Today this question about affiliate programs landed in my inbox:
“Darren, could you answer a question for me? I notice that a couple of weeks ago you promoted Leo’s Zen to Done ebook with an affiliate link. I was surprised that you did this because the commission from it is just a few dollars – loose change really. Wouldn’t you be better off promoting high value products? Do you really need the few dollars that a sale brings? Doesn’t it all get too bitsy?”
Photo by Aytena
This is a good question and one that I’ve seen a number of bloggers arguing over the years when given the opportunity to go with income streams with small dollar values associated with them.
I could probably write a long answer to the question – however I think the best answer is to say that there’s a lot of businesses going around that make a lot of money out of lots of small payments (micro payments).
Micro payments add up over time.
Let me illustrate with some real analysis of part of my online income from the day after I promoted Zen to Done. Here’s some of the income that I earned that day from a few of the affiliate programs that I run:
- Affiliate Program with Zen to Done – $94.05 from 25 sales (Leo increased the commission to affiliates from $2.85 to $4.75 during the day).
- Amazon Affiliate Program – $97.65 from 35 sales (ranging from 10 cent commissions to $15.00 ones)
- Digital Photography Secrets Affiliate Program – $48 from 2 sales
- Pro Photo Secrets Affiliate Program – $27.93 from 4 sales
- Real Blog Videos Affiliate Program – $9.65 from 1 sale
- AdSense Referrals – $10.50 from 3 sales
So the total income from these affiliate programs for that day was $287.78 from 65 sales. That’s just $4.43 per sale.
$4.43 per sale doesn’t sound a lot to be earning – but when you have 65 of them in a day it makes a nice supplementary income for a blogger. I say supplementary because I also run advertising and other larger affiliate programs on my blogs (see below).
Of course to get the 65 sales you need a good volume of traffic and you need to find quality affiliate products that relate to your blog’s topic (read more on how to make money from affiliate programs on a blog) – it’s not just a matter of sticking an affiliate program on your blog with 17 readers and expecting the sales to roll in.
PS: I should point out that I only included in this list some of the smaller affiliate programs that I promote. Not all affiliate programs have small payouts. I work with a few affiliate partners with products that pay out more than the ones in the list above also (for example promoting AdSense through their referrals program can bring in $250 for a full conversion). Why wouldn’t I just promote these? It’s simple, these tend to be fewer in numbers in terms of conversions – but together with a higher number of small affiliate conversions they can add up to a nice income.