How to Create Your Own Affiliate Program [5 Steps]7 minute read
Having your own affiliate program is a great way to incentivize your customers, audience and followers to spread the word about your business!
As a course creator, you know how time-consuming it is to promote your online course and drive up more sales. Affiliate marketing can help you automate this process by turning your customers into active sales representatives for your brand!
In today's article, we will walk you through what affiliate marketing is, how to create your own affiliate link for free, and how to manage a successful affiliate program.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where the consumers become the advocates of a brand and actively assist with the marketing efforts in exchange for a commission or other benefits.
As the business owner, you give partners or customers (let's call them affiliates - they are the people who will promote your brand) a special link to promote your products or services online.
When someone else clicks on that link and buys your product, the affiliate gets some money as a reward, either a percentage of the sale, a set commission structure or other perks.
The way an affiliate marketing program works is very simple. But you need a platform that sets all of this up for you.
If you create online courses, you need a tool to make special affiliate links for your partners.
Your customers all get a special link they can use to promote your products, and you can easily track the number of affiliate sales and commission payouts. More about how to do this later in the article...
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation. You, the affiliate, and the customer all benefit.
Here's why affiliate marketing is so effective:
- Increased Sales and Revenue: Like any marketing plan, an affiliate program can help you sell more and make more money. You can share as many affiliate links as you want without paying anything upfront, increasing your chances of making sales.
- No Upfront Costs: You only pay a commission when someone brings you a new customer. You don't have to spend money on ads that might not work.
- Improved Visibility and SEO: With affiliate marketing, you get lots of links to your website. The more affiliates you have, the more your course gets promoted online. This can boost your website's ranking on Google and make it more visible.
- Strong Social Proof: People tend to be skeptical of ads. But with affiliate marketing, you create a system where trusted individuals recommend your course. If your affiliates have a big following and are trusted, potential customers are more likely to buy from their recommendations.
- No Hard Work: You don't have to do the hard work of promoting your course yourself. Your affiliates do it for you. All you need to do is provide them with special links. If you use Heights Platform to host your course, even that part is easy.
How to Create Your Own Affiliate Program
Creating an affiliate program can be straightforward, but it can also be complex if you have to build it completely from the ground up.
Luckily, if you're a creator using Heights Platform, you don't have to worry about the technical details.
Let's see step by step how to create your own affiliate program inside Heights.
Step 1: Sign Up For Heights Platform
With Heights Platform, setting up your affiliate program is easy. You can launch your program no matter which Heights pricing plan you're on (basic plan & up), and the best part is, that it's completely free if you already have an account!
When you use Heights, not only can your students but anyone interested in promoting your online course can easily become an affiliate for your brand.
With our built-in program, you'll have access to real-time information about how well your affiliates are doing, a list of all your affiliates, details about the commissions you need to pay, and much more!
You have the flexibility to customize your affiliate program to your liking. You can choose the commission percentage you prefer, decide whether to offer recurring commissions, set a minimum amount for payouts, and make other adjustments as needed.
If you didn't use Heights Platform, you would typically face two options:
- Hire a Developer: You'd need to hire a developer to build the affiliate program from scratch, which can be costly and time-consuming.
- Use a Paid Service: Alternatively, you could use a paid service that often charges a monthly fee, requires specific technical integrations, or may even take a percentage of your sales as fees.
By signing up for Heights Platform, you can create excellent online courses and have your very own affiliate program, all without any additional costs – it's included for free.Create Your Online Course Today
Step 2: Enable the Affiliate Program
It is very easy to launch your own affiliate program using Heights, all you have to do is enable it!
You have three options to choose from:
- Disabled: If you don't want to use the affiliate feature, you can select "Disabled." This means your students won't have access to their special unique tracking link or affiliate settings.
- Invite-Only: When you choose "Invite-Only," students can access their affiliate settings, but only if they are pre-approved as affiliates. They need your approval before they can use the affiliate program.
- Enabled: If you select "Enabled," the student affiliate program is open to everyone. Your students can refer others and earn a commission once you accept them as affiliates. If you go with "Enabled," anyone with access to your course can start promoting it without needing your approval upfront. Approval only comes into play when it's time to pay out the commissions.
Step 3: Set The Commission Percentage
Next, it is time to set the commission percentage that your affiliates will gain after bringing your referrals.
