Scaling and Automating your Affiliate Marketing with Tapfiliate and Zapier

Nicholas Garofalo on July 13, 2018

At MeetEdgar, we help small businesses automate their social media posting so they can spend more time on the personal and business interactions that really matter. With Tapfiliate, Zapier, and our other third-party tools, we’re able to do the same for our referral marketing.

The Tapfiliate/Zapier combo has allowed us, even as a startup, to have an affiliate program that keeps us in constant contact with our affiliates and rewards them in unique fun ways. Through numerous Zapier automations we’ve been able to scale our affiliate marketing program, and still have time to focus on ways to make the program better, instead of wasting time on boring management tasks.

Expressing Gratitude

One of our three core values has always been “Value for Value” (we make sure that the people responsible for our success are treated the way they deserve), and one way that we’ve acted on this in the past is by rewarding customers who did things like participating in live webinars or refering new customers to us. It was just something we did casually, but not something we advertised nor something performed systematically.

What we found is that the customers who love MeetEdgar really love MeetEdgar, and many of these customers have been with us for years. We also found that the people referred to us were both more likely to convert and more likely to also stick around for a long time. That’s when we started looking into a more formalized affiliate/referral program that didn’t rely on us spotting random acts of customer kindness.

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to retain our personal touch and sincere gratitude for these customers, but to do so at scale would require us to automate all the pieces we could.

Onboarding Our Octopals

It all starts with onboarding our Octopals (“Octopals” are our affiliates - a callback to our octopus mascot, Edgar). We only allow active customers into the program, so it’s important for us to have our own webpage describing the terms of the program and expected behavior for applicants. This page is also home to our application form which collects information like the affiliate’s address (so we can send fun swag) and pushes submissions to Zapier.

Through Zapier we’re able to route the information we collect to Intercom for our customer experience team, update the subscriber record in MailChimp for marketing, and add all customer-provided details to Tapfiliate to create a new affiliate profile.

onboard

Tapfiliate webhooks allow us to trigger Zaps based on a variety of events. In the case of an affiliate signup, after an affiliate is successfully added and approved for our program, we shorten their affiliate link with our Rebrandly account, immediately send a custom welcome email through Mandrill, and then also send a handwritten welcome note through Handwrytten. We also take the opportunity to add their shortened affiliate link to Intercom and MailChimp.

welcome

All of this happens without any intervention on our part.

We do additionally create an Asana task to check in on things later, but that doesn’t hold up the affiliate onboarding process in the slightest. So, if you’re really excited to get a friend signed up for MeetEdgar, you can become an affiliate in literally5 minutes.

Training and Treating the Triumphant

Beyond onboarding, the integration of Tapfiliate, Zapier, and all our third-party tools allows us to respond quickly and at scale to affiliate/referral actions.

For each successful referral purchase we update the affiliate’s information in MailChimp and Intercom to include the number of successful referrals they’ve made. It’s helpful to have this information when we want to do things like letting them know about upcoming promotions or requesting testimonials from our most active affiliates. Again, this all goes back to “Value for Value”. We always want to make sure the people engaged in our success are rewarded!

congrats

We also use data like the monthly referral count to build a special newsletter with the affiliate’s custom referral link, their number of referrals, and news about app updates (to get them excited about new features that they can talk about when referring their friends).

birthday

Of course, this information is also handy when we want to send congratulatory emails to affiliates and trigger swag rewards through Printfection. Every referral results in a confirmation that their link was used, and every few successful referrals results in swag in their mailbox.

swag

Bonus

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include our most superfluous (and my favorite) integration. All of this work-related automation is great, but if you’re looking to have a little celebratory fun, that’s easy too.

By catching a commission hook from Tapfiliate in Zapier, you can pass successful referral purchases on to IFTTT. From there you can configure your Hue lights to strobe, start playing “One More Time” on your Google Home, and tell your Nest thermostat to drop the room temperature, all in preparation for the coming dance party. (Note: This configuration works best if you have a home office, but to be honest nothing livens up a coworking space like blasting Daft Punk every time you add a new referral).

danceparty

Sustainability

While all these Zaps, workflows, and flashing lights may seem daunting, the benefit to a small business or startup is that they only need to be set up once. After that, you’re able to do all the fun things a much larger business would do for its affiliates without the overhead and manual tasks. Now when we step in it’s to have unique conversations with our top affiliates or to run promos for bonus rewards. The end result is a program that we, our affiliates, and our referrals all enjoy.

Nicholas Garofalo

As resident marketing engineer at MeetEdgar, Nicholas’ daily duties include maintaining web properties, integrating third-party tools, automating everything possible, and drinking copious amount of Red Bull. He enjoys split testing and the short walk to his home office.

