As we’ve been discussing, not all telehealth must involve direct care. The vast majority of the world’s inhabitants will never meet with a behavioral or mental health professional. With the advent of the Internet and mHealth devices, they can nonetheless be helped with “self-help” materials, and especially those developed by professionals. Both self-help and professional training are two rich areas that have largely been untapped in telehealth, but nonetheless are fully recognized by the U.S. federal government in its definition of traditional telehealth services.
We hope you enjoyed our descriptions of passive income creation in self-help, ebooks and audiobooks. We now are delighted to bring you the last of our 4-part series about passive income generation as it is evident in affiliate programs as part of a telehealth strategy that goes beyond direct care.
Partner/Affiliate programs are common throughout the Internet and give you a relatively inexpensive way to generate passive income. Partners/Affiliates send traffic and sales to commercial websites and in return receive a commission
When you become a partner/affiliate to an online merchant, you receive a unique “affiliate link” that identifies you as a referring agent. When you place that link in your materials, you earn a commission when one of your readers or listeners purchases a product on the merchant site. Your promotional materials can be those you design, or can be fully provided for you by the merchant. They can include descriptions of a product or service for use on websites, blogs, email notes. They also can be banner ads, YouTube videos, or tweets, etc.
For example, if you are an Amazon affiliate and you have a list of recommended books on your own website, you can earn money each time someone clicks on the book link on your site and then buys the book on Amazon. Everyone benefits: your clients/patients get what they need; Amazon sells a book; and you earn a commission. It’s also legal and ethical, as long as you are transparent and tell your client/patient that you are earning a profit when they click your link. Of course, they are always free to go purchase your recommended product without your link if they so choose. They rarely will, though. In fact, if you look at many online services such as domain name registration sites, you’ll see that affiliate programs are the norm for many online businesses. Peek at the affiliate or partnership pages for GoDaddy, iPage, or JustHost.
There is no reason we cannot engage in similar practices with products we value and with to share with our clients/patients or even colleagues.
Types of Affiliate Programs
There are three basic types of affiliate programs: Pay per sale, pay per click, and pay per lead.
- Pay Per Sale
You are paid a fixed commission when the customer buys from the merchant site. Commissions typically range from 5-50%, depending on the merchant. Amazon’s Associate program, which pays from 5-15% per sale. Other affiliate programs other groups such as Clickbank and Commission Junction can pay substantially more for eBooks and other online programs. (See the TMH Institute Partnership/Affiliate Program for a thriving example in mental health. To see a few of the partners already enlisted by the TeleMental Health institute, look at the bottom of the TMH Institute homepage for logos of Partner/ Affiliates. Many of these groups also carry TMH Institute’s pre-designed promotional material, thereby making it quick and easy for partners to maximize their efforts, while TMH Institute benefits from their support.)
In case you are considering how you might buy services from vendors online at a substantial discount by registering for their affiliate systems before buying services, most merchants prohibit such activity and will block your discount upon purchase. Such systems are designed to help existing users to quickly and easily spread the word online and earn substantial profits in exchange.Automated, web-based software tracking systems are available 24/7 and keep track of dollars earned while minimizing time and effort for all involved. This type of business arrangement with supporting software is a new, passive income model that can be profitable for all parties for years to come. You may also note that in no way are such vendors referring clients/patients to each other for direct health care, and therefore can successfully avoid ethical complications.
- Pay Per Click
You receive a commission each time someone clicks on the affiliate link from your website to the merchant site. An example of a pay-per-click affiliate program is Google Adwords.
- Pay Per Lead
You are paid when someone goes through an affiliate link on your website and then provides an email address or other identifying information to the merchant.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the article and on this blog post are those of the authors. These do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, and position of the Telebehavioral Health Institute (TBHI). Any content written by the authors are their opinion and are not intended to malign any organization, company or individuals.