Collaborating with others to help spread the word about your business is one of the best ways to get your business out there. Many business owners do this through affiliate marketing. It is one of the oldest online marketing techniques available to business owners. You find others with engaged audiences and give them a unique link, that when shared, tracks potential sales they initiated through their link. When a sale is made through their unique link, they generate a percentage commission from that sale.
On Teachable, creators use affiliate marketing features to collaborate with affiliates, influencers, or other collaborators. You can use affiliate marketing to run an ambassador program, integrate with beta testing your courses, run a VIP program, pay influencers, or simply use it with affiliates.
No matter what you call your commission marketing strategy, the numbers are clear. Teachable creators who use our affiliate marketing features generate four times the amount of sales compared to creators who don’t.
Affiliate marketing is a great way for course creators and knowledge businesses to reach new audiences from other established businesses or influencers online who have engaged audiences, blogs, social followings, and more.
Finding new customers through someone else’s already engaged audience sounds like a great way to do marketing. You only have to pay them on sales they helped generate, instead of doing traditional paid advertising that may not convert. However, this marketing strategy presents its own challenges. It’s hard to know where you can find these people who already have an audience and would make a great collaborator. Do you reach out to some of your favorite Instagram accounts? TikTok? It’s hard to know how to find affiliates, so here are a few tips that can help you connect with the right people who can help grow your business, all while they get paid to do it.
Know your target audience
One of the core parts of owning any business is knowing your target audience—exactly who your products and services are created for, and how your products can benefit their life. Finding the best affiliate marketers means deeply understanding who your target audience is. Not everyone will make a great affiliate for your business. You’ll want to find those that align well and overlap with your target audience.
Let’s look at an example niche to understand what a target audience might look like. If you were a watercolor artist asking other watercolor artists who have courses to be an affiliate, that could be difficult. They may be interested in being an affiliate, but because they work in the exact same niche you do and sell similar offerings, they may prefer to sell their own products over yours. In this case, you share a target audience, which presents its own affiliate marketing complications.
Instead in this example, maybe we look at an adjacent audience who is interested in similar topics, but hasn’t explored watercolor classes yet. We can start researching the audiences of artists selling online drawing, sculpture, ceramics, or oil painting classes. All of these are also fine arts, so you all have an audience that shares interest in creating fine art, but that audience differs in that they’ve been exploring other types of art, instead of watercolor. Someone taking online drawing classes could also be interested in online watercolor classes. Expanding who your potential target audience can also expand your affiliate marketing strategy to reach new established audiences elsewhere.
These audiences share similar interests, but are established in another business that won’t be your competition. In our example here, it’s beneficial to reach out to these drawing course creators and see if they’re interested in being an affiliate. Perhaps you could even be an affiliate for their businesses.
Not only will you share an audience, but you’ll also share a drive to grow your own business and revenue through many different channels.
Know your market
Finding the best affiliates in adjacent areas is one route, but a deeper knowledge of your entire market is important. To find affiliates, you need to know the lay of the land and this means looking at where there are other people doing the same thing, are there other places, resources, or tools that someone like your customer would use that could be a great place for you to recruit and find affiliates?
It’s time to dig in and do your research. This means looking for blogs, websites, or other online services that offer something similar to yours. If you uncover a blog where someone is providing tips, you’ll want to know their audience size, but these types of online businesses can make great affiliates for your business.
Spending some time researching your market and where a prospective student of yours may go to find the same information can give you a lot of insights into who or what other businesses would make great affiliates.
Outside of simple Google searches for online resources, you can search your social media platforms. Start looking on Instagram to see where people might be finding other tips and reach out to those influencers to see if they’d like to collaborate.
Building out your knowledge of the landscape around what you offer will help you know who may be a direct competitor that wouldn’t make a great affiliate, and who may be offering similar resources already, if they have an engaged audience, and the types of online resources they use to share tips and other resources they love with others.
Give your customers an easy way to become an affiliate
Searching through your existing students to see who would like to be an affiliate can be an overwhelming task. For students who do have active, engaged audiences who share their interests, the easiest way for them to become an affiliate is through a simple application process.
With Teachable’s new updates to our affiliate program, you can now build out an application form that you can add anywhere on your website with a simple link. Whether it’s a new student or previous one who is visiting your website, they can now apply to become an affiliate. This will help you know who your biggest fans are and the people who already recommend your products to their friends and followers.
Want to convert people who are already right inside your course? Add a link to the affiliate application at the end of your courses to help folks know where to go when they’re logged in as students, especially if they don’t visit your website often. You don’t have to guarantee that every applicant will become an affiliate, but the application form gives you the opportunity to see who is interested, research them and their audience a little bit more and decide if they’ll be a great fit.
Once you’ve built that application form you can drop it anywhere, not just your website or directly inside your Teachable courses. You can also add it to your Instagram bio or wherever your customers find you online.