One of the easiest and most common ways to sell your online courses is through affiliate marketing. What is affiliate marketing? Let me explain…
There are essentially two ways to Sell Your Courses:
Sell your own stuff.
Let someone else sell or promote Your stuff on their site.
In this post, we’ll tackle #2 to show you how to get others to sell your courses. But let’s talk about affiliate marketing…
What is affiliate marketing? What is an affiliate?
This is how affiliate marketing works for the website selling your stuff:
You have a blog or website.
You know of a product or service you can confidently recommend to your readers. You will first partner with the company that sells this product or service.
You will market (i.e. tell others about) this product or service for the company that offers it. In this way, you are an affiliate(sometimes referred to as an internet or affiliate marketer).
For example, let’s say on your blog or website, you alert your readers to the great product Company Z offers, either by writing a post about it or placing a button or banner ad somewhere on your site. You link to the product’s website in your post and/or button/banner ad. However, you don’t just use any link, you use your affiliate link which contains your special and unique ID. (We talk about how you get this link in a minute.)
A reader clicks on the text link (in your post) or the button/banner ad in your sidebar. They are taken to Company Z’s website and they decide to purchase that product or service.
Company Z can see that their new customer (i.e. your reader) was referred by YOU because that uniquely-coded link that tells them so.
Because Company Z is grateful to you for the referral, they reward you with a commission.
What is an affiliate network?
An affiliate network works like this:
Website Q (the affiliate network, ie. CourseIndex.Com) is like a middleman. They provide a place where advertisers (i.e. companies that have products or services to sell, sometimes called “vendors” (you)) are matched up with publishers (i.e. the blogger or website owner; also referred to as “affiliates”). Imagine Website Q sitting in the middle of you (the publisher/affiliate) and the company (the advertiser).
Advertisers (you) strike a deal with Website Q and say “Hey, we want to sell more of Product X. We will reward any of your publishers $XX who promote Product X and it results in a sale.”
Website Q agrees and lists that campaign (or offer) on their website.
The publisher (website) joins the affiliate network (Website Q) and see Product X listed among the available “Campaigns,” “Offers,” or “Marketplace” (usually you’ll find this tab at the top of the screen in the navbar). The publisher (website) decides Product X is a good product to promote and write about, so they opt to take part in that campaign. Sometimes they have to apply to be part of the specific campaign for that product, sometimes they don’t; it depends on the affiliate network and advertiser.
Once the publisher (website) is cleared to promote Product X and understand the terms for that campaign, they look through the list of available buttons, banners, text links, etc. for that product. They choose the one that they like most and copy the code they provide for them. This code has their unique ID in it. Then they paste this code on their site wherever they like it to show up on your site.
Their readers see the banner, button or link, click on it, are taken to the Product X website, they buy it and you get paid by Website Q (who was previously paid by the advertiser of Product X).
Affiliate networks are nice for advertisers because then the advertisers don’t have to run the affiliate program themselves. Affiliate networks are nice for publishers because it’s sort of like one-stop shopping and they don’t have to hunt for individual programs. Of course, affiliate networks are nice for the affiliate networks because they are acting as middlemen and getting a piece of the profit pie.
5 important things to remember before you become an affiliate
Choose only products or services you can recommend without reservation. Seek out the best. Products/services you’ve used yourself are a great bet as you can speak about them with confidence and from experience.
Choose products or services that are relevant to your niche. If your site is about children’s books and you promote car insurance, at best you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing and at worst, you’ll be branded a “spammer.”
Once you have gotten a bad reputation as a spammer or an “out-to-make-a-quick-buck” type of blogger, it’s incredibly difficult to regain your reputation. Start out with high standards and you’ll be fine. Simply put, promoting bad stuff makes you look bad and will hurt you in the long run.
Experiment, experiment, experiment! Experiment with different networks, ad sizes, text links vs. images, placement on your page, etc. Sometimes there are vast differences in revenue when small changes are made!
Always know the Terms of Service for the programs in which you are participating. It’s no fun to be kicked out of a program!
If you want to either sell your course or sell others courses sign up here