10 Best Affiliate Programs for Software in 2024

10 Best Affiliate Programs for Software in 2024
02 October, 2023 • ... • 560 views
Natasha Zack
by Natasha Zack

Let’s be honest: life’s tough these days. More people have to take up side hustles to maintain their standard of living or just stay afloat. Those with online assets have the edge over the rest because they can monetize their content. One way to do that is to join the ranks of affiliate marketers. But can you take affiliate marketing to the next level to earn more than average?

You can, if you join an affiliate program for software products. Keep reading to learn what’s special about such programs and get tips on choosing one, along with a curated list of best proven affiliate programs by software companies.

Why are affiliate programs for software a great option?

There are thousands of affiliate programs available in the US alone. But programs by software companies stand apart from the crowd as a kind of the affiliate marketing “royalty”. Considering the virtually unbeatable benefits they offer, it’s no surprise. Just think of the following. 

  1. Affiliate programs for software typically pay better than most. If you promote a SaaS product, commissions can reach up to 70% or even more. 
  2. Some programs, including Selzy’s own affiliate program, offer recurring commissions, which means affiliates earn a commission every time customers brought in by them renew subscriptions. Time limits for recurring commissions can differ, but anyway — isn’t it lovely to not earn a single payment, but secure a monthly income for a year or more?  
  3. Many SaaS products have flexible pricing, which is a great way for affiliates to maximize their income. For example, Selzy has 4 plans, from Free to Premium, with pricing that varies depending on the features available and the number of contacts linked to an account. Affiliate marketers get percentages from sales, so the more expensive plans they sell, the more they earn.    
  4. Software products are indispensable to businesses and entrepreneurs, which helps affiliates get more conversions provided they target the right audience. Also, some products have few or no alternatives on the market, meaning that affiliates face competition only from fellow marketers promoting the same brands. What’s more, such software products perfectly fit into the account-based marketing paradigm.   
  5. Software choice these days is abundant. There are software solutions for everything from time management to online marketing to design, productivity, and whatnot. So you can always find a product to fit your occupation and target audience.  

All that makes software affiliate programs a great option for everyone looking for a high-paying side hustle. But how do you choose your ideal program? And what should you look at firsthand? Read on to learn the most important criteria. 

What to look for when choosing a software affiliate program

High commissions

People and businesses become affiliates to earn money, so commissions are the top priority. But to maximize your profit, consider more factors than just rates. 

First and foremost, these factors include product price(s) and commission structure. For example, a 15% commission from a sale worth $699 is more money than a 30% commission from a sale worth $15.

Different affiliate programs offer different commission structures. For one thing, you can earn flat rates or a commission in percentages for every sale. Also, most companies offer a “commission per sale” structure, but there are also programs using a “commission per lead” or “pay per lead” (PPL) model. 

Besides, many programs have affiliate levels, or tiers, as an added incentive. In software affiliate programs, these usually depend on the number of accounts you refer: the more referrals, the higher the commission. For example, Selzy’s affiliate program comes with three tiers with the top level affiliates getting a 50% commission for every sale.

Other things to consider include potential conversion rates (i.e., how many people will click on your affiliate link) and the company’s openness about commission structure. If the company doesn’t put all information about commissions on display immediately, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong — but it does mean you need to be more attentive to details of this particular program. 

Long cookie life

People don’t always make purchases right away. Sometimes, they visit a website, browse for information, and then take some time for consideration. Some of them come back and eventually buy. And that’s exactly why cookie life is important. 

Cookie life (or duration, or window) is the period of time during which information about the traffic brought in through your affiliate links is stored on the company’s (or its partner’s) website. This period can vary from 24 hours to a year or more. For example, if cookie life is 30 days, and someone visited the website through your affiliate link, left, and then returned to buy the product within the 30-day period, you will still earn a commission because the purchase happened before cookie life expired.

Generally speaking, the longer the cookie life is, the better. But there’s one more thing to consider: link attribution. Here’s how it works. 

Let’s say, Jane published a blog article with an affiliate link. The next day, someone clicked on her link, but didn’t make a purchase. Later, that person read John’s article with a link to the same product, clicked on the link, and bought the product. So, who gets a commission for this customer if both visits took place within the cookie life period — Jane or John?

If the program uses a first-click attribution model, Jane does, because that person clicked on her link first. However, if the model used is last-click attribution, John gets paid instead, because his was the link that led to a sale.