We've got some updates to be excited about!

Imran on July 4, 2018

Having recently made big changes, like launching a new site and publishing two highly requested features, the next thing we decided to focus on was improving the usability of existing features.

Updated features

Viewing the platform from the user perspective, we decided that simplifying some of our most popular features would be a good place to start.

Triggers

Triggers, a feature that allows you to set up automated workflows, like auto-approving affiliates, or auto-approving affiliate commissions is where we began. As triggers are so widely used for a variety of use cases (who doesn’t love automation?) we decided to create simple toggles for the most commonly used triggers - these can now be enabled/disabled in an instant.

Admin users can now also send tests for their trigger actions, to see if the HTML email they created is written up correctly for example. Triggers can also be activated & deactivated!

Bonuses & Commissions

Bonuses, one of the most loved features (especially by affiliates) has been improved to make management of bonus commissions easier. The changes made will be especially beneficial to those with large affiliate programs.

Speaking of commissions, recurring commissions now have a little ‘recurring’ icon next to them - so that they can be easily differentiated from non-recurring commissions.

Payouts

Another section of the platform we delved into is Payouts. The intent here was to make payouts clearer and easier to manage. It is now possible to see commission details included in a specific payout line (by clicking on the amount), and it is also possible to view previously paid out payouts (in the payout archive).

What’s next?

What we’ll be focusing our time on in the near future are materials that help existing and prospective clients get acquainted with & the most out of Tapfiliate.

We hope you like the changes! Got any feedback, or ideas for us? Feel welcome to drop us a line through the contact bubble in the bottom right corner!

That’s it for now - we’ll check in again soon!

3 Effective Ways to Find Loyal Affiliates

Taylor Barr on June 6, 2018

The truth about SaaS affiliate programs is: 90% of the sales and revenues usually come from just 10% of your affiliate partners. Sure, you can be reactive; waiting for a great affiliate or ambassador to come around and sign up for your program and contribute to that 10%. Or you can be proactive and go out and find them.

In this post, I am going to outline 3 practical ways to find the affiliates that will be real revenue drivers for your brand.

First up…

1. Through your beloved customers.

customerlove
This sounds like common sense but more and more I find SaaS companies might present the affiliate program once (in an email) or link it on their website - and then just forget about it and expect affiliate prospects to come to them. The reality is: it takes a few different ways to present your affiliate program where customers might find a use case for it.

So how do you pitch your affiliate program to your customer base with the goal of them signing up?

Present different value propositions at different times to see what resonates. Some people think that the main incentive for people to sign up for an affiliate program is just commissions/money. Not always true. Here are a few ways and use cases you can use with presented it to your customer base:

  • Talk about how their business or if they are an agency - how they can wrap services around your product or service and use the affiliate program to earn commissions as a result.
  • Present the affiliate program in a “sticky” part of your application. For example, If I am an email marketing software company and someone does an email blast, I might qualify that as an action that they use and like the product (and thus would like to sign up for the affiliate program to tell others about it and earn commission).
  • Create an assignment that involves the affiliate program. For example, Ask your customers to write a review for your software/business on their blog or create a resource page on their site mentioning your product. Ask them to sign up for the affiliate program, link to your site using their affiliate link, and then ask them to send you an email after they have done so for a small prize. People love rewards!

2. Through Organic Search Results.

searchengines
Your SaaS company solves a problem. They are many people out there writing about solving your problem - that happen to not be your customers. Those people’s articles rank high for those search terms that have overlap with your product/service.

For example, using the reference of an email marketing company I used earlier, there can be a lot of different search terms that my ideal customer would be looking for:

  • How to use email marketing?
  • How to build an email list?
  • What is the best email marketing software in date/year?


I would want to make sure that a) My company can be thoughtfully mentioned in these articles (or reference additional content on my site that could support the article) or b) if they are comparing them to my competitors, ensure I am listed.

Why? Most blogs or information sites (not related to company blogs) are making their money off of affiliate revenues or paid placement advertising. If you have a great product, solves a need, and attracts the right customers - these sites would be foolish not to mention you if they focus on your industry. Reaching out to them to strike up an affiliate relationship is worth it (How to do this? I wrote a detailed post telling you exactly how to pitch these types of sites, here.)

3. Through co-marketing and aligning partners.

aligning partners
Let’s say your SaaS company has software for users to build basic websites. Your main focus is easily allowing customers to drag-and-drop blocks to form websites and launch them on their own.

Let’s also say, there is a company out there that deals in website security.
Both have affiliate programs. The website security affiliate program might have affiliates that would be a good fit to promote a website builder to their audience (and the website builder has the same in their program for security).

