You are currently viewing Creating Your Own Affiliate Program

Creating Your Own Affiliate Program

Introduction

Success often hinges on the ability to expand your reach and drive sales. One powerful strategy that has changed the way companies grow their customer base and revenue is the creation of an affiliate program. With the influence of partners and affiliates, businesses can tap into new markets, increase brand exposure, and boost sales with remarkable efficiency

In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of creating your affiliate program, from the fundamentals to advanced strategies, empowering you to harness the full potential of this transformative marketing approach. We’re going to cover what an affiliate program is, why you should use it, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to set it up. Then, we’ll delve into a tutorial where you can learn the best ways to promote your affiliate program. Finally, we’ll summarize our top tips.

Challenges online course creators can face if they don’t create their own affiliate programs:

  • Online course creators may struggle to reach a wider audience without affiliates.
  • Without affiliates, they might miss out on potential sales generated through referrals.
  • Limited exposure may hinder the building of a recognizable brand.
  • They may fall behind competitors who have affiliate programs.
  • They might face higher advertising costs compared to affiliate-driven promotions.
  • Scaling the course business can be challenging without affiliate support.

Video Lesson – How To Harness the Full Potential of this Transformative Marketing Approach

Who Can Use?

Almost any teacher, professional, or coach can use affiliate programs to tap into their respective networks and audiences to increase course enrollments and generate additional income.

  • Collaborate with fashion influencers and offer them affiliate partnerships to promote your design courses.
  • Partner with design-focused websites and forums, allowing them to earn commissions by promoting your graphic design courses.
  • Promote online courses related to their niche on their blogs and use affiliate links to earn commissions from course sales.

This can work for educational businesses like fashion designers, graphic designers, and bloggers.

What Is It

An affiliate program is a business arrangement where one company (the merchant) rewards individuals or other businesses (affiliates) for promoting its products or services and driving sales or leads to the merchant’s website.

Creating Your Own Affiliate Program means setting up a system where you invite people or other businesses to promote your products or services. In return, you pay them a commission for each sale or lead they generate.

Why Use It?

It’s like having a team of partners who help you sell more and earn a commission for their efforts. Your affiliates will promote your services, saving you time and money on ads. Therefore, you don’t have to spend money on advertising because they’re out there promoting your services. You don’t have to spend money initially because you’re not paying them ahead of time. You’re only paying them when they send a customer to your site that buys your product or service. It’s a great way to sell your services.

Photo by The Coach Space

How To Guide

Let’s talk about how you would set up an affiliate program. We’re going to discuss applications on a wide range of platforms, whether you’re on Teachable, Kajabi, Thinkific, Padia, etc. Almost all of these platforms support affiliate programs.

Create an Affiliate Program and Signup Link

To create an affiliate program, the first step is to ensure that your tier or plugins support program capabilities. Many platforms offer an affiliate platform for free with the base tier. Navigate to the administration screens and locate your administration page. Activate all the affiliate program elements. Within this section, you will find a link for affiliates to join your program. Make sure to grab this link. 

While setting up your affiliate program, keep a notepad or digital document to jot down key elements that you’ll need as you promote your affiliate program. Visit the admin page, make a note of it, and revisit it as needed. You will need this signup link for your potential affiliates who want to join.

Edit and Personalize the Affiliate Program Welcome Emails

You’ll want to personalize certain affiliate program emails and other metadata. Begin by choosing a suitable name for your affiliate program, one that aligns with your branding. Then, review your emails to see if your welcome emails are friendly and tailored to your creative course or membership type, if they reflect your voice and style, and to ensure that the language used in the emails matches your own. Focus on configuring the two or three crucial emails. 

Additionally, consider your branding setup. You might already have some branding from your platform setup or core system. If not, proceed to configure the branding.

Learn How to Create Affiliate Product Links with an Affiliate ID

Once your affiliate program is live, affiliates will visit the portal to create affiliate links that include their unique ID. This way, when their audience visits your website via these links, they receive credit for any purchases made. 

For instance, if a social media influencer in your niche directs their audience to your course or community using an affiliate link, there will be an ID attached to that link, which may be a numeric code or a vanity URL with the creator’s handle. They can access and view the various products and services available for affiliate promotion.

Whether it’s one global link or individual links, each will contain an affiliate ID as a parameter following the main URL. Affiliates will use these links on their platforms, such as YouTube, blogs, or podcasts, to redirect people to your services. If these referred prospects make a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission, with the majority going to you.

Specify Your Payment Options

Next, you’ll want to define your payment options. You’ll define if your affiliate partners Will provide their audience with a discount as an incentive to purchase your products or services. This discount, offered via an affiliate code, could be 10%, 15%, or 20%. You will actively promote this incentive. Sometimes, a prospect might explore your offerings after initially clicking the affiliate link but may not make a purchase. 

Typically, affiliate programs have a “cookie duration” that tracks when the first visit occurred. If that same visitor returns to purchase within the specified duration, the affiliate partner should receive credit. Common durations are 15 or 30 days, and you can adjust these as the program provider. 