Reliable support

Sometimes the details of certain affiliate programs might not be easy to understand, especially if you’re a beginner. That’s why most companies have support managers to guide their affiliate partners every step of the way. However, the quality and availability of this support may vary. 

The best affiliate programs have support managers who are easily accessible, responsive, and have everything necessary to make your affiliate journey a breeze. A 24/7 support is the best option because affiliates often work after hours, or from a different time zone. 

High-quality products and reputable brands

As a rule, top-quality products sell better than mediocre ones, even if the latter cost less. That is especially true in the software industry where quality is the major decisive factor. But how can you be sure the product is actually good? The best way is to try it out yourself. Research can also help — for example, unbiased customer reviews on trusted platforms such as G2, Capterra, TrustRadius and the like can be a gold mine of information.   

It also helps to research the company before partnering with it to avoid brands with questionable reputation. Established brands are usually easier to promote because they are more familiar to the audience, and people generally trust them. However, small brands often pay more, so there’s no reason to shy away from them if their name is untarnished.     

Convenient tracking and payment methods

Last but not least, tracking and payment methods should be simple and convenient. Today, many companies offer visual dashboards where affiliates can see your performance in real-time. 

As for the payment methods, the general rule is “the more — the better”. The most popular options include wire transfer, PayPal, and ACH (automated clearing house) payments. Some companies also process payments via Payoneer and other digital wallets, or pay by check. When choosing the program, make sure you can safely and easily receive payments via methods offered by the company or its partners.

Some companies handle their affiliate programs all by themselves, including tracking, payments, and other aspects. But others choose to outsource some of the work to affiliate networks. These networks are platforms that host multiple affiliate programs from different brands and handle select aspects of their programs for them. If the company works with a network, make sure you research that platform to understand all the details regarding tracking and payments.

Top 10 proven software affiliate programs

Based on the above criteria, we’ve picked the 10 top software affiliate programs that are trustworthy, convenient, and well-paying. The products on this list range from professional digital marketing tools to security solutions to office programs and more, so that you could find the best option(s) to suit your content and audience. 

Selzy

Selzy’s affiliate program

Selzy is a professional email marketing service designed with small and medium-sized businesses in mind. Thanks to its user-friendly interface, 24/7 support, and a free plan, it’s also a perfect fit for beginners in email marketing. Paid plans have advanced features, with the Premium plan offering full campaign management service as well.    

Selzy’s affiliate program is one of the most high-paying in the industry, offering a 60% commission for the first sale. What’s more, you’ll get 30-50% recurring payments within a year, depending on your affiliate level. The product pricing is flexible but transparent, so it’s easy to calculate your income. Promotional materials are provided by Selzy, but you can use your own as well.  

The program is great for everyone with an audience potentially interested in email marketing: bloggers, content creators, freelance marketers, and marketing agencies. It’s not compulsory to be a Selzy customer to become an affiliate, but it’s still best to test the service first and learn the ropes.   

Commission: Up to 60% commission on the first sale via your referral link; 30-50% commission on recurring payments within a year.

Payments: Wise, ACH, wire transfer, and other options. Monthly payments for referrals on monthly plans, payments every 3 months for annual-plan referrals. 

Cookie duration: 1 year.

More details: Selzy Affiliate Program

Semrush

Semrush offers one of the most lucrative affiliate programs with fixed payouts

Semrush is a software service that helps businesses optimize digital marketing activities. Primarily known for its tools for keyword research, competitive analysis, and SEO auditing, the service is popular with large audiences from individual entrepreneurs to global companies. 

Currently, Semrush offers one of the most lucrative affiliate programs with fixed payouts (handled by Impact, an affiliate network that hosts the program). Affiliates get access to a range of promotional materials and support from dedicated managers. Extended cookie life and the last-click attribution model are among other notable features. 

The program is fit for everyone involved in digital marketing, from content publishers and educators to marketing agencies. To qualify, you need to have a large enough audience and quality online assets. 

Commission: $10 for every new free trial sign-up, $200 for every new first sale.

Payments: Handled by Impact network. Payments available via Electronic Funds Transfer or PayPal. 

Cookie duration: 120 days. 

More details: Semrush Affiliate Program 

Grammarly

Grammarly affiliate program

Grammarly is one of the best-known writing tools out there. It’s been around for over 10 years and has evolved from a grammar checker into a multi-purpose writing assistant used by everyone from students to businesses. 

