How to Promote Your Membership Site with Affiliate Marketing
With everything from classes and presentations, to podcasts and videos, and webinars and ebooks…there’s a lot of content online.
Membership sites have become an increasingly popular way for content like this to be shared and consumed. Platforms like Memberful have now made it easy for creators to sell memberships — so not only can creators monetize their content, they also have the tools to build a business around it.
Yet, even with the right tools and great content, membership sites can’t last without bringing in new customers.
In this article, we’ll look at how to promote your membership site using affiliate marketing.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing incentives individuals (affiliates) to promote your business and refer customers, and in exchange for their promotions, affiliates earn a commission for every successful referral.
For membership sites, this is typically when a referral signs up for a subscription.
Affiliates can promote via websites, social media and blogs — using referral links and discount codes to send traffic to your site.
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
With affiliate marketing, businesses have an additional channel to add to their marketing stack.
And beyond that, there’s a few more reasons it’s a great solution for membership sites.
First, it’s a great way to build brand awareness. Affiliates can reach targeted audiences and share your brand within their niche.
Along with brand awareness, affiliate marketing reshapes how your brand is promoted. 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
So rather than flashy ads, affiliate marketing uses social proof to add credibility and authenticity to your promotions. It is real people sharing why they love your brand.
On top of that, it gives audiences a sense of the overall experience. This is particularly important for membership sites since it’s more than a one-time purchase, and customers will want to have confidence in what they are subscribing to.
It’s also cost-effective. The costs of PPC channels like Google & Facebook might be too expensive for those sites just starting out, and solely relying on free social media channels doesn’t guarantee the time & money spent creating will bring in paying customers.
With affiliate marketing, you only pay for ads that convert. It’s a low-risk investment, with a clear ROI compared to other online marketing channels.
And finally, it rewards your loyal customers. Loyal customers are happy enough with your site to continue their membership, and now they can be rewarded for sharing why.
How can I get started?
Start with looking at Tapfiliate’s Integrations.
Here you’ll find several options for membership sites, subscription services and payment gateways. For most sites, this is pretty seamless and you can get started in just minutes.
Customize your program
You wouldn’t use different branding in your ads or social media pages, and you shouldn’t for your affiliate program either.
Customize your affiliate program to match your membership site. This includes:
- Setting up a custom subdomain
- Creating a branded sign up page
- Adding your logo to your affiliate program’s dashboard
- Personalizing affiliate emails to fit your brand’s verbiage
Set your commissions
Are you looking to build brand awareness? Growing lead generation and sign ups? Or are you solely focusing on increasing the number of paying members?
Depending on your overall marketing goals, you’ll decide what affiliates will be paid a commission for. This action is referred to as a “conversion”.
For membership sites, this is usually when someone signs up for a membership.
If you offer a free trial, this could be when someone enters a paid membership. With Tapfiliate’s Customers functionality you are able to track this journey so when the referred customer enters a paid subscription, the conversion will be attributed to the affiliate.
Then, you’ll decide your commission amount and frequency.
- Commission amounts can be a flat rate or a % of the membership costs.
- Commission frequency depends on how often an affiliate receives a commission for their referral.
Since memberships typically follow a subscription-based model with recurring payments, you can offer recurring commissions.This commission structure is very attractive, and motivates affiliates to refer customers who are more likely to stay members.
With recurring commissions, affiliates earn a commission for each successful payment their referral makes. For example, if their referral pays a monthly subscription fee every month, the affiliate would earn a commission every month as well. This can be capped, for example at 6-months or when the commissions hit a certain limit amount.
Promote your program
Then, you’ll want to make your affiliate program readily available.
Incorporate your affiliate program into your existing site and marketing materials. This include:
- Adding a footer link on your site’s homepage
- Promoting on social media profiles, bios and posts
- Including affiliate offers in your email signature
- Enable Tapfiliate’s Affiliate Recruitment feature
Who can become affiliates?
The answer to this question is simple: anyone can be!
You can control who joins your affiliate program. It can be invite-only, offered to just your members or open to everyone.
Some sites choose to be invite-only, so they have more control of their brand and know where & how they are being promoted. Other sites choose to open their affiliate program to everyone for more wide-spread promotions and the opportunity to reach untapped audiences.
To start, we always say begin with your customers.
No one can promote your brand better than your customers. Their promotions are essentially a stamp of approval, and as we mentioned before, most people trust recommendations more than traditional advertising.
Directly invite your new & existing customers with Tapfiliate’s Affiliate Recruitment feature.
This will automatically send your customers a referral link that they can use to promote your site to others. When they refer a new customer they are immediately added to your affiliate program, and will be invited to log in to view their performance and find more of your program’s resources.
Thought-leaders, Influencers & Experts
Thought-leaders, influencers and experts can offer your brand large, targeted audiences as well as providing a strong endorsement.
This could be a nutritionist promoting a vegan cooking course…a successful entrepreneur promoting a business-news podcast…or a fitness influencer promoting a workout plan membership.
Seek out these individuals within your niche and see if they would be interested in becoming an affiliate. On top of your commission offer, you may want to offer something extra such as a free membership or the opportunity for co-marketing their own business.
Other Membership Sites
Just like you, other membership sites are constantly searching for ways to expand their customer base.
Consider partnering with non-competition sites that compliment your business. For example, a travel membership site partnering with an online language course.
Not only will this help your promotions, you will also likely be able to collaborate together and create new content for your site.
What else to consider?
After you’re all set up, there’s a few things you can do to help your affiliates be successful.
To start, you’ll want to provide great marketing materials for affiliates to promote. This includes banners, images, text links, social media posts and video. It’s also helpful to provide your branding materials, any certifications or special recognitions, and any specific information such as sales or deadlines.
Moving forward, you’ll want to keep communicating with affiliates. You can keep in touch with a monthly newsletter, get feedback with an annual survey and be available for any questions they may have.
And finally, it’s important to keep affiliates motivated. Run contests, set bonus structures or even something as simple as sending congratulatory messages when they drive a conversion.
This covers the basics for getting started. And then from there, it’s up to you for what you would like for your affiliate program.
You can take a more hands-on approach by actively recruiting affiliates and running contests, but also choose to use automation tools to take care of certain tasks and streamline workflows.