It was also responsible for billions of dollars of revenue for the affiliates that promoted the offers. Instead of shrinking, the industry is growing. The problem is a few super affiliates are taking home most of the earnings.
Not anymore, I’ve compiled a list of affiliate marketing tools, platforms, and resources to build your affiliate marketing empire. These affiliate marketing tools will cut down the learning curve, make it easier to implement campaigns, and help you find the best offers available.
This list is only a small portion of the affiliate marketing tools available to build your business. For a complete list of hundreds of tools you can use to grow your empire, check out the tools for entrepreneurs. There, you’ll find tools and resources across over forty categories.
Let’s dive into the list of 19 game changing affiliate marketing tools.
The first step in setting up a successful business is understanding your market and creating the right content, messages, and offers. In this section, we’re going to look at tools that’ll help you research.
Buzzsumo is a content research tool with a host of features. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll continue to mention it because it’s so powerful. It lets you search the web for content which has done well on social media in the past. They recently partnered with Majestic and now show the number of links pointing to a particular piece of content.
There are many options to narrow down your search. For example, you can choose to only search for long form content, infographics, or videos. If you’re familiar with the competition, you can search their website for the best-performing articles.
Once you know what has done well, you can create better content and reverse engineer the promotion process to get massive traction. It’s a must have in your arsenal if you want to be an effective affiliate marketer.
The Google Keyword Planner is a mainstay when it comes to researching profitable niches, products, and topics. Over the years, the amount of information they give has been curtailed, but it remains useful.
This is where you should start your keyword research journey. Even though the data is limited, it’ll give you a solid picture of where to dig deeper. Here’s a quick way to find some useful keywords.
On the home page of the keyword tool, after you log in, there’s a place for you to type in the seed keyword. Below that, you can also type in a URL to a landing page. Usually, it’s your own, but you can also put in the URL of a competitor’s landing page.
Here’s an example using my homepage:
After you insert the URL, you’ll be taken to the page where keyword results are shown. It brings back lower volume keywords that look promising. From here, you can further research the keywords to until you pull out a few gems that’ll work well in your niche.
We all know a headline is seen 5x as much as the body copy1 That’s what David Oglivy said in his book Confessions of an Advertising Man. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend you do. It was written in the sixties and many insights still hold true today. It makes sense you spend 5x as much time creating a powerful headline. Lucky for us, this is the internet age.
The CoSchedule headline tool analyzes your headlines based on a number of criteria. It takes into account the length, power words, uncommon words, and common words. They use these factors to give you a score. The higher the score, the better your headline.
Always remember it’s just a tool. If you’re keen on a headline, try it out and see how it performs. You can always go back and change it later.
SemRush is a powerful competitive analysis tool. The number of features it has and continues to add is impressive. What makes it such a useful affiliate marketing tool is the ability to spy on paid Advertising Campaigns.
You get to peel back the covers and look at what your direct and indirect competitors are spending money on. With this knowledge, you can start to craft your own profitable campaign.
The paid advertising research is just one of the things this robust tool can do for you. You can also see the organic rankings of websites, get a picture of how many links they have, know how much traffic they’re getting, Etc.
Sign up for a free account to play around with the tool and you’ll quickly realize how useful it is.
Ahrefs is another competitive analysis and research tool. The reason it got a separate mention here is two fold. The first reason is because it has a backlink profiler that blows every other tool out of the water. The only one that comes close is Majestic.
It also has some different features from SemRush which makes it a great standalone affiliate marketing tool. The Ahrefs suite has something called the content gap. Type in your website and the websites of your closest competitors and it’ll show you opportunities you have to create more relevant content.
I can’t mention all the features this tool has. Some that stick out are the keyword cloud, the ranking tool, the TLD (top level domain) distribution, the robust backlink profiler, the content research tool, and the content gap feature.
Everyone has different needs and won’t buy some things you’re offering, the best strategy is to capture their email addresses and market to them over the long term. Here are some of the best email marketing services to make that a reality.
ActiveCampaign is the email marketing service I’ve been using for some time and I’ve been singing their praises. In a nutshell, they’ve been able to combine enterprise level email marketing with a solopreneurs budget. You get the best of both worlds.
You can read my full review of the platform here. I strongly suggest you check it out if you’re looking for a robust email marketing software.
GetResponse is another great option when it comes to getting the most out of email for affiliate marketing. If you’re new to everything, it has a docile learning curve which means you can set up and run your first campaigns within a few minutes or hours. They have a knowledge base, allow you to create landing pages, and even allow you to host small webinars.
