February 8, 2023

SaaS Affiliate Programs: The Blue Ocean Of Affiliate Marketing - Forbes

By Paul Mckay on Jan 24, 2023

Said Shiripour is an Iranian-German entrepreneur, and the CEO and Founder of Software as a Service, EZFunnels .

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The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition. The concept of Blue Ocean Strategy suggests that “cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.” This perfectly describes the competition in mainstream affiliate marketing niches like consumer goods and the “make money online” niches.

The rise in SaaS adoption presents an opportunity for a blue ocean market–an uncontested, growing market with a greater chance for success, fewer risks and increased commissions for affiliates.

You might be asking, are SaaS affiliate programs worth it? How exactly is promoting SaaS as an affiliate a better deal? As a founder and CEO who built their business around online and affiliate marketing, here are my top four reasons you should take advantage of this opportunity.

1. Demand exceeds supply in the blue ocean SaaS market.

The SaaS market is growing by 18% each year. Thanks to Covid and the changes it brought to how businesses operate now, SaaS adoption keeps growing exponentially.

Despite the growing market, as it is common with startups, most SaaS fail in the first two years. According to a CBI report, the top-most reasons are market problems—inexperience in market penetration, poor product-market fit and running out of money for marketing.

In finding their way around these market issues, I see founders are increasingly setting up SaaS affiliate programs. This helps them reach their target audience easily and at almost zero upfront cost. However, due to the seemingly complex nature of SaaS products, most affiliates stick to the traditional affiliate marketing niches.

But for affiliates that dare (and usually get the hang of it eventually), SaaS affiliate programs are blue oceans of affiliate marketing with great rewards.

2. SaaS can sell itself.

Imagine promoting a product so unique that there is no direct competitor and also allowing prospects to immediately experience the product before paying for it. Easy sell, right?

A few good reasons why most SaaS are easy to sell include:

• Most SaaS (not all) are highly innovative and unique in the market, unlike traditional physical products.

• Almost all SaaS have some form of a free trial. All you have to do is ask your audience to give the product a try.

• Free trials also translate to fewer churns and refunds as users experience the product before paying for it.

• There is instant gratification as users can access products immediately.

• Most SaaS companies have sales specialists and customer onboarding processes. So you focus on just sending prospects their way for them to close.

3. They use recurring commissions.

Traditional affiliate marketing niche associates require you to keep bringing new customers to keep the commissions coming. SaaS users are billed on a monthly/yearly basis. So, most SaaS affiliate programs also offer monthly recurring commissions to their affiliate partners.

You will continue to receive a percentage of the monthly subscription payment of your referrals for as long as they remain customers. Also, new features are regularly shipped, making sure your referrals stick around for as long as possible while filling your pocket with recurring commissions.

4. Affiliates’ income and number of sales are not mutually exclusive.

SaaS products are built to scale with business needs. SaaS usually has multiple pricing plans for every range of customers. A small business, for example, can always move to a higher tier to accommodate the new usage needs when it grows. Most SaaS also offer customized plans to meet the needs of large enterprises as well.

Customers do not have to change their solution as they can switch plans without any disruption or downtime. The SaaS flexibility in meeting customers’ needs as they grow can translate into more commission revenue for affiliates.

Choose the right SaaS affiliate programs to promote.

The SaaS affiliate program you promote contributes greatly to your success in SaaS affiliate marketing. So, what should you look out for before promoting a SaaS?

• Product relevance to your audience. Does the product solve a real problem for your audience?

• Competitive and recurring commissions.

Long cookie lifespan. A 30-day cookie lifespan, for example, means you will earn your commission if a site visitor makes a purchase within 30 days of clicking your affiliate link. The longer the cookie lifespan, the better.

• A reputable brand with good product traction.

• Promotional materials provision.

The presumption that SaaS products are complex and difficult to sell by affiliates, in my opinion, is a myth. When you have the right audience that needs the solution SaaS provides, your job is half-done.

Just like any other product, SaaS buyers buy the product benefits. The technical features are icing on the cake for buyers to justify their buying decisions. So, don’t let the technical nature of SaaS scare you away from SaaS affiliate programs.

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