What is affiliate marketing, you ask?
In layman’s terms: If you become an affiliate and market somebody else’s product, you can make money anywhere, anytime — even in your sleep!
If this interests you, keep reading.
Many companies offer affiliate marketing programs to boost sales and generate better revenues.
Interestingly, the global affiliate marketing expenditure is growing at a stunning 27% CAGR!
So, What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when a person (or organization), called an affiliate, earns a commission for promoting and marketing another person’s or brand’s products or services.
It’s straightforward. All you have to do is select a product or service you like and promote it. You get a cut of the revenue for every sale they get through you.
How’s that for a side hustle?
Brands often look for affiliates to help sell their goods and services.
The affiliate then markets the brand’s products to potential customers, nudging them to purchase the product. If that works and the consumer purchases the product, the affiliate, and the product seller share the proceeds from the sales.
In most cases, the consumers do not have to pay more while purchasing through an affiliate link.
An affiliate program lets you do this. It allows you to sell somebody’s products, keep an eye on the statistics, and track your success rate.
Product vendors and merchants use affiliate tracking to monitor consumer clicks, track conversions, and pay the commission to affiliates.
Some brands have home-run standalone affiliate programs, while others join affiliate networks.
In this post, we will discuss the following:
- Why you need to consider affiliate marketing
- How to choose a good affiliate program
- The 10 best SaaS affiliate programs you can choose from
Why Should You Join a Marketing Affiliate Program?
Affiliate marketing is growing year after year. As of this writing, the affiliate marketing industry is valued at approximately $6.8 billion.
Most well-known e-commerce giants, like Walmart and Amazon, have their own affiliate programs.
In fact, many successful affiliate marketers earn thousands of dollars every month.
SaaS (software-as-a-service) companies are great for affiliate marketers. This is because they have a higher lifetime value per customer, on average, generating passive income for months, or even years after the initial purchase.
This niche is less known, too, making it easier for you to tap into the potential.
Don’t know what to look for in an affiliate program? Don’t worry, we have got you covered.
What Makes for a Great Affiliate Program?
It’s better to avoid promoting everything you get your hands on. Instead, you should promote products and services that you believe in. Lots of marketers get into affiliate marketing for a quick buck and promote shady products for commissions.
That’s not you, is it?
Now, let’s discuss some of the factors you need to look out for when choosing an affiliate marketing program.
Look for These in Affiliate Marketing Programs
It’s important to promote companies that provide a clear purview of their terms and conditions. Since trust and open communication make the backbone of affiliate marketing programs, you need to go for brands that are transparent with their affiliates.
For example, you should be able to easily calculate commissions, contact support in case of need, and understand the contract you are bound by.
This one is simple: As an affiliate, you earn when customers purchase something through your affiliate link.
A brand with good reach and recognition can bring more customers. On the other hand, a newer brand with a truly innovative product or service can attract customers, driving more customers to buy them.
Hence, try to find the balance between recognition and innovation.
Find out how active the brand is on social media. Do they regularly engage with their social audience and promote their services?
Check if the brand has testimonials in favor of its products and services. Figure out its annual revenue and growth potential.
What’s a cookie?
Cookies are text files with small pieces of data stored on your computer. These are used to identify your computer over a network and they allow websites to track user actions, mainly for marketing purposes.
All cookies have a lifespan.
Hence, keep an eye on the affiliate program’s cookie lifespan. A one-month cookie lifespan means you will receive a commission only if the visitor purchases within one month after clicking on your affiliate link.
Sometimes, people do not make a purchase on the first visit. Look for programs that have longer cookie lifespans.
As a rule of thumb, don’t go for programs with cookie lifespans of less than a month.
Not all product vendors offer the same commission rates.
Different merchants will offer different rates to their affiliates. For the SaaS industry, the general rate is about 20%.
Since affiliate marketing requires time and resources, avoid the ones that offer low commission rates. The highest-paying affiliate programs are usually the best ones.
This is an essential factor to consider. Before choosing an affiliate program, look for the following technical features:
Product/service data: This provides all the brand’s products and specifications, thus helping you promote them better.
Alternate tracking: Nowadays, browsers are implementing tracking protection. Cookieless tracking uses scripts to monitor website visitors.
Deep linking: This enables you to create an affiliate link to any page or part of the page instead of just the landing page.
Postback tracking mechanism: A tracking pixel can be flagged as suspicious by security systems. With postback tracking, the user data is stored in the brand’s server.
APIs: Application Program Interfaces or APIs lets multiple platforms work seamlessly, making it easier for both vendors and affiliates.
Read also: Affiliate Marketing — A Complete Guide for SaaS Businesses
30 Amazing SaaS Affiliate Programs to Get That Side Hustle
Now, let’s check out the best affiliate programs in the SaaS niche.
