Using Affiliate Marketing to Market Your SaaS

Affiliate marketing is powerful and effective, and nobody who knows what they’re talking about is going to argue to the contrary. However, while this isn’t a new concept, affiliate marketing software is trickier than affiliate marketing other goods or services, and it’s doubly challenging for SaaS. Or so you might be led to think if you listen to the pessimists on the internet who spend their day blogging about the pitfalls of affiliate marketing for the SaaS industry.

The truth is, affiliate marketing software isn’t any harder than affiliate marketing anything else, it’s just all in knowing which channels are appropriate for it. How do you do this? Well, let’s think about how customers discover SaaS, when many customers don’t actually know what that term means, or that it even exists until after discovering a product that identifies itself as such.

Usually, they will discover products from centralized repositories of software solutions, and will then be introduced to the idea of SaaS through descriptions of products or related materials, rather than searching outright for SaaS, if they’ve not encountered the concept and terminology yet.

So with that in mind, one of the first venues for affiliate marketing is going to be the common places where people go to look for software solutions as a starting point. There are a whole host of these, such as Google Play (especially with mobile users).

These are the easiest to get into and the easiest to be seen without any competitive search optimization needed, but you can go a step further. Are you an astute, skilled SaaS developer? Consider creating extensions for known and popular SaaS like Salesforce or Moodle, and submitting these to their app repositories. Not only will these extensions add value to your SaaS design due to their interoperability with revered systems, but they’ll also bring in prospects from that side to look at your primary offerings as well, especially if your secondary apps are particularly good.

However, there’s one more big step you can take, and that’s using an affiliate marketing platform like Clickbank, which can help to place you in a whole host of venues which you couldn’t possibly discover, engage and utilize on your own in a billion years.

Clickbank is only one of these distribution and affiliate platforms, but it’s got the highest reputation and the most experience under its belt, and while they don’t specialize in software, using their platform to publish literature about your SaaS so that it goes to the right places and partners up with the right contexts to bring users in is very simple and well-managed. It’s been tested to work by a number of SaaS companies among other industries, and it’s an affordable option to augment the other strategies mentioned above.

So, in truth, affiliate marketing software isn’t impossible or even difficult, you just have to know the right channels to use and the right services to handle it for you if you’re really ambitious. Why anyone thought otherwise is a bit baffling, given any affiliate marketing campaign is equally all about picking the right venues as well. But then, SaaS is, in the public eye, a new idea and all new ideas are at first thought to be hard to use existing marketing strategies to sell.

Omri Erel
Omri is the Head of Demand Generation, as well as the Lead Author & Editor of the SaaSAddict Blog. Omri established the SaaSAddict blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to SaaS and cloud migration.
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