The Ethical & Unethical Faces of High Ticket Affiliate Marketing.
There is a misconception these days, that you need to be promoting high ticket affiliate programs in order to be successful online. In this post I am going to investigate this very idea and help you understand the difference between high ticket affiliate marketing, low ticket affiliate marketing, and I am going to be bringing ethical affiliate marketing to the forefront of the conversation.
What is High Ticket Affiliate Marketing?
Like it sounds, high ticket affiliate marketing is the sale of higher end or more expensive affiliate products/services. These tend to pay higher commissions in terms of dollar value simply because the products cost more. Conventionally, these sorts of products were products that you would associate with being more expensive.
An example of this, would be selling a fridge or a TV off of Amazon. Another example could be selling a high end stereo system. These are high ticket items that can range in the $1,000's, thus their affiliate commissions will typically be much more.
Amazon typically pays around 6% commissions on all sales. Obviously they are just one affiliate program of 10,000's out there. When someone makes a purchase of a high end product like this (which could be in the tens of thousands of dollars), affiliate commissions can be several $100's, or even in cross the $1,000 mark.
Let's look at a few different products on Amazon:
True STR2RPT-2G-2G Two Section Front/Rear Glass Doors Pass-Thru Refrigerator
Price: $11,453 - Commission Potential, $670
This is a product that may seem outlandish, but many homes and restaurants are finishing with high end appliances. This is one such example of a product, and in fact $12K although seeming on the higher end in terms of fridges, they get much more expensive than this.
You will be earning $670 commissions on this one product and Amazon Prime will offer shipping on these products at an affordable price, in fact FREE shipping in most cases (which many offline stores will not offer). If you have a site in the "fridge" niche it wouldn't take too many of these types of sales to get up to $10,000+ per month in monthly affiliate commissions.
Let's look at another product. In this case it is a Rolex watch, being sold once again on Amazon.
Rolex Lady Datejust Champagne Dial 18K Pink Gold Automatic Watch
Price: $43,295 - Commission Potential, $2,945
This is definitely a product on the higher end, but believe it or not people spend this sort of money on a watch and they are doing it online at a higher and higher rate.
You don't have to sell too many watches at $3K commission per in order to have a very successful month as an affiliate. It doesn't take too many sales of a watch like this to have a successful year as an affiliate. Sell 10 of them in a year (which could quite easily be one with a "watch niche" website) and you would be looking at $29,450 in commissions per year. Sell 100, and you would be looking at $294,500. These high ticket affiliate marketing commissions quickly add up!
Do know that there are 1,000's of affiliate programs that you can leverage to promote higher ticket products and there will be higher ticket products in every industry. Just don't fall for the idea that it is easier to sell on item for $10,000 than it is to sell 100 items at $100.
That is not always the truth, and from experience I have found it very easy to sell Lower ticket products in volume (and at good value) than to sell LESS high ticket items that are not as good as value.
It comes down to what is best for the customers, because that is what will always lead you to creating and establishing yourself as a more authoritative figure online. If you jepordize your brand for the sake of potentially earning higher commissions, you are not going to be creating a lasting or sustainable business.
And that introduces the "high ticket affiliate marketing" (HTAM) phrase that is becoming more commonplace within the digital information/coaching world. There are a lot of scams within this space, that are skewing people's perception of what your role as an affilaite marketer is, and what a "customer centric" business is.
Why So Called "Gurus" Think HTAM is OK.
There is a large subset of marketers out there these days promoting high cost products. You have likely seen them, or perhaps have been taken advantage by one or more of these schemes. Digital courses, digital memberships, conferences, masterminds, and coaching programs charging in the $1,000's or even $10,000's for their services.
Is it because their product/information is worth this much? No. Then why are they charging these outlandish prices?
The are a few simple reasons. They are making money doing it (albeit temporarily typically). They are also utilizing that as their core pitch for others to sell their product for them, versus showcasing the actual VALUE of their product.
This is not actually affiliate marketing, in the sense that I have understood it for the last 17 years being full time in this space. This is the business of taking advantage of others.
By conflating the language of "high ticket" and "affiliate marketing", there are companies out there that are really starting to give affiliate marketing a bad name.
