Creating An Affiliate Program Is The Next Step In Scaling Your SaaS Company
Thousands of Software As A Service (SaaS) startups appear every year. However, only a few step up and survive.
About 90% of startups fail every year. 10% of startups fail within the first year.
There are many reasons for the failure of startups. Most often it boils down to poor marketing techniques and cash flow problems.
This is where having an affiliate program would have made all of the difference.
More and more businesses are surviving (and growing) due to their affiliate programs, and interest in affiliate marketing remains strong (80% of advertisers confirmed that they invest heavily into affiliate marketing).
Affiliate marketing is also built to withstand tough financial climates.
When you create an affiliate program for your SaaS product, the marketers promote your product through videos, images, and content. They use their platforms for promotion. These marketers get paid only when they bring in qualified leads or sales of your products. As a result, you only have to pay when success occurs. It is a win-win situation for keeping ad costs in check with company earnings, and keeping marketers hungry to promote your products.
Need a few more reasons to buy into affiliate marketing for your SaaS business? No problem! Let’s start with its power to keep your products top-of-mind.
Affiliate Marketing Builds Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the first step when we want to sell a product, and is a major roadblock to growth for SaaS businesses. Most SaaS products fail because they didn’t raise the proper brand awareness.
Many people who want to buy a product will do so with a brand they are already familiar with. The more aware people become of a brand and its products, the more likely they are to buy from that brand.
Many people buy a product when their favorite influencer or marketer shares an opinion about the product as well. 92% of consumers buy a product when their favorite influencer recommends that product – which is causing more influencers to join affiliate programs.
For SaaS business with an affiliate program, influencers and marketers are the folks working to ensure your products are seen.
Most importantly, these affiliates get paid only when they deliver results. Thus, even if they aren’t immediately bringing in revenue for your business, they still are out there promoting on your behalf – for free!
Hence, an affiliate program raises brand awareness without requiring us to spend a lot of budget on getting your name out there.
Affiliate Marketing Is Cost-Effective
Most startups struggle because there is a cash flow problem in the early stages. You already spent a lot to create your SaaS product, where can you find the extra cash to market it?
Now, there are two options. The first one is to hire an internet marketer and pay him or her to run ads on major platforms. The second option is to create an affiliate program and let the marketers do the promotion for free.
While finding a good marketer is a gigantic task itself, you need to pay him or her, as well as allocate an advertising budget. Problems can soon arise when you fail to achieve the desired results even after spending a lot.
Creating an affiliate program is a great move because you save advertising costs, avoid extra salary costs, and pay only for the results.
Thus, affiliate marketing allows you to save upfront costs. You pay for your real conversions, achieve a higher return on investment, and lower cost-per-acquisition in the long run.
There’s No Risk In Launching An Affiliate Marketing Program
There are always risks when you go the traditional ways of promotion. For example, if you do email marketing, you might end up earning a bad reputation in the industry. There is also a chance of domain or IP blacklisting if you fail to set up everything properly.
If you go for Facebook or Google advertising, there is a chance that your competitors are doing the same ads already, making things more expensive for everyone. You might fail to rank your ads above the competitor’s ads, too. Hence leading to marketing failure.
If you choose organic promotion only, you need a lot of content, proper on-page copy, and quality backlinks that cost a lot of time and money. Moreover, major search engines update the algorithms frequently and can send your website back to the sandbox in no time.
On the other hand, if you set up an affiliate program, there is no risk. You do not need to worry about things like gaining a bad reputation, marketing failures, or search engine updates. You only need to focus on results, as you only pay for the leads and sales delivered.
Affiliate Marketing Builds Trust In Your SaaS Products
People follow industry experts to know about the products they love. When you set up an affiliate program, these industry experts have an opportunity to try your product, give their opinion, and earn from the referrals they send to your business, or through ads placed in organic and paid channels about your business.
A product needs hype in the early stages to succeed, the industry experts are the best people that can help. Once your product gains the trust of leading industry experts, it can become popular in no time.
Measuring Growth Is Easy
Setting up an affiliate program for your SaaS business can help you measure the growth of your brand with just a few clicks. Most affiliate tools allow you to see all stats in a single dashboard. You can see the number of leads, the number of sold products, and the commissions paid to the affiliates.
Moreover, there are no unexpected costs when we compare it with paid ads. You can set a maximum lead or sales cap to ensure costs fit your budget.
You can easily find out the profits and costs, and compare them to find out whether your marketing strategy is working or not.
You’ll Have Full Control Over Your Affiliate Program
Setting up an affiliate program for a SaaS business is a game changer because you have full control over all of the parameters.
For example, you can set affiliate commissions easily, pay one-time or recurring commissions, and even reward affiliates more when performance is outstanding.
You also have the ability to reduce the affiliate commissions, or pause campaigns when you find out you are not generating enough profits. Finally, you have nothing to lose if you decide to terminate the program permanently.
Affiliate Marketing Is Highly Targeted
Launching a product is easy, however, marketing it to the targeted audience is very difficult. There is a chance that your paid advertising strategies might fail because your budget is low, or there is a problem with your ad creatives. You might end up reaching an audience that is not interested in your product at all.
