Can You Believe it can be as Easy to Earn $1.45 or $400+?

Last Update: June 16, 2019

This month, I had an experience that triggered an "aha" moment for me. It was something I knew, but something I obviously needed to be refreshed about.

I had 6 sales from one affiliate program that amounted to $8.74--that means I earned approximately $1.45 per sale. While many people here would say I should celebrate about that, I felt I could do much more.

I know how much time and effort I'd invested in those articles to earn the $8.74 and I know by way of my choices, I paid myself less than minimum wage. I learned from it though and I want to share my learning lesson with you. Hopefully, my learning lesson can expedite your growth and earn you some good money!

The Requirements and Costs of Using SEO

Using SEO, it takes 1500-2000 words of content to rank for many keywords nowadays, then, it takes 6 months on average for the article to rank. Now, my articles I wrote 6 months or more ago are ranking, and I'm getting the chance to learn from the results I'm reaping.

I wish I had done the math on how much expected revenue would come out of each article 6 months down the line (if it were to rank) based on the affiliate promotions I'd included. If I had done the math, I'd know that each transaction could average $1.74 to $4. It's funny, I always tell my referrals (or others who are new) to find a good niche with good products to promote and give them clear guidelines to follow, but I didn't think it all out for myself.

Our Responsibility in Business

In affiliate marketing and sales, we have the option to choose what products and services we promote. We choose what commissions we get.

Our time is valuable. We don't know how many more posts we'll be able to hash out or how many campaigns we'll be able to do, and regardless of our physical, mental, or emotional capabilities, it's each and every choice that determines how much of our potential we truly harness.

My Mistake

I chose to be in an affiliate program that paid me 40% yet the commission changed, and is now 12%. Even with the 40% commission, the average sale from my site is too low to achieve my financial goals without alot of traffic and sales volume. However, since I didn't really think it out, I took my time to create articles around something that wasn't really a good opportunity to make good money.

Learning lesson #1: Choose affiliate programs that are stable and have a track record of taking care of their affiliates.You don't want to bother with companies that will pay you 40%, then within 16 months (my affiliate journey so far), they will drop the commission more than half. It can really mess up your income projections.

My "Aha" Moment

Alternatively, I took less time to write an article and promote a product that sold from my website for $997. That product earned me a commission of $398.98.

The contrast of the two experiences: one higher price and lower sales volume, and the other lower price and higher sales volume triggered the "aha" moment. I need to be much more careful with each post and each promotion to be strategic.

Business is about helping people and to stay in business, you have to make a profit. I can put myself out of business by making decisions like spending too much time on campaigns that pay pennies.

You can too.

The Business Tragedy

I've heard of alot of people who get into business and go back to jobs because of simple mistakes like this one, so let this post serve as your warning. They may do this several times without noticing they need to pivot and choose a niche or affiliate programs that pay them better.

The Optimal Situation

I don't want that to be you. I want you to make this business work. Let's win together.

Choose good affiliate programs and products to promote based on:

  • The stability and reputation of the company
  • The relevance to your target audience
  • The quality
  • And, the math and how it plays into your overall business plan

Even worse, the higher ticket product was easier to sell, and I think the buyer might even be happier with the outcome. There are good opportunities out there to earn from high ticket affiliate programs without sacrificing quality. You and I have to take out time and spot out good opportunities for us.

What the Success Stories Seem to Have in Common

Watch most of the great success stories. Many of the success stories of people who are earning tens of thousand of dollars selling products or services aren't because they're promoting products and services that are $50 or less and selling in high volume to new customers.

Even with companies like McDonald's, their success isn't based on high volumes of new customer acquisition. They're not making their money off of one burger on the dollar menu! In essence, they earn "high ticket commissions" from each customer because their retention and lifetime customer value is so high. Starbucks is the same way!

Lifetime Customer Value Craziness

According to Business Insider, Starbucks has a lifetime customer value of $14,099! That means when they get a customer for the first time, they're not looking at that customer as a $4 drink purchase, they're looking at the customer as $14,099 over the life of the customer relationship. We need to think this way as well.

How can we get repeat business? How can we get the same customers to stay with us for the long haul?

