Should I use Affiliate Marketing to Promote my SaaS Business?

Short answer.  Yes.  Almost always.

I’m going to explain why you almost certainly should use affiliate marketing to promote your SaaS business.

My experience:

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for more than 20 years.  

I’ve been on both sides of it.  As someone with a digital product who wants help promoting it.  And also as an affiliate marketer who is looking for great products to promote.

I know from experience why it is so powerful.  And it is even more important now than in the past.

AI has made it far easier for small businesses of only 2 or 3 people, or in some cases, a single “solopreneur” to create SaaS products.  

Because of that, there has been an explosion of new SaaS businesses.  It seems like every few minutes there is something new.

If you don’t believe me, go to Product Hunt to see how many new things are coming out.

In order for your SaaS business to succeed, you need it to stand out. 

Yes, you need to make a great product, but if you don’t have great marketing behind it, it will almost certainly flop.  

I’ll give you 3 examples of SaaS companies that are crushing it with affiliate marketing.  

All 3 are great products, and all 3 are going all out on affiliate marketing.

#1  Beehiiv

The best email marketing software for growing your email list.  

I’m using Beehiiv for my email list, and I’m also proudly promoting it.  They have a ton of great email marketing features, and the quality of the product alone is one of the key reasons it has exploded in popularity.  But it isn’t the only reason.

Google trends of Beehiiv over 5 years

# 2  Skool

Skool is a fantastic community platform for private communities.  They have both free and paid communities.  Several YouTubers I follow have private communities there.  It is often around 50 bucks a month to join a community, but the creator of the community can make the price. The communities I’m following are growing quickly, and bringing in significant revenue for the owners.

# 3 Riverside FM  

Riverside is an online recording and editing studio for video and audio podcasts.  I am seeing a ton of people I follow use this software.  I use it too.  They can use AI to make a recording on a cheap webcam look and sound like it is HD studio quality.  They make interview videos look great too.

As I mentioned, I use all 3 of these software products myself, and I love them.  

I believe in the quality of all 3 of these products, and I often say they are the absolute best.

I believe that.  

I discovered them at first because other people were also promoting them.  

They said they were the best too, so I checked them out.

But as I mentioned before, there are a ton of new SaaS companies coming out every single day.

Do I keep looking at every company that comes out every single day, and decide whether or not it is better than these ones?  No.

Does anyone do that?  No.

It is impossible to keep up with everything.

Without affiliate marketing to promote your product, it will be like finding a needle in a haystack for potential customers looking for it.  

At least affiliate marketing will help make your product into a large needle in the haystack so it stands out.

How did these 3 SaaS companies get popular in the first place?

One thing is for sure, all 3 of them have great marketing.

They all have great affiliate programs.

Beehiiv sends their top affiliate on a trip to Hawaii every quarter.

Skool has an affiliate competition where the winner gets an extra $10 000, on top of their typical affiliate income.

They do this because they understand the benefits they get from having tons of affiliates put effort into promoting their products.

If you do a google search for:

Beehiiv vs ConvertKit ” (another good popular email marketing software), the first organic search result is from Beehiiv, and the second one is ConvertKit.  

Google ranks their own reviews of themselves high.


One reason for the high organic Google ranking is definitely a positive byproduct of affiliate marketing.

All 3 of those companies have a lot of affiliates who write blog post reviews, make how-to videos, write glowing reviews, etc.

Go search around on Google yourself and see all of the positive reviews and coverage of all 3 of these.

Because of their generous affiliate programs, these SaaS businesses get a lot of free “mentions”, which Google loves.  

They get a lot of positive reviews.  

And they are talked about a lot.

This exposes them to more customers.  The customers like the product and recommend it to other people, and so on.

Remember, yes, they are great products, but if they didn’t have generous affiliate programs, how would they stand out in crowded markets?  How would they get so popular?  

There are a lot of good email software services that have been around a lot longer than Beehiiv for example.

What are the affiliate commissions of these 3 SaaS products?

PlatformCommission RateDuration
Beehiiv50%First Year
Skool40%For Life
Riverside FM20%For Life

These generous commissions are part of the reason they are able to attract people who are willing to recommend them.  

A large part.

