Affiliate marketing is a pretty simple concept – you refer customers to a partner site and then get paid a commission if they make a purchase.
But most of the time these are once-off sales.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s still one of the best online business models there is…but you can feel at times like you’re always chasing the next commission.
What if you got paid over and over again for the same referral?
Wait…you can do that?
Yup – all you need is a handful of the best affiliate programs that pay recurring commissions.
Which is exactly what we’ve put together for you.
What are recurring affiliate programs?
As we mentioned just a little earlier (you didn’t skip forward, did you?) the vast majority of affiliate programs work like this:
All going well, you just made some monies!
But what if the person makes another purchase outside the referral period?
Nope, you don’t get credited.
One way around this issue is to add some affiliate programs that pay repeat commissions to your portfolio.
With these programs, you receive residual payments every single month for that same customer, usually because the product or service requires a monthly fee.
What that leaves you with is a relatively predictable income that you can rely on.
First Year vs. Lifetime Payments
So that all sounds great, right?
It is, but there’s some red tape you need to watch out for: lifetime vs. first-year payment structures.
With a lifetime affiliate program, you will get paid a recurring commission every single month for your referrals for however long they pay for that particular product or service.
Some programs, however, will only pay you recurring commissions for the first 12 months…and then that’s it.
So you need to take that into account to avoid experiencing a sudden income drop after that first year.
It’s also why you need to carefully read the T&C’s of any affiliate program you sign up for.
Some Numbers To Think About
It’s all well and good to talk about recurring income, but we think it will make a lot more sense if you see how it works in real life.
Here’s an example of how recurring income can work if you were to sell a product that paid a $5 commission:
|No. Of Sales||Total Sales Value||Recurring Income||Total Monthly Income|
The above is what’s possible if you’re promoting a product with a $5 commission rate after 6 months, and with minimal effort.
Now imagine what the above table would look like if you earned $15 per referral, and you put your promotional skills into overdrive.
Or if you promoted multiple recurring affiliate programs for products or services.
Private Internet Access
In the interests of complete transparency, Private Internet Access is my VPN of choice and has been for well over a year now.
VPNs have come in handy over the years, but the introduction of GDPR (I live in Ireland) left me with no choice but to choose a permanent solution.
Without it, I simply would not be able to access certain US news and research sources, which is nuts, but that’s where we are now.
And it’s not just about bypassing balkanized websites – you can keep your browsing data safe from any companies who might want to mine it.
How good is Private Internet Access?
I forget that I have it on – it’s fast even when pinging off pretty remote servers. The interface recently got a major overhaul, so it’s now better than ever.
Commission rate: 33% lifetime commissions
Monthly recurring: $2.29 per referral (based on monthly subscription)
Check out more programs listed in our article on the best VPN affiliate programs.
KWFinder is ideal for any affiliate or digital marketer who needs a full range of tools but can’t afford a monthly Ahrefs subscription just yet.
It’s like an affordable digital Swiss army knife because you get the following tools for one monthly fee:
- Keyword tool
- Site analysis
- Rank tracker
- Backlink checker
- SERP analysis
In a sea of SEO tools, KWFinder remains one that we’re happy to recommend.
The Mangools team is constantly adding new features to KWFinder, and they offer a 10-day free trial to whet the appetite of future users.
Most affiliates would view this tool as being only of interest to SEOs, but what about Etsy store owners, or people doing market research for a product they’re developing?
There’s a whole big world of opportunity for keyword tools outside of the search engine optimization audience.
And yes we’ve already reviewed KWFinder for you.
Commission rate: 30% lifetime commissions
Monthly recurring: $14.70 per referral (based on monthly Basic subscription)
GetResponse, for those of you who’ve never heard of it, is an autoresponder/email marketing platform.
Or in other words, they help you make the most of your email marketing efforts without having to send thousands of emails manually.
They’ve been around since 1998, so they are a more-than established brand on the marketing circuit.
GetResponse was also one of the very first companies to offer recurring commissions for anyone promoting their products.
As far as email marketing platforms go, GetResponse is easy to use, affordable, constantly being updated and is the type of product you can recommend with confidence.
You can also check out our review of GetResponse if you want a more in-depth analysis of what they offer.