We can go on spinning our wheels over and over, if we're not thinking about how to keep customers when they come to us. I would hope my $1.74 customer will come back and purchase based on my recommendations again, and doesn't leave me feeling like, "why did I spend all that time on an article with low pay potential?". Regardless, in the future, I'd prefer to be on the safer side and choose my promotions a little smarter upfront. I'd recommend, we find either:

  • Recurring affiliate programs with high lifetime customer value (like WA)
  • Or, one-time sales with high commissions

It's Okay to Avoid Worrying about CashFlow Sometimes, But...

It's okay to sprinkle brand awareness and low ticket offers here and there. I'm not suggesting at all to skimp on quality or customer satisfaction--that should be a given.

However, if we want to build a full-time income, we need to be careful to do the math, be realistic, and choose products and services to promote (even if they're our own) that will help us reach our goals.

I just wanted to leave this food for thought.

Other Resources

If you haven't already, check out my case studies and trainings. I create each training module to encourage you to grow your business and motivate you with my wins and mistakes, so you can benefit.

Here is my 15 month case study: https://www.businessinsider.com/lifetime-value-of-a-starbucks-customer-2016-1

16 Month case study: https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/my-16th-month-case-...

The Beginning of my 6-part Business Planning Series: https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/intro-to-the-minimu...

My Questions for You

That's all I have for this post, but I'd love to hear...

  • Are you selling low ticket products?
  • What's your strategy for achieving your financial goals?
  • Have you considered finding higher ticket products to promote (whether making your own or working with an affiliate partner)?
  • What's your reservations about promoting higher ticket products with good commission terms?

Leave your comments, questions, and concerns below.

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derekmarshal Premium
This article reminded me of an older article you wrote on site. It was then I became a fan of your site. It was about customer life cycle value, written about a year ago..a lot of light bulbs went off for me. Made it my goto for biz info!

Need to dig out that article and read it again!.

You are a very smart business savvy lady, Tiffany, A pleasure having you here!.
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TDomena Premium
Wow! What an honor! I appreciate you bringing that previous article up, and I'm glad you shared the impact it had for you. You've just motivated me.
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cld111 Premium
Well, I mostly do review posts, so there's a combination of low-ticket and high-ticket offers. But you are definitely making me realize that I need to think about this strategically and maybe throw in more high-ticket offers.

Of course we talked about the program that you made that sale from. I'm going to be promoting that one as well.

I would like to find more that are actually worth the price (as that one is), and I'm excited to see what people post on your survey thread.

I do like the idea of getting to a full-time income before getting to 25k sessions. Now if Google would stop ignoring my site...this update they did is not being good to me!

- Christina
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TDomena Premium
You're well on your way. It's a numbers game after you pick good programs. It's best to have ones that are consistent and predictable.
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Mholmes160 Premium
Hi Tiffany! Great post.
It does make perfect sense to market a product with history and longevity with commissions. My only problem with me being kind of new is picking the right product.
My mind goes crazy trying to determine, and see which way to go. I like the article and will definitely try to weigh my options before wasting time on the wrong product.
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TDomena Premium
It sounds like you got the point of the post totally. Take your time. Choose the right one.
I'll be doing a training soon on picking products. Be on the watch out.
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Mholmes160 Premium
Awesome!
I'm looking forward to viewing it.

Thanks for all your help. Great job

Ricia
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TDomena Premium
Awesome. I look forward to hearing your feedback when it's published.
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SondraM Premium
Great post Tiffany. Ultimately, you said it all when you said, "Business is about helping people and to stay in business, you have to make a profit."

To make an adequate profit, we have to consider the optimal product mix - which is what will attract people to our websites; the profit for each sale and how many sales we can realistically make.

Some low cost items, might be worth while to attract a customer to our website. Others may not. If someone is strictly promoting products on Amazon, it is a waste of time trying to get them to come back once they have made a purchase - since Amazon doesn't want it's affiliate marketer's websites to be used as a storefront.
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TDomena Premium
I think the mix is key and I'm also a big fan of building a distinct brand so people have loyalty to your business.
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DwainL1 Premium
Ye man and thanks I thought that if you promote to low ticket product when you do get its ye!! but I could do better a sale is a sale so 40p or £400 pound is the same time and effort also our traffic is not massive so to 40p products to make £400 pound needs a lot of sales What you are saying I agree 100% thanks for the inspiration.
Nice one
Dwain
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TDomena Premium
Virtual high five Dwain! We see eye to eye.
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Karin13 Premium
This is a great article. It really got me thinking. Most of my promotion is for low ticket items that earn me around $1 for a sale... That's ridiculous. I didn't join WA to make $1. So I will be re-evaluating my affiliate choices. I think my niches are good, I just need to look at what I am promoting and who I'm promoting it through! Thanks for this excellent advice!!

