A quick Google search shows that the affiliate marketing industry is mostly geared towards e-commerce. And for SaaS companies, affiliate marketing is often overlooked.
But there are many reasons why affiliate marketing works for SaaS companies.
It’s cost-effective, offers personalized promotions and audiences, and builds customer loyalty.
Here’s how it works:
If you’re a SaaS company interested in affiliate marketing but don’t know where to start, this article is for you. We’ve put together a checklist that covers everything you need to start your own SaaS affiliate marketing program.
1. Choose an affiliate tracking software
There are several options when it comes to running an affiliate marketing program. Will you be using affiliate networks or in-house affiliate tracking software?
While both have their pros and cons, affiliate networks are generally not ideal for SaaS companies, especially if you’re just getting started.
Affiliate networks can be quite costly as commissions and administration fees are added on top of affiliate payments. And as we mentioned earlier, the industry is in favor of e-commerce, so most networks are made up of publishers within retail niches.
For these reasons, most SaaS companies prefer to use affiliate tracking software and run affiliate programs in-house.
Tapfiliate is affiliate monitoring software specially designed for SaaS and provides all the tools to easily set up and manage a SaaS affiliate program.
SaaS features include tracking subscription payments, recurring commission structures, and trial registrations when they become paying customers.
Want to start a SAAS affiliate program? Try all the features: 👉Get a free 14-day trial here
2.Integrate affiliate tracking with your site
Affiliate marketing can be used on blogs, websites, social media posts, etc. It works by tracking clicks when someone makes a purchase from the posted referral link.
This means you need to integrate your site with Tapfiliate to track clicks and conversions.
Here you can choose from over 30 integrations. More popular integrations for SaaS companies include Stripe, PayPal, and Moonclerk.
If your integration is not listed or you have a custom upgrade, you can still integrate it using one of the following guides:
It’s a pretty painless process for most integrations. This can be done with copy and paste modules, plugins or integration guides.
Later on, Tapfiliate Integration Tester to make sure everything is ok.
3. Define your commission strategy
For most industries, this is pretty straightforward – a visitor uses a referral link to purchase a product and earns a commission on the affiliate purchase.
But for SaaS it can be a bit more complicated.
However, there are two important questions to guide your strategy:
- What will you count as conversions?
- What will you pay as commission for a conversion?
What counts as a conversion may vary based on your marketing goals.
Conversions can include:
- Pay-per-click: Pay partners for the traffic they send to your site.
- Pay-per-lead: pay affiliates for any lead generation, such as trial registration.
- Pay-per-sale: Pay affiliates for any completed purchase, such as a paid subscription.
Most SaaS businesses offer a free trial, so it makes sense to pay commissions when the referral actually goes into a paid subscription and not just for a trial registration.
Tapfiliate’s Customers functionality tracks a customer from the moment they sign up for the trial until they become a paying customer. When the customer enters a paid subscription, the conversion will be attributed to the affiliate.
Your commission rate is not only how much you pay for each conversion, but also how often you pay.
Commission frequency is specific to SaaS, as most businesses use a subscription-based model.
This means that instead of a one-time commission, affiliates earn referrals every time they pay a subscription fee, be it weekly, monthly or yearly.
Recurring commissions are a great incentive for affiliates and an impetus to drive quality leads that will become long-term customers.
Additional commission considerations include:
- Fixed or % based commission rates
- Limits on recurring commission amounts or frequencies
- Commission tiers and bonus rewards
- Payment limits, payment terms and payment methods
As we said, SaaS commissions can be complex.
We have created a guide for SaaS commissions, you can read it here.
4. Customize your affiliate program
Your affiliate program should be an extension of your existing site and offer affiliates the same look, feel and experience throughout.
Customize the elements of your affiliate program to fit your brand. This includes:
- Setting up a custom subdomain
- Adding your logo to the clipboard
- Creating a matching registration page
Check out why Tapfiliate is the #1 choice among affiliate software 👉
The registration page should be personalized to suit your affiliate program goals. Share why affiliates should join and the benefits you offer.
Next, make sure this page matches your brand. The sign-up page is likely to be on your website, usually in the footer. Use branded colors, fonts, and phrasing for a seamless transition between your site and signup page.
If you’re wondering what you need on the registration page, we’ve covered everything you need to add here.
The terms of your affiliate program should not be bypassed. They are your written guidelines for your program and set the tone.
Terms of service can be displayed on the registration page.
Again, it should be personalized to your needs. Common topics covered include partnership obligations, fraud detection, and promotional restrictions. It may also include other terms of service for your brand, such as trademark and privacy policies.
5. Creating marketing assets
Provide affiliates with branded materials to use as part of their promotions.
- Social Media Posts
- Text links
Marketing assets will be uploaded to your dashboard, after which affiliates can directly share them on their social channels or embed them on their websites.
In addition to these marketing assets, consider other ways you can help affiliates with promotional content. After all, this type of content is what makes affiliate marketing for SaaS so effective.
Provide affiliates with a branding kit that includes your logo, font, and related company images.
Share notable rewards, reviews or media features for affiliates to include in their promotions. Like “Best of 2020” or “Featured in X Magazine”.
Communicate all featured sales, offers and discounts, including promo codes and discount periods.
And finally, explain!
Because SaaS is not a physical product and is constantly changing, it can sometimes be complicated to introduce. Provide affiliates with a guide for your software, including a list of functions and features. This type of information provides great tutorial content on YouTube.
Be sure to inform affiliates of any updates or major changes to how the software works. In this way, they present the most accurate and up-to-date information and avoid misleading their recommendations.
Then the most important part, affiliates!
There are several ways to learn about your program and start recruiting affiliates.
Promote your registration page
Make your affiliate registration page widely available and easily accessible. This may include:
- Having a special page on your website
- Place it in the footer of your website
- Add it to your email signature
- Include in customer support interactions
- Feature featured in social media bios and posts
Invite your existing customers
You can invite customers directly using Tapfiliate’s Partner Recruitment feature.
By enabling this feature, your new customers can become “affiliated leads”. This will automatically send them a referral link that they can use to promote your business to others.
When they get a new conversion or customer, the affiliate candidate is immediately promoted to affiliate status and invited to log in so they can see their performance and find more of your program’s resources.
Search and find
Take some time to research your niche.
Who is talking about this? What are they saying? Where do they say?
Reach bloggers, websites, industry experts and influencers. Such affiliates can put your product in front of established niche audiences that increase brand awareness and give your product a stamp of approval.
Again, this is another way SaaS affiliate marketing is unique.
SaaS affiliates have the ability to show audiences your software in action. They can create content that shows how the software works, key features and benefits.
And due to the nature of software, this content can be extremely effective.
For example, anyone researching how to create a logo is likely to come across a video from Dansky. Dansky is a popular YouTuber who creates tutorials and how-to videos specifically for Adobe products. It teaches design skills with step-by-step instructions for viewers, and then adds referral links to purchase the software used in the video.
7. Welcome new members
Give your partners a warm welcome to your program.
Set up your affiliate communications and personalize all the messages you send.
- A welcome message on your dashboard when an affiliate joins your program.
- Congratulatory emails when your affiliates take an action, such as creating a conversion or being approved for a program.
- Additional email triggers for more detailed program actions.
- Format the text of email notifications sent to affiliates
From there, we’ve outlined how and when to contact affiliates here.
Now you are ready to go!
Tapfiliate offers a 14-day Free Trial so you can see how the software works with your installation. You can start here.