Each year literally hundreds of thousands of new members join the affiliate marketing community. These new affiliates are all desperately looking for that incredible niche market in which to make their riches - consequently the most popular niches are now hugely competitive and saturated with prospective affiliates. As a result it is increasingly difficult to find the elusive niche which you can dominate and which brings in monster profits.Promoting Direct to AffiliatesOne fantastic way around this is to tap directly into the affiliate niche itself - affiliates are highly driven by money, which, fortunately for us, also means they are willing to part with a little bit too. I use this very same approach of targeting affiliate marketers myself, with my own affiliate marketing website. I basically provide valuable advice to new affiliates, keeping them up to date with the latest affiliate news, and, in turn, hope to get a few commissions for the products I recommend in return. The problem with this approach is that so many people are doing it now that the niche has also become highly saturated. This has happened for a couple of relatively unsurprising reasons:Firstly, affiliate marketing is the one niche all affiliates know about and are interested in - in-depth knowledge of your niche is one thing I really recommend when choosing a niche but the problem is that this has led to many affiliates taking the easy route out, and plumping for affiliate marketing based content. As a consequence affiliate products are now becoming the most popular for new affiliate marketers to promote.
The second reason is that the industry lends itself to the wealth of traditionally high converting, get-rich-quick style products we have all come across at some point or another. There are a large number of e-books and training courses which are relatively easy to sell and don't require a huge amount of research to understand - basically money driven affiliates will spend a small fortune if you can convince them it will make them rich in the long term. The buying power of potential customers is therefore a very important reason for the fierce competition we are now seeing.Promoting the Affiliate Programs ThemselvesAn excellent, and still reasonably profitable, solution to penetrate the lucrative affiliate marketing niche, therefore, is to promote the affiliate programs themselves. In this way you are not battling for the eyes and ears of each and every customer but you income is more passive - think of yourself as a marketer rather than a salesman! If you think about what people need to be successful in affiliate marketing it will obviously include a good business model and marketing techniques, which you get from traditional affiliate products, but also a good affiliate program to promote. The good news is that many of the best affiliate programs have a second, largely ignored, tier, where you sign up new affiliates, rather than actual customers - if you become a second tier affiliate marketer you will hence be promoting one of the primary essential components of an affiliate marketing campaign, while avoiding the fierce completion in many niches.How much money can you make?This second tier marketing model can also be incredibly lucrative, as I have said above. For instance if you were using a standard gambling affiliate program here in the UK they will most likely offer a two tier, maybe three tier, system. In this way, on the first tier, if you sign up a new customer you will earn around 20% of the revenue they generate - if you can sign up 10 people who spend $100 each every month that is a nice easy $200 dollars straight in your pocket. The more people you sign up, the more money you make as with any standard affiliate program. Obviously this example is a strange one as the affiliate income is recurring however this is also one major benefit of second tier marketing - the income is always recurring.How it all worksWhat happens is you receive a percentage of the revenue of anybody you sign up below you. The main issue with this is the notable lack of instant money coming into your account for your initial work. However the long term benefit can be staggering. For instance, if we return to the gambling affiliate example, you are likely to receive around 5% revenue share for all the affiliates you sign up. This means that for every affiliate you sign up who is making $200, the figure we already came to above, you will be making a figure of $50. If you think about the potential numbers you could sign up then you can really see the spiralling profit potential involved. Sign up 100 or more affiliates, and for their work you can receive thousands of dollars every month - this is the closest thing to automated income you'll find online and the major attraction of the second tier.The risks involvedThe problem with this is of course that most of the affiliates you sign up won't make you a penny. Unless the niche isn't highly saturated most will fail - in fact 98% of affiliates leave the business without making any money at all. This means you might sign up 100 new affiliates, taking you a great deal of time and effort, but only one or two of these actually make any revenue whatsoever. The flip side of this coin is however that the one sign up that makes money could make a million dollars that year - basically you might be lucky and they could be a so called super affiliate with the knowledge to dominate the niche. Imagine if you could make 10% of that person or company's revenue - you'd be making $100,000 of revenue without any effort, and on total autopilot. That initial investment starts to seem worth it now, doesn't it?A totally different business modelI will point out here that the gambling example I've used above is not the usual - I have simply used it because it is an industry in which I have a lot of experience. There are however a number of other affiliate programs, across a whole range of niches, which offer two tiered systems as well. The commission may not be recurring for many of these, and so if your affiliate leaves the market you will cease to earn a percentage of their sales; however, your own income is at least recurring in that your sign-ups will send commissions your way on a regular basis - these won't be structured earnings but the advantage is they can pop up out of the blue, even when you least expect it - which is always nice! For traditional affiliate commissions you will need to be constantly pushing your links, but for this very different business model you can sit back, put your feet up and relax (well, if you've done the hard graft upfront that is!).The rise of the two tiered affiliate programsYes, the number of this kind of two tiered scheme is also increasing. Affiliate merchants are recognising that if they can get affiliates to sign up other affiliates, then their online exposure will increase dramatically. Obviously the more customers in contact with their product the more sales, and hence money, they will make. They won't mind one bit having to pay more commissions because they are quickly becoming rich themselves. This greater accessibility to quality programmes, as well as the lucrative nature of the business model, is attracting a lot of affiliates into promoting affiliate programs, rather than the products themselves. As a result I'd recommend you get in quick before this too becomes a saturated niche.And there are, as I say, a great many fantastic two tier affiliate programs out there. I recommend doing some useful research, making sure the product and scheme is right for you, and then just going for it. What's the worst that can happen?