Two-tier affiliate programs reward you for signing up sub-affiliates. As well as earning commissions on your sales, you earn commissions on their sales.
You probably won't take this advice – most people don't – but I'm going to tell you anyway…
Lots of affiliates try to make money from two-tier affiliate programs simply by signing up other affiliates and hoping those affiliates will make money for them.
Why does that usually fail?
Because those affiliates will copy your silly technique – and sign up lots more people, who sign up more people. If they copy your technique, no one earns any money.
Here's more tough news, learned the hard way…
In the early days of affiliate marketing, before 2000, I used to be really enthusiastic about two-tier affiliate programs.
However, I've learned that you can put in a lot of effort persuading people to join programs and then find that the vast majority of them don't achieve sales for you.
They either do nothing or they're quickly distracted by the latest new gimmick or new program and abandon the one you recommended.
One important exception
Here's one important exception. If you're in a key position and have access to brilliant marketers who have large opt-in lists, then you CAN make good money by introducing them to new two-tier affiliate programs. However, be aware that most newsletter publishers get swamped with invitations to join new programs. They don't want to receive dozens of invitations to the same program.
Also, in recent years, a number of affiliate merchants have dumped the second tier of their affiliate programs. You can sign up thousands of affiliates, hoping to earn commissions from their sales, and suddenly find that your nice second-tier revenue stream has vanished overnight. In these cases, some merchants are ethical enough to continue paying existing affiliates the residual commissions they promised, while paying single-tier commissions to all new affiliates.
However, in my experience, most merchants do NOT do the right thing, and they get away with it, protected by affiliate agreements which say, in effect, “We reserve the right to do whatever we like whenever we like.” Nearly all affiliate agreements are like that.
The surest way of earning a good living from affiliate programs is to do the work yourself. Promote the the product, not the program.
Treat any second tier commissions as a nice bonus.
That's what I do.
If you're looking for good two-tier affiliate programs to join, the three most important factors are:
- An excellent product or service.
- A generous commission.
- A site with a high conversion rate.
If you're really lucky, you'll also earn lifetime commissions – your customers are yours for life. You don't just earn a commission on one sale, you earn a commission on every subsequent purchase by that customer.
Lifetime commissions from SiteSell
The best example by far of such a two-tier program is Ken Evoy's SiteSell, whose products include Make Your Site SELL!, Make Your Knowledge SELL! [UPDATE: Both now free.] and the superb Site Build It!
I earn four-figure monthly commissions from this program.
I've promoted these products heavily because I feel far more comfortable with Ken Evoy and his superb products than I have with anyone else I've been involved with on the Net.
Apart from the outstanding value for money, the features which impress me are the future earning power due to lifetime commissions on future products, two-tier commission structure, limited number of affiliates, and the fair contract, which has non-terminatable/non-modifiable features.
Note: The residual income part of the SiteSell affiliate program is conditional. It's a unique program, definitely unlike any other on the Internet, designed to reward affiliates who continue to attract new customers. Be sure to read the terms and conditions.
The Insider Secrets to Marketing your Business on the Internet
MarketingTips' home-study course is a proven moneymaker that spent a long time at the top of my Top 10 list. This #1 best-selling course sells for $197 – and you get a generous $65 commission for every sale you refer – plus another $20 commission for every sale that your sub-affiliates refer.
The “Insider Secrets” course is a breeze to promote because the company gives you real meat to work with. It consists of 2 binders and 2 resource CDs that collectively contain 1,000+ pages of the exact information you need to start, promote, and grow a highly successful, extremely profitable Internet business.
In fact, you may not know this, but in the early years of my online business this is who I learned most of my success secrets from. It was the best Internet Marketing course I could find. As the Internet changes, it's regularly updated.
And that's why I highly recommend it – both as a tool for learning how to increase your affiliate sales – and as an affiliate product you can promote to earn sizable commission checks!