S1E3 – Affiliate Marketing Simplified With Evan Weber

In today’s episode, we discuss all things concerning affiliate marketing and why it is important. We are honored to have an expert marketer whose LinkedIn handle is “World’s greatest marketer.” Our guest today Evan Weber has been in the industry for a very long term since the inception of affiliate marketing. He has been consulting for over 350 companies in the last 15 years, doing media buying and managing the ad campaign on the agency media platforms. He has plenty of references in B2B, thus one of the direct consumer and digital marketing advertising experts. In addition, he has traveled extensively, which allows him to know what would work. 

Our guest emphasizes that conversion rate should be a key focus area of the company. Continuously strive to increase your conversion rate by growing the number of people registering and becoming paying customers. An excellent conversion rate effectively improves digital advertising and makes money for their affiliates. Before launching an affiliate program, ensure you have an excellent conversion rate. It is only then that the affiliates can make meaningful returns. A takeaway quote from him is:, 

“You will not be able to scale without a conversion rate optimization being an active activity of the company months on end.”

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing refers to a third-party referral to clicks that converts to leads or sales. These include bloggers, influencers, other companies, or donors that a company can turn into affiliates. Since affiliates are often not the company’s customers, striving to convert your customers and free users into affiliates who, in turn, give you referrals is crucial. It is, therefore, important to push your Saas affiliate marketing program to people in a friendly way that offers them clear benefits such as free trials or payouts. 

Spend money to make money. It would be best if you made it highly lucrative for other people to recommend your company in exchange for paid clients or new leads through commission or kickback fee. Some SaaS affiliate companies can pay their affiliates for a given period (say a year), while others may opt for a more lucrative customer lifetime payment.  

Benefits of having a B2B SaaS affiliate marketing program? 

It is performance-based marketing that only pays affiliates for the traffic they drive to your website. To make business sense, the payment to the affiliates should be between 20% – 30% of your revenue. Also, the SaaS affiliate program is risk-free in the sense that you do not risk your advertising dollars in an expensive digital marketing campaign.

 What is the right time to launch an affiliate marketing program?

Our expert guest has answers for you: The right time is when you have increased your conversion rate adequately and run other traffic sources to the website to try to get them to convert. He suggests 3-6 months before setting up a SaaS affiliate program. An affiliate program is not the company’s savior but rather an important complement to other organizational efforts, such as successful conversion rate and outreach. 

Common B2B SaaS Mistakes that companies make in affiliate marketing?

One of the main problems is launching an affiliate marketing program before the company is ready and expecting to work. It should not be the first go-to alternative before an enabling environment exists at the company. Secondly, it often boils down to how the company strives to bond with its affiliates or find other companies to have a reciprocal relationship with SaaS companies often benefit from reverse affiliate marketing on their dashboard, often non-competitors with a similar audience. You only need a few affiliate companies because 2 or 3 a month can be regarded as a success. This way, you can benefit from dashboard swaps, email swaps, partnership offers, SaaS blogs, influencers, or video contentcreation with other B2B SaaS affiliate companies.

What are the steps for launching a successful SaaS affiliate marketing program?

Success depends on the launch timing; that is when the company has established an enabling environment, building a great converting land page, adding testimonials, running tools, and retargeting ads for customers. Having a light daily budget for retargeting ads on multiple sites is important, and increasing it gradually as appropriate. When you get an affiliate, please do not treat them as a means to an end but as valuable partners. Facilitate your affiliates through hand-holding and spoon-feeding them.

Advice to beginner B2B SaaS with revenue of $10k MRR – Seek for relevant dashboards to partner with, and look for influencers in your industry, websites, and blogs in your niche. Please give them the invitation to be your affiliates. Have a budget to seek and retain affiliates for their services in posts and referrals.

Finally, he shares free advice to well-performing B2B SaaS with revenue of $ 1 million – Hire a full-time affiliate manager/facilitator dedicated to the outreach task to engage with potential and existing affiliates. Enjoy this episode and learn a lot. 

Key Timecodes

  • (1:18) Background introduction to today’s guest, “World’s greatest marketer.”
  • (1:53) Why should you listen to him –
  • (3:30) Conversion rate should be an everyday word in your business –
  • (5:55) What is affiliate marketing, specially Saas affiliate marketing –
  • (9:03) The importance of making your Sass affiliate program lucrative –
  • (11:04) Benefits of a B2B SaaS company to have an affiliate program –
  • (14:24) What is the right time to set up a SaaS affiliate program –
  • (17:28) Common mistakes companies make with affiliate marketing –
  • (23:56) Steps for successful setting up of SaaS affiliate marketing
  • (31:26) When should people consider using your marketing tool
  • (33:40) Advice to beginner B2B SaaS with revenue of US$10k
  • (38:55) Advice to well-performing B2B SaaS with revenue of US$1million
  • (40:33) His contact information.


Introduction to podcast

00:53 – Joran Hofman

Welcome back to another episode on Grow your B2B SaaS podcast. This podcast will discuss all topics related to growing your SaaS. No matter in which stage you are in, if you want to grow your SaaS startup in the long term, you need to have a product that people like to recommend and refer to each other. 

