Cooking up the right Affiliate Marketing mix?

What kind of offers does an affiliate program need to have in its mix – meaning what kinds of offers do you need to be promoting – for you to be successful?

We all want to be making big commissions off our affiliate sales, which means there’s likely going to be a high-ticket offer in the mix somewhere. But is that all you need to promote? And will sending paid traffic straight to high ticket offers succeed? 

It’s not that it would be impossible to make money sending people straight to a high ticket offer. You’ve got an outside chance if you’re really good at organic traffic. But nearly impossible, and very easy to waste a lot of money if you’re focused on paid traffic. 

Why do I say this? Well In my last post, I talked about how to identify a bad affiliate marketing program, which I learned from my own experience of trying to promote a high-ticket affiliate program. In this post, I’m going to share what I learned. 

I’m not saying every bad affiliate marketing program is purposely designed to screw the affiliates. Or that no one could make one of those succeed. I’m saying some affiliate programs are not designed in such a way that most people can be successful with it (even) if they put in the work and stick to it. In some programs, most people will fail even if they do the right things

And one reason for this is that the things they are promoting, and the funnels they’re directing people to do not make the right kind of offer first, and/or they don’t have the right mix of offers. As a result, it’s much more difficult to get sales – which maybe a really experienced skilled marketer could make work, but a newbie or even just the average marketer won’t. 

I know I can’t make that work.

And especially if you’re trying to run paid ads – if you’re sending people to the wrong type of offer you will not be able to adequately test your ads unless you spend a boatload of money. 

Whatever you’re selling you have to get your cost per sale (CPS) below or equal to your average sale price (ASP). If you do that, then you can run a million dollars in ads without losing any money. You may not make any money, but you can reach millions of people, and it won’t cost you a thing. 

Then how do you make money? 

You make more offers to those people who have already bought something from you (they already know, like, and trust you at least a little bit). And this is where you really make your money. 

This means that you’re mainly just looking to cover your ad cost with the sales you get from those paid ads directed at cold traffic. If you can do this, you are a really good marketer. (I have yet to accomplish this). If you can do this you can scale up your ads infinitely, because they pay for themselves. 

Then you make those bigger offers to the warm traffic – like I said, people who already know you – so they are more likely to make a larger purchase because there is a relationship and some trust built. You’re not just a rando on Facebook asking for $5,000.

And because they are already your customers you can reach them through email, or text, or even phone calls – and though that’s not completely free, it’s way way cheaper than paid advertising. It’s from these offers, that you make the real money – and you get repeat purchases, which again means you make more money. 

So what kind of offers do you need to make (or the affiliate program you are promoting needs to make)

  • Base offer / Acquisition offer 

This is an offer that can made 24/7 through paid advertising, so it’s scalable. The order and delivery process should be automated. 

It’s low/no risk for the buyer. But it’s also compelling. Something that makes them say, why wouldn’t I buy it.

It’s an offer they can’t refuse

This offer allows you to spend Net Zero to acquire a new client.

  • Upsells / Cross-sells

These are the add-ons anyone who has ever said yes to an acquisition offer has seen once they are in the funnel. These are offers to upgrade and add on to the initial purchase.

These kinds of offers exist in the brick-and-mortar world as well – for example you buy a burger; do you want the combo meal (upsell); how about a desert (cross-sell).

Again these are not high-ticket items. They are just add-ons that make sense in relation to the acquisition offer. These help to raise the average sale price. 

  • Main offer (doesn’t have to be high ticket just yet)

Like the name implies, this is the main thing the company you’re promoting does. This is the core of their business, the main thing they’d want all their customers to buy. 

So if you’re an affiliate promoting a company’s products this is the thing you want most of the people who said yes to your acquisition offer to buy. But this is not the offer you spend money on Facebook ads to send cold traffic to.

This is the thing you spend your time in your email follow-up educating people about. Your organic traffic can focus more on these kinds of offers. 

The best type of these offers leads to automatic reoccurring sales – e.g. monthly subscriptions. So they may not pay as much upfront but can be way more profitable over time.

If the affiliate program you’re promoting wants you to send people straight to their main offer, they are setting you up for failure.

