Affiliate marketing is where you promote a product or service in exchange for a commission on sales that are made through your referral. Or in other words, you get a percentage or flat rate fee for each sale that you make for the company that you’re “affiliated with.”
It’s a good business model and revenue source if you build an audience and you regularly recommend products or services. This allows you to monetize reviews of products or any time you mention a third-party service, giving you revenue any time you send a customer who then buys from the target site.
Affiliate marketing can be used in websites, videos, programs, apps, or anywhere else that a link can be shared and tracked.
It’s good for the business or service you’re driving sales to, because they get risk free marketing that they only pay for after they’ve made a direct sale from your otherwise unpaid marketing efforts. This is the risk you take because you can spend time and money creating an affiliate business, but if you don’t make any conversions into sales, then you will not make a return on your investment.
Since affiliate revenue generation is a type of business and there are some inherent risks involved, it makes sense to understand the subject before you begin investing yourself in it.
Having said this, can you learn to do this all on your own or is getting a trustworthy affiliate marketing course worth the investment? That will be the focus in this article.
Why an Affiliate Marketing Course Can Help You Succeed
Whenever you’re new to a job you go through training so that you understand how the job works, what you need to do, and why you need to do it. If you think of affiliate marketing as a type of job or business then it makes sense to get training to do it right.
While getting into an affiliate program is usually free and operating a website or social media channel to push affiliate leads is also free or inexpensive, the investment of time into content creation is usually large for successful affiliates and you know the saying: time is money.
If you approach affiliate monetization as a business then it also is ideal to have a business plan and to research the competition and what they do to succeed as affiliates. That also means understanding the risks involved, the likelihood of failure, the average amount of time it takes before you’ll break even, or be able to replace your job with affiliate revenue as your main income.
You should consider taking an affiliate marketing course since it can help you avoid common pitfalls as well as understand the best practices that have been developed by successful affiliate marketers. After all, there is no sense reinventing the wheel when you can just go out and buy one.
So, if you’re new to affiliate marketing it really does make sense to learn as much as you can before you begin investing effort into it as a job or business. And that means training, which an affiliate course could potentially provide.
How a Good Course Can Help You Earn Faster and Save Money
Affiliate marketing is marketing that you provide for free upfront for your affiliate, in the hopes that you convert enough sales through your marketing to make it a profitable investment of time. Good affiliate courses focus heavily on content marketing and providing affiliate links to hot leads who are ready to buy.
A good course can potentially help you earn your first affiliate sale quicker by sharing the step-by-step process of setting up an efficient content production pipeline to produce media that will attract people who are ready to buy the products or services that you are affiliated with. Learning about these monetization and production pipelines will save you a bunch of time that you would otherwise waste creating content that is ineffective at getting affiliate sales and will help you avoid some other common traps.
Time is money and money is time so there’s a good argument to be made that spending a little money on affiliate training to get fully educated on different affiliate business models is well worth the money and time you would save trying to succeed with little to no knowledge or experience.
What to Look For In a Good Course
A good course will start with the fundamentals so that you understand the basics and can use that as a base to build the rest of your knowledge.
Once the basics have been covered the best courses will walk you through specific processes that have been proven to work that you can replicate. These are “monetization pipelines” that consist of measurable steps that can be repeated like a recipe and can be used to help you formulate your business and marketing plan.
All good courses will be relatively up-to-date, having at least had an update within the last year or two. Marketing is constantly changing and good marketing courses are by definition up-to-date or else they’re no longer good.
What works for one affiliate network doesn’t necessarily translate to another. If you are interested in becoming an Amazon affiliate then you should not take a course on ClickBank. To that end, the best affiliate course for you will be the course that best teaches your niche and your specific affiliate programs. Of course, there are not courses for every niche or affiliate platform so you should try your best find courses that cover your use case as close as possible.
Almost every good affiliate course will have positive reviews. It’s okay if there are a few negative reviews here and there, because if most of the reviews are positive and authentic (not fake reviews that are meant to push their affiliate link to the course) then it is a good indicator that the course is good. A good course reviewer would have actually purchased the course rather than just talk about it.
Good courses have an emphasis on white-hat best practices, or in other words good courses focus on positive marketing tactics, nothing shady or unethical. You want your affiliate business to last for years, so a good course teaches best practices and how to follow all terms of services to make sure you don’t get banned or kicked out of affiliate networks.