If you need to learn how to get that done, listen to our previous podcast about customer success because today, we’re going to talk about affiliate marketing. Our show guest has been in the marketing industry for over 20 years, launched a digital agency in 2007, and started his own B2B SaaS called Publisher finders in 2022. 

With his platform, he helped startups to grow their affiliate program by showing them the best publishers to work with and helping you to reach out to them. I had the pleasure to have a couple of chats with him already and really happy to have him on our show today. 

A fun fact is that his linkedin slug is world’s greatest marketer, so you’re going to get a lot of value out of this show. Without further ado, welcome Evan. 

01:49 – Evan Weber

Thank you so much for having me. 

01:51  – Joran Hofman

You’re welcome. I always like to ask this question I know why people should listen to you. For the people who are still trying to convince after this intro, why should people listen to you today? 

02:01 – Evan Weber

So many reasons. I’ve been in the industry for a very long time, since the inception of affiliate marketing, but it was on the e-commerce side in the early days and affiliate marketing has come to the B2B space recently in the grand scheme of things. 

Some of the same principles apply and strategies and ways to make it happen and ways to reach out to people, collaborate, get the content created and share the content effectively and track it all. So it’s absolutely the thing to do. For SaaS, affiliate should be part of the strategy. As far as why you should listen to me, I’m just a highly experienced, effective digital marketer. 

I’ve worked with over 350 companies in the last 15 years as an agency or consultant. I do a lot of the media buying myself, managing the ad campaigns myself on the major ad platforms on the agency side. 

02:53 – Evan Weber – I have a lot of frames of reference both in B to C and B2B. I believe to be one of the individuals out there that is an expert in both direct to consumer as well as B2B, digital advertising and online marketing. 

So, yeah, I learn every day and always learning new strategies on a daily basis and adding them to my repertoire and trying them out, testing them out. I’ve done a lot of trial and error over the years, which allows me to know what probably will work. You have to put a lot of effort into that strategy, a lot of proper planning and execution, reaching out things of that nature to really make it happen. 

03:29 – Joran Hofman

Nice. I think a great thing you mentioned is, and you work with so many clients, so as we say in that you looked in so many kitchens to see how it works at a different company. I think that’s really valuable. 

03:39 – Evan Weber

Yeah, exactly. Thank you. Every company is a little different, every niche is a little different. Other strategies to apply, it all comes back to conversion rate. That word that you’ll hear around that isn’t mentioned enough, but it should be. Everyone should be screaming it. How are we increasing our conversion rate? The better your website converts the traffic into free trials, and then you have a back end conversion rate. The front end conversion rate a lot of times is what the affiliates are getting paid on. Sometimes they’re getting paid on the second conversion. Regardless, both conversions have to be extremely good, and it has to be improving over time. The rate at which people are registering and then paying, becoming a paid user. The company has to work on those conversion rate percentages in order to make their digital advertising work effectively and make their affiliates money. 

04:28 – Evan Weber

I tell companies all the time, don’t even launch an affiliate program until you’ve increased your conversion rate because your affiliates won’t make enough, they won’t prosper like they need to. So it’s a continuum. You have to start to increase the conversion rate with content, suggestions, tools, a lot of it’s tool based retargeting ads. We could have a whole conversation about that. I’m always saying that your affiliate program success is dependent on your conversion rate, right? Go ahead and work on your conversion rate and all of a sudden you’ll have more productive affiliates and they’ll be happier too, which is the most important part. That’s my approach, is a conversion rate oriented approach, and I think everyone should have that approach. If you don’t have that approach, I feel bad for you, because you’re not making it happen like it needs to. One of my sayings is you won’t be able to scale without conversion rate optimization. 

05:18 – Evan Weber

You can’t scale without conversion rate optimization. Truly being a proactive thing. In the company, an activity that’s going on every single month. What are we doing to increase our conversion rate this month? You have to be asking that question always. Making things happen, bringing in experts, trying different things, headline testing, adding tools, changing up the retargeting ads, launching new videos and retargeting, always coming with new content in the follow up process, sending more automated email follow ups, so many areas that can be addressed and can be worked on. All of that to say that will help your affiliates be more successful. 

How would you explain SaaS affiliate marketing

05:55 – Joran Hofman

Nice. I think everybody knows conversion rate or should know conversion rate. Not everybody might know what an affiliate program is. Let’s just zoom out for 1 second, as in how would you explain affiliate marketing, and then maybe in particular SaaS affiliate marketing to somebody who’s completely unfamiliar with it? 

06:13 – Evan Weber

Yeah, so affiliate marketing is simply third parties referring clicks that turn into sales or leads. You have bloggers, you have LinkedIn influencers, you have email list owners, you have any number of entities, other companies that you can turn into an affiliate, convince them to become your affiliate by asking nicely or reciprocating with them, doing a reciprocal affiliate partnership, which is particularly effective with SaaS. And we’ll get into that. Essentially it’s having a bunch of third parties referring to business. It’s a referral program. Now, there are customer referral programs and there are affiliate programs. Affiliates can be customers, but a lot of times they’re not even customers of the company, although they can be. It’s important to convert your customers into affiliates and even your free users. Your free users can be converted into affiliates and then they can refer their friends and get a free month for the tool or a payout. 

