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.
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.
Dropshipping or affiliate marketing, which one should you go for? Online businesses are a very promising way of making money quickly if you know the basics and you work hard at it. Consequently, many people have started selling their own products or getting them wholesale from Asian suppliers. These types of e-commerce are mostly a secondary form of income and don’t require too much work to maintain.
In comparison with Dropshipping, affiliate marketing is a lot easier to start and manage. In a dropshipping website, you will have to actively monitor the store and order products through suppliers. All this requires time. But in an affiliate website, you don’t have to actually do any of this because you get a commission by letting people buy through your link. That’s it.
Smart affiliate program managers understand the value of free.  Instead of telling you to promote their salespage, many offer a valuable freebie that provides real value to prospect.  All you have to do is mention this freebie and provide a place to get it.  After that, the site owner will follow-up with a prospect and sell them on the benefit of purchasing a product.
Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it's hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you're also generating qualified leads when people download it.
So you probably were able to guess the answer to which is better: drop shipping vs affiliate marketing. If you picked drop shipping as the winner, you are right! However, let me go through some of those reasons as to why drop shipping is more beneficial than affiliate marketing. (And it’s not just because I run drop ship stores and have a business called Drop Ship Lifestyle.)

Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.

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.
“Initially, I don’t always look for the ‘perfect’ affiliate. I look for any partners who have an audience that might react positively to my offer. For example, if I have a financial investing offer, I might feel like I already know all the ‘big’ financial partners and can’t grow my affiliate program. However, that is far from the truth. I will start looking for other affiliates having a product or offer with a similar audience, like high-end watches, real estate or even a health offer. Yes, a health offer. You might be surprised. Get creative,” he encouraged.
“For an affiliate partnership to be successful, the offer needs to be tested and optimized to endure a strong customer value across multiple networks. If an offer shows inconsistent results, we continue to test and optimize internally. As a result, once an offer is opened to a new partner, it is sure to return value to the affiliate and they can put their resources in helping gradually scale the offer,” Taherivand said.
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.
LinkConnector is something of a mixed bag, so it’s probably best for experienced affiliates who have become disillusioned with other networks and are looking to expand. LinkConnector’s bizarre mix of high-quality products and a low-quality dashboard make it hard to truly assess its viability, but their exclusive deals with some vendors can make it a true home run for publishers working in certain niches.

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.


The ninja message is best used with an email list that trusts your recommendations.  When people have come to “know” you, it doesn’t require a lot of work to promote a product – Especially one with a great sales page.  On the other hand, I advise you to use the ninja on rare occasions.  This is the most spammy email in your entire arsenal.  Use it sparingly – No more than once a month.
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.

After being putative into an affiliate program, marketers receive a unique URL that includes their affiliate ID. They share that unique URL with their subscribers, site visitors, and social networks via text links or ads. When somebody clicks on that link, affiliate software accounts that click and any resulting creation sales in the affiliate’s account. When directives reach a pre-determined verge, the associate is paid.
There are lots of ways you can optimize your digital marketing assets for mobile users, and when implementing any digital marketing strategy, it's hugely important to consider how the experience will translate on mobile devices. By ensuring this is always front-of-mind, you'll be creating digital experiences that work for your audience, and consequently achieve the results you're hoping for.
An email campaign is a powerful way of reaching your audience directly. Never miss a chance to collect email addresses and target your subscribers with content and offers that are relevant to them. Readers usually skim instead of reading the entire message. Keep your email clear, concise, and scannable. Include a call to action so your readers can understand what you want them to do. A/B test different headlines, images, copy, and subject lines to see what works best for your audience. And, always test your campaign before sending it.
“A year later, I saw her at an event and asked her about it, and apologized if I offended her in some way. She said I didn’t, but that an average mailing for her did $50,000 in commissions… So when I kept hitting her up, I was pretty tone deaf to the fact that I had cost her a significant amount of money that day by mailing an offer that didn’t convert well to her list, and then I kept annoying her with follow up emails.”
The ninja message is best used with an email list that trusts your recommendations.  When people have come to “know” you, it doesn’t require a lot of work to promote a product – Especially one with a great sales page.  On the other hand, I advise you to use the ninja on rare occasions.  This is the most spammy email in your entire arsenal.  Use it sparingly – No more than once a month.
Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy
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+.
As a business model, dropshipping allows anyone to sell products from suppliers on their own website. There is no need to carry any inventory at all. When someone purchases a product from the dropshipper’s website, they place an order with the supplier. The supplier then packages and ships the product to the customer. Dropshipping is a great business model for a first-time ecommerce entrepreneur or people who want to test categories of products on their audience. Ecommerce entrepreneurs have even been known to run their ecommerce stores while studying, or working full-time.
Don’t hit a send button without proofreading and testing your campaigns. Email with spelling and grammar slips will feel rushed and will make you look unprofessional. Sometimes when you work on something for too long, it’s easy to miss small mistakes. Make sure that all links work correctly. I recommend that you always send a test email to a colleague or a friend to read it first. Or, take a break and come back to check your email later with a fresh mind.

