The Benefits of Residual Affiliate Programs

by | Jul 28, 2008 | Marketing & Selling

So far, I’ve only talked about affiliate marketing as it relates to the one-time commission variety. But, did you know that there are affiliate programs that give you a monthly residual commission?

Residual affiliate programs usually pay only a small percentage of sales commission for every sale directed by the affiliate to the merchant’s site. This commission often comes only in the range of 10% to 20%. Because of this, many people ignore residual affiliate programs, favoring the high-paying one-time commission affiliate programs.

But, sometimes it’s nice to have a monthly check coming in, don’t you think? Sure, residual affiliate programs pay at a lower rate, but they pay you regular and ongoing commissions for a single affiliate-initiated sale! That means, for the same effort you might put into a one-time commission program, you get a regular and ongoing commission for a residual program!

Let me paint a picture, here: Suppose there are two online merchants both offering web hosting services on their sites. The first merchant offers a one-time commission type of affiliate program that pays $80 for every single affiliate-initiated sale. The second merchant also offers an affiliate program, but this one offers a residual commission of only $10 for every single affiliate-initiated sale.

As an affiliate, you might be attracted at once to what the first merchant is. But think of this over time:

Let’s say you make one sale per year from merchant #1. What is your commission for the year? $80.

Let’s say you make one sale per year from merchant #2. What is your commission for the year? $1,200.

Same effort, but a $1,120 difference!

Of course, the commission from merchant #2 depends on the customer you sent them staying with them for a year, but you get the picture.

So, when developing your affiliate marketing program mix, you might consider including one or two residual programs, despite the lower commission level.


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