Doing some co-marketing to each other’s affiliate base (perhaps offering a discount of each other’s product in return for signing up for their program) is a great way to find affiliates or loyal ambassadors who might not have heard of your company or product in specific or aligning industry.

Let’s wrap it up…

Most SaaS companies feel dejected when they can’t find affiliates right off the bat. It takes time and creativity! Luckily using these tips can help you add fuel to the fire in targeting affiliates that will be good promoters of your brand.

If you’d like more tips and strategies to find affiliates for your SaaS company, check out, “12 actionable ideas to find affiliates for your SaaS Software.

Using Zapier to Create and Set Coupon Codes for Affiliates

Imran on May 8, 2018

There are a number of practises and features you can use to boost your affiliate program - to name a few, you could set up bonus incentives for affiliates, create automated emails to keep affiliates engaged, or setup automated tasks via Zapier to help you manage your affiliate program for example.

In this blog post we’ll give an example on how you can create a coupon code for your affiliates using Zapiers built-in Formatter app. There are countless automated flows you could apply this to - here is the scernario I’ve drawn out for myself:

I have a Shopify store with an affiliate program, which I intend on expanding by having every new costumer in Shopify automatically get added to my program as an affiliate. I also want to offer my affiliates more ways they can refer affiliates to my store, via Instagram, or word of mouth by example. Coupons would be great for this, as they’d be able to easily share coupon codes.

Creating coupons without Zapier entails creating them in the eCommerce platform you’re using first, then you would save the coupon codes that you’ve created in the platform in the Tapfiliate profiles of your affiliates (either manually, or via the API) - after that you hook up your shopping cart to Tapfiliate via the API. Via Zapier, this process is a fair bit more simplified - and best of all, it can be applied to a variety of platforms, not just Shopify as Tapfiliate connects to dozens of eCommerce platforms via app automation tool Zapier.

Here’s an outline of the Zapier integration for my usecase:

  1. Trigger: New customer
  2. Search or Create: Find or create affiliate based on the new customers email
  3. Action: Use Zapiers Formatter app to transform the newly found/created affiliate ID into a coupon code
  4. Search: Find a customer in Shopify based on the email of the new customer in Shopify (from the first step of the Zap)
  5. Action: Use Zapiers Webhooks app to make a POST request to create (and save) the discount code created in step 3 of the Zap for the new customer in Shopify

Easy enough!

Closer look at how my Zapier integration is setup:

Step 1 new customer
I set up the trigger to fire when a new customer is created in Shopify.

Step 2
Then, I use Tapfiliate’s search step to find or create an affiliate. If an affiliate with this new customers email doesn’t already exist, at this stage, I create a new affiliate.

Step 3
Then, using Zapiers Formatter tool, I transform the affiliate ID from lowercase, to uppercase.

Step 3 5
This is what the affiliates coupon code will look like once it’s gone through the Formatter.

Step 4
After that, I want to save the coupon code to the new customer in Shopify. So what I do is add the search step ‘find customer’ - I can find the customer based on the email address provided in the first step of this Zap.

Step 5
If you are setting up this very same Zapier integration, you may need the help of a developer for this last step. Here, I will use Zapiers Webhook app to send a POST request to Shopify, in order to set up a discount code - this is the endpoint I’m using: https://help.shopify.com/api/reference/discounts/discountcode#create

And that’s it!

Now, everytime a checkout happens in Shopify, this Zap will check if the customer who just checked out is already an affiliate. If she/he is not, an affiliate account will be created. Once the affiliate account is created, or the affiliate is found, a coupon code will be created based on the affiliate ID. Then, the Zap will search for the customer in Shopify, and once the customer is found, the coupon code will be created, and saved to this customer.

Now that you know the gist of setting up coupon codes in Tapfiliate via Zapier, you should be able to apply a smiliar workflow for a variety of use cases and different platforms! This is only one example. Have any questions for us regarding Zapier integrations? Feel welcome to reach out via the website!

Deep integration with WIX

Imran on May 1, 2018

After some recent changes in WIX, it is now entirely possible to create a deep integration between WIX and Tapfiliate!

Perhaps best of all, it only takes a couple of minutes to complete the integration. Have a look at our guide, and see for yourself.

Once you’ve set up your Tapfiliate affiliate program in the platform and added affiliates, your affiliate partners will have access to a library of marketing materials and their personal trackable links (e.g. https://yoursite.com/?ref=janedoe) through the affiliate dashboard.

Anytime an affiliate partner drives a sale or signup, it will be reflected in the admin dashboard. With every new conversion that is tracked, you’ll get a plethora of useful information which you can utilize to finegrain your marketing efforts, and grow your business.

Itching to set up an affiliate program for your WIX site? Sign up for our 14-day free trial.

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