Affiliate marketing is a modern and effective way of promoting SaaS products. After all, whatever you may say, the good old word-of-mouth works: people trust opinion leaders whom they respect and follow.
SaaS companies need special features in order to efficiently work with affiliates. For example, the affiliate marketing feature from Transaction Cloud, where each company can accurately track affiliate commissions and automatically payout affiliates without any manual involvement. Thereby this feature saves valuable time in accounting and administration.
Once you have set-up your affiliate marketing campaign in the panel, you have to build your affiliate network. Creating your own affiliate network allows you to choose the right affiliates - those who have influence in your niche or access to the right target audience. You have to choose who to cooperate with and who to trust. There is also an easy way to build your affiliate network - by joining a third-party affiliate network. But in experience you will find that these third-party affiliate networks are completely ineffective due to their lack of focus.
Additionally, due to having your own affiliate network, you will not need to pay additional fees for the search and management of affiliates. Yes, you'll pay a fair commission for the sales your affiliates bring in, but you won't have to pay extra for bringing those affiliates to you.
So how to build an affiliate network on your own for your SaaS product?
We have prepared a comprehensive guide for you. Try it in practice and rapidly grow your business!
Platforms for finding partners
In today's world, most often people transmit important information not from ear to ear, but virtually through the Internet. Needless to say, they use various platforms for this. Therefore, it is best if you create an affiliate network that includes most of the popular platforms. And these platforms are blogs, social networks, SEO-optimized websites, forums, and most importantly - web pages of people whose opinion is valued by others. This is the important step after configuring your affiliate marketing campaign to promote your SaaS product.
Enter into the search engine keywords related to your business using the word "blog". Write the category which your product belongs to with the words "top", "best", "list of". This way, you will most likely come across the materials of bloggers who talk about topics related to your activity. Blogs are an important element in your future affiliate network. Firstly, because bloggers already have an audience that listens to them. And by cooperating with the blogger, you can instantly gain access to their audience. Secondly, bloggers have considerable experience in creating quality content and know how to correctly present your product and how to make people want to buy it.
Sites of related businesses
Make a list of businesses that also sell to your target audience but are not your direct competitors. This is a great avenue for building mutually beneficial partnerships. For example, do you sell subscriptions on online software that helps teams work more efficiently? Why not partner with the makers of online tools you can integrate into? They can place a link to your product in their resources. You can place theirs on yours. There is no cost and it's a win-win relationship.
Influence marketing and affiliate marketing are inextricably linked. Moreover, not only within search engines, but also in the vast social media. Instragrammers, YouTubers and Facebook bloggers also have followers who are loyal to their channel. So when you're signed-in into the social media platform, search for your influencers using hashtags # along with keywords relevant to your industry and product. And don't be afraid to contact influencers with an audience of less than 100,000 followers - they may have narrower expertise but a more engaged audience. This could mean a higher probability of purchase by their audience.
Each product category, including SaaS and digital goods, have their own experts. The opinions of these experts carry significant weight not only among users, but also among product creators. This is the case when a user searches not based on keywords or a type of information platform, but based on the expert’s name. It doesn't matter so much where they put your link, but the fact that counts is that they did. Because they are “the ultimate truth”. They will never give bad advice to their followers and their followers know this.
Therefore, access to experts can and should be sought not only virtually, but also in person. Reach out to experts at conferences, at their lectures, at networking meetings, through acquaintances. After all, the high-quality leads they can bring are frankly worth it.
Thematic groups and forums
Search Facebook or LinkedIn for groups related to your field. Alternatively, go to Reddit and browse topics discussed by industry experts or your users. There you can see their real thoughts, reviews, discover new names, read what their discussions are about. And when you have your own affiliate program, it is the opportunity to light up the forums and groups with it. Imagine having access to an avenue where most people interested in your topic, and influencers have gathered - it can’t get better than this! Offer a partnership, launch an open call and prepare for joint profitable projects with them.
It may not be obvious at first glance, but professional experts or media personalities aren’t the only ones who can inspire others to buy your product. Those who have already tried your product, appreciated its benefits and have seen it in action can also become its powerful recommenders.
They also have their followers, relatives, friends and people who listen and trust them. But their opinion appears even more impartial and convincing, because they are not motivated to share it due to monetary interest. They are merely driven by a sincere desire to give good advice.
Your task is to track such people, encourage them to share the experience of positive interaction with your product and your affiliate link. They can also be registered within Transaction Cloud and rewarded with a commission for each successful sale.
In order to hit the target faster and with less effort, you can use an effective but paid way to create an affiliate network. Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and LinkedIn ads will help attract the right marketers to your affiliate program.
Important thing is to correctly configure targeting and develop an attractive advertising message.
Principles of creating a partner network through Transaction Cloud
Have you tried looking for partners through various channels on the Internet? OK, but wait and check if you have forgotten something else.
Finding potential marketers for your affiliate program is half the battle. Let's say you've already created a spreadsheet with your contact list and notes so you always have all your affiliate information close at hand. Let's say you've tested how well each blog drives traffic with SEO tools. But:
Revisit how your affiliate landing page appears to new people. Your affiliate program landing page is the face of your program. It should contain all the information that a potential partner should know. Advertise it on your own site, place a link to it in your email signature and in the bio of social media pages. This will show that you are really putting effort into affiliate marketing and are serious about building your own network.
Before sharing your program in a direct message to potential affiliates, take the time to build trust and rapport with them. In order for your potential affiliates to be very interested in the partnership and for them to fulfill obligations of the partnership with high fidelity, it is worth thinking in detail about the message which you want to send them.
Make sure you have the answers to this question - "What mutual value will this affiliate partnership bring?" Because it should be an obvious win-win.
When contacting affiliates, say what you like about their content and why you consider them as good potential partners. This will show your sincere interest and respect for the interlocutor. If they haven't tried your product yet, provide them a free trial. They can describe their own experience with your product and better convince their audience to follow your affiliate link.
Offer a commission rate that is competitive with other affiliate programs in your niche. Сonsider offering higher commissions or additional bonuses for high performance in the future.
Go through the list of potential affiliates again and check it for quality over quantity. For starters, it's better to have a few quality affiliates than a large number of less effective ones.
Have you considered everything? Then go ahead! Send affiliate offers to the right people, log into your Transaction Cloud account to register each of them, set commissions and share links with them. And let your strong and mutually beneficial cooperation begin!