Cultivating Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals

Cultivating Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals

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In 2015, I added a modest two-tier model to all of the programs we manage at Apogee. Twelve years ago, commissions based on two-tier affiliate referrals were very popular in the Cost Per Sale side of affiliate marketing. It’s still a thriving model in certain parts of the industry but it had been scaled back due to fraud and diminishing margins from merchants.

Today, the default two-tier commission is a $2 flat payout when I approve a referred application. We’ve paid out 100 bonuses this year. It could be more but I’m pretty strict on standards and relevancy with applications. I make sure each affiliate fits well with each merchant. I also want to avoid affiliates trying to game the system. Sending bad applications or affiliates they know won’t add value isn’t good for anyone.

In special situations, we have negotiated deeper percentage-based commissions. In early October, we found one trusted, high-powered networker that knew the right set of affiliates for a particular merchant. We gave her a 20% override on all transactions from affiliates she referred. With one tweet, she drove 118 clicks and 14 signups.

The important thing for affiliates to remember is that they need to promote the second tier promotion with a specific link. Look for the HTML for a public text link called “Join Link for $2 Bonus” in each of Apogee’s managed programs. The text of the link says “Please Join the Affiliate Program”. This link goes directly to the merchant’s co-branded page hosted by ShareASale. New affiliates can sign up directly from that landing page. The bonus pays out when I approve the application.

Promote Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals, Level-Up

If you feel you can add more value as an affiliate through two-tier affiliate referrals, let’s talk. I can meet with the merchant and see if we can agree to a higher flat fee or a percentage for affiliates that consistently refer new high-quality affiliates.

Cultivating Two-Tier Affiliate Referrals

About the Author

Greg Hoffman
Greg Hoffman is the CMO of Apogee, a digital advertising agency. Greg was named the Affiliate Marketing Advocate of the Year by Affiliate Summit in 2016. In 2014, Apogee, as Greg Hoffman Consulting, was the recipient of the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award for Best OPM/Agency. Greg is a photographer, vinyl record lover, a tropical fish keeper and a comic book collector. He writes with a fancy pencil to annoy his digital-minded colleagues.

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