Best wishes,
Karin 😁
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TDomena Premium
You didn't join here to make $1. I look around and see that it's taking people around 2 years of more to get to 25,000 sessions, and that's when people are getting excited to join MediaVine. If you can do the math and see how much more you can earn (while balancing quality) with less than 25,000 sessions, you'd be onto something exciting. Pick affiliates that can get you a full-time income based on affiliate promotions with less than 25,000 sessions, and that can become a major factor in becoming full-time in 2 years or less (of course if your conversions are good and so on).
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JesusGirl144 Premium
May I ask what your niche is? I’m a newbie and I’m still trying to decide! Thank you!
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TDomena Premium
Check out my profile and you can visit my website. You can also go to my "training" tab or click the links in this article and see my case study (including traffic and income growth) on my site. Best wishes. Glad you stopped by.
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NatNiches Premium
Hi Tiffany -- This is awesome thanks, will check out your links there. I think an issue can arise when your niche is attracting those who perhaps need to save money, or don't have much to invest, or when you review a lot of low-ticket items, (as I do!). My strategy for selling low ticket items, was to get a high volume of traffic, but that can be difficult to achieve. My reservations about promoting high ticket items, would be that they aren't worth the money/not good enough and if it was a course or product, I would want to view it myself first. There have been some higher priced courses I've taken, for example; that I felt were not worth the cost and therefore did not promote them in the end. However, I think if I asked to have access to certain products for the purposes of review, that would be the way to go and I have considered this recently.
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TDomena Premium
I agree there are quite a few high ticket products that aren't worth it. I've passed up quite a few "opportunities" to promote a high ticket product because I didn't feel comfortable as well.

In your case, I'd optimize more for WA because your site is very relevant. Try to get the entire value ladder: month to month- 3-month, 6-month, and one year, then Jaaxy Pro and Enterprise working. WA is a great program, and once you've went thru the value ladder, you can see that it's a great program all the way thru.

On top of that, Kyle and Carson are very consistent and take great care of affiliates. I think that would be a great option for you.

In addition to what you could promote here, you could also consider creating your own products as well. You've been in the industry for awhile, so I'm sure you know what type of value is expected in exchange for $50, $100, and $1000. Start planning your own product value ladder when you feel confident enough and that can add an additional stream of revenue.
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NatNiches Premium
Hi Tiffany,

thank you , I appreciate your thoughts. I have been thinking of creating my own products in future, definitely, I think that would be something I would really enjoy actually.

Thank you! :)
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TDomena Premium
You're welcome. I think you should!
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bonzo124 Premium
I promote both high ticket and low ticket products. It's easy for me because I write reviews. I just put an affiliate link for every legit product.

I prefer the high ticket products because of the commissions but it depends on the content as well.

It's easy to promote a high ticket product from a review but not so easy with other types of keywords.

For example, if you want to recommend a product with your affiliate links below a how-to guide, many times will be more profitable to promote a program at a lower price.

There is no formula that works for everyone here. I just test different programs to find the most profitable with my traffic.
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TDomena Premium
Thanks for sharing your advice. In my instance, I've also earned high ticket commissions from reviews. You've gotten great results from that from what I've seen. Keep it up!
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Mubs1 Premium
I was selling a 45% commission and have done pretty well with it. About $17,000 in total but since April (2019) it has flat lined.

The mistake I made was getting complacent and started taking things easy. Didn't invest back into the business as I should have nor did I diversify.

Putting all my eggs in one basket has put me in trouble and my cash flow is going to be negative for the first time since November 2018.

(DO NOT DO WHAT I DID!)

Right now I'm promoting Amazon products heavily and although the commissions are peanuts, I can see it making me atleast $1000/month.

I've also got my WA website to diversify my income and have youtube which is keeping me Sane :)
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Mubs1 Premium
I should also mention that I was smart enough to keep most of my income from the niche site saved up.

