Affiliates and referrals: How to spread the word about your course

Affiliates and referrals: How to spread the word about your course

Publish Date
Feb 2, 2022
Imagine having a little army out there promoting your course for you, spreading the word, and reaching new people.
And these new people are even more likely to sign up since someone they trust is telling them that your course is worth it.
That’s what affiliates and referrals can do for you.
Now, you might wonder how to tap into these to make your next launch a success.
I see three levels that you can climb as you establish your course: free promotion, alumni referrals, and affiliates.
Let’s examine each one and how to make it happen.

Level 1: Free family & friends promotion

Activate your friends, family, and early fans. They’re usually happy to promote your course for free because they simply believe in what you do.
I’ve pointed to the launches of many course creators in my newsletter because I know they’re doing great stuff, and it aligned with what my audience needs.
How to get free promotion:
Just ask nicely if someone would be willing to share your course launch.
Ideally, give them a tweet thread they can retweet or a LinkedIn post they can comment on.
Even better when you have a free asset (such as an upcoming workshop or guide) that also provides value to their audience.

Level 2: Alumni referral program

Once you’ve run your course once or twice and got alumni that had success because of it, you can start an alumni referral program.
Ship 30 for 30 does this really well.
Every alumni receives a unique referral link they can share with their network (which also provides a discount to the next cohort). So every time someone enrolls using this link, the alum gets a nice kickback. It’s a win-win-win.
This has encouraged many alumni to spread the word and publish their course reviews.
How to create an alumni referral program:
Essentially, you’ll need a way to track who referred who.
Platforms like Podia and Teachable make this easy by automatically creating referral links for your alumni and handling the payout.
Once this is set up, provide your alumni with a few guidelines on how they can best share their experience and their referral links with the world.

Level 3: Affiliates

Affiliates are typically other course creators or influencers (e.g., YouTubers) in your or a related space with a sizeable audience.
An affiliate actively promotes your course to their audience in exchange for a cut of the course sales they referred (around 20% in my experience).
What could this look like? For example, they could send a full email launch sequence to their email list, run a social media campaign to their followers, or publish a YouTube video related to your course.
If the launch is a success, it’s a win-win for both of you.
How to work with affiliates:
The first step is finding the right affiliate. Usually, you wouldn’t want anyone who’s in it only for the money and might promise something to their audience that your course can’t fulfill. So instead, look for someone with an aligned mission.
The next step is to agree on the terms of the partnership. What percentage of the sales will they receive? What marketing material will you provide them?
It’s your job to support and equip them with what they need to promote your course in whatever way they think makes sense for their audience.
So, when it comes to marketing your course, you don’t have to pull all the weight alone.
Anyone can start with level one. Then, work your way up from there as your course grows.
Have you worked with affiliates or referrals? I’d love to hear about your experience.