SaaS marketing is diverse, complex and can be quite challenging.
To begin with, you’re promoting something that isn’t physically available for customers to see and touch.
Then it is constantly changing.
On top of that, SaaS products can be difficult for the average person to fully understand right away, especially if they are not tech savvy.
The good news is that affiliate marketing can help you overcome these challenges.
With a solid affiliate marketing strategy, you can reach new audiences, get targeted traffic and grow your SaaS.
Here’s what you need to successfully run a SaaS affiliate marketing program.
Where Can You Find Great SaaS Partners?
It is not only important what is said, but also who says it. Having a successful affiliate program starts with finding the right people to promote your SaaS.
Try to find different types of affiliates that broadcast in different media and domains so you can promote broadly to a variety of audiences.
Three places to find great SaaS partners:
1. Invite your existing customers
As always, we recommend starting with your current customers. Perfect for existing customers, especially SaaS. Here is why:
Because most SaaS businesses use a subscription-based model, customers tend to be more long-term and committed. Partnering with existing customers conveys a message in itself – happy customers who are satisfied enough to pay for the service on a regular basis. Social proof in action.
first hand experience
As an added bonus, existing customers show practical uses of your software. Using their own experience, they can offer less technical explanations of how they use your software and what the benefits are.
Affiliate marketing is a win-win for customers and businesses. Your customers can get rewards for recommending products and services they already love. This is great for brand loyalty and customer retention.
Invite your customers easily
And now Tapfiliate has made it easier than ever to acquire customers for your affiliate program.
With Co-Recruitment, your new customers can become affiliate candidates who will automatically send you a referral link they can use to promote your business. When they lead a new conversion or customer, the affiliate candidate is immediately promoted to affiliate status and invited to log into their dashboard. Then they can view their performance and find more of your program’s resources.
2. Search for your mentions
If someone is already writing about your business, there are several reasons why they might not want to become an affiliate and monetize their work.
Find out where your business is being mentioned with services like Google Alerts and Awario.
Then, develop a plan to achieve it. This may include:
- A personalized email
- Presenting a demo of your product
- Current program offerings including commission
- Discuss the potential benefits of co-marketing
- Getting your registration ready
Before you jump in, make sure you do your research. Examine websites, designs, and writing styles to determine if they fit your overall marketing strategy.
Will this site make a positive impression on you and help you reach the right customers? Or will it bring in bad leads and potentially devalue your brand?
3. Partner with influencers and niche members
Software can be hard to understand, software can be even harder to explain.
Unlike other industries, there is no product to show. Affiliates cannot simply post an image and tell customers to buy it. SaaS promotions need to contextualize the product – by explaining what it is, how it works and its benefits.
That means finding influencers, bloggers, experts and thought leaders within the SaaS niche.
They will have a deep understanding and insight into the functionality and features of a software. They’re also likely to have established audiences to market to.
Let’s take Shopify as an example. Shopify is software that has become one of the most popular platforms for e-commerce stores. It is an affiliate program that partners with creators, influencers, and entrepreneurs.
Some of its affiliates include social media management company Momentum Marketing and e-commerce training course Smart Marketer. These affiliates are in an area that works with customers that Shopify will want to market to. Customers trust the reliability of their recommendations to use Shopify based on their expertise.
However, affiliates in a software and technology space can be an invaluable asset to your affiliate program.
4. Collaborate with other SaaS businesses
A little more unusual than other affiliates, consider partnering with other SaaS experts and businesses that share audiences similar to yours.
Think about products or services that you use together and that you can easily promote each other. For example, a graphic design software and email marketing platform work great together.
Reach non-competitive brands with products or services that complement yours or are often purchased by similar audiences. Here are a few ways other professionals can promote it:
- Write a blog post or product review on their site with affiliate links
- Create a recommendations page on their page with products they use along with affiliate links
- Guide customers with recommendations
- Use coupons and promo codes only for their customers
Sign up for Tapfiliate’s 👉 free trial to start your SAAS affiliate marketing program
How Can You Help Saas Affiliates Succeed?