07:08 – Evan Weber

Many ways to cultivate affiliate relationships with SaaS and all of those things need to be cultivated over time. You’ll have different types of affiliates sending traffic and referrals over time as you invite them to be an affiliate, or they ask you or you do a partnership. You always have to be pushing the affiliate program on people in a nice way, hey, we want to make you money by allowing you to link to us and we’re going to pay you 20% residual. That’s exciting in itself. Now when they start sending traffic, it helps if they’re making sales. That’s where conversion rate comes back into the picture. Yeah, that’s pretty much a little rundown on affiliate marketing. B2B is A, slightly different than B to C, although the principles are the same as long as the click can be tracked, everything can be tracked through a click to registration. 

08:00 – Evan Weber

To back end conversion, you need to know how productive your affiliates are sending in revenue. There are companies that pay just for the leads. They’ll pay per registration and they can pay per sale as well, or they can just pay per sale. There’s different ways of structuring it to make it lucrative for the affiliates. The people out there listening need to understand that your job as a brand or a company with affiliates is to make the affiliates money. It’s not for them to make you money, although that’s the way it seems. It’s by converting their traffic better, by doing what you do better, they’ll make more money, they’ll get happier and put more resources into it and that will make you more revenue. Yes, we’re all working together here to make money. The point is, a lot of companies view their affiliates as like, oh, let’s just get more affiliates and we’ll be good. 

08:50 – Evan Weber

No, it doesn’t work. It does work like that to a degree, but you have to really work to convert their traffic and that’s the way it works best and works quickest. That’s what people out there need to know exactly. 

09:03 – Joran Hofman

If the affiliates do well and they make money in the enterSaaS company will make money as well. I mean, in short, it’s basically other people recommending your company and in exchange for paid clients, they will receive a commission or sometimes if they deliver you leads, they will receive some kind. 

Hybrid model within SaaS Affiliate Marketing

09:20 – Evan Weber

Of kickback fee, right? Yeah, or a hybrid, which is something upfront and something more on the sale. That’s a way just to make it more lucrative for the affiliates. I mean, companies need to be thinking about now that needs to be kept in check though, because some companies won’t pay forever on the referral on a monthly basis. They might pay for a year and a half, two years, that 20% residual. Some companies will pay for the life of the client when they will pay for the life of the client. It could be very lucrative for the affiliate because if they keep the client on board, they’re making money, they just stack up the referrals. They could have 100 referrals all paying monthly and then that is passive income. You want to talk about passive income, get a bunch of referrals to SaaS platforms and that you’ve created residual passive income for yourself. 

10:09 – Evan Weber

That’s another point about SaaS affiliate programs is they’re typically more lucrative. I keep using that word. You can do better with them than B to C or D to C, whatever you want to call it, because those are one time sales of a product on an e commerce website. It’s a one shot, payout 10%, boom, you’re done. The SaaS, it keeps going and going for the life of the client in most instances. Sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it stops after a year or whatever. Nonetheless, it’s a lot more revenue per referral than a direct to consumer affiliate program would be far more lucrative. 

Why you should set up an affiliate program as a B2B SaaS? 

10:46 – Joran Hofman

It’s one of the reasons why with veritas we purely focus on btb SaaS because it’s business to business or higher ticket prices. And it’s SaaS, it’s recurring. It will happen over longer term, like, not always, indeed lifetime, but definitely a year and longer. Those are the benefits for the affiliate, right? If we turn things around, what are the benefits, in your opinion, for a B2B SaaS company to set up an affiliate program? 

11:10 – Evan Weber

Well, it’s truly performance based marketing. It’s only paying for the business that they’re driving to your website, so that would seem all good. And it is. It’s a very desirable form of revenue, and it should be 20% to 30% of your revenue if you’re doing it right. Some companies do 50% through their affiliate program, let’s say 2020 to 30. 

Once it’s up and running and you have a lot of partners, a lot of affiliates, it’s risk free in that you’re not risking your advertising dollars in a digital marketing campaign. Now, that being said, you might be able to get sales more cost effectively through LinkedIn Ads or seo or articles. Another strategy, if you’re paying your affiliates 20%, that’s great, but you’re still paying them 20% of the revenue, the life of the client. If you look at the lifetime value of that client to the affiliate, that could be thousands of dollars, which is still fine because it’s a percentage. 

12:07 – Evan Weber

It’s still profitable revenue for the SaaS platform. The point I’m trying to make is it’s still 20% monthly recurring. Whereas if you’re running Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads and it costs you $200 to acquire a customer, it’s 200 flat. You may end up paying affiliates more in the long run per customer because you’re paying them a percentage residually. So it’s just a different metric. I believe you need to be running in all channels simultaneously. That makes sense. And making them all work. That’s my approach, and that’s the approach I’ve always had. Affiliates is one slice of the pie, one piece of the puzzle that you need to grow over time. 

