Tips for Great SaaS Affiliate Marketing
SaaS marketing is different, complex & can be pretty challenging.
To start, you’re promoting something that isn’t physically present for customers to see and touch.
Then, it’s constantly changing.
And to top it off, SaaS products may be difficult for the average person to fully understand right away, especially if they are not particularly tech savvy.
Good news is affiliate marketing can help you tackle these challenges.
With a solid affiliate marketing strategy, you’ll be able to reach new audiences, gain targeted traffic and grow your SaaS.
Here’s what you need to successfully run a SaaS affiliate marketing program.
Where to Find Great SaaS Affiliates
It’s not just about what’s being said, it’s also who is saying it. Having a successful affiliate program starts with getting the right people to promote your SaaS.
Try finding different types of affiliates, who publish on different mediums and spaces, so you can have far-reaching promotion to a variety of audiences.
Here’s three places you can find great SaaS affiliates:
1. Invite your existing customers
As always, we recommend beginning with your existing customers. Existing customers are especially great for SaaS. Here’s why:
Since 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. It’s social proof in action.
As an added bonus, existing customers show the practical uses of your software. Using their own experience, they can offer less technical explanations of how they used your software and what the benefits were.
Affiliate marketing is a win-win for customers and businesses. Your customers are able to get rewards for recommending the products and services they already love. This is great for brand loyalty and customer retention.
Easily invite your customers
And now, Tapfiliate has made it easier-than-ever for you to recruit customers for your affiliate program.
With the Affiliate Recruitment, your new customers can become affiliate prospects which will automatically send them a referral link that they can use to promote your business. When they drive a new conversion or customer, the affiliate prospect is immediately promoted to affiliate status and invited to log in to their dashboard. Then, they can view their performance and find more of your program’s resources.
2. Search your mentions
If someone is already writing about your business, there’s few reasons why they wouldn’t want to be an affiliate and monetize their work.
Then, develop a plan for reaching out. This can include:
- A personalized email
- Offering a demo of your product
- Present program offerings including commission
- Discussing potential benefits of co-marketing
- Making your signup readily available
Before you jump in, be sure to do your research. Examine websites, designs and writing styles to determine if it fits with your overall marketing strategy.
Will this site give you favorable exposure and help you reach the right customers? Or will it bring in bad leads and potentially devalue your brand?
3. Partner with influencers & niche affiliates
Understanding software can be hard, explaining software can be even harder.
Unlike other industries, there’s not a product to show. Affiliates can’t simply post an image and tell customers to buy it. SaaS promotions need to contextualize the product - explaining what it is, how it works and its benefits.
This means finding influencers, bloggers, experts, thought-leaders within the SaaS niche.
They will have a deep understanding and insight for a software’s functionality and features. Plus, they’ll likely already have built-in audiences to market to.
Let’s take Shopify as an example. Shopify is a software that has become one of the most popular platforms for e-commerce stores. They an affiliate program that partners with content creators, influencers and entrepreneurs.
Some of their affiliates include social media management company Momentum Marketing, and e-commerce training course Smart Marketer. These affiliates are in a field that works with the customers that Shopify would want to market to. Based on their expertise, customers trust the credibility of their recommendation to use Shopify.
That said, affiliates in a software and tech niche can be an invaluable asset to your affiliate program.
4. Collaborate with other SaaS businesses
A bit more unconventional than other affiliates, consider partnering with other SaaS professionals and businesses that share similar audiences to yours.
Think of products or services you use together and can easily promote one another. For example, a graphic design software and email marketing platform would work great together.
Reach out to non-competitive brands with products or services that complement yours or are often bought by similar target audiences. Here’s a few ways other professionals can promote:
- Write a blog post or product review on their site with affiliate links
- Create a recommendations page on their page featuring products they use with affiliate links
- Refer clients with recommendations
- Use coupon and promo codes exclusively for their customers
How You Can Help Saas Affiliates Be Successful
As we said, SaaS marketing is challenging.
