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.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy. 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. In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.
If I have a blog that is getting 100,000 page views a month that means that I’m probably getting at least 50,000 people to the site (most blogs will do between 1.2 to 1.4 pages per session). That means I have to try and get some small percentage of those people to buy something from me if I really want to do well. If I can’t get them to buy something then (in some cases) I have ads running on the site that will make me money anyways.
There are numerous printing companies that will print your designs onto not just T-shirts, but also hoodies, hats, posters, cushions, bags, and phone cases, to name a few items. These businesses also offer fulfillment services. This means that you promote the merchandise on your own site and once you sell a product the printing company will not only print your design but also send the item directly to the buyer. So all you have to do is concentrate on the marketing and selling of your products, and the fulfillment company will take care of the rest.
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.
Promote products that are stepping stones to products you will create in the future. This is a bit more advanced, but is a great way to think ahead. Amy Porterfield suggests thinking about the first thing your followers will need in order to get started with what you provide. For example, I teach people how to blog, so the first thing they need to start a blog is hosting. That’s why I am an affiliate for hosting.
Blogging is something that requires patience, persistence and discipline. It may mean writing everyday for over a year before you really start to see any money from it. There are exceptions to the rule, but from my dealings with other bloggers, it seems to be pretty common to spend one or even two years building your blog, your brand and your authority, before making any serious amount of money.
Focus on the surveys and offers at the top of the list. Here's a tip not many people know. CashCrate has a special algorithm that automatically selects the best surveys and offers and places them at the top of the list. There are several factors that go into determining which are the “best”, including payout, approval rate, and a variety of other factors. But all you need to know is that these surveys and offers are great, so you can do them in confidence!
Learn then selling guidelines. Each marketplace has guidelines that define what you can and cannot sell. State and federal laws also impact what items are prohibited. In general, you cannot sell alcohol, weapons, service contracts, animals or event tickets. Also, while not always prohibited, you may find restrictions on how you can sell items in some categories, such as art, gift cards and coupons. eBay, Craigslist and Amazon publish these guidelines on their websites.
Creating a video series and selling it as a digital download on your blog, much like an eBook, can be another great seller. A video course, teaching viewers a specific skill or how to achieve a particular activity, may well resonate with your audience. If you are going to go down this route then your videos need to be as professional as possible so you should consider investing in some video and lighting equipment, as well as editing software.