It sounds dodgy, but is perfectly legitimate.
Multi Level Marketing / Pyramid Schemes
Affiliate schemes are definitely NOT Multi Level Marketing (MLM) or Pyramid schemes. MLM and/or Pyramid schemes allow you to sell a product, usually cheap and cheerful at a large mark-up, but your main income supposedly comes from you recruiting others to sell for you and you taking a commission from each of their sales….and anyone below them that they recruit. Or so they say. There is plenty written online but it’s all negative from anyone not involved. In order to hit targets, you have to hit on friends and relatives to buy or to become resellers. Pretty soon your friends / relatives get tired of you and drift away or refuse to return calls. In turn you are being pressured from above as they have targets (and commission from your sales), too. Think what the cost of the product to make is, if lots of layers of people are taking a cut from the sale. Avoid.Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-level_marketing
An Affiliate scheme is a method of you getting commission on product or Service sales without actually having to hold stock, create services or deal with sales and returns.
Quite simply, you place an advert for a product or service on your website (e.g. a First Aid Kit). A special link, if clicked takes you to the retailer’s website and if it results in a sale, you get a commission. That’s it. Once your total commission reaches a certain threshold you get paid directly.
There are nuances, such as dealing with returned products (you get your commission paid after a delay, otherwise it would be too easy to defraud by buying and returning something, then pocketing the commission) and you need to sell a lot of First Aid kits (or a few high ticket items) to build up meaningful commission, but otherwise, once the links are set up, you have no involvement in the sale. Zero effort.
How it works
You work through an intermediary – an Affiliate provider. They sign up retail Organisations and also Organisations with websites that could hold adverts (“Publishers”). They sit in the middle and make sure everyone plays fairly (for a small commission, obv. That’s how they are funded. It is not many layers of organisations, each taking their cut however)
You apply to an Advertiser and, if they approve your website you can then place a lump of code on your website and it’s Live. Some Advertisers will approve websites automatically, some go through a manual process to make sure you fit in with their Brand and ethos.
Suggested Affiliate Schemes with Retailers that might be relevant to a First Aid Training website. There are many out there, some big, small niche, general purpose. Here are ones that I have used at some point.
- Affiliate Future
- AllergyBestBuys – loads of anti allergy products
- Affiliate Window
- Virtual College, Learning 24/7, EdPlace – all offer online Health, Safety and First Aid courses with decent commission
- Vivomed – sports physiotherapy supply company (inc. First Aid kits)
- Commission Junction (now CJ) – Large, American bias to it and the advertisers. Quite a strict approval process and you do need to be earning regularly to stay a member
- Health based supplies, Medifast, MediTac Kits
- Law Depot – sell lots of legal document templates, covering all aspects of Business Law. See this page for examples
- ProTrainings – A Trade body that, if you use for certifying your courses, also has a system for you to advertise online First Aid and H&S courses on your website. Generous commission rates.
Hints and tips
- Don’t go too mad. Setting up takes a while so make sure that it works for you. The advertisers list can be difficult to find sometimes but if you can find it, take a look for appropriate advertisers before Applying.
- Some Affiliate Schemes charge to process your Application. Not huge amounts and I guess it greatly reduces the ones that just sign up for the sake of it.
- If you don’t sell reasonably regularly you may get booted off a scheme. They (obviously) like active publishers. See first point
- You need regular visitors to your website or a way of promoting them to your learners / those that Booked you. It’s all about traffic. See first point again
- You get out what you put in. Yes you can make a lot but only by regular promotion, such as Newsletters, SM updates etc.