As we said, SaaS marketing is tough.
Overcome these challenges by working proactively with affiliates. Provide them with the necessary resources and support to effectively (and easily) promote your brand.
Share branding guidelines
Start by giving your partners the key features of your brand.
Gather all the marking materials and make an easily accessible “marking kit”. Branding materials include logos, color profiles, typography, slogans, etc.
This will give affiliates a foundation to create content. It also ensures that your brand is shown consistently in all your marketing efforts, making it recognizable to the masses.
Prepare marketing materials
You’ll want to give affiliates some general direction in terms of marketing text. It is helpful to provide affiliates with:
- Your brand’s ad text
- Product description
- Current features list
- Pricing lists with what’s included
- Any case studies or examples
It’s also helpful to provide a glossary of relevant terms, especially if the terminology is specific to your software.
Note that this only helps the affiliate, not limits it.
Give your affiliates the space they need to market their own way and best fit their target audience. After all, that’s the appeal of affiliate marketing – having real voices instead of tired, pre-packaged ads.
Share high quality images
Images are a way for your affiliates to give customers an idea of what the product really is. Provide affiliates with high-quality images of your software by showcasing the interface and some of the best features.
If your software changes frequently, try to provide the most general version possible or contact affiliates closely for up-to-date images.
Additionally, find generic images that will reflect your brand’s personality and give you an idea of the company culture. However, make sure you avoid the cheesy stock photo trap.
It’s important to have some variety in your image collection, as affiliates will market your brand through different channels and to different target audiences in different ways.
Screenshots of the interface would be great if it’s a long blog post reviewing the software.
However, if your affiliate is marketing via social media, screenshots of the software probably won’t be as appealing or useful. Instead, try using an image that reflects your brand, possibly with a graphic that shows how this will benefit customers.
Get started with video content
Video is becoming the preferred content for affiliate marketing.
And especially useful for SaaS.
The video shows your software in action – giving viewers an overview of what it’s used for, how it works, insider tips and tricks, and how it works.
Popular videos for SaaS include:
- Software trainings
- explainer videos
- Product introductions
- Getting started guides
- case studies
- Customer success testimonials
You can provide video as part of your affiliate marketing assets or work one-on-one with affiliates who create video content.
Create content together
Another way to help affiliates is to be a part of content development. SaaS provides many opportunities for content to go beyond an overall product overview.
This is when it comes in handy to have customers as affiliates. These affiliates have the ability to invite viewers to their experience – allowing them to address customers’ practice questions and interests in a way traditional ads can’t.
Here are a few typing prompts that are great for SaaS:
- How has the software changed the workflow?
- If they switched from another software, why and what changed?
- What keeps them as customers?
- What concerns did they have about using the software, and were those concerns resolved? (Especially useful for highlighting excellent customer service)
Provide insight into your company
And finally, knowledge is power.
Make sure affiliates have easy access to information about promotions, updates and other relevant business information. For example, if you’re launching a new feature this week, be sure to provide relevant information to your affiliates a few weeks before launch.
This allows affiliates to ask questions and understand the new feature, giving them time to craft content that can be shared with their target audience. They will also feel part of the process rather than feeling like they’re in the dark.
A few ways to share this information include mailing lists, newsletters, or a Facebook group created for your affiliates.
Additionally, share positive press and placements about your business. Press mentions are a great marketing tool for affiliates – they provide credibility with third-party verification and can position you as an industry leader.
Just as your SaaS product is constantly being updated, so will your marketing strategy.
Always be proactive when working with affiliates through changes and updates as they are an important asset to your affiliate program’s success. By providing the necessary tools, they can continue to market your business seamlessly and help you grow your business.
Want to learn more about SaaS affiliate programs? For a step-by-step guide on how to get started, you can find our checklist here.