Our first pick on this list is EngageBay.
EngageBay is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and service software, with free CRM. We have an outstanding affiliate program.
You can earn a 30% commission every month, from each referral.
Also, the first-click attribution model ensures that the commission goes to the affiliate whose link the customer clicks on first.
EngageBay is super flexible and affordable when it comes to pricing. Our product has all the marketing automation and CRM features that a startup or small business can ask for, and we offer 24/7 user support.
Although EngageBay is fairly new in the market, more than 46,000 businesses around the world have used and loved EngageBay.
This means you have a great product on your hands to sell, with very little effort and industry-best commissions. With us, there’s trust, a recurring revenue source for your business, and a fast-growing market share.
HubSpot offers an excellent affiliate program. You can earn up to $1,000 for each product sold, depending on which product plan you sell. These are the types:
- Basic: $250.
- Professional: $500.
- Enterprise: $1,000.
HubSpot’s cookie lifespan is 90 days.
Of course, HubSpot’s brand recognition and positive reputation make it easy for affiliates to win more customers for its products.
The SEO star ‘SEMRush’ offers one of the best affiliate marketing programs out there.
A 40% commission on affiliate subscriptions is super hard to beat. Oh, and it’s recurring, too. This means that you can earn an average of $160 every month for each paying referral you make.
What’s more, like EngageBay, SEMRush’s first-click model ensures that the commission goes to the affiliate whose link the customer clicks on first, even if the purchase is made through a different affiliate.
SEMRush’s cookie lifespan is 10 years!
Pabbly is a marketing automation software with email marketing, form builder, and billing support bundled into one platform.
Its affiliate program lets you earn a 30% recurring commission for every referral that pays. Pabbly’s easy-to-use dashboard, monthly payouts, and 30-day cookie period are great for newbie affiliate marketers.
ClickFunnels lets businesses create awesome sales funnels to convert leads into customers.
As an affiliate for ClickFunnels, you can earn a 20% recurring commission on ClickFunnels subscriptions.
After you’ve earned $1,000 in commissions a month, you can become an approved affiliate with a recurring commission rate of 30%.
What’s more, if you have 40 active ClickFunnels customers that have registered for a monthly membership, you can have your recurring commission increased to 40%!
Freshbooks offers another excellent affiliate program. Interestingly, this brand even offers a commission of up to $10 for free trial referrals. Once they upgrade to a paid plan, you can earn up to $200 per sale made.
Also, Freshbooks’ cookie lifespan is 120 days. Its affiliate program is maintained through Sharesale, a world-renowned affiliate marketing network.
Instapage is a landing page builder aiming to help businesses increase their conversion rates.
Instapage also offers an enticing affiliate program, with affiliates earning a 30% to 50% recurring commission on their paid plans. Instapage pays a 50% recurring commission for the first year, and a 30% recurring commission for the subsequent years.
Plus, InstaPage has a cookie lifespan of 120 days.
SurverySparrow markets itself as an omnichannel experience management platform.
As an affiliate marketer for SurverySparrow, you get a 25% recurring commission for each sale you bring. Also, high performers who bring over $5,000 a month of revenue get a $500 bonus on their commissions.
SurverySparrow’s cookie lifespan is 90 days.
BigCommerce is a haven for affiliate marketers — they pay a whopping 200% of the consumer’s first payment. Additionally, you can enjoy higher commission rates as you bring in more referrals.
In 2020 alone, BigCommerce has paid out more than $1.5 million in commissions to its affiliates.
SocialBee is a social media management tool for authors, freelancers, startups, and coaches.
You can earn a 20% recurring commission on their tools and a 10% recurring commission on their concierge services plans. SocialBee even offers discounts on their products if you can drive in a large audience.
Their cookie lifespan is 90 days.
Outranking is an all-in-one SEO and AI writing tool for writers, marketers, and agencies looking to scale their content game.
It has a solid affiliate program that offers 25% recurring commissions as long as your referrals keep renewing their subscriptions. It just takes a couple of minutes to join their program and your monthly earnings can be as high as $572 by the 6th month.
Outranking has a cookie lifespan of 60 days.
Leadpages is an all-in-one SaaS platform for online marketing, online payments and other integrated tools. Their USP is building code-free websites through their platform.
It helps you publish conversion-optimized web pages, alert bars, pop-ups, live chat, and even allows you to run A/B tests. All of this can be integrated with your CRM.
The Leadpages affiliate marketing program is a good option, especially for small businesses. They offer up to 50% commission on all first-time and recurring sales. There are three tier levels for affiliates and a cookie lifespan of 30 days.