  • Premium offer 

This is a high ticket offer. Most of your customers will not buy this; which means if most of your customers are buying it, it’s not a premium offer. You can do better, offer even more, and ask for more money, and some people (not most) will say yes. 

And if most people who know, like, and trust you won’t even buy these types of products, that should tell you something about who these offers should be made to – people who know, like, and trust you (not cold traffic). And how often you should expect people to buy these sorts of products – not much.

You could even have a Luxury Offer that’s even more exclusive and offers the highest level of access/mentorship/service. Like we’ll come out every week and make sure the premium scotch in the custom bar that’s built into the back of your Range Rover is topped off for 50K a year. 

Heck, it’s good to have something like this to offer even if only 1 or 2 people will say yes to it, because if they do …

I was going to talk more about why this is also important for testing your ads, and how to test your ads – how do you know they are working, which ones are working best, and how do you know when to turn an ad off so you don’t waste money on an ineffective ad – but I’ll save that for next weeks post. 

To conclude

Depending on what you’re promoting, and how exactly you’re promoting it, you could mix a number of different products from different companies to get the right kind of product mix for yourself.

There could be affiliate programs that only have high-ticket, low-converting offers that are still really good, but you need to know that these are not what you’re going to direct your cold traffic to. And they will not be your main offer.

To include myself in this, because I haven’t made it yet, if we are going to succeed as affiliate marketers …

We need to learn how to get traffic to acquisition offers in an affordable way. Then we need to learn how to capture their information in a way we can follow up with them. But don’t just make random offers – nurture the relationship to build trust and educate, so our audience is prepared to hear about new offers that make sense.

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11 responses to “Cooking up the right Affiliate Marketing mix?”

  1. This makes a lot of sense, Nathan. The first offers we send people could have such compelling value that it’s unthinkable to say no. From there, we can nurture the relationship with them as our customers so we can make some higher-ticket sales.

    This is an excellent summary of that principle.

  2. When it comes to affiliate marketing programs, having a mix of different offers is key to success. It’s not just about promoting high-ticket offers, but also ensuring that your funnel and offers are structured in a way that resonates with your audience. Building trust with your audience and making additional offers to those who have already purchased from you can significantly boost your revenue. Thanks for sharing these valuable insights on affiliate marketing strategies!

  3. Like the the picture motif. It breaks the blog up into bite sized chunks. Appreciate you describing differnt sorts of offers. You make it fun.

  4. Great information and so much truth in it. Wow, thanks for sharing and let’s scale our business together.
    Press on my friend.


  5. I appreciate your guidance here. I can’t say I understood it quite that way, before! I must look over Dean’s range of offerings. Maybe add something from another mentor I respect.

  6. Hi Nathan,

    I am not yet there so glad to see what I need to consider when I am ready.

    I understand the equation of cost per sale (CPS) and average sale price (ASP) is the first step.

    But the real learning curve is as you say building a relationship and educating so that you will know what the right offer is.

    I like this post and look forward to more tips.

  7. very ‘understandable’ lay out of the steps and better yet, it makes total sense. I like the visual too! Looking forward to the next installment!

  8. Hey Nathan! Great stuff. I totally agree with all that you said.And building up the relationship with your customers is key.Keep up the good work and well layed out blog and pics also.


  9. Nathan, great post, laying out the sequence of events of selling affiliate programs. I’ve not seen many people lay out like this, probably because they don’t want others to know. However, I appreciate your openness and honesty on how the system works and will be using this as reference going forward. Thank you so much, Atif

  10. Nathan, I can appreciate how you described different affiliate marketing programs. I never thought of it in the way you described, meaning that not all programs are set up for you to succeed. Whether or not they are good-intentioned people, I never put much thought into the fact that some companies don’t have their products designed in a way that will help the affiliate marketer. Thank you for writing this in a way that makes perfect sense, and will allow me to view all programs through this lens in the future. THANK YOU!

  11. Nathan,

    Thanks for this break down of how best to approach affiliate marketing offers. This is one of the pitfalls of affiliate marketing. Not promoting the right products and not knowing how to properly upsell in a funnel. In the post you provide clarity on these and a few other pitfalls.

    This information if very helpful and valuable to know.

    Keep moving forward.

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