The term Two Tier Affiliate Programs refers to Affiliate programs that pay commissions on two tiers or levels: the usual commission on your own sales plus a small percentage on every sale made by any new affiliate you refer to the company via your unique affiliate links.
The vast majority of affiliate programs at present choose to ignore the fact that many of their new sign-ups discover the program through the links of existing affiliates.
Personally I think that’s unfair. The original referring member is the primary generator of any additional sales made by the new affiliate, albeit indirectly (without the first affiliate, the second would probably not exist).
The sales volume of most merchants running affiliate programs today would be far less without all the sales generated by affiliates who signed up after following a (purchasing) link from another affiliate.
Even companies like Amazon.com, for whom it could be argued that low product prices and margins prohibits two tier commissions, could at least offer a one off “head hunter” payment.
In fact, Amazon.com are on a very good number – for Amazon! They pay a single level, one time commission of just a few percent to the referring affiliate, in return for which they get a lifetime customer that will, in all probability, buy from them many, many times again!
They may make hundreds, even thousands of dollars from a customer they paid you $2 for…
What a con!
Considering the number of purchases initiated by affiliates for which they will never receive a single cent because of the fallibility and unavoidable inaccuracies of current linking methods, I feel that two tier commissions also offer a way to help redress the balance.
Nevertheless you should join any single tier affiliate programs that you feel can provide a good income and are compatible with your site. You may often find that you don’t really have any choice anyway. You can put up banners, links and add text as well for better results. However, whenever possible I would recommend that you put them in second place when it comes to selecting which programs to really “push” using email marketing, etc.
Prioritize and save your real marketing energies for programs that acknowledge your contribution to their growth by paying you in cold, hard cash!
It’s common sense really…
Why put all your effort into an affiliate program which will only pay you if your prospect buys, when you can put it into one in which there still a possibility of earning something should a person not make a purchase, but thanks to your link, joins the program instead?
To help you with deciding which program to choose, I created an online course that will give you a huge list of affiliate programs you can join today. I included also many 2 tier affiliate programs in the list (and also some 3 tier ones!). Almost all my favorite programs are two tier programs and hopefully the numbers of such programs will increase as merchants start to compete for affiliates. Compete for affiliates? Yes, sooner that you think, vendors will be bending over backwards to try and get you to join their program!
The simple reason?
Just about everyone and his mum seems to be starting an affiliate program!
Be warned however, if you make the mistake of joining 2 tier affiliate programs with the intention of simply signing up others to sell for you, neither you nor anyone else will do very well in the long run.
You should view the 2nd tier commissions as they were intended – a valuable addition to your main source of income.