Affiliate marketing is generally built on intermediaries and middlemen. Product owners, affiliate networks, marketers, ad networks, and many more layers of interaction. A longer chain from A to Z provides more security to both ends of the deal (the owner and the marketer) as networks and agencies tend to cover the risks and provide payment on more convenient terms due to bigger operational funds. But they dont work for free, they take a share, and they are in control of all your interactions with the owner. The owners, in their turn, protect their own interests which are not always aligned with yours. Sometimes it is simply better to go completely solo and become the product owner yourself. Lets take a look at such a scenario.
When its time to go your own way
Timing is very important for such a thing as switching to your own offer. You need to assess the market conditions and your own situation, whether you have enough funds and support, enough experience, etc.
If you see that your profits have hit a ceiling and the situation does not seem to mend even when you have optimized everything you could think of in great detail its time for a change.
Things to consider beforehand
Being an affiliate marketer, you are used to multitasking, but owning an offer is a whole different level of this Jack-of-all-trades gig. When you work with your own offer, there is no one to cushion the blow when you screw up. If your server shuts down while it should receive orders like clockwork, if there is a reporting gap between your lander and your tracker, if your call center is overloaded, etc. There are many things you should be aware of before diving headfirst into this kind of enterprise.
You need to be on top of tracking, run deep analysis, and be aware of whats going on at any given moment because a minute of downtime can mean thousands of lost profits.
Practice shows, that affiliates with more personal experience in a vertical are more successful in connecting with the audience. It can be sports, utility apps, mobile games, nutra with arthritis cures, whatever. Marketing professionals advise choosing a vertical that you have a connection to instead of choosing the one that is hot at the moment.
A wise idea is owning offers that do not represent physical products but promote a service (e.g. courses, subscriptions, mobile applications). In this scenario, there are fewer risks connected to stock, storage, shipping, logistics, warranties, etc. But if you decide to work with tangible products, maybe you should work with services like Shopify or WooCommerce, at least at first, as they take care of many things that may be baffling for you as a new offer owner.
Pros and cons of cutting intermediaries
Are there any disadvantages of working with your own offer?
No more declined leads or shaving that affiliates face with affiliate networks from time to time. You wont have to negotiate better rates or frequency capping.
You will be your own man, meaning that every effort and every dollar you invest in your campaigns and your toolbox is working to your advantage. You can still employ contractors to do specific tasks, but it will be your choice.
Copywriting and driving traffic are two big assets to being a successful offer owner. And as an affiliate marketer, you already excel at both.
Instead of simply driving traffic and getting paid for it, you will have to manage a ton of things that may go beyond your actual expertise.
Owning an offer is a full-fledged business, and it will take even more of your time than just running campaigns as an affiliate marketer.
Launching your owner can become a solution when your experience and skills obviously exceed the profit you get from the affiliate networks. By cutting out the intermediaries, you gain more control over your actions and get to a new level of opportunities. But, just like with any business, you gain more responsibilities, and you need to be prepared for them. If you are adamant to undertake this venture, its a good idea to start with digital products and keep relying on contractors such as designers, developers, and copywriters. But its not an issue when you already have a trusty affiliate team, right?