Overcome these challenges by proactively working with affiliates. Provide them with the necessary resources and support to effectively (and easily) promote your brand.
Share branding guidelines
Start by giving your affiliates the essentials of your brand.
Gather all branding materials and make a “branding kit” that can be easily accessed. Branding materials include logos, color profiles, typography, slogans, etc.
This will give affiliates a foundation for creating content. Also, it ensures your brand will be displayed consistently in all of your marketing efforts - making it recognizable to audiences.
Prepare marketing materials
You’ll want to give affiliates some general direction in terms of marketing text. It’s helpful to provide affiliates with the following:
- You brand’s ad copy
- Product descriptions
- Up-to-date features list
- Pricing lists with what’s included
- Any case studies or examples
It’s also useful to provide a glossary of related terms, especially if the terminology is specific to your software.
Note that this only to help the affiliate, not limit.
Give your affiliates the space they need to market their own way, and to best fit their audience. Ultimately, that is the appeal of affiliate marketing - having genuine voices rather than tired, prepackaged ads.
Share high-quality images
Images are a way for your affiliates to give customers a sense of what the product actually is. Provide affiliates with high-quality images of your software, showcasing the interface and some of the best features.
If your software changes frequently, try to give the most generic version possible or keep close contact with affiliates for updated images.
Additionally, find general images that will convey your brand’s persona and give a sense of the company culture. But, just make sure to avoid the cheesy stock photo trap.
Since affiliates will be marketing your brand in different ways, through different channels and to different audiences, it’s important to have some variety in your image collection.
If it’s a long blog post reviewing the software, screenshots of the interface would be great.
But, if your affiliate markets via social media, screenshots of the software probably won’t be that appealing or useful. Instead, try using an image that is reflective of your brand, possibly with a graphic that conveys how this will benefit customers.
Start using video content
Video is becoming the go-to content for affiliate marketing.
And it is especially useful for SaaS.
Video shows your software in action — giving audiences insight to what is is used for, how it works, insider tips & tricks and an overall sense of how it functions.
Popular videos for SaaS include:
- Software tutorials
- Explainer videos
- Product demonstrations
- Getting started guides
- Case studies
- Customer success testimonials
You can provide video as part of your affiliate marketing assets, or even work one-on-one with the affiliates that create video content.
Create content together
Another way to help affiliates is to be part of the content development. SaaS offers plenty of opportunities for content to go beyond a generic product overview.
This is when having customers as affiliates comes in handy. These affiliates have the ability to invite audiences into their experience - allowing them to address the practical questions and interests of customers in a way traditional ads cannot.
Here’s a few writing prompts that are great for SaaS:
- How has the software changed their workflow?
- If they switched from another software, why and what changed?
- What has kept them as a customer?
- What concerns did they have about using the software and were these concerns solved? (Especially useful for highlighting excellent customer service)
Offer insight to your company
And finally, knowledge is power.
Ensure that affiliates can easily access information around promotions, updates and any other relevant business information. For example, if you are launching a new feature this week, be sure to give your affiliates the relevant information a few weeks before you launch.
This allows affiliates to ask questions and understand the new feature, giving them time to prepare content that can be shared with their audiences. Plus, they’ll feel part of the process rather than feeling as if they are being left in the dark.
A few ways to share this information includes mailing lists, newsletters or a Facebook group made for your affiliates.
Additionally, share any positive press and placements about your business. Press mentions are a great marketing tool for affiliates - they give credibility with third-party validation and can position you as an industry leader.
Just as your SaaS product continuously updates, so will your marketing strategy.
For your affiliate program, always be proactive in working with affiliates through the changes and updates as they are an essential asset to your program’s success. By providing the necessary means, they can continue to market your business without hassle and help you grow your business.
Interested in learning more about SaaS affiliate programs? You can find our checklist here for a step-by-step guide for how to get started.