:Marketing / Marketing best practices

Attract the best advocates for your course’s affiliate marketing program

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When it comes to marketing your courses, there’s nothing better than someone vouching for them personally. Because educational courses are a unique product, simply telling your target audience that your course materials are great isn’t often enough to get them to convert. They need personal reviews or hands-on experience.

Affiliate marketers can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. This is doubly true if your affiliate marketers are affiliate advocates—brand advocates who effectively and personally vouch for your course products with as much vigor and drive as you would market them yourself. Not sure how to attract affiliate advocates for your affiliate marketing program? Let’s break down how you can get the best affiliate marketers on your side starting today.

Why do you need affiliate advocates?

At this point, you probably know what affiliate marketing is and how it can help your courses (for any online business). If not, here’s a recap.

With affiliate marketing, you don’t do any marketing yourself. Instead, you contract affiliate marketers to market your products or courses for you. The affiliate is assigned a unique code and directs visitors to your course website via their own content and audience. If a visitor makes a purchase using the affiliates code, the affiliate marketer gets a cut or commission of the profits you make from that sale. (You can learn how to set up an affiliate in Teachable, here in our Knowledge Base article.)

In some ways, affiliate marketing programs can be very more cost-effective because you only pay for advertising that results in sales aka your affiliates only get commission if sales are made. Plus, you set the commission amount. But not all affiliate marketers are alike. 

Affiliate advocates are affiliate marketers who go above and beyond. They do everything it takes to bring new people to your brand and represent your courses in a positive light. This makes advocates by far the best affiliate marketers to contract.

Yet finding affiliate advocates can be difficult, especially since there are plenty of mediocre affiliate marketers clogging the market. With that in mind, let’s break down how you can attract high-quality affiliate advocates to sell your courses successfully.

Provide necessary materials

For starters, you should always have a detailed research packet and collection of marketing materials available for any affiliate marketing programs you contract. Having marketing materials or research ready to go about your brand is a sign of professionalism and it helps affiliate marketers do their job well. After all, you don’t want an affiliate marketer to represent your courses inaccurately or improperly.

Of course, be sure that all of this research material and marketing copy is well-constructed and well-written. If you don’t have the gift of wordsmithing, you may need to hire a skilled freelancer to draft some materials for you. You can expect to pay about $20 an hour for quality freelance writers, so you can save money this way rather than hiring full-time staff. 

Offer fair commission rates

Although many of the most dedicated affiliate advocates will personally vouch for the products they advertise, they can’t do it for free. With that in mind, you should think critically about the rates you offer before seeking out advocates for your courses. Try to determine what affiliate marketers are given in terms of commissions for your industry or course niche. 

Teachable creators can control the percentage commission easily from the Affiliates page of their dashboard. Additionally, if you use Teachable Payments or the Monthly Payment Gateway, and have BackOffice enabled, your affiliates will automatically be paid out by Teachable to the affiliate’s PayPal account. Affiliates must have a valid PayPal account to be paid out by Teachable.

Look for niche influencers

Affiliates are only as relevant as their target audiences. You want to look for a match between yours and theirs. To that end, you should seek out niche influencers in your course market or industry.

For example, say that you create courses on digital design. You should seek out influencers in the graphic design and art education spheres to see if they are willing to enter an affiliate marketing deal. These individuals will already know a lot about your course material and they’ll be able to judge its value for themselves. That way, you’ll get engaged, honest affiliate marketers who can reach relevant prospects.

Up your social media game

Social media can be intimidating when it comes to branding your online course. Luckily, we have a complete social media guide to help you discover which platforms are right for you. Did we mention it’s free?

How to use social media to sell your online course

To help you scope out the best social media platforms for your business, we’ve created this guide to get started. Get started for free today.

How to use social media to sell your online course

Attend live affiliate networking events

As an alternative strategy, you can attend live affiliate networking events and sessions. These are usually small conferences. There may be several in your area where you can network and connect with like-minded affiliate marketers or course creators.

Oftentimes, meeting affiliate marketers in person can help you pitch your brand in a more effective way than you could online through email or other communication channels. In the pandemic era, there are likely online sessions as well. Don’t forget to bring samples of your work when you meet potential partners. 

Present an engaging brand

Naturally, you should create high-quality courses that are worth marketing, first and foremost. Once you do this, you need to present your courses as a brand above and beyond the products themselves. Make sure you have an accessible course platform that shows users and affiliate marketers that you are a serious course creator.

When it comes to upgrading your website, you should ensure that your sales page and course selections are easy to navigate. The easier it is for an affiliate marketer to link to your courses, the more likely they are to sign on for a commission contract.

If you’re designing your own site, you have a couple of options, but JavaScript is the most popular language used. As London-based web developer Alex Williams from Hosting Data notes, JavaScript offers the best option for building your site.

 “Considering that 94.5% of all sites use it, it’s pretty safe to say that JavaScript is crucial, though it’s becoming less popular on the back-end (where the deepest code is),” says Williams. “It’s most utilized for dynamic and interactive web pages. It’s also possible to combine JavaScript with other coding languages to boost the number of platforms your site runs on. JavaScript can also reduce load time, increase uptime, and maximize how responsive your website is for the user (the front-end).”

Wrapping up

In the end, affiliate marketing programs can save you a lot in terms of marketing costs and significantly increase how many courses you sell in a given quarter. It’s in your best interest to attract high-quality affiliate advocates rather than sign on just any affiliate marketer you find. Get the right people to market your courses for you, and your brand will grow and become more trustworthy with hardly any effort on your end. 

Author: Nahla Davies, Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.