If you are running an affiliate or referral program for your business, you need an easy way to track and manage the traffic your receive from your referral partners. You also want to ensure transparency in the process for your affiliates, so they can trust they'll get paid, as promised, for promoting your business.
Fortunately, there are a great many options available when it comes to maintaining your affiliate program (far more than I can cover here). You'll find a range of different options and integrations out there. In this post, I'm sharing the platforms I recommend the most to clients, depending on their needs, budget, and technical capabilities.
So if you are looking for a way to manage, track sales from, and even pay your affiliates, I recommend you look at the following options. I break them down into three categories: shopping cart systems, affiliate tracking apps, and marketplaces with built-in affiliate tools.
Shopping Cart Systems
ThriveCart | This is the platform I use to run my affiliate program. There's a small learning curve, and it's reasonably intuitive to use – made easier by the logical “step-by-step” layout of the user interface. With ThriveCart, I have the ability to sell both digital and physical products. Managing and paying affiliates can be automated or done manually, and there's reasonably good flexibility in the options available.
PayKickstart | Similar to ThriveCart, this platform arrive on the scene at about the same time. It was developed by digital marketers who were tired of using 3rd party marketplaces (see JVZoo & WarriorPlus below), and wanted a better checkout interface. The emphasis with this platform is the psychology behind their checkout pages (offering some more savvy options than ThriveCart), but the affiliate management capabilities are on par with ThriveCart's capabilities. Unlike ThriveCart, prospective affiliates can find your product inside the platform's product marketplace.
GrooveSell/Groove Affiliate | This platform is too new for me to get behind it 100%, but it has two things going for it. First, it's creators are digital marketing superstars who have had great success with Saas platforms in the past. Second, it's currently (at least as I'm writing this) being offered as a freemium along with a page builder, to entice users to upgrade to the rest of the company's suite of products – which is positioning itself as an alternative to ClickFunnels (and more).
Zaxaa | I've often called Zaxaa “the poor man's Infusionsoft.” That's not a 100% accurate description, but it does offer the ability to publish offers, manage buyers, do follow-up email marketing… and manage affiliates too. It's a huge step up from the platforms listed in the final category on this page when it comes to having a direct relationship with your buyers. As for the affiliate management, the feature set is very comprehensive, including tracking 2nd tier affiliates and very detailed reporting.
Affiliate Tracking Apps
iDevAffiliate | This software does one thing – but it does it VERY well. iDevAffiliate is an affiliate management tool that does just about anything you'd want from software like this. It's best used by businesses that already have payment systems and membership sites (or product delivery) in place, and just need a way to add-on affiliate management. It's highly recommended as “best in class” for the purpose it serves.
Amember | Amember is really a membership management plugin for websites. But it has a built-in affiliate management feature that allows you to kill two birds with one stone. Its features are slightly more basic than some other options listed here, but for most businesses with a simple affiliate model, it's really all you need. One other advantage of this platform is the ability to easily give your customers the ability to be an affiliate – since both membership and affiliate activities can be managed from the same portal.
Product Marketplaces with Built-In Affiliate Tools
JVZoo | WarriorPlus | These platforms are among the fastest ways to set up an affiliate program for an individual product or product funnel. They charge a percentage of the transaction for each sale instead of a monthly fee or one-time purchase (as the above platforms do). The marketplaces tend to be mostly populated with “internet marketing” products, though most any type of digital product can be sold using these platforms.