The online business space is as competitive as doing business in the offline world. Business owners are constantly looking for the most effective ways to advertise their business. Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to create awareness for your brand and grow your business. It’s perfect for online schools as well.
What makes affiliate a great marketing option is that you reward a partner only after they have referred a paying customer. So, compared to pay-per-click ads or other types of paid advertising, you don’t need to have a budget on the table.
When we launched our Affiliate Management feature, a complete affiliate system built-in inside your LearnWorlds school, a lot of school owners realized that they were given a tool with unlimited potential. So, they wanted to learn more about the best tactics and tips on how to create a thriving affiliate program.
This is why we wrote before about How to Grow Your School with Affiliate Marketing, a short yet comprehensive guide for school owners, and also created a high-quality ebook about How to Thrive in Affiliate Marketing that you can download for free.
How to create a profitable Affiliate Program
Now, let’s look at a few tips on how you can take your affiliate program to the next level by customizing certain aspects of it to fit your school strategy. Your affiliate terms should serve your business and, at the same time, motivate your partners to work harder on creating successful campaigns.
Customizing your affiliate program for peak performance inside LearnWorlds is as easy as point and click. So, let’s dive right in.
1Research competitors’ prices
It’s always good practice to check up on your competitors. As with any other type of marketing, it is beneficial to be in the know.
Conduct research on the commission rates that your competitors are offering and see if you can match or top that. This way your school will become the preferred business in your niche and more affiliates will join your program.
2Determine a long cookie expiration period
Increase the expiration period of a cookie to 60 days or longer. This helps to keep track of a referral for longer, and attribute the commission to the referrer.
Most leads won’t buy instantly, so you need to make sure your affiliate partner will receive their rightful payment even if the sale takes time to close.
You can do this by following these steps:
Step 1: Go to Affiliate Set up and scroll down.
Step 2: Then, go to Cookie Expiration and set the cookie expiration duration to your preference.
3Set custom commission for high-performing affiliates
Commissions rates will be determined by your strategy. For example, you may want to set high commission rates until your affiliate program becomes popular. Or, you may want to reward influencers with a higher commission. It basically depends on what you want to achieve and how you rank against your competitors.
LearnWorlds Affiliate Management enables you to optionally set a custom commissions rate per affiliate.
Click on the edit button, under the Affiliates menu, to edit the commission rate for any affiliate.
4Check terms & conditions with a legal advisor
It’s always best to stay on the safe side of things! Make sure to check the terms and conditions of the affiliate program contract with a legal advisor.
When it comes to affiliate marketing, fair play is everything. Affiliates will appreciate transparency.
In your school, you will find an editable Affiliate Agreement template which you can edit and personalize according to your legal advisor’s directions.
The template can be found under the Affiliate Set Up menu.
Click on Edit page to make changes. Here’s what the template looks like:
5How long will you hold the money?
Affiliates want to receive their payouts fast. However, you need to determine a period of time during which you hold the money to allow for refunds and chargebacks.
Set the Commission payable after option to at least 30 days, depending on your money-back terms.
6Talk to your affiliates directly
It doesn’t hurt to develop a working relationship with your affiliates. On the contrary, this is good business manners. Good relationships leave room for better negotiation on commission rates and enhances the quality of your affiliate collaboration. Your goal should be that both parties get value from the partnership.
Under the Affiliate Management menu, go to Affiliates to see the overview of the individual account, including how much commission you have set for them and their email address:
7Offer a temporary increase in commission rates
If you have a new course coming out and are in launch mode, you could offer your affiliates an incentive to increase their advertising efforts.
During launches, you could get a ‘window of opportunity’ and provide a temporary increase to your affiliates to reach your revenue targets.
8Give bonuses and other incentives
Think of creative ideas and innovative marketing collateral that you can provide your partners to keep them active.
For example, you can create a library of advertising banners, email swipes, pdf reports and resources pages that will help them create content or take action towards promoting your schools.
This will help your affiliates feel that you stand by them, and also help achieve consistency of your marketing message across all channels.
9Launch seasonal campaigns
Black Friday, New Year’s and other holidays are typically associated with a higher sales volume for online businesses. You can create permanent or seasonal coupon codes for one or all of your affiliates to help them with their promotions. Read more about how you can create discount coupons for your courses.
Let your partners know that they can customize their links to point to different courses or pages of your online school.
10Educate your affiliates
Don’t leave your affiliates without effective guidance and news information. An easy way to keep your affiliates educated is to have a specific newsletter dedicated solely to your network of affiliates.
You can fill this newsletter with content ideas or new courses you’ll be launching.
Every LearnWorlds customer with a Pro Trainer plan or higher gets access to an editable affiliate guide. This guide is a full training program intended to be distributed to the affiliates of any LearnWords school. It is white-labeled so the school owner can edit it, add their own content and format it to fit their school branding.
Peak performance goes hand in hand with quality
All of these tips and tricks can skyrocket your sales and bring a huge number of visitors to your site!
However, there’s one thing you need to remember:
While quantity is important, when it comes to affiliate marketing, quality wins. This means that your top priority is to find potential partners who can offer quality leads and customers. You need students that will stay in the long-term and maybe buy more courses or added value services from you.
The best group of people to look for affiliates are your students because they know you and your content, and can become your most loyal school ambassadors. Having this in mind, make sure to send them an invite to become your affiliate partners focusing on the benefits they can get out of it as well.
Best of luck, and do let us know how this is working for you!
Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team with more than three years of experience in digital marketing. Graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a Guidance degree, she has equipped herself with hands-on experience in education management and career guidance.