Don’t avoid offering or creating a affiliate or referral plan for your existing community members

Welcome to the “What NOT to Do When Building an Online Community!”  In this article, we talk about a very simple concept, but one that seems to come up way too often because it’s way too easy to fall into the trap of doing it:
Don’t avoid offering or creating a affiliate or referral plan for your existing community members.
If you see the title of this article, you should be wondering why an affiliate or referral plan actually matters when where talking about online courses in a community platform.  You might be thinking that I should stick to discussions about content and maximizing the student’s experience – which is all good!  Yet, when we talk about affiliate or referral opportunities, those are important aspects of a course and a community platform, too.
To define an affiliate plan, it’s a system where someone promotes a product or a service to others.  When a customer is created from that promotion and that customer makes a purchase, the person who shared the opportunity of the promotion and/or referred the product or service receives a reward or commission for the work completed.
The reason why we’re discussing the opportunity of an affiliate plan is because many entrepreneurs, small business owners, and influencers actively promote each other and their companies.  And it makes sense that they would want some sort of compensation for their promotion if a company gains revenue for the referral.
Some speakers and teachers don’t like the idea.  They think that there is something inherently wrong with paying a person or an organization a commission for promoting their work. especially their students.  Apparently there is this perception that someone who promotes a product or service for compensation makes the product or service “dirty” or “exploitation” for what the speaker or teacher is selling.  What makes it worse for the speaker or teacher is when a student wants to receive compensation for promoting the product or service.  Somehow that situation feels worse because the student may seem to be profiting from “selling” the product or service of the speaker or teacher.
So, how can you justify the reason for compensating someone for promoting your product or service – or especially your course?
The answer is pretty simple.  We pay all kinds of companies and individuals for helping us promote our products and services.  We pay consultants and mentors for their strategic services.  We pay printing companies, promotional firms, and marketing agencies to build resources to promote our products and services.  So why not allow those who understand what you’re teaching, and want to promote the excellence you provide?
Consider your opportunities to sell.  Word of mouth is always the best way to sell – let your community be your biggest fans and your best salespeople.
Would like to know more?  Let us know.  Email us at and post your question in the “topic line”.  We’ll be happy to help you!

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