12:44 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. Definitely with every channel, you can calculate, of course, like, your customer acquisition costs, as you mentioned, right? Like, how much does it cost you to acquire a new customer and then what is the lifetime of that customer? Is a referral coming from an affiliate? That staying longer with you than a company who joined you via your paid campaign? Always calculate your ltv tech ratio or your payback period for the channels you’re running. That’s definitely a good one to keep an eye on. 

13:11 – Evan Weber

Yeah, and the point I was making there was 20%. Sounds like a lot. To pay residually for the life of the client. Why not pay them 10%? See, the payout has to be considered the commission rate. Again, you do want it to be lucrative as possible. The more money they make, the better. But it’s a fine line. Most companies will start the commission at lower than what they are comfortable paying. That way they can increase it over time to try to get more production. And that’s a good strategy to use. You could start it off at 10% and then, hey, we’re giving you a raise to 15%. We’re going to boost you up to 20 this month. You can use the commission rate strategically to motivate the affiliates, but you also need to make sure it’s not too much and you’re not giving away all the money. 

13:55 – Evan Weber

That was just the point I wanted to bring up there. 

When to set up an affiliate program for your SaaS? 

13:58 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, I completely agree. It’s a fine line. I think we both have been on both sides. We’re an affiliate of companies and we’re also now of course, founded our own SaaS companies. We know the benefits of the affiliate side, where you want to get money out of it. It has to be something which is going to motivate you, but you do not want to give too much away, of course, that your customer acquisition costs keep rising. So it’s definitely a fine line. I 100% agree with that. What is, in your opinion, the best time to set up an affiliate program? 

14:29 – Evan Weber

When you’ve increased your conversion rate adequately, when you’ve run other traffic sources to the website to try to get it to convert and see what the conversion rate is on the registration as well as the back end conversion. I would give it like three to six months minimum. Once this thing launches or the marketing begins, you can always be building, really reaching out and connecting with people on LinkedIn and finding people in the niche that would be a good affiliate and saying, hey, we want to partner with you. We want you to be our affiliate. We’ll let you know when it’s live so they can start laying the groundwork. Maybe, but companies have a misrepresentation of how to really approach affiliate programs. You have to do it with the right strategy. You can’t just launch an affiliate program and expect it to be great. You have to do it the right way. 

15:18 – Evan Weber

You have to do it like what you’re saying when to launch it, when you’ve increased your conversion rate and gone through a process of doing so, that could last probably three to six months. If you’re actually trying to do that and make that happen, if you don’t do that, then your affiliate program may not do anything. It may not be productive if you don’t approach it like that. That’s what I would say there, because at that point, the company should be trying to make other things work to generate users, and if they can’t make those things work and then they expect an affiliate program to be the savior, it ain’t going to happen. The affiliate program is never the savior. It’s the compliment. It’s a great channel to build up over time. 

16:03 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and I think this is a perfect point you make. It’s not a savior and it’s not also the first channel. In my opinion, you have to start out with exactly as you mentioned. The conversion rate has to be increased, so you have to actually have paid clients first so you can optimize your conversion rate and then you can go to this channel. It should not be the first to go channel for a company starting out. 

16:27 – Evan Weber

You can have it alive. You can have the affiliate program tracking available. You can put a link in the footer, join our affiliate program in the footer. You can have it available, but don’t expect much. Don’t expect anything, but you can have it available before you’re truly ready to push it out there to the world. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just don’t expect it to do anything. Until you have a well converting site and you actually do some outreach to go find you some affiliates and partners, then it will start doing something. 

16:56 – Joran Hofman

Exactly. This is one of the reasons why we would offer a free plan. Just because then people can set it up, they don’t have too high expectations, they can at least invite their own network towards it, but they’re not going to have much out of it at the beginning just because they need to figure things out themselves first. 

17:14 – Evan Weber

Yeah, you don’t want to pay for another tool that’s not doing anything. You get into the problem where they might have to cut the tool because they’re cutting their budget so it’s not doing anything. Get rid of it. 

Common mistakes made with SaaS Affiliate Marketing

17:27 – Joran Hofman

This is maybe one typical mistake companies make right with affiliate marketing. What other kinds of mistakes do you see companies making with affiliate marketing? 

17:36 – Evan Weber

What a great question. One of them is launching it before they’re ready and expecting it to do something. So we’ve already talked about that. The second thing that comes to mind is how they’re actually trying to bond with the affiliates or actually find other companies to become affiliates with each other. I believe in SaaS companies doing reciprocal affiliate marketing with each other, where you promote it in your dashboard and the partner promotes it in their dashboard. A little partner tab in the left column. You can have a partner section and you can promote each other and track it as an affiliate. That way all your users coming through the dashboard, some of them will go into the partner section. They’ll see the other companies there, they’ll click on them, sign up, and they’ll track as an affiliate if anything happens. That’s my number one type of affiliate for SaaS. 

18:26 – Evan Weber

That’s my number one recommendation to make that to have traffic coming quickly through a partner. All you need is one other dashboard to do this with that has a similar audience but a different product, obviously a different type of tool with a similar audience. Find one of those to do this with, do the swap and see what happens. You go get 20 of them, 30 of them, 100 of them. That’s the only affiliate you’ll ever need. You’re not going to get 100 in a month. If you get two or three a month, that’s consider. That excellent, right? Because you don’t need a lot. If they have a fairly high traffic dashboard, it could actually bring in a good amount of sign ups, right? New users. If they’re too small, then it won’t do much. It’s all about the size of how many users they have coming through the dashboard, of course. 