Lastly, consider payment schedules. This means you should consider what happens if someone buys your service but later requests a refund, and how long it takes for payments to be settled and confirmed after the service has been consumed. Payment periods or clearing periods are common. 

You can choose to be more aggressive, promising payments within 30 days, or extend the timeline to 60 days. Some programs mail checks every month. You have various options available from your platform, so how you present and frame these options can make your program more appealing to potential affiliate partners.

Create an Affiliate Tester User to Verify the Portal

Consider creating an affiliate tester user, distinct from your admin account, to simulate the affiliate partner experience. This tester user will mimic the process of signing up as an affiliate partner. This step allows you to verify what this user sees within their portal, including metrics and email notifications.

You can use personal email accounts like Gmail or Hotmail for this purpose, not your business email. By having this separate account, you can log in from the affiliate side and the admin side simultaneously. This dual perspective enables you to assess what affiliates observe and what you, as the business owner, experience as you establish your affiliate program.

Provide Resources with Descriptions, Summaries, and Key Points

You should brainstorm a range of resources to equip your affiliate partners in promoting your products and services. As they act as ambassadors for your offerings, it’s crucial to provide them with comprehensive information. This includes the official product or service name, any copyright or trademark details, various types of descriptions (a one-liner, a brief paragraph, and a detailed feature list), and even a URL to your sales page. 

The sales page typically contains valuable information about your target audience, benefits, features, classes, or chat rooms. 

Offering these resources allows affiliates to choose and use the information that best suits their promotional efforts, whether it’s a simple mention in a list of sponsors or an entire blog post dedicated to your offerings. Make sure the information is presented in easily digestible chunks.

Provide Logos and Media About Your Products

In addition to textual resources, provide your affiliates with media assets such as logos, screenshots, video snapshots, and overviews of your products and courses. Share links to access these resources. A media kit can be particularly useful, enabling affiliates to select and incorporate descriptions, build URLs, and include eye-catching visuals like photos and thumbnails in their promotional efforts. Providing this foundation empowers affiliates to kickstart their promotional activities efficiently, saving them from the slow process of discovery and learning.

Promote Your Affiliate Program

Consider creating a dedicated affiliate program webpage that can be easily discoverable on Google as potential affiliates search for relevant programs. Ensure that your affiliate program information page includes keywords to boost organic visibility. If you want to expedite the process, invest in paid advertising campaigns targeting the right keywords to attract potential affiliates. This not only accelerates your affiliate program but also generates a domino effect. 

The increased exposure from the affiliate program ads will draw more prospects to your products and services, ultimately boosting your sales and revenue. It’s a highly effective strategy compared to relying solely on organic discovery through web searches or social media.

Tutorial: How to Promote Your Affiliate Program

Let’s dive into a tutorial on how to effectively promote your affiliate program. We’ll explore some popular methods, breaking down what they are, the cost to you as the business owner, and the timeline for results.

Affiliate Program Page

This serves as the sales page for your affiliate program, where potential affiliates learn about it, including the benefits, payouts, generous percentages, cookie length, target audience, and where they can apply. Creating this page can range from free, if you do it yourself, to paid if you involve your team. You could craft a simple page in a few hours or invest more time to make it comprehensive with media and an intro video, which might take a few days. Organic search engine results will come gradually, but it’s a crucial foundation for your program.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Once you have your program page and affiliate information, consider using SEO techniques on your website, whether it’s your core system, community platform, or main site. SEO efforts can be free but slow, or you can invest in professional help. Getting your SEO in order might take around 20 hours, and results can be medium-paced as people need to find you and search engines gain confidence in promoting your content. It’s a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your affiliate program.

Add to Your Blog Footer

Include your affiliate links in the footer of your blog pages. This way, whenever visitors browse your website or read your resources, they have easy access to your affiliate program information. It’s a subtle way to let them know about your program, and if it aligns with their interests or audience, they might explore it further. Adding this to your footer takes a little time to set up but can start delivering results, albeit gradually.

Add to Your Social Post Descriptions

Integrate your affiliate program into your social media posts, descriptions, TikTok content, and YouTube videos. In your YouTube video descriptions, include a call to action, encouraging viewers to join your affiliate program with a click. This approach helps gradually raise awareness and interest in your program. You can also revisit your past content catalog to update previous posts, providing another avenue for promotion.

Add to Your Podcast Descriptions

The same concept applies to podcasts. Each podcast has a description that outlines the topic, and within this, you can include affiliate program resources. This is a free modification you can make. You can choose to edit it as a template and create an article for each new podcast episode. While it’s a gradual process, it starts to have an impact as your audience grows. Additionally, consider going back to update descriptions in your past episodes.

Send Email Newsletter & Sequence

You can either send a one-time email or create a recurring task to periodically send to your audience. Ideally, update your sequence, particularly your onboarding sequence, to inform people at different stages, such as 2 days, 45 days, 90 days, or six months, about your affiliate program. Over time, as people join your newsletter, they may develop an interest in becoming affiliates. 

