someone clicks on your ad, they go straight to the dating site, instead of a website or landing page you have created.[6] Some affiliate networks that specialize in direct linking include Associate Programs, Affiliates Directory, E-commerce Guide, and Link Share.[7]
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.

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.
By quite a large margin Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program out there, with products from more than 1.5 million sellers. Amazon has the most easy-to-use technology of all the affiliate programs I will be reviewing today. Beginners to affiliate marketing with even the most limited technical expertise will have no problems in getting up and running with the Amazon associates program, while more experienced marketers can create custom tools and websites with the APIs and advanced implementations available to them. The great thing about Amazon is that anything from kids toys to laptops can generate sales if they are purchased through any Amazon affiliate link.
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:

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.
×