19:22 – Evan Weber

But you see my point. It’s a very good way to affiliate with other SaaS companies. That’s my number one recommendation for SaaS affiliate is to do dashboard swaps. You can also do email swaps where you I email my users. You email your users. Hey, check out this tool. Check out that tool. Email blast, right? You got that email list sitting there with nothing to send to it except your own stuff. Send some partner offers out there. Great idea. You can do blog post swaps. You can do video content together like we’re doing many strategies when two companies partner up like this, if you do that with multiple companies, it adds up. That’s a really good type of partnership. That’s called a reciprocal partnership, reciprocal affiliate partnership. Call it whatever you want, but it’s brilliant idea. I’ve done it over and over again and shown that it works. 

20:19 – Evan Weber

The other type of affiliates are just influencers and content creators in the niche. Those you need to be reaching out to those on LinkedIn, twitter, I would focus it on LinkedIn, to be honest, because there are some B2B influencers over there on Twitter. I think more progress could be made recruiting affiliates on LinkedIn than Twitter. I’m not ruling it out because I know of companies that have recruited good affiliates on Twitter in the dev space, in the It space, software development. If it can be done in software development, it could be done in other software sales or other tool niches. You need someone reaching out to recruit the affiliates. There’s very few affiliate networks on the B2B side that you can plug into a bunch of affiliates ready to promote you. I haven’t really seen it. I’ve heard it could exist, but I’ve never seen it to exist or heard that you could do a thing like that. 

21:11 – Evan Weber

I believe in building it up from scratch, from the ground up, using tools to find out who the affiliates are. For instance, I’ll give you a good example. You’re a SaaS platform or SaaS tool. Find a bunch of SaaS bloggers out there that are writing about SaaS oriented topics and recruit them as affiliates. Boom. Send 200 emails to those type of sites. Perfect example. That’s what my tool kind of uncovers is web publishers that are in certain niches. You need to go after the publishers in the niches. The influencers that are on LinkedIn or wherever that have a following. Hopefully they don’t have to have a big following, though, if they just have a good presence. Let’s say you had a sales tool, a SaaS, a sales SaaS. You find someone who has a big presence in the sales world on LinkedIn, the sales community, and you recruit them as an affiliate. 

22:04 – Evan Weber

When they post as an affiliate and share the link, a lot of their followers and connections are other salespeople, so they can go sign up for the tool. Hey, sign up for this free tool, this free registration, check it out. This is a great sales tool, and a percentage of those will hopefully buy and that person will make money by just sharing a post on LinkedIn. There are ways of the LinkedIn influencer or someone posting on LinkedIn to they could have a blog post, or they could just create a nice LinkedIn post, a LinkedIn article linked to a blog post that talks about the SaaS that they’re promoting with their affiliate link in there. There’s a few ways to ask to do it, but most of it is content oriented and sharing oriented, posting oriented. If they have an email list, amazing, they can blast the email list. 

22:52 – Evan Weber

Or if they have a Medium following, when they do a new Medium post, their Medium audience, people will get notified. These are ways of working with B2B influencers to promote the SaaS. Just some suggestions, some ideas. 

23:05 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and I think this is great. I’m making a lot of notes because you mentioned dashboard swap, email swap, publishers, sales guys as an example. I think it all comes down to you have to reach out and you just have to ask whether which one it is. You just have to find them and reach out to them and then explain the concept sometimes still. Because especially what you mentioned at the beginning, not everybody knows the concept of affiliate marketing in B2B SaaS, so you might have to explain. In the end, it is a win for everybody. 

23:36 – Evan Weber

Once you set up your own partnership tab in your own dashboard, and then when they click the partnership tab, there’ll be like a little page in the dashboard that has the company logos there of the partners. Once you show them that, say, look what we did with these three companies right here. This is great. This is driving us new users and we’re generating new users for them. Let’s do this together. All you have to do is have one example, one good example to show them, and they’ll be convinced. Most ask dashboards they don’t have a partner tab in the Dashboard. They should. Hopefully this podcast will convince them to do it because it’s a great way to increase new users with no risk. I’ve even seen companies do it just and they don’t even pay each other as an affiliate. They just swap the logos in the dashboard in the partner section and they don’t pay each other as an affiliate. 

24:29 – Evan Weber

It’s cooler, it’s good when you can pay each other and there’s money to be made, there’s revenue to be generated, but you could do it without the affiliate links presence. That’s a really exciting way to partnerships. Everyone’s talking about partnerships. 

Steps to achieve success with affiliate marketing 

24:44 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. I think you really definitely practice what you preach because if you want to see an example in your listing, just go to Publisher finders, sign up, and then you will find that section in the tool. I think that’s definitely a good one. I guess when we go back to setting up an affiliate program, do you recommend certain steps for people to follow to achieve success? 