For each new account, upgrade, or in-app purchase conducted by the customers, the system looks back over the previous 30 days. If the total new customer revenue exceeds $50, you get a commission of 40%.
If the new customer revenue exceeds $3,000, then you get a 50% commission.
Moosend is a SaaS tool that focuses on email marketing. It is known for great features, marketing automation, and an award-winning user interface. Its built-in campaign editors helps you manage multiple email campaigns and lists, in addition to templates for newsletters. This is a good option for potential affiliates.
Their affiliate marketing program offers a 30% recurring commission to affiliates. The program is not very complicated to understand, and you can track your earnings on an easy-to-access dashboard.
The 30% commission increases whenever your referral upgrades their plan as well. There is a 90-day cookie window, which is also pretty good. This is suitable particularly for content marketers.
Shopify is a cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform that caters to businesses of all sizes. With this SaaS product, sellers can create and manage their stores across various channels. This includes web, mobile, pop-up, brick-and-mortar, and social media.
Shopify SaaS affiliate marketing program is known for its high commissions. For each referral who signs up for their paid plan, you can receive up to 100% commission for the first and second payments made.
The sales attribution starts when your referral signs up for a 30-day free trial. If the user buys a plan after 30 days, you will earn a commission. The cookie lifespan for this affiliate program is 30 days.
In addition, Shopify also offers an affiliate marketing course for beginners. You can log in and enroll in the affiliate marketing fundamentals course. The course takes just under an hour to complete.
They also have an affiliate manager who can help you with any queries or issues you may have.
Coursera is one of the world’s most trusted and leading e-learning websites.
Launched by two professors from Stanford, it offers educational courses through its academic partnerships with elite universities and corporations worldwide.
With the rise of online learning after the pandemic, the Coursera affiliate program might just be a good fit for you. They have a great brand reputation and social proof.
Their affiliate program has a baseline commission of 10%, which is higher than the average in educational SaaS affiliate programs. It pays a commission of up to 45%, with additional bonuses for high performers.
The program has a cookie lifespan of 30 days. They also offer support for their SaaS affiliates and have full-time staff for this. The only drawback is that degrees and MasterTrack certificates are not eligible for the affiliate program.
Sage is a well-known leader in the integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems industry. It caters primarily to small and medium enterprises. As an affiliate marketer, this might just be the program you have been looking for.
The Sage affiliate program offers commissions on all sales and free trials generated from your site.
It is a global affiliate program, and payment is made to you in the currency of your choice. They also have a good affiliate network. No matter the size of your business, you will be eligible to sign up. It offers a cookie lifespan of 30 days.
Pipedrive is a cloud-based sales software company. Its USP is that it is an all-in-one sales platform and CRM that prioritizes the needs of salespeople.
The Pipedrive affiliate program is for coaches, influencers, and content creators who are interested in recommending a great CRM software with a low-touch approach.
As a potential affiliate with Pipedrive, you are likely to earn up to 33% in recurring commissions for the first year of the customer contract. There are no upper limits to how much you can earn.
The cookie life window is 90 days, which is higher than the industry average.
Sellfy is an e-commerce platform that allows digital content creators to sell their works online. The platform handles everything from hosting the products online to the delivery of the product to the customers.
Sellfy SaaS affiliate program offers instant payouts to its affiliates through PayPal.
You can earn a 25% recurring commission on each sale for a year. If you think you can make more than 100 monthly sales, they even have an option to create a custom plan for you. The cookie lifetime length is 90 days.
They also offer full-time support for their SaaS affiliates, along with the usual affiliate software.
Weebly is a drag-and-drop website builder. They offer many customizable templates and step-by-step guides for creating websites.
The Weebly affiliate marketing program garners a commission of 30%.
It has a higher than average cookie lifespan of 120 days, which will help you even when customers take long to make a purchase and convert. There are also regular bonuses for high performers.
Canva is a graphic design platform that is easy to use. It allows graphic designers to create designs, templates, and other documents.
The Canva affiliate program is relatively new. As a Canva affiliate, you can make $25 on each CanvaPro subscription purchased through your referral.
The cookie lifespan is 30 days. Also, you will get access to their marketing and promotional material. This is suitable for professionals working in the design field, with a larger audience.
#21. Time Doctor
TimeDoctor is a productivity and time-tracking tool for employees. As a time doctor affiliate, you can earn a 30% recurring commission for a period of five years. The program offers monthly payouts through PayPal.
Their cookie timespan is 183 days, which is higher than the average. This will be especially useful to you if your referrals tend to take more time to convert. Over a period of time, the recurring revenue could be large.
SEO and SEO PowerSuite tools are now essential for every business to thrive. Mangools is an SEO platform, which is a compilation of five SEO tools. KWFFinder is their most popular SEO tool.
