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What to Consider When Choosing Affiliate Software for Your Business

Rewardful Team

Trying to set up an affiliate program but find yourself drowning in spreadsheets? 

Setting up and running an affiliate program may sound like an impossible task. From trying to track which affiliate led to which sale, calculate payouts, and maintain records for future reference – who even has the time? Well, businesses that use affiliate software do. 

It’s common that businesses new to affiliate marketing want to test the waters first before investing in a solution that streamlines their affiliate marketing. But the truth is: the success of your affiliate marketing program depends heavily on the software you use.

If you want to do things right and make sure you have a strong operational backbone that links your business to affiliates, tracks their efforts, and ensures they are rewarded accordingly, we're here to help. To make your due diligence more doable, we've listed what to look for in affiliate software and why. Let's find a solution that sets you up for success.

Understanding Affiliate Software: The Basics

Affiliate software is a digital tool designed to simplify the process of running an affiliate program. When your business sells a product or service, affiliates – independent marketers or other businesses – promote your offering to their audience. For every purchase made through their referral link, they earn a commission.

Affiliate software is a tool that helps you manage affiliate efforts, by providing functionalities like tracking affiliate links, managing payouts, reporting, and much more. Depending on the software, it can also include features that make your program better for you and your affiliates.

For example: 

In a perfect world, you will find all these features in one solution. Of course, there are individual tools available – perhaps even free ones – that tick some boxes, but ultimately you'll end up switching between them, manually processing data and double-checking it. It beats the purpose of affiliate marketing, which – when done right – can almost run itself in the background.

Why You Should Use Affiliate Software

Managing an affiliate program isn't all that easy, especially as your network of affiliates begins to grow. When it becomes too overwhelming, affiliate software steps in. 

Here’s how dedicated software helps you sleep at night, and makes your days better, too.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Affiliate Software

Shopping around for the best affiliate software for your business? 

Here's what to look at – next to the price tag:

1. Ease of Setup and Usability

The last thing you need is a system so complicated it requires an IT genius to operate.

For most businesses, particularly smaller ones or those new to affiliate marketing, simplicity is key. Here's how you can gauge whether a system is easy to get started with:

2. Features and Settings

We've already listed some features, but there could be more that you are looking for. To make sure you're getting what you hoped for, try a free trial of any tool if it's available, and always check whether a feature is included in the plan you; 're interested in.

3. Onboarding Affiliates

This tool should work for both you and your affiliates. Onboarding them is a big part of that. The software you choose should provide easy, intuitive ways to onboard new affiliates. Think of things like:

When testing a product, make sure to try this side of it too! 

4. Communication With Affiliates

Does a tool allow you to easily catch up and communicate with affiliates and perhaps even create a sense of community? Since communication is such a big part of the success of any affiliate program, look for software that offers:

5. Payouts

Let's face it: one of the key reasons affiliates join programs is to earn money. If you keep them happy, they will keep your product in their promotions. That means accurate payouts, on time, and with clear stats on why a certain amount is earned. To make that happen, your chosen software should offer:

6. Hidden Fees

Always keep an eye out for sneaky fees when choosing your SaaS affiliate software. Some platforms may offer low upfront costs but charge high transaction fees. Rewardful pricing is straightforward, with no hidden costs, which is a big plus for budget-conscious businesses.

7. Support

Whether you're an experienced affiliate marketer or just starting, there will come a time when you have a question or issue. No system is completely foolproof, and you want downtime to be kept to a minimum.

During these moments, a responsive support team can make a world of difference. Look for software providers who offer multiple channels of support – such as live chat, email, or phone – and have a reputation for swift and helpful responses.

And again: don't hesitate to try out their support lines before signing up. 

8. Flexibility in Pricing Plans

When your business and affiliate program takes off, you want your software to be able to scale with you. Check out what your options would be with each affiliate software provider if you want to scale up or down as necessary.

9. Integrations 

Your affiliate software will not operate in isolation; it needs to smoothly integrate with your other systems for you to truly reap its benefits. Your CRM, email marketing tools, payment gateways, and other solutions should all be able to connect to it. Preferably without the need for coding. An example of how we do it is our Stripe integration. The two become one: you can see your Rewardful data directly from your Stripe dashboard, making it the deepest integration with Stripe you'll find. Check out our other no-code integrations here.

10. Data security

This is a point we really want to mention: look for affiliate software that prioritizes data security.

It should comply with global security standards and regulations to protect both your business data and the personal information of your affiliates. 

Be on the lookout for features like two-factor authentication, data encryption, and secure data storage.

11. Customization

Customizable software should be high up on your wish list. From the way the dashboard looks to affiliates, to the links you provide and the copy on the platform: make sure you have a say in this.

Ready to Rock Your Affiliate Game?

We're here to tick some boxes. Check out our full list of features and our pricing plans

FAQs - How to Pick the Right Affiliate Marketing Software

1. How Do You Choose the Best Affiliate Marketing Tool?

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best affiliate marketing software. Some of the must-have features and services include:

See how Rewardful stands out against Partnerstack here.

2. What Is the Best Affiliate Marketing Software?

Depending on your products and needs, if you’re looking for an affiliate marketing tool for SaaS, Rewardful is the best option.

Our affiliate software is built with the growth trajectory of SaaS businesses in mind, offering a suite of tools designed to enhance and support scaling efforts. See how these companies earn hundreds of thousands through affiliate programs with Rewardful and what our happy users say about us.

3. What Are the Types of Affiliate Marketing Tools?

Generally, affiliate marketing tools can be divided into four groups:

4. What Affiliate Management Software Offers Stripe Integration?

Affiliate management software like Rewardful offers one-click integration with Stripe. In fact, we are Stripe’s verified partner. This vital integration simplifies our users' management and tracking of commissions, resulting in accurate and on-time payment for affiliates and increased productivity for affiliate managers.

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