They focus mostly on autoresponders 2 those are preset emails you write which go out to everyone once they sign up for a particular mailing list . If you’re looking for more automation then you’ll need to upgrade to one of their tiered packages.
That notwithstanding, GetResponse will get the job done and help you make a solid affiliate revenue for your business. One of the features I like most about GetResponse is the intuitive interface. As I mentioned earlier, even if it’s your first time working with an email marketing service, you can be up and running within a few minutes.
Aweber is an older service on the market. Some of the largest websites and most successful marketers use it on a regular basis. If there’s one thing I can say about the service, it’s that they get your emails where they’re meant to go. Aweber prides itself on deliverability.
If the backbone of your affiliate marketing success is email then the backbone of your email marketing success is deliverability. Without one, you can’t have the other. Though it doesn’t have as powerful a feature set as some of the other providers, it’s still worth the investment.
Another plus is that it’s easy to learn the ins and outs of the service.
ConvertKit is a newer service when compared to some of the others. Don’t let that discourage you. It was started by Nathan Barry, someone who’s no stranger to what a good email marketing service should provide.
They have marketing automation baked right into the product and there’s no tiered pricing. You get all the perks andfeatures no matter what plan you choose. The pricing is based on how many subscribers you have.
What I love about the ConvertKit service is the ability to trigger emails based on actions taken either in the email or on your website. For example, if someone has visited the same web page multiple times, you can start a specific email sequence. If someone has interacted with a particular type of email multiple times then you can trigger a different email sequence.
You can take your email marketing to the next level with the amount of control ConvertKit offers.
MailChimp has been around for a long time and boasts hundreds of thousands of customers. If you don’t have the money to invest in a premium affiliate marketing tool for email then MailChimp may be for you.
They allow you to collect up to two thousand subscribers for free but keep in mind the plan is limited. All you can do is send newsletters. You lose out on all the premium features you’d expect in an email marketing service.
The learning curve with MailChimp can be steep, but the pricing is affordable. Once you get the hang of it you won’t want to go anywhere else. It’s a great option but may not be the best if you’re an absolute beginner with email marketing.
Affiliate marketing is built on partnerships, when you can find the right partnerships, you thrive. The following are a few platforms that make finding those partnerships simple so you can get down to the business of making money.
Clickbank is by far the largest network to find people and organizations willing to partner with you. They have everything from dating products to fitness products. Everything on the platform is digital so once you sign up, all you need to do is find a product that works for you and you’re good to go.
I’ve been a member of this platform for years and I’ve had great experiences. They pay on time and resolve any issues you may have in a quick and professional manner. The only drawback is that many of the vendors use overly formulaic sales pages which turn me off.
Remember, any product you sell or promote is a reflection of you and your brand. If you promote something that comes off as sleazy then you and your brand, by extension, come off as sleazy. Apart from that, if you’re looking for digital goods then this is a great place to start.
As an added plus, Clickbank has a training library. If you’re willing to invest in it then you can join Clickbank University as well. Finally, they have built in analytics that let you know which offers are converting the best for you and which ones are holding you back.
FlexOffers has a wide range of products, strong reporting features, and different packages to meet your needs. For a little extra, you can even get a personal manager for your affiliate marketing campaigns. If you have the necessary experience, you can find what you need using the self-service dashboard.
This platform is mainly focused on cost per sale 3 you only get paid a commission when you make a sale for a vendor but they still have a few offers that are cost per action. These can include free trial signups, lead generation, and downloads.
Many industries are represented by FlexOffers so it’ll be simple to find an offer that’ll appeal to your tribe.
CJ Affiliate is one of the larger affiliate platforms and they’ve been operating for a while now. Their offers are cost per action meaning someone has to sign up, buy, download, or perform another action as stipulated by the vendor before a publisher is paid.
Since they’ve been around so long, they’ve been able to attract many vendors to their platform. That translates into a wide range of offers for you to promote. Their reporting interface can get a bit tricky so spend some time learning it before you dive in headfirst.
To implement ads and start generating revenue, you need to be approved by the advertiser. This can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few days. Most often, it’s an instant process. They have a minimum payout threshold of $50 every 20-30 days.
Linkshare was founded in 1996 which makes it one of the oldest networks of its type, but is significantly smaller than CJ affiliate. Linkshare is a cost per action (CPA) network like CJ affiliate which gives you the flexibility to earn without making the final sale.
One of my favorite features of the platform is the ease of reporting. When they designed Linkshare, they made sure to keep reports front and center. They have a very low payout threshold of one dollar. The drawback of their payments is that they don’t pay regularly.
