In a previous post, I mentioned affiliate marketing as an opportunity for you to create additional revenue streams (along with expert networks and packaged consulting).
In that case, I was talking about you being an affiliate for someone else’s products. But, of course, the reverse is also true: you can find people to market your products – including your courses – in exchange for a commission on any sales they make.
On the surface, that sounds fantastic. After all, what’s not to like about other people selling your courses for you?
Moreover, you may have noticed that most online course platforms include ways for you to set up affiliate programs. And most of the “gurus” out there are happy to tell you all about setting up “joint ventures” – their fancy word for affiliates – that will make you millions.
Problem is, it hardly ever turns out that way.
If you want to understand why – and I definitely think this is worth understanding – just think about the last time you had to hire anybody to do anything. An employee. A contractor. How hard was it to find someone who really delivered high quality results?
It’s no different for affiliates.
Consider this language I recently encountered when I was looking into the new affiliate program for a company whose products I use frequently and like a lot:
…we are currently only accepting affiliates with a solid experience in affiliate marketing and/or who have a steady flow of qualified traffic.
This means you should already be in a place where you are able to refer at least 10 sales within your first month…
The company, in this case, happened to be ThriveThemes. I use them for all of the sign-up forms and landing pages on Learning Revolution and I have started converting all my sites to their Web site themes. Basically, in my mind, they rock!
ThriveThemes is company I actually want to go to bat for, and as a result, I’m willing to step up to the challenge their affiliate language clearly presents.
Now, if you can find that level of enthusiasm and commitment in affiliates for your courses, and if – like ThriveThemes is clearly trying to do – you can ensure your affiliates have some experience and an audience that is likely to want your courses, you can create a tremendous strategic asset.
All of which is to say that the main qualities you need in your affiliates are:
- A genuine belief in the value you offer
- Solid experience with affiliate marketing (or at least a commitment to learn rapidly)
- An audience that will value your courses (doesn’t have to be a large audience – its the “will value” part that is important)
- A commitment to actively marketing your courses in the same way they would market their own products
You may be thinking these people will not be easy to find, and you’d be correct: they are not, Which is why affiliate marketing is not a silver bullet.
As with all other parts of your course business, success in this area will come from building an audience and building a network of other entrepreneurs connected to your field.
And the focus should be on quality, not quantity – one or two really good affiliates can transform your business while a large list of low quality affiliates will likely just eat up your valuable time.
So, take a page from Thrive Themes and ask yourself, “Who do I currently have in my network of relationships who has the qualities above and would be capable of generating at least 10 sales within the first month of being an affiliate?”
If you have those people, great – make sure you reach out to them if/when you start an affiliate program. If you don’t, start the work today to find and build those relationships.
P.S. – As you probably gathered, I am very enthusiastic about ThriveThemes. If you use or plan to use WordPress, you should absolutely, positively check them out. (And, yes, that is an affiliate link.)
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