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Percentage of monthly revenue to pay affiliates?

I’m thinking about launching an affiliate program for my Saas product using Linkmink. Those that have created affiliate programs – was wondering:

1. What percentage of each monthly charge did you pay out to each affiliate?
2. Did you use a tiered structure (e.g. pay higher performing affiliates more)?
3. Any qualms a noob like me should know about?



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2 replies on “Percentage of monthly revenue to pay affiliates?”

As someone on the other side as an affiliate who has generated a lot of sales for dozens of companies I can tell you a little bit from the other side.

Attracting good affiliates is really hard. The type of affiliate you will attract depends a lot of your payment structure.

The two major schemes are flat fee and recurring. Flat fee tends to be bigger and puts the burden on keeping your revenue per customer high exclusively on you. The other big worry is fraud, big one time payouts make fraud more attractive. The recurring model tends to align incentives between affiliate and company better because they only get paid while you’re getting paid. The longer someone stays a customer, the better the reward for the affiliate. That sounds way better right? Yes, but the longer you are paying the affiliate, that’s a permanent drag on the profitability of a customer. The only way you can make more is by reducing expenses per customer (or increasing how much the customer pays).

In either scenario, rewarding high performing affiliates is nearly a given (whether officially or not), most companies happily give higher rates – sometimes just from asking, but especially if you’re generating sales. Good affiliates are hard to find and keeping them is critical if you’re using an affiliate model to generate sales.

I say this as a large affiliate, the most genuine affiliates are the ones that are probably rewarded the least. If you can build in some affiliate-esque system into your SaaS to spread it, that’s probably the best thing you could invest in. Examples, dropbox giving you a little extra storage for inviting your friends. Airbnb giving you and your friend some credit. Robinhood giving you a stock. Something that rewards them using your own platform. If I could figure out a system to reward all my users for bringing in customers and setting up an affiliate program where you’re hiring commissioned marketers, I’d go with the former. If you’re committed to running an affiliate program, I’d recommend finding someone who has run them before and has some connections in the field you’re interested in that they can potentially leverage to convince good affiliates to signup.

Have you taken a look at Rewardful (getRewardful.com)?

The most common percentage commission is 20-30% recurring for SaaS companies. Depending on your price point, it might be better to position it to affiliates as a % of a fixed amount.

Tiers work better for different types of affiliates. Ie. Existing customers are passionate about you already so they don’t need as much of an incentive, whereas influencers might need a larger incentive.

Keep it simple when you’re getting started. Many companies overthink it. Adding complexity to your program almost always results in worse results. Simplicity is best for both you and the affiliates.

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