6. November 2020 Blog

Affiliate marketing for SaaS - why should you use it in your business?

After hearing about all the incredible benefits of Saas affiliate marketing, you are probably wondering if you should start one in your company too. Read this article to find out how you can create a Saas affiliate program for your company.

The affiliate marketing industry is expected to hit the $8 billion mark by 2020, which is nearly double what it was worth in 2015. 81% of brands rely on affiliate programs nowadays.

Why? Most marketing activities require you to pay money upfront, with no guarantee that the results will be worth it. With affiliation, however, this isn’t the case - if the results are worthwhile then you will pay a commission, but you lose nothing if not. And what could be better than getting people to market your products or services for you? 

The list of famous companies that use affiliate marketing on a daily basis is endlessly long and continuing to grow - from Fiverr and Sendinblue to Wix, Shopify, and Amazon.

Do you want to add your company’s name to the list by creating your own SaaS affiliate program? This article will shed some light on how you can set up a program and benefit from affiliate marketing like all of the companies mentioned above do. Let’s go through some basics first.

What is an Affiliate Program?

An affiliate program is a performance-based system in which a company pays a fee (called a commission) to a marketer who brings the company a new customer thanks to their own promotional efforts. If done correctly, all three parties gain something from this arrangement:

  • Companies gain new clients at a low cost.
  • The affiliate marketer earns a percentage of any linked sales.
  • The customer learns about a new product through useful content. 

For companies, marketing affiliation is especially worth considering thanks to its numerous benefits for them in particular.

Join CloudTalk’s affiliate program & earn a 35% commission for a lifetime.  

What are the advantages of SaaS affiliate marketing?

One of the most commonly mentioned and tempting advantages of affiliate marketing for SaaS businesses is that it’s a low-cost and low-risk marketing method. When it comes to other marketing types, you usually have to pay in advance and just hope for the best (you can’t be prepared for everything after all).

But affiliate marketing works on a different principle - if no results are generated by an affiliate campaign, then the company doesn’t have to lose a cent. You don’t need to worry about creating content either, since that’s more-or-less the job of the affiliate marketer. The only cost on your side is the commission for the marketer. 

For this reason, affiliate marketing is a perfect tool for startups and small companies whose budgets are usually pretty tight. But is affiliate marketing for SaaS so popular simply because it’s cheap? Absolutely not! Creating a SaaS affiliate program can give your business far more:

  • Motivated affiliates - the marketers’ income depends on the amount of work they do and their results, thus they have a vested interest in the success of the affiliate and are fully motivated to produce the results you expect. 
  • Targeted traffic - affiliate marketing has a much lower risk of bringing poor quality traffic to your campaign than other marketing activities, thanks to your affiliates already being familiar with your product and industry.
  • Increased exposure for a low cost – it should be possible to find plenty of relevant blogs or social media groups with a stable audience no matter what industry you are in, so If you partner with bloggers or active social media users then you will have an opportunity to make yourself known to an audience who might not have heard about you previously and at a much lower cost than if you targeted those groups with common marketing tactics.  
  • Customer loyalty - your existing customers are best when it comes to finding affiliates for your product or service since they are much more likely to support your company if they’re rewarded for recommending your product to others, plus you can give your affiliates a special reward to encourage them to tell even more people about your products or services.
  • Increased credibility - If you work together with trusted bloggers or well-known websites from relevant industries, you can build up your reputation and customer confidence in your products. 

As you can see, a carefully planned and adequately executed affiliate program will not only give you more traffic and more significant sales, but it will also help with increasing the reach of your brand, generating high-quality leads, building your company’s reputation, and even improving customer’s satisfaction (who wouldn’t like a reward for sharing a good word about a company?). And that’s just for the cost of managing your SaaS affiliate program! But how to run a program smoothly?

How to Create a SaaS Affiliate Program?

A generic SaaS affiliate program can be created in minutes - but you should not be interested in doing that. Many companies are running affiliate programs at the same time as you, so if you want to stand out from the crowd to catch the attention of your future affiliates and prospective customers, you need to do your research first.

What do you need to do before creating an affiliate program?

