Affiliate marketing is the new dropshipping. Everyone is trying to carve their own space in the industry and the competition is slowly getting insane. If you don’t know already, affiliate marketing is a sort of online marketing. In it, affiliates promote products that they don’t own for a commission. For each successful sale, they get a commission and the product owner gets professional advertising that is guaranteed to work. Since he only pays for results.
Affiliate marketing is a hard industry to get into and do properly. Beginners have a difficult time with all sorts of things. Finding offers to promote is the most basic one. No matter who you are, picking the right offers can be tricky. There are a lot of things to consider, and a small mistake or oversight can cost you a lot in the long term.
Usually, affiliates join affiliate networks that can help them find great offers for their campaigns. Some affiliates prefer to work directly with a product owner. Both approaches have their pros and gains. Picking the right one for you might be tricky, but hopefully, you will be better informed after this short overview.
What You Need to Know About Affiliate Marketing Networks
Affiliate marketing networks are sorts of connections between affiliates and businesses. There are a lot of businesses that have affiliate products, and there are a lot of affiliates looking for work. Affiliate networks help connect these two groups as best as possible.
As a business, you have the opportunity to get some of the best affiliates available joining your campaigns. As an affiliate, you have the chance to join some great affiliate programs that you would miss otherwise. This way you can earn a nice commission, increase your reputation and brand, and slowly gain contacts in the industry. Without marketing networks, beginners might not even get the chance to work for some reputable sources.
- Starting out
If you are a beginner this possibility alone is incredible. If you don’t have at least a couple of successful campaigns behind your back, there is almost no chance that some business will accept you to work directly for them. And even if you did get the chance, you would probably do bad alone without experience.
- Improve your skills
Newcomers and intermediates usually don’t have the best managing skills or experience to run everything themselves. In these cases, affiliate networks can help you a lot by removing some of the complexity from the process as a whole. Slowly working and improving with networks can teach you best practices and ways to reach your goals more easily and cost-effectively.
- Managers are there to help you
This is all supported further by managers. Most affiliate marketing networks have dedicated managers that help affiliates with issues they might have. Having someone helping you with things that might confuse you or on things you are doing wrong is invaluable. This is not found in direct marketing. For you to have something like that, you would have to hire people out of pocket to do the same job. And we all know that in this industry, cost-cutting is everything!
- Getting paid
Getting great deals and good jobs. By using networks you make sure that you are doing tried offers. You don’t have to worry about them being scammed and ruining your reputation or not paying you. Your network is a kind of safety net that is always covering your back. You can also find some incredible offers that are bound to fill your pockets with lots of cash. If you do everything properly that is!
For these reasons, affiliate marketing networks should be a must for beginners, but even advanced affiliates can profit heavily off of them.
The bad sides
Of course, nothing is perfect. Even the best affiliate marketing networks have some issues that might bother you. Most of these issues aren't deal breakers and you should have much trouble ignoring them or bypassing them in one way or another. Thousands of pro affiliates use networks without issue, and so can you. But it’s important to know the disadvantages as well, so you can make a more informed decision.
- Hard to stick out
If you join an affiliate network, you will be just one of a thousand other affiliates. This huge crowd makes it hard for you to stick out and make a name for yourself on your own. Of course, if you work hard and get good results, sooner or later the word will spread. But in the meantime, you will just be one of the group.
- Being unique
Similar to the one of the group thing, uniqueness can also be something you can have trouble with. A lot of networks don’t look fondly upon trying out new and unproven things and methods. They all prefer you do what’s tried and tested, even if it might not be the best thing to do in each situation. Big networks love consistency, and if you want to fit in you will have to do the same. You will also need to check the terms and conditions so that you know what you can do and what you can't do. It’s always recommended to check this out as you can get banned for some offenses.
- More but less consistent pay
Your commissions will likely be bigger if you skip networks. If you think about it, they are the middle man. Cutting them out can leave you with a bigger piece of the pie. But on the other hand, networks offer the stability that other ways of affiliate marketing don’t offer.
- Harder to form relationships
Companies love establishing relationships with affiliates that do the best work for them. Using affiliate networks makes your connection a bit harder to form and maintain. This isn’t the rule for every network. Some are better and some are worse in this aspect.
Going The Direct Way
- More money, potentially
Connecting with businesses and doing affiliate work directly can be very lucrative. If you know what you are doing, and the business you find gives you a nice offer, you stand to gain a lot through your partnership.
- Payouts, the good
The main advantage of going direct is exactly that, the payouts. You will bypass the network cut and get all of the money you earned for yourself. This can increase your payout by up to 25% alone (not the case with every offer). This price advantage can work in a lot of ways. You can use the price difference to outbid other affiliates or scale your campaigns in ways that others just can afford.
- Payouts, the bad
Direct’s biggest advantage is also the biggest negative. The payout part can sometimes be difficult with businesses. Maybe they do payouts rarely and you have to wait, or you can even no get paid at all. This is where networks come in handy. They act as a buffer zone and take the risk on themselves. You will get paid if you do the work no matter what. Which is not something that can be said for going direct.
- Do things your way
You can use tactics that might be banned on networks. You can try new things that networks are not fans of. You can do the marketing part the way you truly want to. With nobody controlling you. Another thing that can be of incredible value is fewer things to click through for customers. Usually, they have to go through a lot of redirects and pages to complete the whole buying process. Going direct means you can cut a lot of them and do things the way you want to.
What’s Best For Me?
There is no definitive answer for every case. Depending on your skill level and what you want to achieve, joining a network or going solo can be the right choice for you. Considering the advantages and the disadvantages, for affiliates starting out or just getting the hang of things, networks are the way to go. Networks offer a lot of helpful features that these affiliates can utilize. This will make them better affiliates in the long run and help them learn everything they need to be successful even on their own.
Going solo can be more lucrative, but it’s also a lot harder. Finding the right companies to work with and the right offer to run can be a daunting task. If you are good at affiliate marketing you can make as much if not even more with a network than going solo. But of course, it all depends on your skills and how much you know about the industry.
Do you use affiliate marketing networks? What has your experience been with them so far?