If you’re here, it’s likely, you’re interested in becoming successful in the affiliate marketing industry. You may have tried it, but you want to perform at peak potential, and you know the tools you use play a big part in that. In this article, we’ll be discussing the best tools for affiliate marketers.
The way people buy things is changing. One decade ago, majority of sales took place offline. Now, 10 years later, businesses are more dependent on e-commerce sales than ever, and the trend is expected to continue.
In fact, Bigcommerce recently did a study where they asked industry experts, influencers, consultants, entrepreneurs, and executives who work on, with, or invest in Fortune 1000 companies about the mandatory changes companies need to make to stay in line with the evolution of the sales industry, and partnering with influencers was one of their top recommendations. As a result, we know affiliate marketing is growing in importance to major companies, which means the industry is growing with opportunities for those who know how to tap into them.
Another study by Huawei announced that the global digital economy is worth $12.9 trillion dollars and is expected to grow to $23 trillion by 2025! This is a major circulation of wealth happening online! In order to take part of this shift as an affiliate marketer, you have to use the best affiliate marketing tools you can.
Using great affiliate marketing tools doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, affiliate marketing is one of the lowest cost startup businesses! Here is a list of the best affiliate marketing tools to run your business and my recommended vendors.
1. Website Hosting
In the offline world, you’d start your business by finding somewhere to offer your products or services. The physical location may be a storefront, an office space, or otherwise.
While online businesses don’t require offline working space, they do require online storage of their intellectual property. Where offline businesses usually communicate thru physical interaction, online businesses communicate thru content (video, written text, audio, graphics, etc.), and in order for the person looking for the information you offer to find it, a computer server has to load the information and send it to their browser–this is the job of web hosting.
I’ve used several web hosts over the years, but my favorite two web hosts are Wealthy Affiliate and Kinsta. I think Wealthy Affiliate is best for those who don’t want to manage any technical components of their online businesses and who won’t need access to advanced development functions. Kinsta is best for high traffic websites, e-commerce businesses, and those who plan to get a large portion of their sales online.
2. Domain Registrar
If web hosting is comparable to the physical location for offline businesses, then domain registrars would be comparable to brokers who help you to find the location and who do the paperwork to make sure all legal compliance is taken care of. A domain registrar is where you go to buy your website.
You can purchase any domain you want. It can literally be www.whateveriwant.com if that’s available. I personally use Wealthy Affiliate as my domain registrar, but I know others who use InMotion Hosting, A2 Hosting, or Bigscoots instead.
3. Landing Pages
When you pull up to a local store, the curb appeal matters. Most customers look at the exterior and the interior aesthetically, and build trust based on what they see. Added to the raw appearance, the layout of the store impacts the user experience and increases or decreases sales. Have you ever noticed the candy aisles lining the sides of the checkout in many stores?
Store owners know what they’re doing. They place impulsive purchases right next to the checkout on purpose!
Landing pages serve a similar function as physical stores’ aesthetics and layout. They help customers understand where the solutions are on your website, what problems they solve, and they also build trust.
I like to use Elementor Pro and Podia for landing pages, however, some other top landing page software for affiliate marketers can be seen here.
4. Conversion Tools
When you’re walking thru your local grocery store, you’ll likely see sample stands, bright color signs, navigation in the aisles and overhead, and possibly even see people who want to do sales presentations for you.
In the offline world, there are attention-grabbing tools, but they’re not the same ones you see offline. Instead, the tools affiliate marketers use to initiate a similar experience as the offline attention-grabbers include pop-ups, sales funnels, ribbons, countdown timers, video, copy, and split testing.
5. Heatmaps and User Experience Analytics
When you don’t actually get to watch your website visitors while they’re on your website, how can you know what they’re doing? Whether they’re getting around your site okay? And, how can you extend offline hospitality when you don’t know what the activity is like?
The answer is…you rely on heatmaps, surveys, and user experience analytics. Since you can’t watch the exact activity of each web user while they’re on your website, then you have to watch other tools to capture the useful data that helps you to improve your conversion rates.
6. Communication Tools
Communication helps to build trust, answers questions, resolves concerns, and is mission-essential to online and offline businesses alike. It’s different to communicate to people online.
It’s not as much about body language or simply talking real-time. In the online space, there are so many ways to communicate: social media, email, customer relationship management (CRM), phone, bots, live chat, and more. It’s important to use tools that make it easy to connect with customers very well.
I use Trello to remind myself of tasks and communicate with freelancers I work with or customers I do services for. I use eClincher to communicate to people on social media in one place. For phone services, I use GSuite to get business phone calls on a separate line than my personal line. Two of my most mission-critical communication tools are Convertkit to email and Podia to communicate to my Entrepreneur Support group.
7. Education and Training
Technology is constantly changing. Social media platforms and algorithms change. Search engines are getting more sophisticated. website builders and customization features are improving.
To be a successful affiliate marketer, you have to continue learning. It’s really important to reinvest a percentage of your sales in education, so you can stay knowledgeable about what’s working and what’s not.
My favorite platform for staying knowledgeable in the affiliate marketing industry is Wealthy Affiliate. I also have learned a great deal from other course creators like Jay Neill, Income School, Paul Scrivs, Alex Nerney and Lauren Mcmanus at Create and Go, John Crestani, Ian Pribs, and I plan to grow the list even more!
Like any business, money goes out and money comes in. It’s important to track how money is flowing so you can make sound decisions and stay in compliance with the government.
Bookkeeping is the process of tracking your money, categorizing expenses, and keeping financial record of what’s going on in the business. I use Freshbooks to keep records of my business income and expenses.
9. Legal Advice
No business is 100% exempt from legal liability. As an affiliate marketer, you’re influencing buying decisions. Sometimes, competitors feel intimidated or they play ugly. Other times, customers may attempt to take legal action. You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s best to have a plan for how you’d like to deal with legal affairs.