Affiliate marketing is the process of marketing products and services, and in return earning an affiliate commission. But as an affiliate, you have the duty to promote products/services that have your visitors (and potential customers) best interest at hand, not your pocket book. If your thinking is the latter, then you are going to fall in a serious trap, one that will lead to stifled success or worse yet, a run in with the FTC.
Does it mean that companies offering a product or a course for $5,000 or even $10,000 is better than one that is offered for MUCH less? Absolutely not.
What it means is that in an effort to attract affiliates, unethical companies are "overcharging" for their products or services to make the speculated commissions higher. Thus, they hope to attract more affiliates.
Not only this, the companies implementing these sorts of unscrupulous tactics will "require" (or make strong recommendations) their affiliates to implement paid marketing techniques. These include the likes of Facebook Ads, Google Adwords or SOLO ads which carry a great deal of risk.
I have worked with 1,000's of people over the years that have been taken advantage of in this exact way. There is a RIGHT way to implement a high ticket affiliate marketing campaign, and there is a wrong way. If you are promoting "info products" that cost several $1,000's you are likely involved in a program that is taking advantage of customers and this will lead to their subsequent demise.
Lately though, these products and services are simply ploys for affiliates to earn larger commissions and ultimately people end up getting taken advantage of. Often times it is not even affiliate marketing, it is an MLM scheme that people are getting involved with, usually without even knowing it. This leads me to the next point.
High Ticket Affiliate Marketing is Often Times NOT Affiliate Marketing
There're many companies out there pretending that there're affiliate marketing, when they are actually not affiliate marketing. Anything networks on the pretense of there've been multiple levels within it, is not affiliate marketing rather it is MLM (also known as multi-level marketing).
There are a few telltale signs that will help you indicate whether you're getting involved in an actual affiliate marketing company, or a potential scheme (and potentially a pyramid scheme)
- It is difficult to understand what the product actually is
- They are not upfront about all the price points
- There are more than 3 levels.
- You have to upgrade to a certain level, to promote that level
- If you have to pay to join their affiliate program
Some other characteristics of a high ticket affiliate marketing scam, may also include:
- When masterminds or conferences are involved
- Cost is in the $1,000's for information or coaching
- Buying into a program level in order to earn commissions at that level
- The owners have a track record of being involved in scams
When you see these signs, be careful getting involved in such a program. If you are joining something for the sake of high commissions and because it is being sold on "high commissions" not the actual tangible value of the products or services that you are promoting, be VERY careful.
Many such programs are actually operating illegally and every year the FTC, the SEC, the Competition Bureau and other regulatory entities worldwide are putting these sorts of schemes under a great deal of scrutiny and this can and has even meant jail time for the founding partners of these companies.
These programs are operating across a wide breadth of industries, and are certainly not limited to the "opportunity" space. You see them within the health and fitness industry, telecom industry, the vacation and travel industry, and within the local marketing / franchising space.
Don't Fall Victim to Being Scammed, or Worse Yet, Scamming Others.
If you are promoting a product or service online that is in the thousands of dollars, you need to find out if there is an appropriate trade off between money and the actual value of the product/service. Also, is there comparable and lower cost options in the industry that you could promote and put the customer in a better situation.
If you're joining and paying for a high ticket affiliate marketing product, for the purpose of being able to promote that same product or service to others, then you are potentially getting involved in something that may or may not be legal. So be careful about that as well.
These types of schemes are surely not affiliate marketing, rather they are MLM and there are bordering on the idea of potentially being a pyramid scheme (which are illegal in almost all countries).
The problem when you get involved in such programs that are "high ticket", typically for the purpose of higher commissions, you are instantly involved in a scheme that is likely going to require you to do the same thing to others.
If you are going to go the route of "high ticket affiliate marketing, make sure that you are promoting products with VALUE and that people are exchanging their money, for a true value product/service. Like a fridge. Like a watch. Like something legitimate.
There are definitely repercussions for affiliates. If you play with the "bad" players i the industry, you are just as vulnerable to investigation and in some cases criminality as those that are operating these schemes. There are constant cases by the FTC that are starting, and claw backs (from affiliate earnings) are usually the result of the receivership process. Just be careful.
I would love your feedback on your personal experiences with high ticket affiliate marketing and if you have any questions or feedback, please leave it below.