The Best Affiliate Marketing Tools of 2019

The affiliate marketing industry is incredibly competitive.

There’s a good reason why.

The size of the global digital economy is worth $12 trillion and heading towards double that amount by 2023, according to the latest study by Huawei.

That’s about 30% of global GDP or the major shift in wealth creation the history ever experienced.

Sales Channels Graph

What’s more important; affiliate marketing plays a key role in pretty much every e-commerce aspect of it. In fact, 81% of brands have by now adopted it.

In other words, it’s the right place to be, but that usually means something else too.

Fierce. Competition.

As an affiliate marketer today, you aren’t just competing against other solopreneurs and affiliate marketers; you are competing against multi-million dollar publishers and sophisticated marketing companies.

To win this battle, you need a robust set of marketing tools to succeed and join the ranks of the vital few.

Here’s what’s been getting us results.

1. The Essentials: Domain, Website and Web Hosting Tools

Before you can even get an affiliate marketing campaign running, you need to buy a domain and build a website.

Fortunately, building a website today is easier than ever. In fact, you can create a highly customized website without ever touching a line of code.

These are the essential tools you’ll need to get your affiliate marketing site up and running:

Domain Registration: Namecheap

A domain registrar is essentially a service that allows you to register any available domain name for a period of 1 to 10 years.

We recommend Namecheap for two reasons:

  • Free WHOIS privacy: WHOIS is a public record of the registrant for any domain name. As an affiliate marketer, you might want to keep this information private. Namecheap offers WHOIS privacy for free with every domain.
  • Easy to use: Unlike GoDaddy’s cumbersome interface, Namecheap is a breeze to use, right from registering a domain to managing it. Plus, since the service is smaller, you’ll also get better customer support.

Web Hosting: WPX Hosting (ex. Traffic Planet Hosting)

A good web host will help your site load faster (which equals better SEO and user-experience), keep you secure, and save you hours in site management.

Traffic Planet Hosting is our recommended web hosting service. This is the service that helped us increase our site loading speed by 22 points.

Traffic Planet currently offers three plans:

  • Business ($24.99/monthly)
  • Professional ($49.99/monthly)
  • Elite ($99.00/monthly)

Site Builder/CMS: WordPress

We use WordPress to build all our blogs. This blogging software/content management system is used by one third (33.3%) of all the websites on planet Earth. The next biggest competitor – Joomla – powers just 2.9% of all websites.

Many of the most popular websites run on WordPress, including the NYTimes blogs, CNN, TechCrunch and this site itself.
Best of all, WordPress is completely free and takes less than 5-minutes to install.

Site Theme & Landing Page Builder: Elementor Pro Version

Elementor is the best content builder for WordPress if you’re looking to build credible looking multi-featured websites and blog posts.

It’s fast, easy to use and quite seamless so it saves you a lot of time doing your job. Moreover, it offers a wide-ranging set of elements that simply drag and drop and are easy to customize.

We use Elementor Pro version on all our websites and is one of the best investments we’ve made so far.

Recently, we reviewed the top 5 WordPress builders and Elementor not only won but at starting price of $49/monthly turned out to be the best deal out there.

2. Email Marketing: Capturing Leads and Sending Emails

Email marketing is the “secret sauce” of affiliate marketing success.

If you have a strong email list, you can send them any offer, at any time, and as many times as you want to. You control the relationship with your email subscribers, not Google or Facebook.

In fact email has 3.7 billion users worldwide.

This is the reason why email marketing consistently ranks as the best digital marketing channel in terms of both ROI ($44 for ever $1 spent) and conversion rates.
Here are some tools you will need to create your email list:

Capturing Emails: Thrive Leads

Thrive Leads is a lead generation plugin for capturing emails. The plugin allows you to create custom opt-in forms, display targeted offers based on categories, A/B test, and show an in-depth and actionable report. We use this plugin on all our sites.

If you purchase a Thrive Themes membership, you get Thrive Leads for free. Since it also plays nice with other Thrive Themes plugins, you’ll have an easy time capturing emails.

Read our Thrive Leads review.

Sending Emails: GetResponse

There are plenty of tools out there for sending emails, but GetResponse gets our vote because of its affiliate-friendliness.

Unlike some of its competitors, GetResponse won’t penalize you for sending affiliate offers. You’ll also have a higher deliverability rate for emails with affiliate offers in them (provided it’s not outright spam).

Prices depend on the list size with the cheapest package starting at $15/month for 1,000 subscribers.

Read our full review of GetResponse.

3. Market Research

“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”

Said one of the grandfathers of statistical research, mathematical physicist W. E. Demings.

Data means an edge. And market research is often the actual difference between successful and unsuccessful affiliates.

It’s not enough to build a website; you also need to build it in the right niche, spot opportunities and out-market your competitors.

Here are some tools to help you research your market:

SEO and Competitor Research: Ahrefs

If you plan to get a lot of traffic from search engines (as you should), you can’t go wrong with an Ahrefs subscription.

Ahrefs boasts arguably the most comprehensive link index of all search engine marketing tools. Use it to gauge the strength of your competition, spot link opportunities and analyze keywords with the best Keyword Analyzer on the market today.

The new content explorer also makes it easy to brainstorm content ideas, and site suite will help you pinpoint your website’s weaknesses.

At a starting price of $99/month, it isn’t cheap but it is also a necessity for any serious affiliate.

Read our full review of Ahrefs.

Competitor research: WhatRunsWhere

WhatRunsWhere is a competitive intelligence tool which provides insight into what advertisers are doing online. Use it to find out where, how and what kind of ads your competitors are running.

