As an affiliate marketer, there's a real attraction to promoting high ticket products so you can earn big commissions. As the saying goes, it's easier to sell one $1000 product than it is to sell 1000 $1 products. This is definitely true in my experience, but that doesn't mean you should ignore everything else.
For one, in the arena of high ticket affiliate programs there are a lot of scams. Those are typically the ones that cost buyers tens of thousands of dollars and pay affiliates multiple thousand dollars commissions.
Even if you're talking about just promoting expensive products, it's easy to see how so many beginner affiliate marketers get roped into writing low quality product reviews of things like private jet services and gold investment advice. The mentality is pretty much, “I'll just do this crap until I get some funding and then I'll do something more serious”.
However, the truth is that you can make really good money online promoting everyday products. The work involved and the results don't make a very attractive Facebook ad, but it works, and it it pays the mortgage. In fact, in many ways, it's more reliable to set up a funnel that pays you $100 reliably every day than to rely on a couple of random sales from suckers unknowingly clicking your affiliate links.
What's even cooler IMO, is the fact that over time you can really stack tiny little micro commissions and have them add up over time.
Counting Pennies in 2020
Around the beginning of 2020, I found an affiliate program that was a good fit for content which already existed on one of my blogs. It was a two-tier affiliate program, meaning I would be getting paid to find sellers, not to sell products.
I'd then make a commission based on what the sellers were selling (this was not an MLM since I did not receive any commissions based on my referral's interaction with the two-tier program, and their incentive was to sell product, not recruit more sellers).
Commissions were tiny. In fact, they were as small as you can get, clocking in at a single penny at times, and ranging to just under/over a dollar at most.
After I put my affiliate links in a few strategic locations, and my referrals started making sales, a couple commissions started rolling through each day. Because the commissions were so low, I never really paid attention to how many sales actually came though, from what links, when, where, how etc. I didn't really think much about it and just moved on.
Then, in December 2020 I decided I was going to asses what exactly went down with this affiliate program over the year and see how much money I actually made. To my surprise, the total commissions earned over the year was over $2,000 USD!
But $2k/year Isn't A Full Time Affiliate Income!
Two thousand dollars a year isn't exactly a full time income. In fact, $2k/month isn't really something you can do much with these days, at least in the USA.
The dollar amount isn't the focal point here.
There are three important lessons to learn here.
- Two-tier affiliate programs are very cool
- There may be untapped income within your existing traffic you don't know about
- Don't ignore small streams of income
Lesson #3 is the most important.
This may just be $2,000 per year right now. Ignored this stream of income for most of the year, and it was just kind of a “let's try and see what happens” type of deal. Now, I'm going to pay more attention to it.
- How can I optimize existing traffic to get better conversions
- How can I send more relevant traffic to these affiliate links
- What other similar affiliate programs are out there
These questions above can lead me to more content ideas, more traffic, and more money. That $2000 per year could be $3k or $4k by the end of 2021.
Plus, if I find some similar affiliate programs, I might be able to build another $1k/year funnel. Then a $5k/year funnel, and so on. Pretty soon, these funnels start stacking, and multiple streams of automatic income start providing other benefits to the business, like a solid backstop in case something goes South with one of my larger affilaite relationships.
Turning That $0.01 Into $6k
Maybe more interestingly, the valuation of the site changes. A site will typically sell for 3x yearly income, so every $1k/year I add to the income will get me another $3k if I sell the site. So although the $2178 above might not look like much, that's an additional $6534 tacked onto the valuation of the blog.
Should You Get Excited For Tiny Commissions?
When you look at a number like $6534, that looks pretty attractive. Man, who couldn't use an extra $6k, and it basically took nothing to earn it.
However, I still don't recommend you chase pennies. If I actually tried to sell products through my blog and only earned $0.01 or even $0.99, business would be tough. It's why so many people quit promoting Amazon. Working for pennies just plain sucks.
The reason this project was so successful and inspiring is because I didn't have to try that hard. It was traffic which already existed. I didn't do anything to the funnel the whole year. I just set it up and looked at it after 12 months and had $2k in the bank.
It's not a way to run a successful business though. Stuff like this not worth large amounts of your energy.
Finding easy opportunities like this is worth a little bit of your energy though. Just a little. As your blog traff grows, keep an eye out for opportunities like this. A penny here and a dollar there can get you closer to your income goals.