Affiliate Marketing vs Print On Demand: Is One Better?

affiliate marketing vs print on demand

Are you wondering the difference between affiliate marketing vs print on demand and which one you should do?

The main difference between affiliate marketing and print on demand is that affiliate marketing is selling other people’s products and all you do is send traffic.  Print on demand is where you sell your own custom-designed products that are sold on-demand.

I’ll be sharing some more now on:

  • Key differences between affiliate marketing and print on demand
  • Pros and cons of affiliate marketing and print on demand
  • Best affiliate marketing programs to join
  • Best print on demand websites to get started
  • Which one should you do?

Now it’s time to jump on in and get started.

Affiliate Marketing vs Print On Demand: What’s the difference?

Let’s first define more clearly what each type of business is.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of recommending and selling products you do not own and receiving a percentage commission of the sale in return. 

The main task that is required is driving traffic to the affiliate offers you are promoting and mastering conversion rate optimization.

The great part about affiliate marketing and one of its advantages is that all you need to focus on is driving traffic.  For a lot people though, driving traffic to promote affiliate offers can seem like a daunting task that’s difficult to master.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult to drive traffic.

One of the big things that you need to do to successfully drive traffic is focus on one platform to promote and create content one.  The more you focus on one thing, the less you’ll be distracted and spread yourself thin.

A few ways to drive traffic to affiliate offers are:

  • Facebook Groups
  • Youtube channel
  • TikTok
  • Instagram
  • Blogging with SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Answering questions on Quora
  • Paid advertising
    • Google Ads
    • Facebook Ads
    • Pinterest Ads
    • Instagram Ads
    • Native Ads
    • Twitter Ads
    • LinkedIn Ads
    • Youtube Ads
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit

Once you’ve picked a traffic source, it’s best to choose one affiliate program to focus on promoting when starting out.

Take a look at my list of the best affiliate programs if you’re interested.

What Is Print On Demand?

Print on demand is a business model that involves selling a product (typically a t-shirt) and submitting the order at the time of purchase to manufacture the product on demand.

The main difference between print on demand and affiliate marketing is that with print on demand you’re selling your own product.  The product you’re selling in this case isn’t manufactured by your own company, so the logistical side of things doesn’t have to be handled for storage and inventory.

The cool part about print on demand is that you’ll be able to create physical products with your company logo on them or a catchy phrase that your audience might be interested in.

By selling physical products, you can create more trust around your brand especially if you mainly sell digital products that aren’t tangible.

Pros And Cons Of Affiliate Marketing And Print On Demand

Let’s take a look now at the pros and cons of affiliate marketing and also the pros and cons of print on demand as a business model.

Affiliate Marketing Pros & Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing as a business model.


  • No customer service
  • No product storage
  • No shipping logistics necessary
  • No inventory issues with products
  • Can recommend and sell both digital and physical products
  • You only need to drive traffic
  • Get started simply by getting an affiliate link in a matter of minutes


  • You’re promoting another company
  • Affiliate commissions can be cut at any time (you don’t own the cart)
  • Difficult to manage multiple affiliate programs for bookkeeping
  • Smaller profits since you’re not the product owner

Print On Demand Pros & Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of print on demand as a business model.


  • Sell your own digital products with your company logo and design
  • Sell your own physical products with your own company logo and design
  • Sell physical products without having to manage inventory
  • No storage logistics necessary


  • Shipping issues can arise
  • Customer service required
  • More time consuming to get started than affiliate marketing
  • More upfront capital required than affiliate marketing

Best Affiliate Programs To Join

I have an entire list of the best affiliate programs you can check out, but I wanted to also provide a few of the main affiliate programs that I recommend here as well.

Here are some of the high ticket and monthly recurring revenue

1. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is an email marketing software that I actually use to run my own online business.  You can check out my full ActiveCampaign review if you’re interested.

Commission Payout: 20-30% commissions depending upon number of referred affiliates

2. Legendary Marketer

Legendary Marketer is a training program to help you launch your online business in 15 days with the 15-day online business builder challenge.

You can read my Legendary Marketer review here if you’re interested.

In order to become an affiliate, you need to get through the challenge and then submit your affiliate application to be approved.

Commission Payout: You can earn up to 60% commissions and commissions on $9500 products. 

3. ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels is a sales funnel software that costs $97 per month or $297 per month.

The great part about being an affiliate is that you can qualify for up to 40% commissions on all of the products that ClickFunnels offers.

Commission Payout: 20%-40% commissions

4. Bluehost

Bluehost is a web hosting software that pays its affiliates well.  I recommend Bluehost to anyone starting a new website or blog.

You can read my full Bluehost review here.

Commission Payout: Up to $100 per sale

5. Project 24

Project 24 is a blogging course that teaches you everything you need to know about building out niche websites to generate organic traffic using SEO.

Commission Payout: 30% commissions

Best Print On Demand Websites To Get Started

Now, let’s take a look at some of the best print on demand websites that I found to get started.

1. Printful

Items you can customize with your design and sell using Printful:

  • t-shirts
  • sweatpants
  • leggings
  • joggers
  • tote bags
  • backpacks
  • mugs
  • phone cases
  • bean bag chairs
  • posters
  • prints
  • And more!

2. Teespring

Items you can customize with your design and sell using Teespring:

  • t-shirts
  • mugs
  • tons of accessories
  • tote bags
  • home decor
  • socks

3. CustomCat

Items you can customize with your design and sell using CustomCat:

  • t-shirts
  • tank tops
  • hats
  • mugs
  • flip flops
  • And more!

4. Printify

Items you can customize with your design and sell using Printify:

  • t-shirts
  • mugs
  • phone cases
  • hoodies
  • accessories
  • And more!

5. TeePublic

Items you can customize with your design and sell using TeePublic:

  • t-shirts
  • mugs 
  • wall art
  • notebooks
  • stickers
  • tote bags
  • tapestries
  • magnets

Affiliate Marketing vs Print On Demand: Which One Should You Do?

If I’m being honest, when it comes to affiliate marketing vs print on demand both options are business models that you can be successful with a relatively low-cost investment upfront.

I recommend getting started with affiliate marketing if you’re looking to get started with zero investment or a very minimal investment upfront.  Additionally, if you’ve got an existing audience through social media or another channel, then affiliate marketing is a must-do in order to recommend products and start getting paid that same day you join affiliate programs.

I recommend getting started print on demand if you’re looking to sell your own products, specifically physical products.  It’s still a really small investment to get started since the order fulfillment is on-demand for physical products and storage and inventory issues with products are non-existent.

So, I want to hear from you now in the comments below.  Which business model are you thinking about doing?

Affiliate Disclaimer

I hope you enjoyed this post.  This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if you make a purchase.

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