Super Affiliates

How to become one to put yourself in the diver's seat

Super affiliates are the gold mines of affiliate programs. Hard to get established, but lucrative once you do. If you really want to make some good money from your online efforts, you should work hard, very hard, to get yourself into this elite group. 

I am not personally one yet, but I am concertedly working on it. I do, however, have experience working with super affiliates from the publisher's side of things and I can give you insight into what it takes to set yourself apart from the pack and bump you into this elite group.

Key One: Traffic

Super affiliates are valuable to their advertising partners because they bring in sales that would otherwise cost the advertising partners money and time to acquire. The first thing you need to do in order to become a super affiliate is to create a substantial, measurable, ongoing source of traffic that you can then whore out direct to your affiliate programs. Build a website then create great content, build community and raise your search engine results rankings to do this the traditional way. Or, you can create a 'teaser' free product that you give away to folks who sign up for your newsletter.

I've tried both, they're equally hard and equally rewarding. Frankly I'd suggest combining both approaches (put the free product teaser on that website you're building along with the newsletter sign-up form) so that you can make the maximum connections with your audience.

Not only will you need good traffic, you'll need a way to show it off to potential affiliate managers. Getting in Alexia's top 1% is a good start. That takes thousands of visitors per month, but if (when!) you can do it, becoming a super affiliate is simply a matter of leveraging your way into a great deal.

Other ways to do this include using a reliable web analytics program, such as Google Analytics, which can produce a report you can share with companies you approach for partnerships. Alternatively, Google Trends for Websites (if you're big enough). StatBrain (guesses low), Compete (very close, but U.S. only), or Google AdPlanner are good for smaller websites. Many of the services that serve smaller websites have widgets that you can embed in your site to make their tracking data more accurate.

Key Two: Build a Relationship

You can't jump into being a Super Affiliate from a start of 0. I've seen people come into a program as a super affiliate, but never anyone who didn't already have some sort of affiliate program going. The best affiliates have great relationships with the affiliate managers at their partner companies.

When you start getting some good traffic, implement some basic monetization practices by signing up for basic affiliate programs. Once you're seeing significant traffic in your niche and are ranking well in the search engines, begin building a relationship with the affiliate manager assigned to you.

The important thing to remember is that these affiliate managers frequently get paid a percentage of the total income from affiliates. SO, they want you to make more money as much as you want to make more money. It's a win-win. Ask them for suggestions on improving your conversion rates and they'll frequently bend over backwards to help you figure it out. Helping you grow will increase their bottom line. All you have to do is at this point is show them that you're willing to do what it takes to make the time they spend on you worthwhile.

Key Three: Negotiation

Almost every affiliate program has a tiered commission structure that's widely advertised. For example, if you do over $100 in sales per month for 3 months with most affiliate programs, you'll qualify to get a larger percentage of the sales that you drive. If you do over $1,000 per month, it's even better. That's for two reasons. First, it costs a company to manage their affiliate programs, but that's usually a fixed rate that's not dependent on the number of sales you do. So if you're doing $100 in sales, it costs your partner company a larger percentage of the sales you make to maintain your account than if you do $1,000 in sales per month. So they can pay you a larger percentage and still make more money.

Second, if you're bringing in $1,000 in sales per month single handedly, they would take a bigger hit to their bottom line if you left than if you were only bringing in $100. They want you to stick around, so they reward you better. Plus, remember #1? They're not only making more on you per month, they're usually also making more on you per sale.

Super affiliates have a commission structure that isn't advertised. Why? Because they are (and know that they are) the bread and butter of an affiliate program's income. A company's affiliate program can bring in upwards of 50% of their income, most of which is done by a handful of very productive sites. If you're one of these sites, you've got leverage to negotiate. Super Affiliates use this leverage to negotiate better sales percentages, better customer 'ownership', better terms, etc.

Super Affiliates make much more than $1,000 a month

Here's a very important thing to remember before you go to the table with your affiliate manager. Super Affiliates are few and far between. There the sites that make not a couple thousand a month, but a couple hundred thousand a month in sales for their partner companies.

They do this by developing high quality traffic, great search engine positioning, pre-selling visitors and positioning themselves as authorities in their niches.

Worth the Journey

Ever hear the saying "It's not the destination, it's the Journey..."? When it comes to super affiliates, joining these elite is all about the journey. This isn't something that you're going to do overnight. The journey, however, is one that will take you through building a strong, sustainable, lucrative online business.

Better to approach it with this attitude : "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll be among the stars."

Happy Trails!

Return from Super Affiliates to the Affiliate Marketing Guide.

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