Fully Booked VA Blog

Launching My First Affiliate Program

I recently crossed a HUGE to do off of my list – I officially launched my first affiliate program!

I am beyond excited (and relieved) to be focusing on the next steps for the course, affiliate program and my business in general. Launching it was taking up a lot of my time and mental energy.

Since I recently gave you a course update, I thought it’d be beneficial to share the “behind the scenes” of launching an affiliate program. Here’s what I’ve learned so far (although I’m sure there’s more learning to come).

Not All Products are Created Equal

When it comes to launching an affiliate program, not all products are created equal. If I would have launched my course as a pdf or eBook, I would have had many more options when it came to choosing whom/how I wanted to launch an affiliate program.

Due to the nature of the course (it being delivered via email and action based, not delivered at the same time every day), not every affiliate option would work for me. My genius team (a marketing guru and my super awesome web dude) came up with a plugin solution.

Awesomely, the plugin only cost me $50 and there aren’t any ongoing fees. The cheap investment had me sold!

How I Determined the Commission Split

As you may remember, I initially offered my course for $30. After I revised it and added some new content, I raised the price to $47. Part of the reason that I raised the price, was that I wanted to be able to offer an affiliate program – that’s harder to do at the $30 price point.

I still wanted to keep the course affordable though. I’ve been told that there’s no reason I can’t be offering it for $99+, but I still want virtually anyone to be able to take it without breaking the bank. Keeping it under $50 allows me to do that (IMO).

Initially, I was planning on offering a 50/50 split. When you do the math though, I’d be making less than I would at my cheaper price point and then there’s still those pesky PayPal fees (my current payment processor). PayPal fees are roughly $2 per transaction, so if I sell the course outright, I profit $45 currently.

My solution was to offer a 40/60 split. Therefore, I’ll still absorb the PayPal fee (for the sale), the affiliate earns ~$19 and I pocket the rest (~$26). This is only $3 less than I’d make if I sold it outright at the previous price point. And the affiliate makes almost $20 a pop – not too shabby, right?

How I’m Promoting the Program

I personally emailed (no group BCC email) about 30 people asking them to “join my team.” I outlined the course, the changes I’ve made and invited them to become affiliates. I’ve had tremendous response and somewhere between 25-30% signing up within 24 hours.

In the same email, I offered multiple ways for them to share about the course, including:

  1. Share your link via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (make sure to add some unique text encouraging your network to check it out, i.e. why should they click your link?).
  2. Review the course on your blog and end with a call-to-action for your readers to check it out via your link. I’m also more than happy to be interviewed if that would help!
  3. I could write a guest post (not just a sales pitch, but offer some valuable freelancing advice) and anyone that purchased within a set period of time (i.e. 72 hours) would be entered into a giveaway of a free 1/2 hour coaching session with me or you. 
  4. Email your list (or just your friends and family) directly outlining what you got out of the course and what you think they will too.
  5. Place a banner ad on your blog or website (see the info-graphic attachments). When someone clicks through and purchases, you’ll automatically get credit for the sale.
  6. Add your link to a resources page on your blog/website.
  7. Create your own pin for Pinterest using your unique url. Click here for an example of an existing pin.

I also have an affiliate lesson in the actual email course (it’s one of the new ones and is listed at the very end, #32), which offers all of my students the chance to become an affiliate if they are so inclined and I’m sending a campaign to previous students extending the offer. I only want people that believe in the product to rep it – it needs to be a win/win in order for it to work.

My Result Hopes and Dreams

In the last two and a half months, I’ve had roughly 55 course enrollments. My husband and I are planning a celebration dinner when I reach 100.

Ideally, I’d like to get to the point, where I’m selling two course subscriptions per day. It doesn’t matter (at this point) if it’s through my site directly or an affiliate link. I’d be more than happy to pay out a ton of commissions!

I worked really hard to write the course and then to revise it to make it even better. Again, it’s worth much more than what I’m charging, but I want virtually anyone to be able to afford to take it and give this whole freelance writing thing a try.

Do You Want to Become an Affiliate?

If you’ve been following my work for sometime and would like to offer my course as an affiliate, you totally should! It’s super simple to sign up (just click here).

Then, refer to the above ideas or shoot me an email and we can brainstorm some non-spammy or salesy ways to promote it. After all, if no one buys, neither of us will make any money!

What are you waiting for?

P.S. Alexis Grant just wrote about how The Write Life earned over $5k in affiliate commissions in December. Check it out!

Photo Credit: jypsygen via Compfight cc

Gina Horkey

Gina Horkey


Gina Horkey is a married, millennial mama from Minnesota. Additionally, she’s the founder of Horkey HandBook and loves helping others find or become a kickass virtual assistant. Gina’s background includes making a living as a professional writer, an online business marketing consultant and a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

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