When you set up an affiliate program for your product, you can attract digital marketers that already have a huge following in the industry. People even visit their websites directly instead of typing in their URLs in search engines. It means when they recommend or review your product, it automatically reaches the targeted audience. Moreover, the conversion rate is more when a product is recommended by experts. Hence, an affiliate program allows you to reach your targeted audience perfectly.
Affiliate Marketing Generates More Free Trials
Almost all major SaaS programs offer a free trial. It is done to attract potential customers that can become recurring customers. You can set up your affiliate program to offer a free trial.
When affiliate marketers promote your free trial offers, your website will receive more visitors without costing anything (unless affiliates drive a lead or sale).
Websites Gain Authority Through Affiliate Marketing
Getting high-quality backlinks is a difficult task, especially when your website is new. When you set up an affiliate program, your website starts to receive niche-relevant backlinks automatically as the number of reviewers grows. High-quality backlinks mean your chances of running above the competitors in search rankings are very high. As a result, your website receives visitors that are highly interested in your product, through higher domain authority.
Affiliate Marketing Increases Customer Loyalty
When you opt for an affiliate program for your product, you can ask your existing customers to promote your product and in return, get coupons, bonuses, and even free upgrades. This strategy can help you increase customer loyalty. Through tiers, you can offer your customers exclusive access to custom products, seasonal sales, or surprise your customers with rewards on their birthday. This process is known as a referral program.
Once you retain hundreds of loyal customers, you can easily make customer referrals a major source of revenue for your business.
Scale Happens Through Affiliate Marketing
Your SaaS products need to have new features and updates as you grow to stay competitive. Also, you need to upgrade your team resources, as your business grows to keep the product fully functional. SaaSaas founders who ignore these aspects usually struggle when it comes to scalability.
When you set up an affiliate program, the affiliate sales allow you to keep your cash flow in order. You can use these new profits to invest in new updates and upgrades, hire new team members, improve other areas for growth – or simply just reinvest in your business. Thus, you can scale the product on time and enjoy success. So, ready to create an affiliate program for SaaS business?
Learn how to get started via our FAQs below.
How Do I Get Started?
Choose an affiliate tracking software: If you want to set up an affiliate program, the first thing you need to do is to choose a tracking software. There are two options when it comes to tracking software; You can register as a merchant on an affiliate marketing platforms like Everflow. The second option is to buy software like Linktrust and Afftrack and install it on your server.
Integrate it with your website: To track the visitors that come through affiliate links, you need to integrate your tracking software with your website. If you choose to install the tracking software on your server, you will need to connect to your favorite tech stack tools like Paypal and Stripe. When you choose an affiliate platform, everything will be handled by the platform itself. All you need to do is to insert the code on your website to start tracking affiliate activities.
Choose the commission strategy: Once you integrate the tracking software with your website, you need to set up a commission strategy. You can design your commission strategy by keeping in mind the product price, server costs, team salaries, and profit margin. Most affiliate tracking platforms also allow you to set your strategy depending upon the action of the user. For example, the amount to pay per click, per lead, or sale.
Create terms of service: It is a good idea to create terms of service before you start your affiliate program. The terms of service will help the users understand and follow the rules to get paid. It also helps you maintain transparency in your affiliate program.
Create the shareable assets: Once you set up everything, you need to create shareable assets. These assets include videos, images, and text relating to your product. It helps the affiliates share your content quickly by just sending their affiliate id.
Reach out to affiliates: Once you feel that everything has been set up properly, it is time to reach out to influencers, affiliates, and industry experts and request them to join your affiliate program. You can find them through blogs, review sites, media sites, and forums. You can even reach out to them within your affiliate platform dashboard. Once they join the program and start sharing the assets, you will be able to track and pay them accordingly.
What Are The Disadvantages Of An Affiliate program For A SaaS Startup?
It’s easy to start an affiliate program. However, it can become difficult to manage if you are a beginner.
Cash flow problems: You need good cash flow to keep running the affiliate program. No matter your costs, you need to pay your affiliates constantly. When you stop paying, your sales will drop drastically.
Fraudulent activities: There are many examples of SaaS startups that failed to tackle fraudulent activities. No matter the tools, “fraudsters” will always find to break the rules of your campaigns. If you offer a free trial, you need to be aware of the issues like fake credit cards and unfair usage. Most affiliate platforms handle these issues automatically. However, you still need to be aware of these dangers.
Lower profit margins: When you choose to promote your product through an affiliate program, you should know that you will be getting lower profit margins. Since you need to pay your affiliates from your profit, it can be an issue if you have less profit.
Other Tips On Running An Affiliate Program For A SaaS Company Successfully?
You know you have a great product, but you're struggling to get it out there. Here are some tips to help you create a stronger affiliate program:
- Make it quick and easy to sign up as an affiliate.
- Send emails to affiliates regularly and inform them about the promotions.
- Offer a generous commission. The more you offer, the more people will sign up and the more money you'll make.
- Find affiliates who are knowledgeable in your product and can provide valuable content.
- Provide affiliates with promotional materials, such as banners, videos, and text links.
- Reward affiliates who are successful with bonuses and prizes.
Affiliate programs can drastically reduce ad costs, generate brand awareness, and turn your customers into referral partners.
Don’t miss your chance to scale your SaaS business with minimal risk through your new affiliate workforce. Dive right in and launch your program today via Everflow or any other leading affiliate marketing platform.