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How to launch an affiliate program to sell online courses

See how to set up and promote your very own affiliate program to sell courses. It happens sometimes that when a course...

Written by Atika Qasim · 3 min read >
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See how to set up and promote your very own affiliate program to sell courses.

It happens sometimes that when a course is launched, sales fail to live up to expectations. Added on with limited funds to market courses, it can become a real problem. In such cases, how do you make your course launch a success? One of the most important steps you can take is to start an affiliate program.

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What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program is an affordable marketing tactic wherein you reach out to other people (influencers, bloggers, community leaders, the general public etc) to promote your business in return for some incentives.

It is like commission work; you partner with these people and they get to keep a certain percentage of the sales they generate, as commission. Another name for the affiliate program is ‘joint-venture partnerships’.

Steps to launch an affiliate program

Before you launch an affiliate program, decide on what program type you prefer. There are four different kinds of program structures to choose from:

  • Pay-per-scale: Only pay for the number of leads converted
  • Residual program: Pay a percentage of income for the duration
  • Average scale: Pay according to average monthly income
  • Volume-tiered program: Subscription fee for specific conversion rate

1. Set up an affiliate platform

There several ways of setting up an affiliate platform; by creating your own channel or include a third party. For your affiliate program, you will need to add UTM parameters to affiliate links for tracking. You can also use plugins and cookies to track the activity. Then run a report every month and pay your affiliate accordingly.

While the ideal cost-effective method is to create a personal channel, it can take a lot of time. However, if you opt for a third-party channel, it will direct suitable affiliates to your program, manage the activity, and calculate the payment rate for you for a small fee. It will make your life easier and organized. There are a couple of affiliate marketplaces you can check out according to your budget e.g. ClickBank and JVZoo.

2. Optimize your landing page

To convert your leads into customers, it is important to optimize your landing page. Keep track of the traffic that visits your page. Where do they scroll, what do they click, etc. This will provide you with data regarding what interests your viewers on your page the most. You can conduct short surveys on your page to ask how you can improve your website.

To monitor your traffic you can use tools like Crazyegg.

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3. Promote your affiliate program

After you’ve set up your affiliate program, the next step is to promote it to get as many affiliates as possible. Affiliates are the people you partner with in order to market your courses. Below are a few ways in which you can easily promote your program:

◼ Social media

You can directly reach out to potential affiliates via DMs on social media. It is a super easy and quick method. Create your social media profiles for your course business to keep things professional and official. You can also join affiliate groups on Facebook or LinkedIn for this purpose, and post your offer.

◼ Email marketing

Start a drip chain of emails to target your potential affiliates. Let them know what the benefits are of joining your affiliate program. As a course creator, another interesting way is by sending emails to your learners and asking them if they’d join your affiliate program.

For a detailed guide on setting up email marketing, check out:
📧 Email marketing tips for your online course business.

◼ Blogging

Another way of promoting your affiliate program is through starting your blog or writing for others’ blogs. Find/create a relevant blog and create product awareness through it. Finally, attach your affiliate links at the top or bottom of your blog posts. Make sure whatever you are writing about provides value and catches attention.

◼ Attend affiliate conferences

This method is more time taking and demands more labor. You have to attend various affiliate conferences; in-person and virtual. The idea is to network with people already engaged in the affiliate marketing business. A good example of an affiliate conference is The World Affiliate Summit and Affiliate World Conferences.

👉 Also check out: how to pre-sell online courses successfully

◼ Add affiliate CTA on your webpage, socials

You must have visited several websites that have the ‘support us’ or ‘join us’ option somewhere on the pages. These are basically call-to-action buttons for potential affiliates to join their affiliate marketing program. You should also attach a well-designed CTA button to attract affiliates to your program.


By launching an affiliate program, you can also get bumped up in search results as several people will be sharing your course(s). This will rate your courses higher up without having to invest too much time or money.

Start your course creator journey with Airschool today!

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