Now I am heavily investing in content (will be $1-2k for the next couple of months. I will also be doing manual link building.

I'm actually thinking about putting my WA site on the back burner for a bit.
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olieben Premium
Hey Mubs1
you have a youtube normal site membership or a program?
i had it that its a headache and new rules make it harder to meet targets?
also about Amazon i agree its a lot of work for peanuts so far
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Mubs1 Premium
I just signed up to youtube normal. All I do is create videos and upload them. Most of the income is ad revenue with some affiliate sales.

I think you have to meet a certain number of subscribers before you can activate ads on your videos.

I average $300/month.

I haven't had any issues so far.
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TDomena Premium
That's great advice Mubs! I think I'll hit my first $1000 month purely from affiliate sales in July. My plan is to put a large portion into advertising, and continue doing that going forward. Have you gotten into ads before?
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TDomena Premium
Thanks for being so transparent Mubs! It's good to have real people here.
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Mubs1 Premium
I tried it before with some success but didn't carry it on. I'm looking at bing to test the waters and learn how to optimise before heading over to Facebook and Google Adwords.
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SaraPoyner Premium
I was thinking the same thing this morning, trying to do the maths of what commissions I would need to get from Amazon and I had to get an astonishing amount even just to replace one day of income.

The majority of what I am reviewing are very low ticket items, on amazon. whereas on one of my other affiliate programs I would get 25% per item ordered. Yet I have been putting all of my time and energy into amazon.

We do need to get real and mindful about how much time and energy we are putting in to earn pennies when we could be earning pounds

Great post thank you.
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TDomena Premium
I agree. Especially considering that Amazon keeps being flippant and changing the commissions. It can really be detrimental. They have high conversion, but I think it's possible to find better alternatives in many cases.
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MatissDzelve Premium
Wow, eye-opening stuff.
Thank you, I sincerely appreciate it.

As for myself, I am mainly selling low ticket items and saying that it's not going terrible would be an overstatement.

For sure, it's not possible like that to achieve any meaningful financial goals or even keep yourself afloat so you can sustainably do affiliate marketing full time.
As somewhat stupid as it sounds, you absolutely must market high ticket products first. After that, you can do some charity with the low ticket ones if that's something you truly enjoy.

I mean, sure, I feel you can definitely make the low commission niches work but it will take a ridiculous amount of time (I'd say 5+ years) as you do need high traffic numbers for that to work.

Ultimately, I absolutely have to agree – it is as easy to earn $1.45 as it is to $400+.

Other than that, while I was reading the post, a quote by arguably one of the greatest people of our time popped into my head. And it went something like this:
"You don't want to be in the selling business. You always want to be in the re-ordering business." – John P. DeJoria

Hope that rings some bells.

Cheers, and have a Great One!
Carpe minutam,
Matiss
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TDomena Premium
That's a great quote. From watching case studies at WA, I'm seeing people try to reach the 25,000 sessions mark for years. Many people have it as a milestone since it's MediaVine's requirement.

As a result, I think we should probably do the math to find affiliate products that can generate a full-time income prior to 25,000 sessions, which means we need to sell in lower volume and higher ticket. We have to get a higher dollar value for the traffic we bring, and the only way too do that is either to get high upfront commissions or high levels of people who return.
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JessiePalay1 Premium
I’ve actually learned this myself from Amazon associates vs other high ticket products. If you really thing about it, to make $1000 a month from Amazon at a 4% average rate, you need to refer $25,000 worth of products. I realize with affiliate programs that pay 50%, you only need to sell $2000 worth of product.
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TDomena Premium
You're right. Great point! That's a lot of sales for the commission amount. Thanks.
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nathaniell Premium
I really liked your section "The Requirements and Costs of Using SEO". I always felt a bit of guilt, choosing affiliate programs with high commissions, recurring payments, or other benefits.

I never thought of it as prioritizing our time, or valuing our time like you said. It makes sense though.

After all, we're kind of like freelance advertisers, and we have a choice of who to work with. If you're a photographer, are you going to take all the low paying jobs? Nope! You're going to seek out high paying clients.

Of course, competition comes into play, and some folks will choose to work in high competition areas (high paying affiliate programs), and some will choose to work in lower competition areas. As you get better, you tend to graduate to higher paying areas, and the "best" as what they do get paid the most.