In an affiliate marketing business, the affiliate supplies the merchant with their leads. Thus, you’re not necessarily the product expert. As a result, the merchant handles all customer support issues. If the customer isn’t satisfied with their product, the merchant handles the refund. If a customer needs help with a specific aspect, the merchant is responsible for helping them. Thus, when it comes to customer inquiries all you need to do is direct customers to the merchant.
Adgild Hop, Head of Retail Consulting at Cap Gemini commented “2014 has been an important milestone for the online retail sector, with the £100 billion mark being exceeded for the first time. When we consider that almost £1 in every £4 is now spent online, and that a large proportion of the other £3 is influenced by some form of digital interaction, it becomes very clear that retailers need to continue to embrace the opportunity that e-retail poses.”
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]

Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
That is correct, you either sign up as an affiliate and agree to their payout or you go and find another seller with an affiliate program. You should find lots of affiliate programs that pay 50% or higher without any problem. Just be sure that the cookie is live for at least 60 days, the longer the better. Clickbank has thousands of affiliate programs.
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.

Engineer by Education, Marketing Influencer by Profession, and Creative Writer by Passion- Shivendra is involved in Branding, Advertising & Consulting in the domain of Digital Marketing over the years. He relies upon his Digital Marketing learnings and uses the creative DNA for composing blogs that have the applied zeal to engage, entertain and inspire the readers- to Connect- Convince- Convert their target audiences via different digital media channels.
Affiliate marketing is a kind of business model which promotes someone else’s products and earn on a commission basis when any are purchased. The marketer, does not handle orders or offer customer support. The marketer promotes products and earn on each sale. Simply put, assuming the right target market is selected, increasing promotion increases earnings.
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.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
Dropshipping is no doubt better for entrepreneurs, because they can set up their own margins and price uplift. Nobody thinks for the customers in this situation, because they are paying more for something, which costs less. This get me motivated to create a small affiliate eCommerce aggregator with the best tech deals from one of the biggest China online wholesalers. Because I truly believe that the customer needs to pay the true price of the product I also implemented a Crypto Cash Back reward program where he can withdraw up to the full amount of the affiliate commission in cryptocurrency. Soon I will also add paypal.
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
On the off chance that you have no any product/item/service and need to enjoy passive income, then you may advertise an item that you think has esteem and can aid you make money as an affiliate marketer. The thought behind this is that you advance, promote and advertise other individuals’ products or services, regularly through an associate/affiliate system, gaining a commission, if individuals really wind up purchasing because of your marketing skills–> Affiliate Marketer.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]
Smart affiliate program managers understand the value of free.  Instead of telling you to promote their salespage, many offer a valuable freebie that provides real value to prospect.  All you have to do is mention this freebie and provide a place to get it.  After that, the site owner will follow-up with a prospect and sell them on the benefit of purchasing a product.
Digital marketing is defined by the use of numerous digital tactics and channels to connect with customers where they spend much of their time: online. From the website itself to a business's online branding assets -- digital advertising, email marketing, online brochures, and beyond -- there's a spectrum of tactics that fall under the umbrella of "digital marketing."

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.

In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 


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.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[25] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
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.
“For example,” he added, “what happens with refunds, or if two different affiliates send the same customer? Who gets paid? All of these things need to be discussed before engaging. We produced a ‘deck,’ or a PowerPoint presentation, that we could send to a potential affiliate, that outlines all these parameters. This way, we can easily say it was communicated, and it lowers the risk of them getting upset.”
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.
This truly intuitive dashboard doesn’t just tell you about open rates, click rates and other basics. GetResponse has created a customizable experience where you decide what you need to see. You can compare the effectiveness of one email against another, watch a map that shows your subscribers receiving and opening your emails in real-time or check for weak points in your autoresponders.

That being said, LinkConnector’s platform looks and feels outdated and is rather clumsily designed. Their dashboard also makes it difficult to find “hot” products or compare conversion rates, leaving affiliates somewhat in the dark about which products to choose. Ironically, despite their low-quality website, they offer some of the best customer service in the affiliate space.


“Work with them to get them custom affiliate assets (custom landing page, custom email swipe copy, etc) if they are big affiliates, because they drive the vast majority of your revenue. Give them all of their assets well in advance of the mailing, so they have time to load and test. When you deliver the assets, give them their login information for your affiliate portal again, but also hand delivers their links and needed materials, so they don’t have to dig around for them in your portal. Make sure to test the link before delivery,” Spears said.
You can iron out the details of how you will go about your PPC ads for the merchant once you’re granted permission to run paid ads on their behalf. Ask about advertising guidelines (some companies are strict when it comes to advertising and their brand), prohibited keywords, and expectations from each other. Talk to the merchant’s marketing team so you can maximize resources instead of replicating each other’s efforts.
At the end of the day, I have two things to say. First, neither option is better overall than the other. It all comes down to how much effort you put into it, what connections you make, what you’re willing to invest, and the fickle vagaries of luck. Second, absolutely nothing says you’re limited to just one or the other. You can always build a dropshipping storefront and augment that income with affiliate marketing. No one can stop you but your competition and your own lack of ambition.
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.
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