Top 10 Affiliate Programs For SaaS Startups in 2023

published on 09 November 2023

Affiliate marketing can provide incredible value for early-stage SaaS startups looking to efficiently acquire customers. By promoting relevant affiliate offers, software companies can tap into established audiences and leverage existing content to generate leads and sales for their own products.

In this post, we’ll explore the top affiliate programs that SaaS founders should consider joining in 2023. We’ll look at factors like commission rates, vertical focus, tracking capabilities, and ease of use when evaluating programs. Whether you’re just starting out with affiliates or looking to expand your efforts, partnering with the right networks and leveraging the best offers can provide a significant boost.

Why Affiliate Marketing Works for SaaS

Before diving into the top affiliate programs, it’s helpful to understand why affiliate marketing tends to work so well specifically for SaaS and software companies.

  • Recurring revenue model - With SaaS, affiliates earn commissions on ongoing monthly or annual subscription fees rather than just one-time purchases. This recurring payout incentivizes affiliates to continue promoting SaaS offers long-term.
  • High commissions - Many affiliate programs pay out anywhere from 20% to 75% on SaaS products. The high lifetime value (LTV) of subscribers enables SaaS companies to offer generous recurring commissions.
  • Digital fulfillment - Software and SaaS products can be instantly delivered and fulfilled upon purchase via downloads or license keys, making integration seamless for affiliates. There are no physical products to ship and manage.
  • Built-in tracking - SaaS platforms have user dashboards that make it easy to accurately track sales and attribute new subscribers to specific affiliates. Affiliates have access to transparent performance reports.
  • Relevant affiliate offers - A vast variety of SaaS tools and software solutions are available through affiliate programs. It’s easy to find relevant offers that complement your product. For example, a CRM tool could promote email marketing software to its audience.

Now let’s explore some of the best affiliate programs for SaaS startups to consider joining this year.

Top 10 SaaS Affiliate Programs for 2023

Here are 10 of the leading affiliate programs that offer lucrative commissions and robust software or SaaS specific offers that are a great match for startups.

1. ShareASale

  • Over 3,500 merchant programs with hundreds of SaaS offers
  • Commissions from 20% to 40% on subscription fees
  • $50 minimum payout with direct deposit
  • Dashboard for managing campaigns and tracking performance
  • Popular offers include SEMrush, Ahrefs, Unbounce, Teachable

2. Impact

  • Specialized affiliate management for SaaS companies
  • Custom commission structures and affiliate tools
  • Higher payouts compared to other networks
  • Exclusive deals with leading SaaS brands like Drift
  • Dedicated program managers for partners

3. FlexOffers

  • Large network with thousands of software affiliate offers
  • Commissions averaging 20-30% across verticals
  • $100 minimum payout with several payment options
  • Robust reporting and tracking dashboard
  • Top SaaS offers include Cloudways, SEMrush, Teachable

4. ClickBank

  • Popular digital marketplace for info products
  • Generous 50-75% commissions on many offers
  • Easy signup process for affiliates
  • Advanced analytics and sales reporting
  • Relevant internet marketing offers popular with SaaS

5. Unicorn Platform Affiliate Program

  • Up to 20% recurring commission on Unicorn subscriptions
  • Perfect complement to other website builder offers
  • Dashboard for real-time reporting and analytics
  • 90-day cookie period for lead conversions
  • Easy signup and great support from Unicorn

6. Cloudways Affiliate Program

  • Managed cloud hosting optimized for WordPress
  • 30% lifetime commission on referrals
  • Additional payouts for free trial signups
  • Coupons and promo tools for affiliates
  • Real-time reporting of clicks, trials, and sales

7. SEMrush Affiliate Program

  • Up to 40% commission on SEMrush paid subscriptions
  • 90-day cookie period on conversions
  • Dedicated account manager for top partners
  • Turnkey promotional assets and marketing materials
  • Comprehensive analytics within affiliate dashboard

8. Teachable Affiliate Program

  • Platform for creating and selling online courses
  • 30% lifetime revenue share on referred customers
  • Program tailored specifically to influencer marketing
  • Pixel tracking and analytics for attributed sales
  • Coupon codes and promo tools for affiliates

9. OptinMonster Affiliate Program

  • Conversion optimization and email software
  • 30% lifetime commissions on sales
  • Real-time tracking of referrals
  • Affiliate newsletters with promo ideas
  • Contests, rewards programs, and incentives

10. WP Engine Affiliate Program

  • Leading managed WordPress hosting platform
  • $200 per referral + revenue share
  • Monthly affiliate newsletters
  • Dashboard for campaign tracking
  • Established brand in content marketing

This covers 10 of the top affiliate programs that are a great fit for software startups and SaaS companies looking to boost customer acquisition through partnerships in 2023.