Optionally, you can include information about your affiliate program as a footer in some outbound emails, being mindful not to overwhelm your primary audience. 

Periodically, you can discreetly notify certain recipients that you offer an affiliate program if they are looking for such opportunities.

Create Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads

In this approach, you invest in paid advertising, and the beauty of pay-per-click is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Your ads will appear on search engines and various social media platforms. 

When people come across your ad, they’ll learn about earning more money or joining your affiliate program, depending on the message and the offered percentages. The choice of messaging should align with your payout structure; if you offer high percentages for low-priced products or premium products with higher prices, tailor your ad accordingly. 

Setting up your ads takes only a few hours, and results are swift. You’ll start seeing visitors immediately as you pay a small amount daily for the ads. Of course, you’ll need to refine your ads over time, but this method is much faster than organic growth or continuous tweaks to your affiliate program page. 

As you generate more revenue, you can reinvest it in more ads, possibly exploring different platforms beyond search engines, like social media platforms that resonate with your audience.

Have Students and Members Promote You

Lastly, leverage your students and members at various stages of your course, membership community, or coaching journey. Encourage them to become affiliate partners. You can create a simple slide or page in just a day or two that mentions your affiliate program and invites those with audiences to join as affiliates. This is a cost-free strategy, and the results can be surprisingly positive. If you have hundreds or thousands of students, you might attract additional affiliates. 

There are numerous approaches to promoting your affiliate program. Remember, affiliate programs can significantly boost your sales without incurring substantial extra costs. Think of it as assembling a sales team for your business.

Tutorial: How To Promote Your Affiliate Program – By ArtsyCourseExperts

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating Your Own Affiliate Programs

To set up your affiliate program, you’ll need to choose an affiliate tracking system, create promotional materials, set commission rates, and provide affiliates with unique tracking links. You’ll also need to develop terms and conditions for your program.

Virtually any online business can benefit from an affiliate program, including e-commerce stores, subscription services, digital product creators, and online course providers. It’s a versatile marketing strategy that can work across various industries.

You can find affiliates by reaching out to influencers, bloggers, content creators, or existing customers who love your products or services. Additionally, affiliate networks and platforms can connect you with potential partners.

When setting commission rates, consider factors such as your profit margins, industry standards, and the expected lifetime value of a customer. Competitive commission rates can attract and motivate affiliates.

To ensure success, regularly communicate with your affiliates, provide them with quality promotional materials, offer competitive commissions, and track the performance of your program. Continuously optimize and adapt your program based on results and feedback from affiliates.

Creating Your Own Affiliate Program – By ArtsyCourseExperts

Summary – Creating Your Own Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are where other people sell your products and services, and they earn a commission every time you make a sale. You don’t have to put money out of your pocket, and it’s a great way to accelerate sales. Most platforms for courses and communities already have built-in affiliate programs, so you just have to look them up. If not, you can supplement it with an external program.

Creating your own affiliate program can be a good way to grow your online business. By partnering with others who believe in your products or courses, you can reach a wider audience and boost your sales. Remember to provide your affiliates with the right tools, stay in touch with them, and keep an eye on how things are going. 

Tips for creative online course creators when creating their affiliate programs:

  • Partner with affiliates whose audience aligns with your online course, ensuring a natural fit for promotion.
  • Equip affiliates with engaging and informative promotional materials.
  • Offer competitive commission rates to incentivize affiliates and attract top promoters.
  • Continuously monitor affiliate performance and adjust strategies based on data to maximize results.
  • Foster strong communication with affiliates to address questions, provide updates, etc.
  • Ensure your course landing pages are optimized for conversions to increase the chances of turning referred traffic into paying students.

You should be a little smarter now. Thanks for hanging out!

Please subscribe to get more tips for creative online course teachers.

These lessons can also help you with Operations and Technology:

Our Tech On Demand services help creative professionals who teach with everything technical.

Business owners can have their tech work 100%, use free time to create, and grow with real results.

This includes technical help planning, setting up, maintaining, troubleshooting, analyzing, and optimizing all your online courses, membership communities, and coaching websites.

creative professional planning a course with consultant

Plan

Turn your vision into steps and technical blueprint

Set Up

Configure, upload, and launch your new products & services

analysts reviewing tech platform as part of maintenance plan

Maintain

Monitor, check, update, backup, and secure your systems

Troubleshoot

Fix platform issues and student tech-support problems

analysts reviewing tech platform as part of maintenance plan

Analyze

Audit your sales pages, content experience, and configurations

creative professional planning a course with consultant

Optimize

Get better results by using tech to grow revenues and reduce costs

Help Made Specifically for Creative Teachers

Get our Artsy Course Experts tips newsletter with articles, tools, and resources.

You'll get actionable tactics on making, selling, operating, and growing your courses.

Join now and you'll also get our Course Growth Checklist with dozens of quick tips to grow your student base and total earnings.

PS. We'll never sell your info, never send spam, and you can stop anytime.