Type the desired percentage into the text box to specify the commission percentage you want to offer to your affiliates when they refer new students to your online course. For example, if you want to give a 20% commission, enter "20."
Here, you can set a payout threshold: the minimum amount an affiliate needs to earn before receiving a payment. This threshold pertains to the commission amount, not the total sales amount.
Enter the amount in the text box to set the desired payout threshold. For instance, if you set it to "100," your affiliates will only receive payments once they've accumulated at least $100 in total commissions earned.
There is no need to create affiliate links manually. Affiliate links are created automatically by the platform.
You can also choose whether you wish to give out commissions on future subscription payments (if your business sells on a subscription basis).
If you choose to allow this, it means that affiliates who earned a commission for referring someone to a subscription will continue to receive a commission for all future payments you receive from that subscription.
So, if the referred student keeps renewing their subscription, the affiliate keeps earning a commission on each renewal.
Whether you allow commission on subscription renewals or not, if a referral brings you more than one purchase (for example, a new student buys different courses or bundles in your program, all from one affiliate link), the affiliate will always get a commission for each of those new orders.
Each purchase made through their affiliate link earns them a commission, regardless of whether it's a subscription renewal or a new product.
Step 4: Track Referral Sources and Access Affiliate Links
Now that your affiliate marketing program is up and running, it is time to track your referral links and see how your affiliates are performing.
Needless to say, your affiliate program won't magically start generating sales by itself. You need to promote it and invite affiliate partners to create high-quality content about your brand.
For the sake of the article, let's assume that you already did that and you want to check how your affiliates are performing. This is very easy to do in Heights Platform.
To understand commissions and payouts, you need to first understand how affiliate marketing works inside Heights:
The Heights Platform Student Affiliate Program relies on cookies to track where referrals come from.
These cookies can keep track of the referral source for up to 90 days after someone clicks on an affiliate link.
So, let's say someone clicks on an affiliate link but doesn't make a purchase right away. They close the page and later return to your course, perhaps through a regular link (not an affiliate link), and then make a purchase within 90 days.
In this case, the commission from that sale will still be credited to the affiliate, even though the purchase didn't directly come from the affiliate link they initially clicked.
Heights Platform lets you see a list of all of your affiliates, and track detailed analytics about their referrals and commission structures.
You can also create a unique affiliate link to give to certain affiliates, or set a different percentage structure for a specific person.
Step 5: Process Payouts
In the Heights Platform student affiliate program, you have the flexibility to review and decide whether to accept or reject a commission.
By default, commissions are automatically approved.
However, if you believe a referral is not legitimate or doesn't meet your criteria, you have the option to deny or reject that commission after reviewing it. This gives you control over which referrals you want to reward with commissions.
If everything looks good with a referral, you can pay the affiliate for the commission agreed upon in the affiliate agreement.
On Heights Platform, you can create a payout record that helps you keep track of which affiliates you already paid, and which not. However, Heights Platform doesn't handle the actual monetary transaction.
When it comes to making payments to your student affiliates, it's important to note that you'll need to handle this process outside of the Heights Platform system.
We recommend using PayPal for your affiliate payouts. PayPal is a widely recognized and secure payment method that offers international coverage.
Using PayPal allows you to securely and conveniently transfer earnings to your students without the need to store sensitive payment information, enhancing the safety and simplicity of the process for both you and your affiliates.
Create Your Own Affiliate Program Today
Affiliate marketing is a powerful strategy for creators to boost sales, increase brand recognition, and expand their online presence.
However, setting up and managing an affiliate program can be a daunting task without the right affiliate management tool (such as an affiliate platform).
That's where Heights Platform comes in.
With Heights Platform, you have the ability to effortlessly create affiliate links, transforming your students and supporters into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
This feature is available for all creators (basic plan & up), and best of all, it's completely free for existing account holders.
Through Heights Platform's affiliate program, you empower your affiliates with their own unique affiliate link and real-time performance analytics in your own affiliate dashboard.
What's more, you can also become an affiliate for Heights Platform itself, earning commissions by promoting this awesome online course software to your affiliate network.
As the affiliate marketing industry continues to thrive, it's clear that this strategy is a win-win for creators, affiliates, and customers alike.
Kick-start your online course business with affiliate marketing, and create your new affiliate program today!Create Your Online Course Today