The Mangools SaaS affiliate program allows you to refer customers for any of their five SEO tools. You will receive instant approval once you apply to be an affiliate, unlike most other companies.
You will receive a 30% recurring lifetime commission on each sale made. They also include promotional material for your use. In addition, the cookie expiration is 30 days.
Drip is an email marketing tool that allows you to send automated emails to customers on your mailing list. This is a good option, especially if you are a content creator.
If you feel your own platform can be integrated with Drip, they have an integration partnership program as well.
As a Drip agency affiliate, you will earn a commission of 15% for each sale made.
#24. Social Pilot
Social Pilot is a social media marketing tool that helps you create, manage and schedule your social media marketing activities.
In the Social Pilot affiliate program, the promised commission is 30% for every customer that comes through your referral. You will also earn a commission when a client renews their subscription.
Also, every affiliate application is pre-approved. This means that you won’t have to wait to join their program. It is also free to join. Their cookie timespan is 60 days.
#25. Zoho CRM
Zoho is one of the better-known CRM software in the market today. Zoho has one of the best affiliate programs for SaaS products.
The Zoho affiliate program gives you a monthly commission of 15% for each qualified sale you generate.
But, after a span of 12 months, you will not get a commission from the same customer.
Zoho has a large inventory of marketing materials and also offers good support for its affiliates.
The cookie lifespan window is 90 days. All your qualified referrals also get $100 in their Zoho Wallet Credits.
The good news is that they have no limit on the commissions you can earn. There is also no minimum sales requirement for you to continue on the program.
#26. WP Engine
If you are a blogger, a freelancer, or a digital marketing agency, the WP Engine affiliate program might just be the perfect fit for you.
WP Engine is a digital experience platform that allows you to create websites and apps on WordPress. The company also acquired StudioPress, which means you can also promote StudioPress themes from the same affiliate program.
WP Engine has one of the highest payouts for their affiliates, with a flat $200 for each sale! They also have a bonus payment for more than 5 sales in a month. You’ll get a $100 bonus for 5 sales in a month. If you make more than 60 sales a month, you get a bonus of $1,500.
The cookie lifespan is 180 days for WP Engine, and 60 days for StudioPress themes. They also offer a wide variety of seasonal promotions like Thanksgiving discount coupons that you can market.
Folderly is a SaaS solution dedicated to email marketing, with a focus on email deliverability.
The Folderly SaaS affiliate program is a new initiative by the company.
As an affiliate partner, you’ll be able to take home a 15% monthly recurring commission for every successful affiliate link. There is no upper limit on the amount of affiliate commission you can earn.
As far as SaaS affiliate programs go, Wix is a good bet. It’s a great way to start making some passive income.
Wix is a SaaS company that allows easy creation of websites for people with less technical knowledge.
The Wix affiliate program pays its referral partners a flat $100 for each referral. Joining the program is completely free.
You also get access to a wide variety of marketing materials when you sign up. The cookie lifespan is 30 days and provides you with the usual affiliate tracking software as well.
You can watch a video about the Adobe SaaS affiliate marketing here.
The Adobe affiliate program allows you to promote:
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Adobe Stock
- Adobe Document Cloud
You have the option of a monthly or a yearly subscription.
The commission for creative cloud and document cloud is 85% of each referral. This is for the first month.
Yearly subscribers get an additional commission of 8.33% on the referrals for the year. The cookie lifespan is 30 days. There are also regular incentives and exclusive promotional deals for their affiliate marketers.
#30. CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction)
CJ Affiliate is a Fortune 500 company. Earlier, it was known as Commission Junction. It is one of the leading affiliate networks in the world. They help SaaS affiliates connect with established brands.
If you are an established player in digital marketing with many existing customers, this affiliate program is for you.
CJ Affiliate offers several tools for small businesses to increase and track their conversion rates. Due to the nature of the platform, it is difficult to give a range for the commissions you might earn. CJ Affiliate charges $25 per month.
One unique feature is their cookieless tracking, which can boost mobile conversions. Also, it is more privacy-friendly. They can also help you find the right OSI affiliate software to suit your needs.
Read also: 17 Affiliate Marketing Programs That Bloggers Should Not Miss
Now that you know the best SaaS affiliate programs, it is time to take action.
About 90% of advertisers report that affiliate marketing is crucial to their digital marketing strategy!
This offers you an enormous opportunity to make money while promoting the products you believe in. One of the best ways to promote any SaaS product is to create good content that tells your audience how these products can help them.
The 30 top affiliate programs we featured here are truly awesome for any affiliate marketer’s business.
Choose the one that works best for you, and get started today!