High ticket affiliate marketing systems are all the rage these days.
And it’s not hard to see why…
I mean, with all that clever marketing, the charismatic leaders running the show, the done for you sales funnels and of course, the high paying affiliate offers.
But is joining one of these “systems” really the best and most profitable path for you as an affiliate? And if so, what are some of the major drawbacks to consider?
I think these are some important questions to consider.
Especially given the cost of participating in such a system. So in this article, I am going to address these head on. Starting with what a high ticket system is, and how it works.
What Is a High Ticket Affiliate Marketing System?
A high ticket affiliate marketing system is basically a “system” that you join and promote, with the goal of earning higher than average affiliate commissions.
As a member of the “system”, you get access to training, tools and sales funnels to start referring others into the same system. So your main job is really just to send traffic (visitors) to the sales page. And when that traffic converts into sales, you earn money.
Some popular example of systems like this are Legendary Marketer, Super Affiliate System and Four Percent Group. But there are many other, lesser known programs.
What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
Affiliate marketing is a business model where you promote another companies products and/ or services, for a commission. When someone purchases something through your unique affiliate link, you get paid.
An affiliate is kind of like the “middle man” in a given transaction, who gets a slice of the pie when someone buys something online, through their link.
There are millions of products you can promote as an affiliate too. Across 100,000’s of niche markets. Companies like Amazon, Walmart, Nike, Apple… all have affiliate programs.
So affiliate marketing (in and of itself) is legit. I personally earn 6 figures per year promoting other people’s stuff, and this very blog makes me money each month as an affiliate. It works.
You can check out this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing if you want to learn more.
Anyways, the term “high ticket” simply means that the offer itself has high commission potential for affiliates. So instead of promoting a $50 Amazon product for example, you promote products within the system that run into the $1,000’s or even $10,000’s.
That sounds amazing. After all, who doesn’t want to earn high commissions?
But there are some major drawbacks to consider.
For example, the cost of getting involved is very high, the ethical side of things is a bit murky and most of these programs/ systems are not sustainable longterm.
Let me explain…
How These “Systems” Work
Selling higher priced products does lead to higher commissions, but making these sales isn’t easy. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’ll probably make very little (if any) money trying to sell expensive products on the internet.
And this is where these “systems” come into play…
The system is already setup for you. You get training, a range of existing products you can promote and in many cases, existing sales funnels. So you don’t need to create any products or fancy sales funnels to make it work, because most of it is done for you.
Your main job is convincing others to buy into the same system you just joined.
But you don’t start by pitching them a $10k product. Because most people simply will not buy, no matter how good you are.
So the idea is to start with cheaper (low ticket) offers that cost less than $100. Stuff most people can afford. And when they buy, these systems are setup to progressively upsell the customer. With each upsell typically being more expensive than the last.
In the world of marketing, this is known as the foot-in-the-door technique:
Foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique is a compliance tactic that aims at getting a person to agree to a large request by having them agree to a modest request first.Wikipedia
This is the bread and butter of how most high ticket systems work.
They get you “in the door” for a product that costs around $47. Then lead you through a series of upsells that cost you more and more money. Typically with the help of “coaches” who are really just sales people. The end goal is getting as much money out of you as possible.
On one hand, this is a clever and potentially lucrative business model. I won’t deny it. Because a $47 customer could earn you five figures over time, as they buy more stuff.
On the other hand, the whole concept of luring people into higher and higher priced products is a bit unethical. And more often than not, people end up losing money with systems like this. So there are definitely some drawbacks.
The Dark Side of High Ticket Affiliate Marketing Programs
The “gurus” who push these systems will probably never tell you what I’m about to tell you. Because they want you to join the system and make them money.
Thankfully, I’m not a guru.
So I’ll just give it to you straight. Here are the six main drawbacks of most high ticket affiliate marketing systems:
- The marketing and sales tactics are unethical
- Products are extremely overpriced
- The “pay to play” nature of the business model
- Many have a multilevel marketing, chain recruiting aspect
- The FTC have shutdown some popular high ticket systems
- Putting all your eggs in one basket isn’t smart
Now let’s delve into each of these in more detail…
Unethical Marketing and Sales Tactics
I’ve been running this blog for a few years now. And in that time, I’ve reviewed a lot of “make money online” programs and high ticket systems.
And one common thread among most of these systems, is the unethical (and in some cases downright misleading) sales tactics they use to lure you in and to upsell you after you buy.
Many promise “push button success” and that everything will be “done for you”. You are led to believe that by purchasing the low ticket offer, the money will start rolling in on autopilot.
Which is BS.
But before you realize what’s really going on, the upselling begins. And this is done in a very clever, calculated manner. In most cases, with the help of a “success coach”.
This is someone who masquerades as an expert that wants to help you succeed. When in reality, they are just professional telemarketers, who’s sole purpose is convincing you to buy more stuff. So that the company and affiliates make more money off of you.
When it’s all said and done, you could easily be hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the red by “following the steps”. With nothing to show for it.