25:06 – Evan Weber

Well, basically what we’ve talked about, doing it at the right time, having a great converting landing page or homepage, wherever the traffic is going to go, making sure it’s honed for improved conversion rate, maybe testing on the headlines, adding testimonials running tools, retargeting the visitors when they leave the site. If all the retargeting placements you can run to bring the visitors back, that gives affiliates more chance of making a sale. Why wouldn’t you be retargeting their traffic, your own website traffic that they’re generating for you? Of course, I don’t think every SaaS company is running retargeting ads. Surf around the web. You’ll see my ads everywhere and I do it in a very low budget per day. The key to retargeting is keeping the daily budgets very low. You can even have them at $10 a day. $10 on Facebook, Instagram, ten on LinkedIn, ten through Google, ten through Ad Role or whatever. 

26:03 – Evan Weber

Retargeting platform. Just light budget retargeting in multiple platforms is a winner. Companies need to know that because what happens is they put too high budgets on the daily budget. Let’s say they set it at $50 a day on a daily budget. It’s going to spend all that boom, boom. It’s going to be all the same people seeing the ads, they’re going to be seeing it like 50, 60 times a day. It’s, it’s ridiculous. The frequency would be through the roof. That’s a little gem from this podcast is keep the retargeting budgets low on multiple platforms and then you can increase them over time. If it’s hitting the budget and it’s making sales, you just boost it. Ten here, ten here, and you just raise it accordingly until it’s where you want it to be. So, yeah, every staff should be retargeting their visitors with ads. 

26:48 – Evan Weber

That’s just a conversion strategy. It’s another conversion strategy and that helps the affiliates make sales. So just best practices. Click the sign up ratio type of making the site or the landing page convert as well as possible, then go. Find you some affiliates. Start reaching out. Start reaching out with a great approach. One of my sayings is it’s all about the approach, the subject line, the message. What does it say? Are you making it exciting? Use Chat gpt to write your outreach messages. Say, hey, write an exciting email outreach for me for a prospective affiliate, and you’ll be blown away with what it cranks out. Like you said, outreach. It’s all about outreach. Once you have them as an affiliate, then you have to make friends with them. You have to bond with them and get on a call with them, see what you can do together. 

27:37 – Evan Weber

What a great expenditure of time bonding on a phone call or video chat with a partner or an affiliate, you should be spending an hour minimum. People will laugh because cracking down on meetings or whatever, but I love meetings. No, my point is, when you get an affiliate, you need to basically make friends with them, become besties, that will ensure that they don’t leave, and they’re always going to be happy and you’re going to have a relationship with them and you’re going to check in with them every month. How’s it going? What more can we do together? How is your family doing? How’s the weather out there? Don’t treat your affiliates like a means to an end. Treat them like a valuable partner. That helps tremendously. Treat your affiliates like gold, not like a means to an end. A lot of companies are cheap with their affiliate program. 

28:26 – Evan Weber

That’s another one of my concepts. They say they want a great affiliate program, but they don’t want to invest in growing it. It’s hard to find the right resources. Also, there’s a lot of crap out there. People say they can do this and that, agencies that claim to be able to do this and that, and they don’t do anything. You pay them thousands of dollars, they do nothing. And then you’re like, what happened? We just blew $3,000 on our $6,000 on our affiliate program. They get then they think, then that’s it. They don’t want to spend any money growing their affiliate program. So you have to do it right. You have to use the right resources and use the right strategies. Yeah, and then it’s very possible. 

Key to success: make your affiliates successful

29:05 – Joran Hofman

I think one of the key things you said is in. The goal is to help the affiliates make money instead of you making money, which of course happens after. If you truly want to help them to make money, so jump on these calls, ask how they’re doing, how you can help them, what do they need? In the end, it is going to benefit yourself well. 

29:24 – Evan Weber

Now with chat gpt, I use that tool a lot. You can write content for them, you can give them blog posts. Here’s an amazing blog post about the niche and how our tool solves the problem. You can give them an amazing article, totally unique, that they can publish, and then you can even give them the LinkedIn post content. Say, here’s the post, here’s the post content, and here’s your link. You know what that’s called? That’s called spoon feeding. I believe in spoonfeeding your affiliates handholding and spoon feeding. That’s what you should be doing in your affiliates. In order to give them what they need to be successful doing the work for them, then all they have to do is go post it, go publish the article, go post the blog post, go post the LinkedIn post. If they have an email list, you can write an email, create an email for them, chat, gpt, write an email for this person’s audience about such and such, and an amazing email will be written and you can give them that and you can say, here’s everything you need. 

30:20 – Evan Weber

That’s called facilitating your affiliates. A lot of affiliate managers don’t do that, but that is the way to do it. I do that. I’ve always done that. I know it works because I’ve been doing it a long time. That being said, it’s all about facilitating the affiliates. Exactly. 

30:37 – Joran Hofman

The easier you make it for them, the easier it is for them to promote you. It’s in the end. 

