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Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to build an audience before you launch your SaaS business. SaaS affiliate programs give access to other people’s audiences. You will access tons of early users in a few weeks that would otherwise take years. Of course, it comes at some costs that this article aims to help you get ahead of.
SaaS affiliate programs work so that when an affiliate refers a prospect that purchases your product, the affiliate gets a commission in return.
Related: How SaaS Is Changing the Way We Work
Three strategies to launch successful SaaS affiliate programs
If you are planning to launch your SaaS or looking to grow your customer base fast and you’re short on cash supply and not a marketing fan, pay close attention to these strategies.
1. Play the long game with your funnel and pricing structures
Before deciding on your affiliate commission structure, you must determine your SaaS pricing structure and profit margin. Do you want one-time pricing or recurring pricing? Since we are all about hacking growth for a new Saas launch in this piece, a proven strategy is to combine both pricing strategies. Yes, it is counterintuitive!
But SaaS entrepreneurs who have launched successful SaaS products at a nitro-speed mode know this is the secret sauce. The engineering of this strategy will be done in your funnel structure, where your affiliates will send traffic. Your front-end funnel will be a pay-once-access-for-life offer or lifetime deal (LTD). Lifetime deals are limited paid promotions.
However, communicate and enforce usage limits or restrict access to certain premium features for the LTD package. Next, put a subscription upsell in place. This is very important to have to compensate for costs incurred in offering LTD. Also, remember that your recurring revenue has to outgrow your LTD revenue to keep the model sustainable. Here are a few tips to keep this on lock:
2. Offer a limited number of lifetime accounts
Use in-app prompts to nudge users to upgrade to a yearly subscription when they reach LTD usage limits. Use LTD customers’ first-party data to optimize advertisements for the subscription offer. You need a viral loop, as your LTD is a promotional strategy. This is where affiliates come in.
Lifetime deals sell fast, and affiliates jump on it real quick. This fact is what the million-dollar SaaS LTD platforms and their vast affiliate network thrives on. When you throw in recurring commissions (on the back of the commission for LTD sales) to affiliates whose leads take up your subscription offer, you are in for a treat of quality leads.
3. Find niche affiliates
Next up is finding the affiliates that will form your viral loop. You have two options:
- Reach out and recruit affiliates. Think of this as making cold outreach to affiliates. So, where should you fire your cold shots? It’s best to start with blogs and review sites, content creators and influencers, online communities or brands with complementary products.
- Tap into an existing affiliate network. This is the growth hacking route. Of course, you have to be ready to part with some of your revenue.
It is possible to launch on these platforms and have zero affiliate sales. This is where affiliate managers come in. They help you onboard the big whale affiliates and manage your launch in exchange for some percent of the launch revenue.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get the best affiliates for your saas affiliate programs:
- Ensure they have access to your target audience
- Go for those who have experience promoting SaaS
- Verify that their traffic sources are genuine
- Ask how they intend to promote your SaaS to make sure your interests align
SaaS marketing requires a lot of moving parts to achieve success. Hence, do some heavy lifting for your affiliates by providing them with marketing materials to promote your product.
Your SaaS affiliate program promotional kit should include promotional email templates, a media kit, explainer videos, ad creatives, testimonials and case studies. You can support affiliates by hosting live webinars. All affiliates have to do is drive traffic to the webinars.
The LTD offer in the hybrid approach to SaaS affiliate programs will give you the runway cash, the feedback and the marketing data you need to scale your subscription revenue quickly. At the same time, the recurring commissions keep your affiliates motivated.