Narrato Affiliate Partner Program

AI content creation and marketing platform with an AI content autopilot. 30% commission on the payments made by referrals for the first year. Additional $50 bonus every time you bring in 20 new paying subscribers. Ready-to-use marketing assets and resources including blogs posts, videos, knowledge base and more.

Coupons and discounts for affiliates and their referrals.

Castos Affiliate Program

  • All-in-One Podcast Hosting Platform
  • 25% lifetime recurring commissions on hosting plans
  • Dashboard for campaign tracking

Turnkey promotional assets and marketing materials

  • 60-day cookie period on conversions

Choosing the Right Programs for Your Niche

Beyond commission rates, it’s important to find affiliate programs that align with your specific SaaS niche and target customer base.

Here are some factors to evaluate as you assess potential affiliate partnerships:

  • Contextual relevance - Look for affiliate offers that complement your SaaS product rather than directly compete. Affiliates drive more conversions when they provide full solutions.
  • Target audience match - Consider if an affiliate program’s existing partners have audiences similar to your ideal customers. This increases referral potential.
  • Ease of approval - Many programs approve instantly but some have a review process. Factor in wait times and acceptance rates.
  • Level of support - Evaluate the degree of support programs offer through resources, promo tools, affiliate managers, and communication.
  • Affiliate features - Programs with coupons, deal automation, custom landing pages, and special incentives help drive more conversions.
  • Customer demographics - Ensure the program's affiliates have an audience aligned with your target customer demographics like age, location, interests, etc.

Testing a few select partnerships in your SaaS niche is better than joining every program possible. Evaluate which networks are most likely to drive conversions for your specific business.

Promoting SaaS Products through Affiliate Marketing

Once you’ve joined affiliate programs, there are several proven tactics for effectively promoting your SaaS affiliate offers:

  • Content marketing - Publish articles, blogs, videos, and social media content focused on your niche. Subtly include affiliate links where relevant.
  • Email marketing - Promote affiliate offers in your email sequences, broadcasts, and newsletters.
  • SEO - Rank affiliate content on Google and integrate links into organic on-page content.
  • PPC ads - Run targeted paid search and display ads leading to affiliate landing pages.
  • Retargeting - Remarket affiliate offers to site visitors via banners and social ads.
  • Webinars & lead magnets - Share affiliate links in high-value gated content like webinars, ebooks, and toolkits.
  • Influencer marketing - Collaborate with relevant influencers and provide them with promo codes and assets to share your affiliate links.
  • Guest posting - Reach new audiences by contributing posts with embedded affiliate links on niche websites.

Take advantage of any coupons, deals, or custom landing pages provided by the affiliate program. Follow their guidelines and utilize the promotional resources they offer.

Looking for easy ways to build and customize high-converting landing pages? The AI-powered Unicorn Platform makes it simple to create beautiful, responsive landing pages tailored for your SaaS without coding. Learn more here.

Key Takeaways

  • Affiliate marketing presents a powerful customer acquisition strategy for SaaS startups through relevant partnerships.
  • Programs like ShareASale, Impact, and Unicorn Platform provide compelling offers and generous commission structures.
  • Choose affiliate programs aligned with your niche that can drive conversions from audiences similar to your target customers.
  • Content, email, ads, influencers, and lead magnets help promote affiliate links to the right buyers.
  • Take time to test, track results, optimize campaigns, and scale partnerships over time for affiliate marketing success.

The top 10 affiliate programs covered here are a great starting point for SaaS founders exploring partnerships to support sustainable growth and customer acquisition in 2023 and beyond.

Related posts

Read more

Built on Unicorn Platform