What To Avoid With Affiliate Marketing Courses
Unfortunately, there are a lot of low quality, outdated, irrelevant, or even scammy affiliate marketing courses out there. For the new and aspiring affiliate, it can be hard to know which courses are best and which ones should be avoided.
Here are some red flags and other warning signs to look for when evaluating courses:
Any course that promises that you will get rich quick should be avoided. If they really had the key to getting rich quickly they would use it and guard the secret to their wealth. While you may get lucky and earn a fortune quickly with an affiliate business, for most of us it takes years of hard work to see a worthwhile return.
Virtually every course teaching a “copy and paste” affiliate method that only takes an hour a day on social media or similar “too good to be true” courses are just that: too good to be true.
Any course or system that relies on breaking terms of service or any other grey-hat, questionable, or down-right unethical business practices, should definitely be avoided. Back door hacks, loop-holes, abusing systems, deploying automation when it’s specifically forbidden and other dubious “systems” are routinely advertised online as legitimate affiliate courses from big name “gurus.” These systems will get you banned from your affiliate network and are not worth the risk, even if they happen to work in the short-term.
You should avoid any affiliate course that is more than a few years old if it has not been updated recently. This is because the world of online marketing is constantly changing and what worked a few years ago may or may not be relevant today. In addition, good course creators will release small updates to classic courses that are still good, just to explain that the course is still relevant today. If they don’t take the minimal effort to let us know the course isn’t abandoned, it is best assumed that an old course is out of date.
You should avoid expensive affiliate marketing courses unless you’re already making a ton of money through affiliate programs and are trying to take it to the next level. There are hundreds of free or low-cost affiliate marketing resources for beginners so don’t break the bank on a business model that may or may not work for you when you can get the same knowledge for a reasonable price.
How to Avoid a Bad Course & Fake Gurus
Earlier I mentioned that you should avoid “get rich quick” affiliate courses. That’s because I’ve been in affiliate marketing for decades and I know from experience it is usually not a quick process. Almost every new website, social media campaign, video channel, or other affiliate channels is a long-term process that often takes years of hard work to succeed. This is in stark contrast to a “get-rich-quick” scheme.
So the golden rule of avoiding fake gurus and bad online courses is: if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
When considering a course on affiliate marketing, make sure it meets the criteria for a good course that I outlined above and doesn’t display any of the warning signs I warned against. In short, you want an in-depth, up-to-date affiliate course that doesn’t promise to make you rich, that doesn’t use clickbait headlines that promises the world, that does cover the fundamentals and optimally covers the specific affiliate program you’re working with.
Pros & Cons of Learning Affiliate Marketing From a Course
- You get to learn from the mistakes of others and save time avoiding their pitfalls.
- It’s like training for a job, you get to learn the step-by-step processes that have worked for others.
- Most courses are self-paced, so you can learn in your free time, at your own speed.
- Video courses can show the hands-on, behind the scenes and day-to-day activities that can be hard to imagine from a text-based tutorial.
- A good course will help you earn your first affiliate commission sooner and make more revenue in the long term.
- You need to spend the time to properly vet courses and gurus to make sure they’re legitimate.
- It may be hard to find a course that exactly matches your topic or affiliate network, requiring you to adapt it to your specific use-case.
- Even good affiliate courses can age quickly if they are not supplemented with regular updates because best practices in affiliate marketing change.
- It’s like winning the lottery to get rich quick from affiliate marketing and there are lots of misleading courses that promise big affiliate earnings quickly despite the fact that most successful affiliate marketers require years to earn a full-time income from it.
Taking a good affiliate course is a win for beginners or for those looking to brush up on the intricates of modern affiliate marketing. With a critical eye, patience and some research, anyone interested in learning how to monetize new or existing content with affiliate marketing can get up to speed quickly with an affiliate course.
Becoming successful with affiliate marketing is a win-win-win situation as it benefits your audience who get the items or services they want; you get a share of the revenue and the affiliated business makes a sale. Connecting interested audiences with targeted affiliate offers is both an art and science, so I think the pros outweigh the cons if you have the proper training. At the end of the day, you will have to decide if spending money on a course is worth it to you, but regardless, I hope this article helped you.