Launching a digital course is no simple task; therefore, you want to make sure you get the most out of your efforts.
For this reason, we highly recommend launching an affiliate program alongside your digital course to get the most bang for your buck.
In the final part of this three-part series (Part 1 and Part 2), we’ll discuss the benefits of bringing on affiliates while also considering how you can improve your launch strategy for future projects.
For every product that’s planned and launched, there are two elephants in the room.
The first is the question of whether or not the product made any money.
The second, which is perhaps more important, is the question of whether or not the product continues to make any money.
Think about it.
What’s the point of putting weeks, months, or perhaps even years of your time into a product just to watch it become obsolete in a matter of months?
Unfortunately, this is the reality of some today’s physical and digital products in an increasingly competitive, global economy.
The technological demands of today’s rapid users want more, and they want it now.
It’s the very reason why it seems like there’s a new iPhone on the shelf every time we turn our heads and products such as waterproof smartphones become the flavor of the week.
For this reason, informational products such as digital courses are an ideal means of generating ongoing, passive income.
Whether or not you agree with entrepreneurs such as Tim Ferriss, who adamantly push the creation of information products as a means of making big bucks, it’s difficult to deny the added bonus to having a product in your arsenal which…
- Has a relatively low overhead and even lower barrier to entry
- Can potentially be repurposed and updated at a minimal cost
- Can be easy marketed and sold by others, resulting in more revenue and exposure
That last bullet point will be the focus of this final part of our three-part series on launching your digital course.
That is, should you consider bringing on affiliates as part of your strategy?
The short answer?
Bringing on the Hired Guns
There’s no shame in asking for help when it comes to a product launch: in fact, many businesses could actually benefit from having some partners and hired guns on deck to help sell their new products.
The same logic rings true for selling a digital course (and this is especially beneficial if your launch doesn’t exactly go according to plan).
If your clicks and conversions are lower than you expected, what’s a marketer to do when they’re sitting on this brand new digital course and the buzz is drying up?
The answer to your plight may very well be best handled by bringing on affiliates.
Consider that digital courses are the bread and butter of many affiliates; meanwhile, keep in mind that a strong affiliate will be able to find warm leads for your product.
For example, if you’re selling a course that offers killer PPC tips or copywriting strategies, such a course has a shelf life due to the evolving nature of marketing; however, a truly comprehensive course could be sold for years to come (and updated accordingly, if needed).
By selling the course as part of an affiliate program, you expand your scope beyond the initial launch and keep the momentum of your product going strong.
Can Affiliates Really Help?
Yes. Of course, affiliates can help.
Look, it’s natural to be somewhat skeptical.
After all, it’s our product, and we don’t want to see it in the hands of others, right?
Perhaps this is the wrong mentality to have.
If you’re unsure about bringing on affiliates, consider the following:
- Affiliate marketing is expected to grow to a $4.6 billion dollar market by the end of the year (affiliate marketing doesn’t make any money, huh?)
- You do not pay a cent until your affiliate makes a sale (no strings attached)
- You have control over many parameters of your affiliate program, from commissions to banners to advertising copy
- You can’t outrun a poor product; therefore, consider that it takes a product that’s up to snuff to sell to anyone, let alone be sold by affiliates
Sometimes it’s important to note that much of success of affiliate programs falls on the business and marketing the product itself.
Of course, it never hurts to have a killer affiliate on deck, either.
So you’ve decided to go the affiliate route with your digital course.
You Need Options, Functionality, and Flexibility
If you want to have success with affiliates, you’re going to need a few things: options when it comes to setting up your program, the ability to tier commissions and keep track of who’s selling what (and how much you’re making).
Thankfully, ClickFunnels’ Backpack does all of this and more.
Bringing on affiliates doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be rocket science.
Simple to use, ClickFunnels’ Backpack allows you to build an army of commission-based salespeople to help sell your digital course.
Backpack makes it easy to manage affiliates and simplifies the process by…
- Offering a comprehensive overview of the affiliates in your program, the sales they’ve made, their commissions and more
- Allowing you to set up custom commission plans (for example, 35% to affiliate that sells your digital course and 5% to any affiliates they recommend it to)
- A straightforward interface, allowing you to set up and edit affiliate programs with ease
If you’re looking to market your digital course through affiliates, Backpack is the perfect starting point for newbies and experienced marketers alike.
… and Marketing Firepower
Having a robust platform such as Backpack to manage affiliates is a great starting point when it comes to bringing on affiliates; however, strong marketing materials will help boost sales and ensure that your affiliates are successful (which in turn, make you more successful).
What can you offer your affiliates to help them seal the deal and put money back into your own pocket?
There’s a reason why 82% of marketers note that strong content results in more conversions: you need a compelling message to support your product. Whether you’re claiming to boost sales, offer a cutting-edge breakthrough or provide secrets to undercut the competition, ensure that your affiliates have something to work with to drive their own content strategy for your product.
Many marketers disregard banner ads; however, they still remain an incredibly common and easy-to-measure means of attracting clicks.
The effectiveness of your banners are heavily influenced by design, so make sure you’re giving your affiliates something that is attractive to potential buyers and best represents your product.
Beyond your product itself, give your affiliates an opportunity to upsell and reap the rewards of additional commissions.
For example, you can offer deals such as one-on-one coaching or 20% off for inviting a friend.
If you’re in need of inspiration, see what competitors are doing in this space and understand what sort of offers are popular with competing affiliates.
Keep in mind that a higher percentage (25%+) will be more attractive to an affiliate versus 5%.
This is the very reason why many are discouraged by Amazon’s affiliate program, for example, which offers a 4% starting commission despite the platform’s vast popularity.
The Tim above Ferriss notes that his own affiliate commissions blew up when he offered the highest commission possible with ClickBank (75% at the time), leading hungry affiliates to evangelize his product.
By offering marketing options to affiliates, you increase your earning potential. Plain and simple.
The Power of Asking
So that’s that, right?
You’ve launched, you’ve got affiliates pushing your products, and you’re finally earning from your course.
What happens when you want to repeat this sort of process again?
What happens during the next launch?
How can you improve upon your first attempt and make the next launch even better?
Sometimes if you want something, the best thing to do is simply ask.
We strongly recommend “concluding” your launch with an email survey of your customers.
Ask them the questions that really matter about your product, including what they liked about features, design, price, and marketing.
Understanding this information can help you test and drive decisions for your next projects and launches.
The answers to this survey can be quite eye-opening as you continue to build new streams of leads and passionate customers.
So there it is.
There are plenty of moving pieces when it comes to launching an informational product such as a digital course; however, the rewards can be huge, especially when paired with the power of affiliates.
If you’ve had success with such products, we’d love to hear your story below.
Do you think there’s anything else that goes into a successful launch?