Not everyone needs an autoresponder, but one growing market that does is indie authors – that’s an insider tip ;-)
Commission rate: 33% lifetime commissions
Monthly recurring: $16.75 per referral (based on monthly Plus subscription)
Benefit Box is a nutrition and supplement subscription box service for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
You can either choose to build your own box or have them do it for you.
Either way, there’s a really helpful “quiz” on the site that takes you through each step of the process, including what your overall goals are.
Once that’s done you’ll receive your monthly supply of whey protein and workout shakes directly to your front door.
Benefit Box also supply a range of vegan-friendly supplements, so you can market this offer to the broadest possible audience
This company is also one of the very few subscription box services that offer recurring affiliate payments, so it was a good find.
Your potential audience for Benefit Box is literally anyone who goes to the gym, is trying to lose weight, wants to bulk up, or is aiming to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
Commission rate: $3 -$9 per subscription
Monthly recurring: $3 – $5 per customer per month (Gold, Platinum, Diamond)
Note: If the idea of promoting subscription boxes sounds cool, then check out the programs listed in our article on the best affiliate programs and networks for bloggers.
Backyard Revolution is an affiliate program that appeals to the prepper in me.
Will there be a zombie apocalypse? Who knows…but maybe the CDC knows more about zombies than they’re admitting to.
But I digress.
Solar power generation is fascinating – you can literally harvest the stray energy from a gigantic nuclear reactor sitting 93 million miles away in the vacuum of space.
Backyard Revolution shows you how to harness solar energy, but without having to pay for off-the-shelf systems, which can cost upwards of $20k for a small house.
Yes, you can learn how to build your own allegedly hyper-efficient solar panel array.
What’s important here are their recurring billing stats – you get 75% of everything and the average customer spends $51 after their initial purchase.
So that gives you even more opportunities to earn more recurring commission from any backend product sales.
Commission rate: 75%
Monthly recurring: $51.65
Kinsta is the web host that powers everything you see here at Authority Hacker.
We swapped our hosting over to them a while back, and we’re more than happy with the quality of their service and customer support.
And it’s not just us – it’s genuinely difficult to find anyone with a bad word to say about these guys.
Why is Kinsta so popular?
Because they don’t try to be the best web host for everyone.
Instead, they focus on being the premium managed hosting provider for serious WordPress users, which is why their most basic plan, for a single website, costs $30 per month.
You pay premium prices, but you get premium service.
So…how much do they pay you to send them new customers?
You get an initial $50 and $500 for every new customer who signs up, and then 10% recurring commission on their monthly subscription for the lifetime of that customer.
They also do everything they can to help you achieve your goals, including running an “Affiliate Academy”.
If you’re looking for a little more information, on this niche, we put together an overview of web hosting affiliate marketing for you, so you can gauge how competitive and/or profitable this niche is.
Commission rate: 10% lifetime recurring
Monthly recurring: $6 per referral (based on monthly Pro plan)
Stencil is ideal for people who don’t consider themselves to be designers but still need graphics for their social media posts, site content, etc.
Prior to tools like Stencil, you would have had to spend several weeks (and several hundred dollars) figuring out how to use Photoshop.
Instead, you can just log in to Stencil, choose a template for your image (Twitter, Facebook, etc), choose from one of the 2 million royalty-free photos in their library, and create your design.
You can then share it, upload it for use later, or download it to your desktop or device.
The main benefit here is that you really don’t need any design skills to create some pretty impressive graphics and logos in Stencil because it does most of the work for you.
Commission rate: 30% lifetime recurring
Monthly recurring: $4.50 per referral (based on monthly Pro plan)
DepositPhotos is one of the more popular stock photo sites, and with good reason.
They’re just way cheaper than most of the other stock image sites. But the quality and selection of their images don’t suffer despite their pricing structure.
Again, in the interests of transparency, I’m a DepositPhotos user, migrating to them after Fotolia got assimilated by Adobe.
There’s simply nobody else offering a $29 per month package that allows you to download 30 images of any size or resolution.
Plus, any unused “credits” in your account will roll over to the following month, so you never lose out.
And they’re also the only worthwhile stock photo site that runs an AppSumo promotion at least once each year. Here’s an example of a previous DepositPhotos promotion.
It just so happens they also have a more than decent affiliate program that pays you 40% on initial purchases and then 20% recurring for each user for the lifetime of their membership.
