Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, selling online courses, and web development, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about affiliate marketing and building your online influence on his personal blog.
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. 

The kind of content you create depends on your audience's needs at different stages in the buyer's journey. You should start by creating buyer personas (use these free templates, or try makemypersona.com) to identify what your audience's goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
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.

Most people think of email as a simply a tool for communication. We use email on a daily basis to keep in touch with loved ones, communicate with coworkers, and interact with companies when we want to learn more about a product or service. Affiliate marketers can use email to earn money through targeted campaigns, but it isn’t as simple as just sending out a few emails a day. Success through email marketing relies upon a few earning secrets, which we’ll discuss in this post.
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.
Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.

This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
5: How much do you want to diversify? Dropship stores are not generalist stores. You aren’t going to compete with Amazon and have a little of everything. If your store is selling tablet cases, you might be able to branch out into screen protectors, stylus accessories, phone cases, and other accessories, but you won’t be able to add something like model trains to your shop. On the other hand, affiliate marketing allows you to build as many individual niche sites as you wish. If you want to add model trains to your roster, build a site about trains. If you then want pool accessories, do that on another site.

Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
“I will reach out to these partners to create a custom experience for their audience, or even a slightly different marketing angle, that resonates better. I also think of other ways to integrate our offer into their sales process. Email sends are not always the best, and at times can fatigue. When this happens, I try to get on their ‘thank you’ pages, upsell funnel, or even in their auto-responder series. Doing this creates a steady flow of revenue to all new buyers,” he said.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 
9. Documentation and promo tools. Whether you are a beginner affiliate marketer or an experienced service provider you need to have information and material about the service or product you want to promote. Documentation on how to use the affiliate tracking system and promotional tools, like banners, are the bare minimum you need to look for when choosing a referral program. These are all provided by Moosend.
Mobile devices become an increasingly integral part of our lives, it’s vital that marketers understand how to effectively communicate on this unique and extremely personal channel. Mobile devices are kept in our pockets, sit next to our beds, and are checked constantly throughout the day. This makes marketing on mobile incredibly important but also very nuanced.
While affiliate marketing is great for starters who don’t want to mingle with customer support, I believe dropshipping is a much more lucrative option. Running an online dropshipping store can make you more money than an affiliate marketing website. You can easily market your products through Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Further, if your store is providing great quality of products, you will soon start to get a consistent stream of orders.
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 problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
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.

Affiliate marketing is a business model in which you promote the offers of someone else and earn a commission when someone purchases those offers. In comparison with dropshipping, affiliate marketing doesn’t require you to handle orders or manage customer support. Just promote and earn. The more you promote products, the more commission you can earn.
7. Accurate reporting system. Sometimes, usually at the beginning of affiliate ventures, people need some time to find their feet; that is to say, pitch or strategy might need some fine-tuning. To achieve that, you need real-time stats; the system we use does exactly that. In this way, affiliates know exactly which of their campaigns brings in more money the moment the revenue is generated.
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.
It’s important for all marketers to fit their email marketing service into a budget. That's why at EmailOctopus we have the cheapest pricing plans and for small-scale users, an absolutely free plan. We’re the cheapest email marketing company out there, making us the best way to reach your subscribers. Don’t believe us? Compare our prices to our competitors below.
Pay Per Click Advertising – PPC has been a huge game-changer in the world of advertising. It enables marketers to generate immediate traffic that fuels leads, social shares, and sales for a website. Instead of paying for ad displays, advertisers pay only when a user clicks on their ad. Traffic sources are tracked as well which identifies which ads are achieving the best result in a campaign and allow for fast and simple tweaks to test improvements.
“You want to find out how they are judging your relationship. Is it a certain commission amount, let’s say $5,000 per mailing? Or is it that they don’t get high unsubscribes? It could be that they measure their mailing on the basis of revenue per name on the list, or that they consider a successful mailing one that gives them a reciprocal back (a reciprocal you aren’t able to give because their product is not approved by your client, for example, which can lead to bad feelings if you don’t say that up front),” Spears explained.
While you have complete control over the type of products you can promote or keep in your store you can’t control shipping. That’s why many times people have complained that the products they ordered arrived late at their place. This happens because supplier ships the products as per his convenience and only tells you the shipping order ID – which you send to the customer to let him track his order.
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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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.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
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.
Sometimes merchants are in the process of closing down or declaring bankruptcy. Merchants don’t need to specify this while an affiliate is hard at work trying to make their commissions. In the event that a merchant declares bankruptcy, the affiliate marketing business loses any money owed to them. This includes the money spent on ads and also their affiliate commission on sales made.

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.
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