How To Become a Super Affiliate in 7 Steps
Did you know that super affiliates can drive 50% to 90% of the sales of an entire affiliate marketing campaign?
Considering that many aspiring affiliate marketers struggle to make a cent, so-called “super affiliates” are clearly doing things differently.
But to give you a more down-to-earth example, affiliate earnings disclosed in blog income reports ranged from a reasonable $3,500, all the way to the super affiliate level of $80,000 per month or more.
If you’re an affiliate marketer, you probably remember how tough it was to get your first sale – at least until the puzzle pieces of your affiliate marketing strategy finally came together.
But imagine if you weren’t just making a few dollars, but had a strong brand and sales strategy that continuously made commissions, and brands came to you for your expertise.
That’s the goal with any business, right? Well that’s what super affiliates do.
What is a super affiliate?
Super affiliates are affiliate marketers that have systems in place that consistently make them high volumes of commissions.
These systems set them up as the highest performing sellers within the affiliate programs they are a part of.
Basically, super affiliates are the overachievers of the affiliate marketing industry.
We surveyed industry blogs and compiled the requirements that popped up time and again when it comes to dubbing someone a “super affiliate.”
Here’s what we found:
- Super affiliates have a predictable conversion performance
- They generate a significant percentage of overall campaign sales
- It’s not unusual for them to be driving 50-90% of sales
- They typically have large, established audiences
- Many super affiliates operate as businesses with several employees
- They develop strong relationships with the brands they work with
- They’ve developed authority in their niche
- They’re affiliate marketing experts
With these credentials to their names, top super affiliates are able to partner with the best brands in their respective industries.
Plus, super affiliate-level selling power makes you more valuable as a business partner, and with that comes some benefits.
Why become a super affiliate?
If your affiliate marketing campaigns consistently perform very well, it can open the door for brands to offer you unique rewards: gifted products to try out, higher affiliate commissions, custom rates, and the ability to negotiate your compensation.
For example, some brands gift super affiliates products – something that’s more often seen in influencer marketing.
Take a look at Bean Box’s ambassador terms as an example of brand rewards.
They offer premium coffee samples and access to limited brews when affiliates and ambassadors sign up to their program.
And these top affiliate marketers – whether they’re bloggers, media publishers, or YouTubers – are in high demand.
Businesses are working hard to find high converting super affiliates that align with their industry, and are focused on their niche, mission, and ethics.
Working with super affiliates is really a no-brainer. It saves brands time and generates more revenue in comparison to working with less established affiliate marketers.
How to become a super affiliate in 7 steps
A super affiliate is a level (or three) up from a regular affiliate.
But if you’re brand new to affiliate marketing, you’ll have to start from the bottom like anyone else.
Having said that, if you stick to targeted, real world, example-rich resources (the Affilimate blog is a good starting point), you will be more likely to fast-track your efforts, instead of piecing “how-to” articles together on your own.
Here's how to become a super affiliate:
- Build a portfolio of sites around a single topic
- Join and promote high-ticket affiliate programs
- Test your products and content
- Secure your traffic by building an email audience
- Build a team and repeatable processes
- Invest strategically in software and tools
- Swap tips with other high-performing affiliates
Step 1. Build a portfolio of websites
Our advice is to start with one, profitable website, and then expand. Lots of top super affiliates have several websites within their portfolio, all within the same general niche.
By doing this, you’ll get the chance to really understand the products that fall into your niche, and sell them more effectively as a result.
This has more benefits like:
- Making it easier to build relevant links for several sites at once
- Taking learnings from one site and applying it to others
- Owning the entire SERP for ultra profitable keywords
This exact strategy is implemented by publishing giants like Future Publishing, demonstrated in the example below:
Step 2. Join high ticket and super affiliate programs
With high ticket affiliate programs, you can earn anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars per sale, depending on the industry you’re in.
Each of these programs helps you maximize at least one of the affiliate revenue levers: High commission rates, high conversion rates, or high average order values.
Some of the top industries that host super affiliate programs include SaaS and luxury goods.
Check out our list of high ticket affiliate programs for a list of programs to consider joining.
Step 3. Test your products and content
When it comes to scaling your success with affiliate marketing, here’s what Robert Brandl, founder and CEO of Tool Tester had to share:
First of all, you need to identify which partner programs have potential.
