Shopify is a very popular site building platform for people interested in building eCommerce stores. It has been around for the past few years and seen significant growth in its user base over this time. You can earn a staggering 200% per sale for every new customer you refer to them, which means that there is up to $2400 per new customer on offer.
Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
I struggle with the concept of being paid for what we can control. As a sales person, there were a number of years when I missed my quota, and missed major commission payments, not becasue I didn’t “get the order,” but because the company couldn’t ship, there was a product problem or something else outside my control. As a sales person, you swallow real hard, do everything you can to work around those issues and still achieve your goal. Sometimes you can’t, just because “it’s out of your control.” I remember one year, when I managed a very large sales force, most of my people missed numbers and major commission/incentive payments just because of a major issue the company faced with the manufacturability of some product lines. In the past year I’ve had many of the sales people in some of my clients in the electronic components business face the same thing. The people didn’t make their numbers, they didn’t get paid, they didn’t achieve their goals–and it wasn’t their fault. From a performance management point of view, we didn’t fire a single person because they didn’t make their numbers. But they missed out on $10’s of thousands of commissions.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
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.