30:42 – Evan Weber

Yeah, take away the work. If they have to put work in, it’s not going to get done. They have to schedule it. They have to wait. They have to wait till all this other stuff is done and then maybe they’ll do it two months from now. No, we need you to post it this Friday. Right. Here’s the blog post, here’s the LinkedIn post, here’s an email blurb for your subscribers. There’s everything you need. Here’s your referral link. Embedded in the content, embedded in here, embedded in there. That’s it. I make it sound so easy. Really? That is a great way to manage the affiliates. They should call them affiliate facilitators instead of affiliate managers. They should change the name to Affiliate Facilitators because affiliate managers don’t do anything nice. 

When should people use Publisher Finders?

31:24 – Joran Hofman

It is true. They need to facilitate the affiliates to make sure that they’re successful. Let’s move on. When we look at Publisher Finders, when should people consider using your tool? 

31:34 – Evan Weber

My tool was primarily built for brands that are in the direct to consumer space because a lot of the web publishers that are in my tool are more on the ecommerce side or the consumer side. There are a bunch of business sites in there’s saas related sites and blogs in there. There’s definitely a couple of thousand SaaS related sites in there that could be brought on as an affiliate. Most of the people using our tool are brands. They’re consumer brands, so to speak, because there’s a lot more of them in there and there’s like a never ending supply. I think they should check it out. Whether they’ll find what they’re looking for maybe may or may not be the case, but I don’t claim that it is. There is B2B stuff in there though, for sure. A lot of the concepts that we’ve talked about for SaaS, they apply to any kind of website. 

32:26 – Evan Weber

B to C, direct to consumer. Before you have affiliates, you need a well converting website and you need to run some your own campaigns and hone it and make it work. You can reach out and get some great affiliates. It’s the same concept really is with the SaaS dashboards. They have a unique opportunity where they can do the swaps, the reciprocal swap placements. That’s a very effective strategy. I can’t emphasize it enough. I feel like every SaaS should be looking for those. As soon as they listen to this, they should be like, what other SaaS do I know where I could do a swap like this? Let me look through my connections. Let me see who oh, this one right here. Let me reach out to Dan, let me reach out to Sally and propose this idea. I’m telling you, if you have a similar audience, it makes total sense. 

33:16 – Evan Weber

It’s just a question of how much traffic they have coming through the dashboard, whether it’s going to do anything or not. If you can find another company to partner with like that, you can really try to promote each other and leverage it. 

Affiliate Marketing advice for Startups growing to 10k MRR

33:26 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, that’s definitely good feedback. To come back to the question, like you guys do offer a 14 day free trial. For every size company listening, just go ahead, go to publish, finders and see if there are going to be interesting publishers for you in there. When we start wrapping things up, ask this question at the end when we talk about affiliate marketing, what kind of advice would you give in certain stages? The first one being somebody just starting out and to grow their size to ten k monthly recurring revenue, like we. 

33:56 – Evan Weber

Said, I would immediately go and find some other dashboards to partner with and get on the phone with them and try to figure it out, make it happen. Say, listen, we have 10,000 users using our tool, a free trial basis, and they’re, we’re going to let them all know about your tool and can you do the same for us? We’ll pay each other as an affiliate. That’s the first type they should go after. They should start looking for influencers in the niche, influencers in the industry, or people that are just look like good connections in the industry. Anyone can really be an affiliate if they have a decent amount of connections. As long as their connections are in the industry you want to expose it to. The third type I would go after are websites and blogs that have content articles about your type of tool, your type of software, your type of solution. 

34:42 – Evan Weber

Run Google searches. Best tools for sales, best tools for retargeting, whatever the niche, it whatever the software type is. Go look at all the sites ranking organically in Google and see what comes up in the paid traffic, because you can advertise in the page, but that’s a pay per click campaign. The organic results, those are usually articles about the best tools. Reach out to all those they call them publishers. Reach out to all those web publishers and see if you can get them to be an affiliate. Ask them to be your affiliate and say, you have a perfect article. We can insert our link right here. We’ll even give you $100 just for doing it. We’ll just give you $100 if you do it, and then we’ll pay you 10% residual. Throw money at them. That’s what I mean by having you have to have a budget to grow your affiliate program, and you have to throw around money to basically bribe these publishers and these affiliates to do something for you. 

35:37 – Evan Weber

It’s nothing wrong with it. You’re just paying them to act. Say, listen, if you find a good LinkedIn person, hey, listen, if you do a post, I’ll pay you $100 and I’ll pay you 10% on all the affiliate referrals. They’ll be like, okay, now it depends who it is. They might want 1000, right? Or they might want 200, or they may be like, no, I don’t do that. If you’re offering money, they’re probably going to say yes, because and you’re giving them all the content, you don’t they don’t even have to do any work and we’re going to pay you. Do you think they’re going to say yes? Absolutely. The no one approaches it like that, though. That’s a really great way to approach it. With the right people. You don’t just throw $100 at everybody. You offer it to the right people that look like they actually have the right connections that need to know about your software. 

36:35 – Evan Weber

Go find five of those a month. Five of those a month to do that with the ones that work, you keep doing it. Say post again, we’ll pay you another 100. You can actually see if it results in sales because you’re tracking it as an affiliate. It’s almost like media buying, but that’s like having a budget for your affiliates and influencers. That’s like melding affiliate with influencer, right? You’re paying them of money and you’re giving a commission. That’s called a hybrid deal. That’s how you can work with people so they won’t tell you to go take a hike. You’re offering them money. They’re not going to say no, and they’re going to make a commission on the back end, which hopefully they make money on that as well. By that time, if they’re actually making money, they might actually say, s***, I can make some money with this I’m going to post once a week. 