The basic Grammarly affiliate program includes two plans — Free and Premium. Payouts are fixed and might not seem awesome at a first glance. But Grammarly is a popular product with a huge audience, and the company claims conversion rates are around 20-30%. Plus there are extra bonuses for top performers and support from the company’s managers for all affiliates. Additionally, there’s also a Grammarly Business affiliate program with different terms and custom commissions.   

What’s more, the program is easy to join, and the eligibility requirements are as simple as it gets. On the downside, there are not so many promotional materials available, and commissions are not recurring. 

Commission: $0.20 for every free account sign-up, $20 for every Premium plan purchase (including upgrades), custom commissions for the Grammarly Business affiliate program. 

Payments: check (US Residents only), bank wire, or direct deposit. Bank wire transfers to accounts outside the US available only in USD. 

Cookie duration: 90 days. 

More details: Grammarly Affiliate Program

WP Rocket

WP Rocket Affiliate Program

WP Rocket is one of the leading caching plugins for WordPress-powered websites. For over 10 years, it’s been helping businesses enhance website performance, and has since garnered a reputation among experts as a top solution in its niche. 

The program offers 20% for every sale, which, considering the product’s price of $59-299 a year (depending on the plan), seems rather modest. However, the company’s high reputation is a great asset when it comes to conversions, as is the product’s large target audience. Also, there are no specific requirements regarding the platform for promotion activities. 

The program operates through ShareASale network, but applications are reviewed manually. Once approved, you’ll get access to the affiliate kit with promo materials, unique deals, and help from the dedicated support team. Web designers are the perfect fit for this program, but it is also good for everyone with businesses and entrepreneurs among their audience. 

Commission: 20% per sale. 

Payments: Handled by ShareASale network (part of Awin network). Multiple payment methods available, including check, direct deposit, and ACH. 

Cookie duration: 30 days. 

More details: WP Rocket Affiliate Program 

AWeber

AWeber Affiliate Program

AWeber is an email marketing solution primarily popular with small businesses. The service offers all the essential features most ESPs have plus some special features — most notably, a built-in Canva experience. 

The company’s affiliate program is known for its convenience, reliable support, and clear commission structure. The product comes with several plans; paid subscriptions start at $12.50 per month, plus there’s also a free plan available. Partners get 30% lifetime recurring payments, and the cookie duration is very long. Top performers earn higher commissions, but there are no extra bonuses for a first sale.   

Other highlights include 24/7 support and promo materials provided by the company. Besides, AWeber affiliate program is also available on CJ Affiliate network — but the details differ.  

Commission: 30% recurring monthly payments for the whole lifetime of a paid account acquired through your referral, up to 50% for top-performing affiliates.  

Payments: PayPal. $30-50 minimum threshold for money withdrawal depending on the affiliate’s location.    

Cookie duration: 1 year.. 

More details: AWeber Affiliate Program  

Microsoft

Microsoft for Business Affiliate Program

There’s no need to explain what Microsoft is: the name speaks for itself. However, they won’t pay you to promote Microsoft Windows. The product you can promote as an affiliate is another hit — Microsoft 365 for business. This suite includes all the tried and tested office software such as MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., but with some added features. 

This means the product’s target audience is businesses, not individuals, and it’s crucial to keep this in mind when applying for this program. Also, commissions are fixed and awarded per seat, so the larger the business you attract to the product, the bigger the payout. 

Also, the cookie life is notably short here. Plus the program it’s hosted on the Rakuten network, which is not exactly a drawback but can make things one bit more complicated. On the bright side, you won’t have a hard time promoting this huge brand.  

Commission: $5-20 per seat depending on the product.  

Payments: Handled by Rakuten affiliate network. Payments issued by ACH or PayPal, multiple currencies available. 

Cookie duration: 14 to 30 days.

More details: Microsoft for Business Affiliate Program

ConvertKit

ConvertKit Affiliate Program

ConvertKit is another email marketing platform on this list, only this one is mostly popular with creative professionals — writers, bloggers, musicians, podcasters, etc. Along with essential email marketing features, it offers a range of tools for creators, such as landing pages and broadcasts. 