Really eye opening for me Tiffany.
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TDomena Premium
Wow! I'm impressed. I know you've had more than one profitable site. How did you map out the income potential or project your income growth? From your experience, have low commission and high volume sales been able to make a large bulk of your income?
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nathaniell Premium
I mean, I did go for high commission and recurring stuff, but I had never considered that the reason was that I value my time. I just wanted to make money, but it makes sense that the best affiliate marketers will be able to compete for the most competitive commissions.

I have a mix of high and low priced stuff I promote, but do focus on the stuff that brings in the most money.
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TDomena Premium
I see. I read your post on High Ticket Affiliate Programs. I sent quite a few people to read it yesterday from here:
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skmorrow Premium
I just had my first sale this weekend on a $2,500 item and the commission is 7%, so that is $175. I wrote the article probably over 1 year ago and it's been bouncing around on page 1 and 2. I know what you mean about taking 6 months to rank, that has mostly been the case for me. I have had a few posts rank sooner, but yes I say it's about 6 months to gain traction.
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TDomena Premium
Wow, Congratulations! Your example is exactly what I mean. I think it's best to do the math before writing the post and choose products knowing the quality, knowing the customers can be satisfied, and understanding the income potential.

More sales of a product like the $2500 product can add up, but for people who are writing on products that are $50 or less with a 7% commission, it'll take them much more work and sales volume to achieve their goals (especially if they're looking for a full-time income).
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Cav1966 Premium
I just started doing this myself,as far as looking for and recommending in most cases better higher ticketed items.
WA though in the high ticket realm but commission is high. LM high ticket with a lot of good value commission medium but popular program
You are right we need to think more on the bottom line and in recurring if we are to sustain.
It takes the same amount of effort to sell high and it does to sell low one off products.
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TDomena Premium
It's great to hear you've been considering this as well. Regarding your WA vs. LM, I tried liking LM, but I can't promote them at this time. It doesn't pass my quality radar as of now. They do have high commissions. Many people are promoting Clickfunnels and others for the same reasons as well.

I need to know that it's the best option for a group of people before I can promote it in confidence. Reputation is worth more than a commission, so I'm unwilling to promote something at the risk of my reputation.

When you can preserve a good reputation and promote a product that pays well (either by way of lifetime customer value or upfront commission), that's the best scenario.
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Cav1966 Premium
Cant argue there :)
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Selenityjade Premium
Good post!

On the flip side, I have seen newbies promoting sketchy clickbank products with high commissions and outrageous prices, focusing only on the money. So it's kind of a balancing act.

Unfortunately for me, my current niche has to use Amazon Associates with a notoriously low commission rate, though the products I'm promoting gives me a couple dollars, yet Amazon links convert so easily because of the stability and reputation of the company.

But you gave me something to think about when I switch my niche soon.
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TDomena Premium
Even if it converts well, alot of times, you need lots of traffic, and that traffic may not return to go thru your links multiple times, so your lifetime customer value would be low. Be careful is what I'm saying.
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TDomena Premium
I definitely don't condone promoting low-quality products regardless of commissions. People are wrong for that.
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Selenityjade Premium
Oh, definitely don't think you're condoning that. You've definitely given me something to consider though. :)
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FKelso Premium
Good post. I have thought about the low-ticket vs. high-ticket question many times. Many of my items are low ticket, as I sell a lot of books and stuff needed by my readers, so have tried to add in some higher-ticket things. Not easy with my niche. I am hoping that my WA website will pick up the slack.
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TDomena Premium
Have you analyzed other successful sites in your niche for ideas?
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FKelso Premium
No, I have not, and need to do so. Thanks for the suggestion.
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TDomena Premium
Your're welcome. You should find good ideas about possible promotions you could do that way.
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AlanJE Premium
Yes, Tiffany, you need to be selective about what you do with your time, otherwise you can spend a lot of time for little reward, Alan
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TDomena Premium
I agree Alan!
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Lito-Jhie Premium
Fantastic post Tiffany! Thanks for sharing your aha moment, it's sure is a mind opener.

I realized way back that promoting cheap products with very low commission (mine is 4%) will definitely make me go out of business.
However, I plan on sticking to it until I finish the whole OEC training and try my luck on the black friday sale. I don't want to just leave the hard work i've done on my 1st site, just because it's taking me forever to earn from it, considering the fact that i'm learning the basics through it.