The service is available in three price points depending on which mediums you want information in (for example, mobile-only ads vs mobile and pc ads combined)

  • PC + Mobile ($399/month)
  • PC only ($299/month)

4. Buying Traffic

While getting free, organic traffic is the holy grail of affiliate marketing, at some point in your campaign, you’ll want to experiment with paid traffic.

Running a well-optimized ad campaign, however, often requires tons of testing and investment. To make your job easier, here are two tools you should use:

Facebook Advertising: AdEspresso

If you’ve ever wanted to test hundreds of different Facebook ad variants, AdEspresso is the tool for you. Think of it as social media advertising on steroids.

Use it to A/B test ad variants, target different audiences, and analyze performance to improve ROI and reduce spending. The service is available in three different plans:

  • Base ($49/monthly)
  • Premium ($149/monthly)
  • Elite ($299/monthly)

PPC Management: AdStage

Adstage is an all-in-one online advertising platform which lets you manage ads across Google Adwords, Bing, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Features such as creating full-featured ad campaigns, bulk editing, data-driven insights, A/B testing and custom performance reports make this a powerful tool to improve your ROI.

Prices start at $199/month for affiliate marketers with up to $15k in ad spending.

5. Tracking and Converting​

Tracking the performance of your campaigns is the final ingredient in the affiliate marketing cookbook. Without strong tracking, you can’t determine which channels are performing, which are not.

The result is a poorly optimized campaign that leaks money.

Obviously, Google Analytics is the monster in this space. Here are two other important tools to help you with tracking your visitors:

Click Tracking: ClickMeter

Clickmeter helps you create more effective campaigns by telling you the conversion rate for each of your links. Use it to track where, when and how many times people click your links.

Also a great tool for making sure that your networks aren’t scrubbing your commissions.

ClickMeter is free for 1,000 links. Paid plans start at $29/month for up to 25,000 clicks.

Link Management: GeniusLink

Genius Link is an intelligent affiliate links management tool. It allows you to create shortened links to any domain, target your traffic based on country, device, operating system or time.

Use it to manage all your affiliate links and send your visitors to highly targeted offers (such as sending a UK based visitor to Amazon.co.uk and other traffic to Amazon USA).

Genius Link starts at $9/month for up to 5,000 clicks.

6. Content Ideas and Creation

Content is the bread and butter of affiliate marketing. Creating quality content is what sets you apart. As Sturgeon’s law says; 90% of everything is crap.

Moreover, there is a direct link between how much quality content you can get out and the traffic you get. In other words, more content = more traffic.

To get there, however, you need quality, quantity, and some smart automation.
These tools will make it happen for you.

Content Research: Buzzsumo

You can get a lot of stuff done with Ahrefs although its focus is more on the search engine aspects of the game. With content, Buzzsumo goes a bit further and fills the gap Ahrefs is missing.

It’s a fantastic tool to find trending content and content ideas on social media. It’s a great fit for Influencer marketing and PR outreach as it allows you to quickly find relevant people to reach out to.

Pro version starts at $99 per month, which makes it a bit hard to justify over Ahrefs but if you’re serious about getting great content out, it should give you the ROI.

Content Creation: Grammarly

We choose Grammarly because the pro version contains a bunch of great features. First, it helps with grammar.

The cools starts at helping you make content more readable and finding duplicate content as you write. This basically includes Hemingway app and Duplichecker in one package.

You can use it free for basic grammar check with pro version starting at $19.98 or $11.66 if you buy an annual license.

Visual Content: Canva

Visual content helps with readability and gets you those social media shares. Your credibility will also be judged on the quality of the visuals.

Canva makes it easy to create beautiful visuals, charts and graphics if you don’t want to hire a designer. It’s free with premium version starting at $12.95.

70% of content gets shared on only after reading the headline. That means, for most social media shares, the article never gets read.

Experienced affiliate marketers know the headlines make 80% of the sale.

There’s a famous saying from Gene Schwartz that the purpose of the headline is to make you read the first sentence and purpose of the first sentence is to make you read the second sentence.

After reading a couple of sentences, you’re hooked.

So CoSchedule is a content calendar tool. It also has a headline analyzer. You can start using it free or at $20 with a starter plan.

If you don’t fancy using CoSchedule for other features, go ahead with an analyzer from Advanced Marketing Institute that’s free and works like magic.

Video Content: Camtasia

Like images, video content does the job too. Camtasia is our favorite screen recording software. The pricing is freemium.

Best Affiliate Networks and Programs: We also compiled and reviewed a list of 72 affiliate programs you can join and make money with. Read it here.

Over to You

Affiliate marketing is only going to become more competitive in the near future.

While it is still possible to run a successful campaign manually, you’ll increase the scale and speed of your success dramatically by taking advantage of professional affiliate marketing tools.

Use the above tools to take your affiliate marketing campaign from zero to a hundred in record time.

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2 Comments

  1. Outstanding post Gael, thanks for sharing and really great Tools too. WordPress is an Excellent Site Builder, although I do prefer Blue Host as my Hosting provider but am familiar with most major Hosting Platforms. I have heard Neil Patel also mentioning “ahrefs”, which is something I need to look into as I’m yet to add an “href tag” to my Blog but still researching exactly how. So many exciting discoveries with proper SEO right? A bit addictive, wouldn’t you agree?

    1. Woah there. Bluehost is a terrible hosting company. The only reason people promote them is because their affiliate commissions are so high. Go have a look at some independent tests and you’ll see they are far worse than other similarly priced options. Ahrefs is great, we use it every day. Note that it has nothing to do with the ahref html tag, which is how you create links in html.

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