As I mentioned, these are all great products.  But in a hyper crowded marketplace, they need people to promote the products so that others can be aware of them in the first place.

Benefits of affiliate marketing for your SaaS business

  1. Good form of advertising for cash flow.  You only pay someone after they sell. 
  1. Scalable.  You can have an infinite budget for affiliate marketing.  Because you only pay a % of the profits you get from each sale, then the more sales you get, the better.  
  1. Indirect SEO.  Your affiliates will promote your product for free.  They will write positive reviews all over the internet. These positive mentions will be a signal to Google that your brand is good and growing in popularity.  It will ultimately make your own website rank higher for organic search terms on your own website.  Note the screenshot I showed you above, where Beehiiv and its competitor ConvertKit were in the 2 top search spots.  I’m seeing this with many brands I’m looking at.  A lot of the site authority is coming from affiliate marketing, indirectly.
  1. More customers will try your product because of affiliates.  Some of those customers will recommend your product to their peers.  So you get 100% of that revenue and profit.  Affiliates only get paid when someone buys directly through their link.  So affiliates lose out on some of the money they should get, and that extra profit goes to you.  It sounds unfair to affiliates, but that’s life.  (This is another reason why you need to give a generous offer).
  1. They seem more authentic to customers.  Even though people are supposed to disclose when they are affiliates (and most of them do), affiliates still seem more authentic.  Everyone knows about advertising.  Not everyone even knows about affiliate marketing.  Yes, most customers know to think twice before buying something based on an affiliate recommendation, but they may trust it more than the company tooting their own horn with traditional advertising.

How much commission should you pay to your affiliates for your SaaS products?

As much as possible.  This is a competitive industry.  Affiliates don’t want to recommend products where they don’t earn a good commission. Why would they?

There are a lot of products I like.  But if I don’t have incentive to write about them, then why would I?  

Think about it.  

I would never be an affiliate for a product that pays a high % commission if I didn’t like the product.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t waste much time recommending a product that doesn’t compensate me well either.  This should be common sense.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I’ve been on both sides of affiliate marketing.  

I know what it’s like to find affiliates to sell my products, and I know what it is like to look for products I’d like to be an affiliate for.

That’s why you need to offer as much as you can.

Don’t even think about going under 20% for SaaS.  

More is better.  

30% is better than 20%.  40% is better than 30%.  And so on.

If you can afford 50% commission, go for it.  

The more money you offer, the more incentive affiliates will have to spend their time and energy promoting your product.

What types of SaaS products should NOT use affiliate marketing?

One of the only times you might not need affiliate marketing for your SaaS product, is if it is such a unicorn and will explode in popularity on its own.

I can see why ChatGPT doesn’t use affiliate marketing for example.  They went viral due to the nature of their product. They don’t need the help.

But is your software that unique? I’d doubt it, or else everyone would have heard about it by now.

What is the best affiliate marketing software to promote my SaaS business?

We’ve already done a comparison of 2 of the very best:  PartnerStack and Rewardful

Here is our comparison.  PartnerStack vs Rewardful.

Rewardful is an incredible option for most SaaS businesses.  

I love when someone uses Rewardful to promote their product. 

They make it so easy for me to sign up as an affiliate, and start promoting the product.  Making this frictionless is important.

Beehiiv and Riverside FM both use Rewardful as their affiliate marketing software.

Here is Rewardful’s pricing:

It is affordable, and scales up fairly as you grow.  $49 per month is excellent for a good starter program.  That allows you to sell up to $7500 per month from affiliates.  

$99 per month is still very affordable if you are doing $15 000 per month in revenue.

Price certainly isn’t the only thing, but it is an excellent affiliate platform overall.

PartnerStack is awesome too.  They shine because of their customization, and because of their huge, built in, network of affiliates.  If you use PartnerStack, you instantly have access to thousands of high quality affiliates looking for SaaS products to promote.

It isn’t cheap though, and the pricing starts at over $500 per month.  Absolutely worth it if you are planning to use their customization features and will scale up quickly, but something to seriously consider for most smaller SaaS companies.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. We might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It’s one way to support us and keep things running. We also only put affiliate links we believe in fyi.

Author Andrew Best


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