Once I'm confident enough to create another website, i'll definitely shoot for either a recurring sale or a high ticketed sale. It always makes me wonder to every time i read a post here at WA that 1 sale earns then $1000-$3000!

The question now is HOW to spot for those high ticketed products with high commission?
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TDomena Premium
I would chart out the customer journey (where they are and the path to take them where you're taking them), the pain points and solutions they might use. Then do some research about those, find out who has affiliate programs, and find out who has good terms in your niche.

Most niches have the option of either promoting high ticket products, recurring affiliate programs, creating your own products, or building a tribe that's connected enough that you have people who come back over and over to buy from you. This route takes more attention to branding and reputation building. Then, if they're coming back, you can inflate your lifetime customer value, and it can work out.

The lifetime customer value is the biggest key, but it's hard to predict in the early stages of the business unless you model something that's already proven. I'm working on branding, but I prefer to focus my monetization efforts on products that the math just works at this point. Predicting income and cashflow based on branding isn't that reliable in my opinion.

WA gives us their retention info and some affiliate managers will give you that information or insight about the performance of their program, what's giving success to other affiliates, and ideas to help you get good results.

Sometimes, you may have to think a little out of the box. You might even have to create your own products just to secure your profit margins and lifetime customer value.

Hopefully this helps.
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Vickic3 Premium
Hi Tiffany
I think sometimes we get too into thinking we have to refer cheaper products because people might not buy and you have proved that people will buy and will spend money.
I love this post as I also need to look carefully at who I am affiliating with as I feel I need to lift my level too
Thank you so much
This is going to help me heaps
You rock my friend
Vicki
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TDomena Premium
I'm glad it was helpful for you Vicki! We need to list our level, so let's do it.
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Linda103 Premium
Excellent advice and recommendations. I shall look carefully at items I choose to promote. Thank you.
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TDomena Premium
You're welcome. Best wishes in your business.
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olieben Premium
I LIKE THIS POST AND I SEE YOU HAVE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK AND KNOW YOUR NICHE', LOTS OF RESEARCH AND INFO IS ON OFFER FROM THIS TOO,

Though it seems hard going as my head is still spinning from then the course on WA apologies for that but for me i am not selling physical products or services,
i am selling my experience's in traveling in Asia and how it can affect your choices, fears, and language barriers, a blog or article based helping hand i guess, tips and tricks
now at i hope to gain from this effort and financial payout on WA is longevity and as you mentioned with Starbucks and MacDonald serious followers and retention.
i originally my site niche' was to be an online Chinese to foreigners Chinese classroom, rethinking has offered me alternative options on that.

thanks for the fantastic clarity on how processes worked though

chris
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TDomena Premium
It sounds like you may have an alternative monetization plan? I'm referring to a business that makes its primary income thru product sales and affiliate commissions. It sounds like it could be affiliate potential in your plan, but you'd have to do your research and the math.

Be careful to do it up front is basically what I'm saying. Don't shoot blind and HOPE it all works out. Do the math and know pretty confidently that it will meet your financial goals.
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olieben Premium
hey
Thats Correct it is a little different, and as stated it is not a product related direction, more the affiliate route
yes CBA is being considered and assessed as we speak

so time will produce the outcome to that soon
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rubanzema Premium
Thanks for sharing.
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TDomena Premium
You're welcome!
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nudge1969 Premium
That's interesting Tiffany
I'm curious. As you're in the MMO niche, is the high ticket product you got a sale for, a digital course, or a physical product such as a laptop? Just trying to get a handle on the diversity of sales in this niche.
Thanks
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TDomena Premium
I wouldn't consider myself in the MMO niche. I talk about making money offline and entrepreneurship as a whole. The people I consider "in my niche" aren't in the MMO niche.

To help you get a handle on the diversity of sales, I've made money on physical products, services, and digital products. It's all about identifying a need for your target audience and pairing a solution. That can be a physical product, digital product, or service. If you're in the MMO niche all of those options are available to you as well.

I don't think how I made the commission (between digital or physical products) is the biggest factor in this equation--the opportunity exists in both and many members here demonstrate that. You can really miss the point if you focus too much on metrics like that because the specifics of what I (or anyone else) did may not work for you. However, this instance was from a digital course.
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