37:25 – Evan Weber

I’m going to create more blog posts. I’m going to do this, that, and up. If it becomes something they’re actually making money with, they’re going to repetitively do it. That’s how I work too, in the referral space. The companies that I refer business to that I actually make money with, I refer them more business because I’m seeing money. Right. Your mind just automatically goes to the so if you have an affiliate program, you could just say, okay, this month we’re going to take $1,000 and we’re going to offer $100 to ten influencers and see what happens. What a great way to kick off your affiliate program. Now it has to convert. Otherwise you’re spending the money for nothing. You know what I mean? All you have to have is a decent click to registration rate, and then the back end conversion hopefully is 5% to 10%, right? 

38:14 – Evan Weber

If those numbers hold true, it’s a slam dunk winner. If they even come close to those percentages, it’s a winner. It’s a massive winner. So, yeah, that’s how you do it. That’s how you do it with affiliates and influencers with SaaS. 

Affiliate Marketing Advice for B2B SaaS startups growing to 1M ARR. 

38:30 – Joran Hofman

I think the last part is, of course, what you covered a lot during this podcast is to have the conversion rate in order. Especially for the company starting out, have that in order before you even launch, or just have it live, but not push it that much. Like, start with, as you mentioned, maybe offer people money upfront and the commission so you will get yourself out there. The emphasis has to be first on making sure that things convert before you really start scaling. That comes down to the next question. This is for the company starting out. Let’s say a company is growing to 1 million arr, so they have a bit more budget, maybe have a team already who can handle things like what kind of advice would you give them on affiliate marketing? 

39:11- Evan Weber

Well, it always helps if you have someone dedicated to outreach, because they could be spending their days and their weeks just reaching out. Hey, I found you on LinkedIn. We really want to work with you. This is how we do it. They could be sending invites with a message attached on LinkedIn and then following up with those people. They could be finding their emails and sending them emails. They could be finding other companies, and they could be offering the partnership proposal to them. Let’s talk about it. Listen, a dedicated person should always be 90% on outreach and business development. If you can put a full time person on it, that’s the best possible scenario, if not multiple people. If you can only do 20 hours a week, that person should be reaching out for 20 hours a week. If you have revenue, then you can devote that person to it. 

40:01- Evan Weber

So that’s what I would say. When you have the money to hire a full time affiliate manager, facilitator, that’s what you should do. You should hire someone, and 90% of what they do should be outreach and business development and seeing how many partnerships they can get and affiliates they can get through the strategies we just talked about. So that’s what I would do. I’ll hire one full time person, and then once that person pays for themselves, hire another person. You could literally have five to ten people as affiliate managers, just reaching out, pulling in affiliate relationships and partnerships. 

How to reach out to Evan Weber 

40:31 – Joran Hofman

I like how the word comeback affiliate facilitator. I think that’s definitely a key word here as well. Today. My final question is, if people want to get in contact with you, what would be the best way? How can they reach you? 

40:43 – Evan Weber

I’m very easy to get a hold of. I’m always on LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn all day long. I’m on skype, got people texting me. I’m not hard to get a hold of. I’m very approachable. You want to talk to me about your project? I’m happy to give you my feedback on it and what I would do to grow it. Not me in particular, but what they should do to grow it. If they want to know what I can help them, how I can help them grow it, I’m happy to tell them that as well. Usually when people call me, they could be affiliates, they could be companies. People just call me. I put my phone number in my LinkedIn description, and then when they see what I’m about, they call me. No, I have the conversation and see how I can direct them or enlighten them, and that’s how it gets done. 

41:25 – Evan Weber

I’m always analyzing sites, giving feedback, answering questions, and never charging a penny to most people. If the company wants to hire me, then of course I charge them. I’m happy to analyze, give advice to affiliates, give advice to brands, companies, how they should be doing different things. I’m always ready to jump on the phone and have a conversation, let them know what’s up. 

41:48 – Joran Hofman

Good. The conclusion is, go find evan on LinkedIn. Basically search for world’s greatest marketer or evan weber. 

41:56 – Evan Weber


41:57 – Joran Hofman

One or another probably will give his head first at the top of the search results, so definitely recommend doing it, as I can relate. He is able to help you out with any questions you have. He wouldn’t charge you a penny, so definitely do. Thank you very much for being on the show, sharing your knowledge, and hope to see you again soon. 

42:17 – Evan Weber

Yeah, let’s do it again. 

42:18 – Joran Hofman

Yes. Thanks, Evan. 

42:21 – Outro

You’ve been listening to Growing a B2B SaaS. Joran has been ahead of customer success before founding his own startup. He’s experiencing the same journey you are. We hope you’ve gotten some actionable advice from the show, and we hope you had fun along the way. We know we did. Make sure to like, rate and review the podcast in the meantime. To find out more and to hook up with us on our social media sites, go to www.getreditus.com

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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