What’s the biggest problem you face as an affiliate?
Is it finding products that bring you affiliate sales? Maybe you struggle with writing email copy. But at one point or another, most affiliates will say the major hurdle they face is creating a steady stream of affiliate commissions.
Are you riding the roller coaster month after month and watching your unpredictable affiliate sales peak and plummet? If so, you’ll want to pay close attention to discover how to balance that fluctuation.
The Problem With Affiliate Commissions
The majority of affiliate sales happen only if you promote. That means, you’re constantly working (unless you use a trick I mastered… I’ll show you that in a minute). If you don’t send emails or create social posts, you don’t earn money.
This is primarily what causes the feast-or-famine phenomenon. Most online business owners have other things to do besides promote affiliate products. When they stop, in order to pay attention to other things, the affiliate sales stop.
Don’t get me wrong. This is a great way to bring in affiliate income. But there are two others that you’ll want to add (if you haven’t already) to balance out the workflow.
Here are the four types of affiliate sales I suggest you strive for (in order of importance).
In fourth place is what I refer to as “earned” affiliate commissions. These are the type I described above. You promote, you earn. You don’t promote, no affiliate income for you.
It’s not so much about the products or services, it’s about the type of payment the affiliate manager set up. When it’s a one-off sale such as:
- An ebook,
- Training course,
- A pair of gloves
- Anything else someone would only need to buy once (or once in a long while)
…then you make one sale and get paid one time.
If you want to make more sales,
you have to find new people to promote to.
OR… you can use my trick. You can repurpose your most successful campaigns from the past. Use the data from tracking your affiliate campaigns to determine which are the best. These are the ones you’ll repurpose in the future.
I rerun mine as-is with one exception — I check to make sure everything is still accurate. So, for an email campaign, I will:
- Read through all the emails,
- Check the coupon code and page link,
- Then copy, paste, and profit (again)!
You can do the same with blog posts, podcasts, videos, and lots of other media.
In this way, I turn earned affiliate commissions into semi-passive affiliate income.
If earned income is so time-consuming, why bother? Because there are lots of earned income opportunities that can make good money for you. I spent about one hour creating a campaign for a digital training product which earned me over $1,000 in commissions plus an additional $100 for winning that affiliate contest. Well worth my time.
And that’s not the only instance where this happened. It’s a regular occurrence.
But I don’t advise that all your affiliate revenue be from earned income. You’ll be wise to balance things out with cookied commissions, passive income, and recurring affiliate sales.
When a lead gets cookied to you (or tagged, depending on the system), that means that for X number of days (typically anywhere from 30 to 365 to lifetime), any purchases that are made by that person result in you earning a commission.
If you send a lead to this company (let’s pretend they sell calendars) and that lead buys a podcasting calendar, you earn a commission. That lead is now cookied/tagged to you. So, even if you don’t promote anymore and next week that same lead buys a marketing calendar, you’d still earn a commission!
Every time the company mails about a new product, you stand to get affiliate sales from all the cookied/tagged leads you’ve sent their way, even if you don’t promote. That can add up!
While cookied affiliate income isn’t guaranteed (after all, the lead could make one purchase and never buy again), it is still something that can result in more sales than the general one-off earned affiliate commission.
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Unlike the repurposing example I gave above, truly passive affiliate sales don’t require makeovers and reuse. They typically work through the use of freebies that upsell through funnels or other methods.
At some point, you drive traffic (aka, people) to a page that offers to trade them something (ebook, guide, video, checklist, cheat sheet, etc.) for their email address. Then, after their freebie is delivered, you stay in contact with that new subscriber through email.
It’s important to provide valuable information in the follow-up emails, but also to make several offers for them to purchase your product / course, which relates closely to the freebie they originally downloaded.
Once that happens, you’ve made an affiliate commission!
This is considered passive income because,
once you’ve set up the process,
it runs passively in the background on its own,
continually bringing in sales.
Other types of passive income include:
- Selling printables or print-on-demand (POD) products on Etsy
- Book royalties (including Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program (KDP)
- Writing reviews, comparisons, and other blog posts (or videos) about products / services.
- Setting up affiliate websites to promote a product / service.
- Selling ads on your website/blog.
- And hundreds of others.
All of these are awesome. But there’s still one type of affiliate commission which tops them all!
The gold standard of affiliate commissions is recurring revenue.
This is because you only have to
make the sale once and
from then on you get
paid every month with no further effort.
Frequently, these types of affiliate sales come from:
- Membership programs (monthly food boxes, email marketing services, work-for-hire sites such as Fiver, etc.)
- Software sites
- Website hosting
- Website maintenance services
- Advertising services
- Interest income from bank accounts, CDs, or other investments
- And many more.
Have you noticed something about the types of revenue on the list above? They require a monthly commitment from the customer. That makes these a somewhat harder sell than those $27 ebooks you see all over the place, but having the automatic income is far superior to:
- Having to research and find products that are a good match with your audience
- Create affiliate campaigns
- Write emails and/or create other promotions all the time
You sell it once and get paid month after month.
Recurring affiliate income does not only mean you (as the affiliate) get repeat commissions. It also means the customer gets repeat billing. This can lead to people who get tired of seeing those charges month after month and cancelling.
Still, the additional effort you put into it will be rewarded brilliantly each time you see an unexpected affiliate commission notice pop up in your email!
I have two recurring affiliate commissions right now that pay me $1,000 per month on average, several that pay me around $100 to $150 per month and even more that pay $50 or less per month. It’s comforting to know that this affiliate income is available steadily throughout the year.
By balancing these 4 types of affiliate income, you’ll see more stability in your monthly affiliate sales. I suggest that you work toward having:
- 10% Earned Affiliate Commissions
- 20% Cookied Affiliate Income
- 30% Passive Affiliate Sales
- 40% Recurring Affiliate Income
That way, your foundation is low-maintenance recurring commissions and passive revenue that support you steadily while you work in some cookied and earned affiliate sales.
Now, it’s time to head off into your profitable future while you earn more and work less!
Have questions about making steady affiliate commissions? Talk to me below!
Recommended Learning & Tools
Affiliate Success Strategies Workshop — Watch and learn as Cindy Bidar and I walk you through affiliate strategies that are proven to drive sales. This video-based training covers sharing affiliate offers, incorporating affiliate offers into your blog, email strategies, repurposing, making automatic commissions, and much more! Save 35% when you use code ASW35.