If you are a knowledge entrepreneur looking to sell your brand new, shiny and wonderful online course, affiliate marketing pops up as one logical way to do that. Of course that having a good presentation of your product online, a fantastic landing page and quite a few email addresses of people who may be interested will get you started. Yet with the competition for user attention and learner demand you will need a lot more than that.
The basic idea behind affiliate marketing is that you let other people market your products and send website traffic your way. In return, you give them a percentage of any sales that are made originating from their efforts.
How to use affiliate marketing to promote your online course
It’s easy to keep track of all revenues and where they came from by incorporating an ID code in the hyperlink marketers post on your behalf. It sounds easier than in really is because sites don’t get as much traffic as they would need to get the conversion rates that would eventually lead to profit.
Here are a few tips for effective affiliate marketing:
Choose the right marketers
There are quite a lot of people out there interested in making some money by posting stuff online. Some are more successful than others but since we are mainly talking about promoting an online learning module, the place where potential learners get information about it has to be congruent with the subject as well as believable.
If your course is promoted next to kitchen appliances and cat litter it might not give out the impression you want. Even if the desired result is to get a large number of paying subscribers, simply sending out hyperlinks everywhere is not the right way to go about it.
Finding those specialized marketers (or influencers if it is possible) and having them promote your course to their followers who are most probably in the demographic you are addressing will prove a lot more lucrative. In a time when anybody can open his own channel and talk about pretty much anything (as long as it is not offensive or illegal), the source is of the utmost importance.
Join an affiliate marketing network
Just as your potential customers need to trust the person who is promoting your course, it’s important that your affiliates also trust you. It’s not impossible to build your own tracking system in order to see what sales came from whom and how much you owe them. However, it’s a lot easier to just sign up for one of the affiliate marketing networks out there.
These provide an online marketplace where your affiliate program will be present and available to a number of affiliate marketers. They also have built-in tracking software so you don’t have to put in the time and resources to make your own. This is especially beneficial for any trust issues that can arise – marketers are not always sure they get the credit (and by that I mean money) for the sales they generate. Having a tertiary deal with it solves the issue and it is less of a hassle for all involved.
Make sure the price is right
As it is with any business, you will need to figure out what numbers you need in order to make a profit. Calculating how much of a cut you can afford to give to marketers is the first step. It will usually come in the form of a percentage and it’s crucial to keep in mind that the higher it is, the more likely your course is to get promoted (and hopefully sold).
When putting a budget on paper and deciding what to pay the affiliates, it is best to take a look at what the advertising costs would be should you try to promote the course on your own. You’ll probably find that it is a lot more lucrative to be more generous with the affiliates.
Additionally, keep in mind that affiliates are not only bringing you sales, they are bringing you new customers. You will most probably design other courses and if you can convince with the first one, you will have a loyal subscriber so the revenue that an affiliate brings you is not only one-shot.
All in all
With online usage constantly growing, mobile phones becoming smarter than ever and the internet costing next to nothing, the potential of affiliate marketing is enormous. However, it’s not a secret and with so many trying to make the best of it, it’s paramount to do it right.
INDIE Brochure: Sell online courses using INDIE marketing tools
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.