It’s a solid alternative to the other networks and should provide a good pool of offers for you to promote while growing your empire.
You only grow what you measure. When it comes to affiliate marketing tools, the ones that help you keep track of where people are going and coming from are the most important. It’ll give you a feel for the traffic sources that are converting the best for you. Here are a few tools to make your job easier.
Bitly is a popular link tracking and URL shortening software. You insert your long ugly link like http://example.com/my-affiliate-link-ddsafesk and it’ll spit out a shorter link. The reason for this is twofold.
There are many options for link shortening and tracking services on the market. I personally use clk.im and have had a wonderful experience. An added benefit of Clk.im is the ability to monetize every shortened link you use.
This feature can turn into a viable source of income for you if you’re so inclined 4 I don’t use this feature, but I know a few people who swear by it. Test it out to see if it works for you in your business. Remember, the name of the game is to always test..
Google Analytics is one of the most robust platforms of its type on the internet. For this type of functionality, you’d be happy paying a few hundred bucks a month. It’s free.
Since the tool is so powerful, it has a lot of functions which escape the average user. In addition to the basics like knowing the number of site visitors and how long they stay on your website you can go advanced.
Of course, you can track where people are coming from, but you can also segment the visitors and get granular with your assessments. For example, let’s say you’re active on Facebook and get a lot of traffic. You can drill down and see what device, demographics, usage activities, interests, and a whole host of other information.
You can use the information to build robust customer profiles and create highly targeted affiliate offers for them. Running through how you can use the platform is beyond the scope of this article, but here’s a resource to get you started.
Be sure to check out the Google Analytics knowledge base as well. It’s helpful.
If you’re not using social media in the digital age, you’re dead in the water. If you’re spending all your time on social media, you’re dead in the water. The following tools are ideal for managing and scheduling your posts to your social media accounts. In addition to that, I’ve included a few social media analytics tools.
Instagram has hundreds of millions of users and is an amazing place for affiliate marketing. From a computer, you can’t upload images or take advantage of much of the functionality.
Grum is a tool that’ll make your Instagram marketing more manageable. Before I found this tool, I’d need to upload posts directly from my phone. If I didn’t manually post, it wouldn’t get in front of my followers. That defeats the purpose of a social media scheduling app.
Grum allows you to schedule from your computer. Not only does it schedule from the computer, it automatically uploads it for you. It’s one of the few apps on the market which allow you to set and forget your Instagram posting. It also shows you what your feed will look like before posting so you can ensure a consistent feel.
You can easily add Instagram accounts and switch between them. It costs less than $10/m to get started and you’ll be happy you did.
Hootsuite is an older player when it comes to social media management. They’ve built an easy to use platform and have a free forever plan that allows you limited access to their platform for multiple social media accounts.
Here, you can schedule your tweets, Facebook, Google+ and other social media accounts. Hootsuite was built to serve as the hub for your social media management needs. More than just scheduling, you can monitor the feeds of multiple social media accounts and add teammates for easy collaboration.
One of my favorite features is the ability to manage social media from a mobile device. You’re not always at a computer. I’m not always at a computer, but we need to get stuff done. The mobile app makes that possible.
Hootsuite doesn’t stop with their app. They have a comprehensive training library and certification program that’ll keep you on the cutting edge of social media.
The last thing I want to mention about Hootsuite is the built in analytics. If you’re using them as your predominant social tool then you’re in luck. At the end of every week they’ll send you a breakdown of your most popular links, number of clicks, and geographic location of the users.
Buffer is another social media management tool that’s widely known and used. They boast a user base in the millions and have an uber popular blog to boot. That’s not what this is about.
Their social management tool allows you to schedule to all the major social platforms with just a few clicks and even pulls some of your meta data for you. They have a host of complementary services like Pablo that makes it easy to create engaging social only content.
Buffer only takes a few seconds to set up and start using. The emphasis is on scheduling updates to your social accounts and because of that, they don’t have a strong reporting feature.
The one thing that sets Buffer apart from other platforms is their amazing customer service. They practice what they preach and have created an enviable culture that rubs off on their staff and customers alike.
Affiliate marketing is a discipline that requires a wide skillset and can bring amazing returns if you’ve got all the pieces. A major part of the puzzle is having the right tools in your arsenal. Check out the tools listed here and use the ones that make the most sense for you and your business.
Let me know which affiliate marketing tools you’re using or the ones you think I should add to this collection. Be sure to check out the entire list of tools for entrepreneurs as well.