You can produce roundup type of blog posts to talk about a variety of products or niches to see which ones are converting.
Once you've found a popular product or niche, you can double down on that and produce more content around said topic.
This should increase your success rate significantly.
For example, Tool Tester writes roundup posts on ecommerce and online marketing tools.
If Robert found that a particular product on a roundup post was converting especially well, he could double down on that product by writing a dedicated review, and increase commissions as a result.
This exact strategy is covered in our article on optimizing roundup posts here, or learn to improve performance of different types of affiliate content.
Step 4. Secure your traffic by building an email audience
Email is a great way to warm your audience up to an affiliate product.
Think about it: Do you ever buy something the first time you see it?
Probably not very often, and definitely not if it’s expensive.
The best way to introduce higher ticket affiliate products is through an email marketing funnel.
Building a relationship with your audience via weekly emails is a great way to build trust and brand recognition. Your audience starts to see you as a resource for helpful information related to their interests.
Email makes it easier to introduce the product at a relevant time, and dramatically increase your conversion rate.
Step 5. Build a team and document repeatable processes
At a certain point in any business, it's time to invest and outsource.
Because affiliate marketing can be so “bare bones” in terms of maintenance, many affiliates can get away with managing it completely on their own for the first $0 – $50,000+ in cumulative revenue.
But when you do decide to outsource, you will need to set a budget and invest in your affiliate website the same way you would with any other business.
Here’s what Adam Connell, founder of Blogging Wizard had to say about managing an affiliate business after scaling it to super affiliate level:
When you get to 500+ partnerships, [tracking commissions] becomes challenging to manage.
So, I've broken down my partnerships into two categories - the higher earning programs which will get checked monthly, and the lower earning programs that will be checked bi-monthly. This list can then be filtered and checked. It's not entirely efficient but it allows me to keep on top of payouts.
This gives you a look into how many programs some super affiliates manage, so having good people and systems in place is key.
Two main areas that super affiliates outsource are:
- Content creation – Content can include a lot of things: writing, photography, graphic design, and video all fall under the content umbrella. Since creating high-quality content is extremely time consuming, it can pay off to hire writers, designers, and videographers when you have the cash flow to do so.
- Business tasks – One of the first hires for a lot of new businesses is a virtual assistant. They can take high value, high time commitment tasks off your plate so that you can focus on the overall strategy and growth of your business.
Step 6. Invest strategically in software and affiliate tools
Eventually, it's time to level up your tools. If your competitors are using cutting edge tools that provide better data than yours, you're always going to be catching up with them.
A few types of software that super affiliates rely on area:
- Affiliate Analytics Software - Like Affilimate.
- Project Management Software – Like Asana and Trello.
- WordPress Plugins – Like AAWP or Thirsty Affiliates.
- SEO Tools – Like SEMRush and Ahrefs.
Affiliate marketing tools like these can actually help to make you money by automating processes and pointing out where your conversions are falling flat.
Step 7. Swap tips and learn from other high performing affiliates
We covered what you should outsource, now let’s touch on what you shouldn’t outsource.
Showing up in person, representing your brand, and developing real relationships in your industry will pay off in the long run. Some things are just more valuable when the Founder or CEO does them.
Here are two main areas to focus on:
- Networking - Keep an eye out for affiliate marketing events and conferences to attend – they can help you to stay on top of industry news and learn the latest strategies.
- Learning - The affiliate marketing industry is growing quickly, so it’s beneficial to invest time in learning. You can subscribe to affiliate marketing industry resources to stay up-to-date and competitive.
By doing this, you’ll learn from other affiliate marketers’ mistakes, so that you can avoid them and reach your goals faster.
How long does it take to become a super affiliate?
Super affiliates make up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. They’re running multi-million dollar businesses.
So don’t expect super affiliate results from yourself within a few months.
In fact, it took the affiliates we surveyed an average of seven years to reach super affiliate status.
That said, if you have no marketing background, it can take you a year or more to make your first affiliate commission.
So work hard, but set realistic goals and expectations.
Nothing is guaranteed, but as long as you get your information from reputable sources, follow legitimate strategies, and stay true to your ethics and the brand you’re trying to build, you’ll be headed in the right direction.