Some will skyrocket into six-figure success and others, like me, will develop skills that can be applied to other models. Being an Amazon affiliate can be a great way to start your ecommerce career, but you may find that you’ll eventually need to transition to a more profitable and sustainable model to help you succeed as an ecommerce entrepreneur.
Sign up for a reputable affiliate network: Aside from Amazon, there are dozens of large reputable affiliate networks, such as Share-A-Sale, Clickbank, and Skimlinks, that specialize in connecting you with merchants who are looking for affiliates to sell their products. They charge relatively low commission fees for the privilege of connecting you with merchants, and the merchants on these sites tend to offer much higher commission percentages or set dollar amount payouts.
It has universal appeal. Unlike some types of marketing that work better for certain segments than others, affiliate marketing is really something that anyone can use on their WordPress site or e-commerce store. With millions of products available and categories covering a wide spectrum, you’re bound to find more than enough products worth promoting.
But don't make the mistake of thinking this will be a passive source of income—you're on call whenever you have a guest and you'll always need to keep the place clean for incoming visitors. On top of just renting on Airbnb, consider offering your guests paid add-ons, like Lauren Gheysens', Royal Day Out in London, England—where she gives visitors a local's only tour of the city, complete with bespoke 18th century costumes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Most of the software and apps you use on a regular basis are made by massive companies or established development studios. Well, yes. But many successful apps, particularly those in the Apple and Google stores, are created and marketed by individuals and small businesses. In fact, independent developers made $20 billion in the App Store in 2016 alone.
It’s sometimes hard to comprehend just how much people love t-shirts. And with the right niche, marketing, and tools, you can create an online t-shirt business that makes you extra money online while you sleep. (Even Bloomberg and Forbes feature stories from entrepreneurs who've done just that.) Services like TeeSpring make it easier than ever to create a t-shirt drop-shipping business where they handle the sales, printing, and shipping, and you’re only responsible for design and marketing. Or you can even buy into well-established franchise businesses like Rhea Lana that sell fashionable, affordable kids clothing and get the backing of a proven organization to fuel your online sales. For more tips, check out this simple guide to launching and marketing an online clothing store by my friends over at Selz.
It’s a great way to make passive income. Of course, when I say “passive”, this doesn’t account for the time needed to spend building or maintaining your WordPress site. However, in terms of having to promote these affiliate links, you can put in as much or as little work as you want to drive traffic to them. This obviously makes this a great option for a passive income stream if you’re not in the business of e-commerce.
Provide excellent customer service. Answer any questions buyers post as quickly as possible. Be professional and courteous. Positive communication builds your reputation with buyers and gets you return business. Also, package your product well and ship it out quickly. Allowing an item to become damaged or taking too long to ship can negatively affect your reputation among buyers. Wrap all items, especially fragile ones, in appropriate packaging. Commit to shipping items as soon as you receive payment.
Write pitches. If you have located a client for whom you want to write, send pitches, which are topic ideas for articles. Write pitches that not only show your expertise, but also demonstrate your enthusiasm for the topic. First, read the publication to which you are sending pitches to familiarize yourself with what they publish. If applicable, identify a specific section and send our pitch to the appropriate editor. Also, include a brief summary of who you are.
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.
LinkConnector has struggled to stand out from the pack but nonetheless has managed to sign some exclusive deals with big name brands, including Writer’s Digest, the Disney Store, Ironman, Hats.com, and Everly. Their strictly controlled screening process for both merchants/advertisers and affiliates/publishers means that you can always rely on the quality of products on offer.