Every SaaS business has an ICP (Ideal customer profile). These are the customers who provide you with the most value. One excellent strategy for converting more ICPs is affiliate marketing. An affiliate marketing campaign involves hiring advertisers to promote your product. It's a low up-front cost marketing strategy that grants you access to a wider market. For a successful affiliate marketing strategy, a SaaS business needs time and existing branding.
In a B2B context, the ideal customer profile is the type of company that benefits most from your product or service. These companies also have the fastest, and most successful sales cycle, along with the best customer retention rates and the most evangelists for your brand.
To grow your SaaS business, you need to know the ideal customer profile for your product. You need this information as a foundation for your entire marketing strategy.
There are two main marketing channels:
Direct channel marketing is when a producer sells directly to the customer without any intermediaries. This strategy is the default for most B2B SaaS companies. They'll target their ICPs with emails, cold calls, and business promotions.
Indirect channel marketing involves gaining potential customers' trust, ideally with a third party, before selling to them. An indirect channel marketing strategy will have you market your product via someone else and leverage their reach to make customers.
Indirect channel marketing is particularly important for B2B SaaS companies because, unlike traditional businesses, their customers will research their products, consider the company's reputation, and study reviews before making a sales decision.
Gartner reports that sales reps are involved in only 5% of a customer's time during the B2B purchase journey. So you'll want your organization's strategic focus to be aligned with digital buying behavior.
Affiliate marketing is when a company compensates third-party entities to create traffic or leads for the company's products. The company provides a commission fee in exchange for the promotion.
These are the 4 main advantages of affiliate marketing:
Affiliate marketing gives your products and company a good reputation even before your clients learn about what they want.
Affiliate marketing grants you access to the reach and links of the affiliate marketer you've hired. The result is access to a wider audience and market than your company can directly achieve.
A backlink is a link from one website to another. Affiliate marketing grants you access to backlinks, which Google countries as 'votes' for your page. Thus backlinking rank your pages higher and increases your leads.
Pay-for-performance advertising (P4P) is a pricing model in which marketers or advertisers are paid a bonus for performance. Under affiliate marketing, you only pay your affiliates when they generate sales for you.
So affiliate marketing has low to no upfront costs, and you're essentially paying part of your revenue instead of investing in a marketing campaign. The P4P model also incentivizes affiliates to perform better.
There are only two steps to growing your affiliate revenue:
Initially, offer affiliateship only to your clients. They know you. They know your product. And they know your company. Most importantly, they have a positive outlook toward you since they use your products. So their recommendations will be invaluable.
Next, advertise your affiliate program on your website and social media. Then proactively recruit affiliates, starting with thought leaders in your target industry. It'd be even better if you could target competitors' affiliates.
You could also use SEO tools to deconstruct your competitors' affiliate strategy.
Use your affiliate managing tools to create gamified stats infographics that highlight their financial incentives. You also want to regularly update your affiliate marketers about product changes and methodologies.
The best way to measure your affiliate marketing campaign is with the LTV/CAC ratio. LTV stands for 'Lifetime value per customer, and CAC stands for 'Customer acquisition cost.' The LTV/CAC ratio compares the total value of a customer with the cost of acquiring them.
An LTV/CAC ratio of 1 means your affiliate marketing campaign is breaking even. An LTV/CAC ratio of less than 1 means you're losing value. And an LTV/CAC ratio of more than 1 means that you're creating value.
An LTV/CAC ratio of above three is generally considered good. Fortunately, customer acquisition costs in affiliate marketing are usually low. The value generated by each affiliate marketer mostly depends on the number of sales they provide.
When starting an affiliate marketing channel, you want to keep these four criteria in mind. They're collectively termed the 'affiliate market fit.'
- You already have paying clients, and you know what they want. If you don't know how to market yourself, you can't expect an affiliate to.
- You already have people interested in an affiliateship with you. These people have either planned how to sell your product or think their audience is already interested.
- You have readily available brand material.
- You have the time and resources to invest in a new income stream.
In conclusion, every SaaS business has an ideal customer profile (ICP). One excellent strategy for acquiring more of your ideal customers is an affiliate marketing campaign. In an affiliate marketing campaign, you'll provide financial incentives to advertisers to promote your products to their audiences. Affiliate marketing is a great tool for SaaS businesses. It has low upfront costs and doesn't need a traditional marketing investment. But you should only start one if you have the time, experience, and resources to invest in a new income stream.