Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
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 is absolutely vital to provide them with real-time reporting. Obviously, this reporting needs to be 100% accurate with integrity. Some affiliates will be running 100+ different sources to your offer, and by offering them real-time reporting, they can quickly determine which sources are working and which are not. You save yourself money as well as your affiliates. This also helps scale quickly if you have a good performing offer,” he said.
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.
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.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
When you partner with an influencer with a large following, make sure there’s a clear CTA. The influencer will get engagement in the form of likes and comments, but you need their followers to click through to your page. Instead of asking an influencer to show your product and mention it by name, give them a promo code to share with their followers. The benefit of a special promo code is getting followers to act and the ability to track conversions based on it. For example, you can see how many people used the code to buy something during the campaign.
With affiliate marketing, you have no control over the product you are promoting. You cannot control the look, description, pricing, or the after-sale service of the product. This does not suit everyone. This can limit what you can do as an affiliate marketer from an advertising point of view. You may not be able to mention certain features due to your terms and conditions. If you do not personally receive the product you may rely on photos. These may be outdated or of low-quality, making it hard to promote the product effectively.
As a marketer, you have to always engage and interact with your audience. Relationships are important in affiliate marketing, especially if you work as an individual. People trust those they like, and if you faithfully answer questions about the merchant or product, they will most likely move further into the sales funnel, increasing your conversions.
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.
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.
Paid advertising — this method requires an effective combination of ad copy, graphics, and a highly-clickable link. 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.