That is a scam in my opinion.
Yet this is how MANY high ticket affiliate programs operate.
High priced products are great for customers, vendors and affiliates– when they are actually worth the money!
However, quite often they are not within high ticket affiliate programs.
Unfortunately, what I see among these systems is a gross overpricing of products. Just to facilitate higher commissions for affiliates.
Which is just plain wrong. The products you are promoting should be priced fairly, no matter what. Otherwise you are ripping people off, for your own personal gain.
Which not only hurts the people you sell to, but also your reputation as an affiliate. And it destroys your credibility longterm, which will diminish your ability to profit as an affiliate.
The “Pay to Play” Business Model
Not only are the products often WAY overpriced, but you actually need to buy these yourself, to qualify to earn commissions promoting them.
This creates an atmosphere where everyone who joins and “upgrades”, does so to earn more money when they recruit people. Few people buy because of the quality of the products themselves.
Which is not how affiliate marketing should work.
First of all, a good and ethical affiliate promotes quality products that people actually want to buy because… you know, they like the actual product!
Second, most reputable affiliate programs are free to join. As they should be, since you are making the company money by generating more leads and sales for them.
In any case, buying something just to qualify to promote it is pretty much how a pyramid scheme works. Where people “buy in” at a certain level, just to be able to earn commissions when others do the same.
This is especially true when you take the next point into account…
MLM Chain Recruiting
Many high ticket affiliate marketing systems are actually NOT “affiliate marketing” at all. They are more like multilevel marketing (MLM).
MLM is a business model where you earn on direct sales you make AND on the sales of those you recruit. In some cases, many levels deep.
What I have found is that majority of high ticket systems have a 2 or 3 tier affiliate program. Which is MLM.
When I’m not a fan, is when you combine all of the drawbacks I’ve just discussed with you, with the MLM business model. That’s when things start getting shady.
As in, when you combine unethical sales tactics with overpriced products that you’re really only buying to earn money chain recruiting as many people as possible.
If that doesn’t set some alarm bells off, check yourself!
In recent years, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) shutdown two of the most popular high ticket affiliate marketing systems the internet has ever seen- MOBE and Digital Altitude.
Both of these were popular, classic examples of the high ticket model. MOBE was probably the most popular and lasted the longest with its Top Tier model.
In any case, both were shutdown after losing people a lot of money.
Obviously if the FTC isn’t loving this business model, you should avoid it. Because not only could this bring a sudden end to your profits, but it could land you in deep water.
And they typically only get involved when the scheme is getting lots of attention. Which is why many other similar schemes simply fall apart on their own, without intervention. Such as the Empower Network for example.
Either way, this brings into serious question how sustainable these systems are longterm.
Which leads me to my final point…
Putting All Your Eggs in ONE Basket Isn’t Smart
Joining a done for you system sounds like the “smart” and lucrative approach. Since you are modelling what successful marketers are doing to make money online.
But how smart is it, really?
Personally, I don’t think it’s very smart at all. Because you are selling yourself short.
In a BIG way.
There are literally millions of products you can promote as an affiliate, within virtually any niche you could think of. There really is tons of untapped potential.
And when you take the time to learn real affiliate marketing skills, you can capitalize on this potential fully. And for as long as you want.
There is simply no need to limit yourself to ONE single affiliate system.
Which is what happens when you get involved in these systems. You learn a narrow skillset that you can mostly (if not entirely) use to promote that system. And if/ when that system falls apart, so does your entire business.
What a waste of time, effort and money!
You could use these same resources to build a business that IS ethical. One that isn’t reliant upon any one company. And one that WILL be around for many years to come.
Let’s be honest, high ticket affiliate commissions are pretty cool.
But if you’ve read this far, you know that there are some major drawbacks. To the extent that most of these systems are probably not worth joining.
For example the sketchy sales tactics, insane costs involved and putting all of your energy into a system that could fall apart or get shutdown at a moments notice.
I love affiliate marketing, it’s an amazing business model. It’s simple, potentially lucrative and very low cost to start.
I just don’t believe high ticket affiliate marketing systems are the be all end all. There are many ways to earn considerable, reliable profits as an affiliate.
For example, you can promote recurring commission affiliate offers. Which are practically the holy grail of affiliate offers. Something I can personally attest to.
Because one single sale can result in years worth of consistent profit as that customer continue to get VALUE from the service they purchased through your affiliate link.
Even if your traffic slows down, or you have a bad month, the commissions keep rolling in. Meaning steady, reliable affiliate income. Year round.
And that’s just one example. There are LOTS of great offers out there that you can promote for free. Without joining a “system” and without selling overpriced products.
You just need the right training, tools and support to learn how it’s done properly. And once you have that, it’s a matter of putting in the time and effort to get into profit.
Either way, I hope you found this article helpful.
Hope you enjoyed the article! My name is Tim and I’m the creator of Affiliate UNguru. I started this site out of a passion to help others avoid scams and to share how I’ve been able to create a successful business online. You can see how I did it in this free training.