If you’ve produced a fantastic new online course, you’ve done a lot of hard work. However, your job is only half done, it’s time to promote your online course. You can write the best educational content in the world, but you won’t get students if you don’t market the course. But what if you teach the course? Are you supposed to market and teach at the same time? You’re already busy enough. 

That’s where an affiliate program can help. An online course affiliate program is a partnership between you and many qualified individuals who market the course in exchange for a small percentage of each course sale. These affiliates are incentivized to market your course to get their percentage, and you’re free to teach and write new courses. 

While it can be used for just about anything, affiliate marketing for online courses has unique benefits. For example, there’s no educational marketing that’s as convincing as someone who’s already taken a course and applied their knowledge to the real world. Your affiliates can put your course in front of a new, interested audience and act as social proof that your course is effective and worthwhile. 

Here’s how to promote your online course with affiliate marketing and attract the affiliates that will help your course succeed. 

1. Decide How to Add Affiliates

Every affiliate program looks a little different. Some allow anyone interested to generate their affiliate link and start referring new students. Others have potential affiliates apply and vet the most qualified. Finally, some programs rely on the course owner (you) hand-picking affiliates. The method you choose to handle affiliate applications and signups will impact the quality of affiliates in your program.

For example, if you’re trying to build a brand, you’ll need to watch self-sign up affiliates closely to make sure they’re following your brand guidelines. An open affiliate program is great for more casual courses but less effective for courses presented as premium education. 

Having people apply, or choosing affiliates yourself, is a little more restrictive. You probably won’t have as many affiliates, but the ones you do get will be higher-quality. You’ll still need to check in from time to time, but if you’ve done your research, these affiliates will be trustworthy and better at representing your brand.

2. Set a Reasonable Commission Structure

There are plenty of ways to structure your affiliate commissions. Some programs use a flat rate, where every sale pays the affiliate the same amount of money. Others give the affiliate a percentage of the total sale or subscription. 

You need to find a balance between paying enough to make it worth your affiliates’ time and making money for yourself. The easiest way to do that is by offering a percentage of sales. You’ll be able to offer a range of courses at different price points without worrying that your flat fee is too high or too low. Many affiliate programs set commissions between 5% and 15% of the total sale. 

3. Reach Out to Existing Customers 

Now that you’ve built a program that will appeal to potential affiliates, it’s time to start recruiting. The first and easiest place to recruit potential affiliates is from your current customer base. Do you have students that are absolutely crushing it? Do you have former students who went out and did great things with what you taught them? Reach out to these people! They’re great examples of what potential students can get from your course. 

You can contact your existing students in several ways:

Mass email: Send an announcement email to everyone who’s currently in, or has graduated from, your course. Students or alumni can get in touch and start marketing for you. This method is excellent for people in all stages of your online course.

On-site banners: You can put on-site messages for anyone logged into your course advertising the affiliate program. This works best for reaching current students.

Course completion messages: When someone completes your course, make them an affiliate offer. They’re already excited about what they’ve learned, so it’s the perfect time for them to refer others. It’s also a reward for finishing the course.

Personal contact: If you already have some students in mind, you can reach out personally. With this strategy, you can hand-pick your best, most successful customers and give them something extra. 

4. Find Bloggers and Influencers In Your Niche

Influencers and bloggers are great for affiliate marketing. They already have an audience and a niche, so they have more reach than random students. If you connect with content creators whose brand and niche match yours, you can potentially start a mutually satisfying affiliate relationship. 

Look up creators in your niche and build a list of 10-50 potential affiliates. Then do your research to start narrowing down that list. Learn things like:

· How they present themselves online

· What other products and services they endorse

· How they perform endorsements

· What their audience is like

Ideally, you should end up with a list of 5-15 potential affiliates whose brand, messaging, and audience align with your own. Then you can reach out to these people individually to offer them affiliate status. If they accept, your course will be in front of an audience of thousands of interested people. 

5. Contact Industry Professionals

For very niche or premier subjects, it’s a good idea to reach out to industry professionals. A course about high-level academic principles or regulatory compliance probably won’t be attractive to the average blogger, but professionals in the industry might be very interested in the subject. Get in touch with professionals active on industry forums or Twitter. Even if they don’t become affiliates themselves, they can probably give you information about the people and organizations with whom you should get in touch.  

Start Marketing Your Course with Affiliates Today

Learning how to promote your online course with affiliate marketing pays off quickly. People are more likely to trust your course when someone they respect promotes it. With affiliate marketing for online courses, you can stop spending all your time on marketing and start teaching or writing new programs. 

If you’re ready to start your own affiliate program, LeadDyno can help. LeadDyno makes recruiting new affiliates simple, fast, and low-stress.