#1 Evaluate your product

The first thing you need to think about when preparing to launch your affiliate program is evaluating your SaaS before you ask your marketers to promote it to others. “Well, that’s obvious,” you might be thinking.

But several companies have already learned the hard way that a poor choice when it comes to the product might not only mean a lack of interest in the campaign. It could also lead to a massive headache when dealing with angry customers who are flooding social media accounts with complaints because your SaaS business doesn’t work as advertised.

Besides, you have no chance of attracting famous bloggers, social media users, or website owners with a low-quality product. They won’t risk damaging their reputation and or trust of their audience for a small commission, especially since they might already be working as affiliates for other companies. 

The more confidence you have in your product and the more ability you have to show its benefits for a given audience, the more likely you will be to attract talented affiliates.

#2 Think about your commission

The second important thing to consider when setting up your affiliate program is counting how much you can pay as a commission to your affiliates. But this can get tricky: if the commission is too low, it will be hard for you to attract experienced marketers. And although a very high commission will attract plenty of affiliates, it will cut into your profits.

So what should your commission be? The average commission rates offered for affiliates is between 5% to 30%, depending on the industry and product price bracket. A good tip here is to look at other affiliate companies in your industry and gauge their offerings.

#3 Recruit affiliates to promote your product

Have you picked your product and decided on the commission rate? Great, now it’s time to reach out to the people who will market the product for you. Where can you find them? 

One of your best bets is asking your existing customers to recommend your product or service to other people. 77% of customers are willing to recommend a brand to a friend after having a positive experience with them. And you can make that number even higher by offering affiliates a reward for each new customer they bring.

A great way to determine if they would be interested is to send to your best customers an email offering them the opportunity to take part in your affiliation program, together with a link to your landing page on which you will explain how your program works and the main benefits of joining it.

Some other great places to find new affiliates are blogs, social media groups, and forums related to your industry. Such blogs and groups usually have an established followers base already, so they may be more inclined to try out your product or service when recommended.

If you partner with a popular website or blogger in your industry, it will give a nice boost to your reputation too. However, you need to keep in mind that many popular bloggers or forum owners will already be taking part in partnership programs, so be prepared for them to turn you down for this reason. 

When looking on social media or message boards for affiliates, you also need to be aware that these places are full of self-acclaimed affiliation experts, “influencers”, and dishonest marketers who won’t hesitate about using shady methods just to earn a commission. Rather than jumping straight into promoting your program there, learn more about the community first and pick a few people who seem to be the best fit for your product.

#4 Track, Manage, & Optimize

As with every element of marketing, affiliation needs to be continuously monitored and improved - so you need to decide on ways in which you track your performance. The more data on your affiliation campaign you have, the easier it will be to optimize it and increase your conversion rate.

For this, you need to create a list of KPI metrics that you will use to keep an eye on your affiliate activities:

  • such as conversion rate,
  • traffic sources, and quality,
  • the number of clicks,
  • and the performance of your affiliates.

To make tracking the data a bit easier, there are several affiliation tools that can help you track, manage, and optimize your affiliate program. 

Best SaaS affiliate and partner programs

  • CloudTalk: With our program, affiliates and partners can gain a steady additional income for sales made through a unique affiliate link. They can earn between 25% and 35% commission for every payment that a referred customer makes - for a lifetime. As a welcome bonus, new affiliates will also get a $5 credit right at the beginning
  • Supermetrics: The Supermetrics affiliate program offers a 20% recurring commission for each sale you help bring in. So, also when the referred customers renew their license, you get paid that 20% each time. You also get access to free promotional materials, guidebooks, and videos. Signing up for the program only takes a couple of minutes and you will have a dedicated affiliate team ready to support you.

Conclusion:

With the number of benefits it can bring to your company, affiliate marketing is undoubtedly a handy method to use in your company. While it might take some time to produce the desired results, it’s an effective and low-cost way of promoting your product, finding new customers, and building loyalty among existing ones, as well as boosting your reputation.

But that doesn’t mean that you should replace good old SEO, paid ads, or social media marketing with affiliation alone. Using it as another asset in your marketing strategy, however? That’s a great idea!