When I started as an affiliate manager in 2005, two-tier bonuses were all the rage. I saw them as a great tool but the ongoing percentage started to add up and eat into merchant profits. At some point merchants just turned off the bonus and it faded away. But with the emergence of bloggers and their tendency to follow in each other’s footsteps, I’ve been testing two-tier bonuses again but with flat fee payouts. We have seen great new signups as a result.
Last week, I went through all of our ShareASale programs and added simple, two-tier payouts. For every referral application approved, the referring affiliate gets a $5 bonus. This little tweak is expected to bump applications by 50% in some programs during the next two months.
The important thing for affiliates to remember is that they need to promote the second tier promotion with a special link. Look for the HTML for a public text link called “Join Link for $5 Bonus”. The text of the link says “Please Join the <merchant name> 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 and the bonus payout is completed when I approve the application.