I’ve used Rocket Lawyer for legal consultation. They’ve helped me create documents, clarify my rights, and be aware of things I need to be watchful for. I’ve also used LegalNature to create affiliate disclosures, privacy policies, and other documents I wanted customized for my business.
10. Project Management
As an affiliate marketer, you may have affiliate promotions, content to create, ads to manage, and many more tasks that need to be done. Even as a solopreneur, it’s important to have a system to remind you of what tasks need to be done. When you add a team, it’s mission-critical to have a system that keeps all of the tasks of the business in order.
I use Trello to manage the tasks in my business, to set goals, and to manage tasks when I hire them out.
11. File Storage
File storage is one of the hidden things most people don’t think about in this business, but as you’re creating more and more graphics, keyword lists, slides, articles, videos, and other things, you’re going to run out of storage.
I personally use GSuite to store all of my intellectual property.
12. Community and Support
I’m a strong proponent that if you want to be successful in any walk of life, you have to surround yourself by people who can encourage you along the way. As an affiliate marketer, it’s important to be around others who have similar goals and aspirations.
I’ve been a part of more than one affiliate marketing community since I decided to be serious about becoming a successful affiliate. They’ve been instrumental in helping me answer questions, stay motivated, learn new things, and meet like minds. My #1 recommended affiliate marketing community is Wealthy Affiliate.
13. Market Research
It’s important to find problems people are looking to solve online, and to partner with merchants who can deliver solutions. In order to discover problems, trends, and solutions, you have to do market research. I use Jaaxy, Spyfu, Pinterest search, Youtube search, Google search, Amazon, and Bing search most often for market research.
14. Social Media Management
Most top affiliate marketers say it’s important to have a social media presence and build yourself as a brand while you’re building whatever other brands you decide. In order to build a social media presence, you have to make it a habit to continuously give value, so people want to follow you for the great ideas you’re sharing.
15. Graphic Design Tools
Whether you decide to do Youtube, social media, blogging, or whichever content type, there comes a point where nice graphics matter. It’s important to pay attention to quality graphics because it effects your conversion rates and your potential customers’ perception of you.
I use Canva for graphic design. They have all of the features I’ve needed so far, and now they even offer animated graphics!
16. Great Content
Content are the bricks that create a successful affiliate business regardless of whether you decide to approach it with the content marketing strategy or the advertising strategy. It takes effort to create articles, videos, podcasts, ads, landing pages, and every other piece of content you’ll use to do business online. With the growth of competition online, okay content isn’t what you should aim for, great content is key.
Customers, partners, and those who work for you are the lifeblood of your business, but you don’t find them without a steady flow of interest to your web assets. You have to maintain the flow of interest to your website: returning visitors as well as new visitors.
I use primarily search engine optimization to get a flow of traffic to my website, however, I also have gotten traffic from social media, live networking, collaborations, email marketing, and paid advertising.
18. Affiliate Networks
Affiliate networks are a great way to find companies who might offer a relevant solution you see many people in your niche dealing with. You can sort thru by keywords, topic, and offer types in many instances. I have accounts with several affiliate networks including Flexoffers, Shareasale, CJ Affiliate, Clickbank, WarriorPlus, and many independent affiliate programs. You can check out my list of top affiliate networks here.
19. Grammar and Punctuation Checkers
While we’d like to think people don’t judge books by their covers, facts show they do. Grammar and punctuation is one metric readers use to establish trust, credibility, and to decide whether you “know what you’re talking about”. It’s important to use grammar and punctuation checkers to look over your work and make sure your text is as clean as it can get. I use Grammarly to check my puntuation and grammar.
20. Video or Audio Editing Tools
Like punctuation and grammar, video quality is another thing that’s growing in importance. I have to be honest, I’ve bought video equipment to improve my video quality, but I don’t edit at this point. I use a software called Screencastomatic to record my videos, and I know I’ll need to invest more in education and tools to improve in this category soon.
Others that have very nice quality video use Camtasia, FinalCutPro, and Adobe Premiere.
21. Video and Audio Equipment
The list of video and audio equipment can be very long, and it depends on you how you want to start. You can start with basic lighting, a backdrop, a microphone, a webcam, and a computer like I have, or you can invest more and have more equipment. My plan is to reinvest more into this category with time.
22. Link Cloakers and Trackers
Affiliate links can be like weird phone numbers. They can look unsafe and people may not click because of the way it looks. Aside from aesthetics, some link cloackers provide great tracking capabilities. They can help you to see where users are clicking on your links and test to see if you can improve the conversion rates. I use Pretty links for link cloaking and tracking.
23. WordPress Themes
If you have a WordPress website, it’s crucial to have a WordPress theme that lays out your content in a way it’s palatable to your site visitors. Choosing a theme from the thousands available can be a nightmare. I personally spent hours choosing themes before, so I know how it can be. I personally use and love the Astra theme with the Elementor pro plugin. I’ve recommended this to other affiliates who have also been happy with that combination.
24. WordPress Plugins
Plugins will vary from person to person depending on what makes you “tick”. For me, I love to track my productivity, keep my site safe and secure, make sure my site speed is on par, and convert website visitors to customers. I’d recommend you add plugins like WP Word Count, Elementor, a caching plugin, a product review plugin and an image compression plugin to optimize your site performance.
Overall, affiliate marketing is a great business, and you can really get started by buying tools one by one. I acquired the tools to run my business over time with trial and error, and these all make my business much more efficient. I consider each of these list items the best affiliate marketing tools for affiliate marketers, and if you haven’t selected vendors for these yet, definitely try the ones I’ve recommended! If you have any additional tips to add, please leave them in the comments section below.