Commission rate: 20% lifetime recurring
Monthly recurring: $6 per referral (based on monthly Flexible Plan)
“Should I use Aweber or GetResponse” is one of those questions that has been asked a million times over the years.
And it’s still being asked today because people tend to fall into one camp or the other.
We actually covered this in a separate blog post on the topic: Aweber vs. GetResponse.
Aweber is an email marketing platform in the same vein as GetResponse but it has some advantages, especially when it comes to their pricing structure.
With Aweber, you pay x price and you get access to all of the tools for y number of customers from day one, unlike GetResponse.
They have better A/B testing features, and they’re also one of the few email marketing platforms that still offer phone support.
How does their affiliate program compare?
You get 30% commissions for all referrals you send their way, and for the lifetime of that customer.
Affiliates have been successfully promoting this program for almost two decades now, so Aweber doing something right.
Commission rate: 30% lifetime recurring
Monthly recurring: $14.70 per referral (based on monthly $49 plan)
Unlock Your Hip Flexors
Unlock My Hips is a ClickBank affiliate program aimed at helping people deal with their hip flexor problems and the health conditions that can result from that.
Personally, I’ve had problems with my hip flexors as a result of some…umm…incidents with my motorbikes, so this product caught my eyes based on that.
What I can tell you is that hip flexor pain is absolutely excruciating. Imagine having an unstoppable cramp that runs from the back of your knee all the way around your hip joint and into your lower back.
Where there’s pain, there’s profit, and in this case, it’s pretty literal.
The base product only costs $10, so their average sale value of $63.83 means they’re very good at up-selling on the backend.
But what’s of most interest here is the ‘Average Rebill Total’ of $302.74 because that’s how much the average customer spends with them.
The more products they buy then the better your chances are for multiple recurring commission payments.
This program also has an above-average ‘Gravity’ score of 122.56, so it checks all the boxes for long-term recurring income.
Commission rate: 78% recurring
Monthly recurring: Depends on backend sales
The landing page for Forex Trendy might be from 2004, but this particular affiliate program is a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
Forex (Foreign Exchange Market) Trendy is a cloud-based software product designed to help you avoid trading during uncertain market periods.
Or in other words, you won’t waste money on bad currency trades.
Most other Forex products tend to be huge eBooks, so that makes Forex Trendy stand out from the crowd.
It monitors what are called currency pairs, one being a base currency and the other a quote currency.
This saves you a ton of manual work charting how these currency pairs have performed historically.
So, enough with the financial fluff, how much do they pay for referrals?
You get 75% of the initial sale and then 75% of the $37 charged for a 3-month renewal.
They also have a very high rebill percentage, which means the people using the software are happy enough to pay for access to it month after month.
Note: If you’re interested in the forex/finance/crypto niche then you should check out our article on the best affiliate programs to promote in 2020.
Commission rate: 75% recurring
Monthly recurring: Minimum $9.25 per referral (based on a 3-monthly renewal of $37)
pCloud has offered its cloud storage service since 2013, and as of last count, they have around 8 million users.
Yes, cloud storage services are pretty much a dime a dozen, so what makes pCloud so special?
Well, the first thing is that cloud storage is all they do so they’re specialists instead of generalists.
Another perk is that it’s available for any desktop, laptop or mobile device and for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android operating systems.
They’re also willing to put their money where their mouth is – there’s $100,000 up for grabs for anyone who can crack their encryption.
Nobody has, including some of the best minds in that industry.
pCloud affiliates get paid up to $70 for each new customer they refer, and then 20% on each recurring subscription payment.
Just bear in mind that they only offer annual and lifetime plans, so your recurring commissions will be spread out over the year
Commission rate: 20% recurring
Annual recurring: $9.57
What became really apparent when researching these affiliate programs was:
- There’s a lot of misinformation out there e.g. a 365-day cookie isn’t the same as recurring monthly commission.
- Every roundup features the exact same products, 99% of which were aimed squarely at an IM audience.
Honestly, I felt like pulling my eyes out with a spoon after reading through most of them.
So we did our very best to put together a list of affiliate programs spread across multiple niches, with sound metrics, and are actually worth promoting.
Now, if you’re not sure how to promote affiliate programs…well, we’d love to help you with that.
Put away your wallet – the first training session is on us.
You get 2 hours and 20 minutes of free affiliate marketing training from people who practice what they preach.
Unlike some “gurus” who will remain nameless.