Chances are high that you click on an affiliate marketing link multiple times each week without even knowing it. If you’ve ever browsed one of your favorite websites and they referenced other products, there’s a good chance that they have an affiliate agreement with a merchant. To help make things a bit more clear, here’s a screenshot from 9To5Toys, a blog for tech geeks like me that shows the latest deals on gadgets and electronics.
You can also establish commission tiers based on specific product categories. For example, you could pay 2 percent revenue share on electronics, and 10 percent on home decor, since the former carries a lower profit margin than the latter. A challenge of working with this dual structure is the technical integration. You will need to create a product feed for the affiliate network, and for each affiliate transaction that occurs you will have to submit item-level data to distinguish, say, electronics from home decor. Neither task is particularly challenging, but it does require some work.
Once you join a network as a merchant, you will post your offer, and affiliates can begin requesting access to join your program. You can set your preferred settings so that you review all applications, or you can choose auto-accept. In the beginning phases of your affiliate marketing campaign, I recommend reviewing all applications so that you have more control over where your brand is being promoted. If you’ve posted your offer and have not found much success using the network’s existing membership base, this is where your expertise of your industry comes into play. Going back to the IT company example: Maybe they frequently work with restaurants in the area. They could let the restaurant know about this new opportunity, and the restaurant could join the affiliate network as an affiliate. Once joined, the restaurant could simply add a link on their website and they’d be off and running! As another idea, maybe that IT company buys all of their office furniture from a local furniture store. Chances are high that the local shop also has customers who would be in need of IT services, so why not ask that local furniture store if they’d be interested in exploring another revenue stream? As long as it makes sense for both parties, there’s a conversation worth having.
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
Let’s start with the first scenario above. Suppose an affiliate is generating $100,000 in monthly revenue for a merchant, and getting $25,000 in monthly commissions. In this case, the network between the two may be taking $10,000 a month for its part in the process. In this case, the merchant may attempt to go around the network and set up a direct relationship with the affiliate–perhaps with a 30% commission.
You might think that super affiliates would not want to help each other, but this is not the case. In fact, super affiliates become super affiliates because they help each other. Jim and Sue will sell Bob’s e-book. Next month Bob and Jim will promote Sue’s software tool. The month after that Bob and Sue will peddle memberships in Jim’s online community. Go through the archives of different super affiliates’ blogs and sign-up for their email newsletters. Watch for who they sell for. Then, follow those people. Soon you will uncover the pattern of cooperation for yourself. Notice too that super affiliate clans tend to share an industry or niche. This ensures that no matter whose product or service they are selling, they will always be selling something that can interest their audience.