Is affiliate program good for low-ticket/high conversion SaaS?

Hey Bootstrappers,

Just to set the context, I am maker of design tool - Visual Inspector - built for non-coders to make changes in live websites (for visualizing new ideas or fixing design bugs.)

As of now, we run a low-ticket ($5 per month or $49 one-time) plan which has a good 10% “visit > Paid user” conversion, we have acquired over 1,000 customers in 4 months mostly freelance web developers or early stage agencies.

Wondering if affiliate is a good marketing channel to explore paid growth in this category?

If yes, can someone help us understand more about setting it up, tools etc? May be @SteveMcLeod or @Virgil could help.

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!!

  • Vipul,
    Maker & Hustler, CanvasFlip Inc

My view: don’t run an affiliate program until you already have a solid amount of monthly sales. It is time-consuming to run an affiliate program, and when your total sales are low, the affiliate program simply won’t return enough sales.

It is hard to get good affiliates to work with you; typically when your sales are low, you won’t get any decent affiliates.

  1. Do you have a good relationship with a few influencers which have a strong audience in your niche?

  2. Are you willing to do 2-4 webinars/month with top bloggers or consultants in your industry?

  3. Can you aproximate how many of your customers have an audience of potential clients for you?

Getting a positive ROI for the affiliate program is not hard, you need 1 good affiliate and it will pay for the aff tracker and probably a few hours you put/month(most companies don’t put much effort at first). However, if you want to make it as a powerful channel, you need to put more effort into it(mostly on recruiting) + you need a solid funnel(with decent conversion rate) and product in place.

It’s not really necessary to have tons of sales to make this channel work, I have lots of companies who launched with the help of affiliates and they get 50% of the sales just from this channel, but having a solid flow of sales usually means you have a solid product and funnel set up, which helps getting high quality affiliates and keeping them.

High converting products are ideal for affiliate marketing, as it encourages them to keep going and try harder.

The biggest downside for affiliates is when it doesn’t seem worth the bother or effort because they get zero sales. If they’re getting anything then they tend to stick with it a lot better.

If you’re charging per month, will you be paying affiliates on an ongoing basis as well?