As an affiliate, you’ll receive 30% commissions recurring for up to 24 months on every sale generated via your affiliate link. Affiliates have access to creative assets and a training course to get them started. However, there are no affiliate tiers on bonuses here: you just get the same percentage regardless of the number of sales you generate. 

On the bright side, ConvertKit offers flexible pricing, like most ESPs. This means you can earn more by attracting customers to the higher-priced plans.  

Commission: 30% commission recurring for 24 months on every paid customer acquired through your referral. No minimum balance requirements for withdrawal. 

Payments: PayPal. 

Cookie duration: 90 days.

More details: ConvertKit Affiliate Program

NordVPN

NordVPN Affiliate Program

VPN services have become increasingly popular lately, and NordVPN is currently one of the biggest brands in this niche. If you watch a lot of YouTube, chances are you’ve already seen the brand’s ads, as it often sponsors content creators on this platform. 

It also runs an affiliate program that offers up to 100% commission. However, that offer is only valid for a new sign-up to a 1-month offer. In other cases, you’ll receive 30-40% commissions. The program is also single-tier, which means there are no bonuses for top performing affiliates — but commissions are lifetime recurring.   

Among other benefits, the brand offers promo materials and help from a specialized account manager, plus promises high conversion rates. Though the potential audience for the service is fairly large, this program is best for content creators and businesses focused on all things tech. 

Commission: 40-100% for each new sign-up depending on the offer, 30% lifetime recurring payments for all offers. 

Payments: Information available after sign-up. 

Cookie duration: 30 days. 

More details: NordVPN Affiliate Program 

Stellar

Stellar Affiliate Program

If you’ve ever lost valuable data for whatever reason, you know how crucial data recovery tools can be. Stellar claims to offer the largest set of tools for data recovery, migration, and erasure currently available on the market. Thus, the target audience for that offer is quite large and includes businesses as well as individuals.  

The brand’s affiliate program pays 30-50% commissions depending on the affiliate “band”. There are three of them, determined by the total sum of your sales. The price range for the products is wide, spanning from free plans to solutions priced at over $300 and more. Partners can also promote affiliate links on coupon websites, receiving 10% commissions per sale. 

Other benefits of this program include promotional materials, affiliate support, and a relatively long cookie life. The program is available through two affiliate networks — CJ Affiliate (aka Conversant) and Verifone (aka 2Checkout).      

Commission: 30-50% depending on the affiliate’s performance. 

Payments: Handled by CJ Affiliate or Verifone affiliate networks. Payment methods include Payoneer, direct deposit, and paper check. 

Cookie duration: 90 days. 

More details: Stellar Affiliate Program 

Autodesk

Autodesk Affiliate Program

Autodesk offers a big range of highly-recognized software solutions for designers, architects, engineers, and animators: AutoCAD, 3DS Max, Maya, and more. For those prepared to promote such specific products, the company offers an affiliate program via CJ Affiliate network.  

At a first glance, it might seem unattractive. The program offers a 7% commission for each new subscription, and that’s it — no recurring payments, no tiers, no bonuses — only promo materials and support from the managers. Plus the cookie life is just 60 days.  

But this program has its advantages. For one thing, Autodesk is an absolute leader in certain verticals, meaning that its solutions don’t have equivalents on the market. That makes the program an ideal choice for affiliates with the relevant audience because these are the products many businesses and professionals simply can’t do without. Also, the products are expensive, so 7% can equal a considerable sum.        

Commission: 7% for every new subscription (not renewal) on all products. 

Payments: Handled by CJ Affiliate network. Payment: include Payoneer, direct deposit, and paper check.

Cookie duration: 60 days. 

More details: Autodesk Affiliate Program 

Final thoughts

Affiliate marketing is a huge industry with abundant options to earn extra money for businesses, influencers, and content creators. For those with audiences interested in software solutions, software affiliate programs are a proven way to earn a sizable side income while recommending the products their audiences actually need. 

In this article, we’ve listed some of the most lucrative and attractive software affiliate programs currently offered by the software industry. Whether you are a SEO specialist, a web designer, an email marketer, a content writer, or anyone using software products for life and work, we hope you’ll find the perfect fit for you on this list.  

02 October, 2023
Article by
Natasha Zack
I’m a professional journalist with 10+ years of experience. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with various kinds of media — print, online, broadcast. Currently, I write copy for brand media and teach English part-time. I also have my own edtech passion project dedicated to teaching English via Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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