In many ways, this is a golden ear for businesses. As it stands, there are tons of resources available for helping to promote ecommerce brands, including a cornucopia of paid and free affiliate marketing tools.
However, this can be a bit of a double-edged sword as the abundance of options at a brand’s disposal can make separating the wheat from the chaff a complicated and lengthy process as tracking down the panoply of paid and free affiliate marketing tools and trying each of them out can be incredibly time-consuming.
As a means of simplifying this process and saving brands tons of time, money, and resources, we have compiled a list of today’s top free affiliate marketing tools for building, managing, and promoting a successful affiliate program.
Why Use Affiliate Marketing Tools?
No matter how big or small a brand is, utilizing marketing tools is essential for minimizing the time spent on certain tasks and maximizing the beneficial outcomes of those undertakings.
Thus, affiliate marketing tools help brands to streamline processes, gain valuable insights, automate specific tasks, and earn more revenue while expending less energy.
To be more specific, some of the key reasons why brands should utilize affiliate marketing tools include:
Generate More Revenue
Investing in a variety of marketing tools is a standard means of optimizing campaign performance, increasing sales, and maximizing affiliate marketing revenue.
The fact is that many marketing tools provide users with actionable insights that can help to direct campaign performance and help brands to optimize outcomes, which generally translates to higher revenues.
Paid and free affiliate marketing tools supply brands with excellent resources for streamlining various parts of program and campaign management. Because many of these platforms and services enable rote tasks to be automated, affiliate marketing teams can spend less time on fiddly workflows and monotonous duties and more time working on projects and assignments that will help to increase a brand’s bottom line.
Employing various affiliate marketing tools supplies businesses with the ability to scale their processes and efforts. The fact is that the more manual a process is, the harder it is to scale. Thus, affiliate marketing tools help to facilitate brand growth.
Paid Platforms vs. Free Affiliate Marketing Tools
For brands that are just starting out or are operating on a shoestring budget, there are a multitude of free affiliate marketing tools available for helping to increase output and performance.
That said, once a company has grown enough to find itself needing or capable of affording more sophisticated and robust features, it should absolutely seek to invest in better tools or paid versions of the free tools listed below.
The fact is that free affiliate marketing tools, while quite useful, tend to be accompanied by a limited set of features, which means there is a ceiling to the value that can be obtained from their deployment.
Additionally, while many platforms like Refersion offer a 14-day free trial, these tools are not free, as regularly using the premium features and functionality they offer requires a paid monthly subscription, thus disqualifying them from this list.
However, once viable, it is strongly recommended that brands invest in these kinds of paid solutions as they are an effective means of powering brand growth.
Nonetheless, there is still quite a bit that can be achieved using the free affiliate marketing tools currently available to brands and marketers.
12 Free Affiliate Marketing Tools to Maximize Brand Growth
As it stands, there are a variety of powerful free affiliate marketing tools online. While many of the tools listed below are not exclusively intended for affiliate marketing, there are many facets to successfully managing affiliate programs and campaigns, and these tools will help to streamline and optimize those efforts.
That said, some of the best free affiliate marketing tools available today include:
When it comes to automating workflows, Zapier is a top-rated tool among those engaged in affiliate marketing. This tool chains commands together using an “if this, then that” formula.
As a result, Zapier is incredibly useful in helping to streamline processes involved in onboarding new affiliates, uploading creative for new campaigns, and a multitude of other tasks. Additionally, Zapier can integrate with thousands of different platforms and tools, which makes it incredibly versatile.
As far as free affiliate marketing tools are concerned, Zapier is a fantastic time-saver that can be used to automate tons of repetitive tasks that are vital to managing an affiliate marketing program.
If ecommerce brands are going to run an affiliate marketing program, it is necessary to send affiliates onboarding emails, campaign updates, and other essential communications. Thus, a robust email platform is vital.
Fortunately, MailChimp, one of today’s most widely-recognized email marketing platforms, offers a free version that accommodates 500 contacts and 2,500 monthly email sends. Brands also gain access to basic reporting features, email templates, segmentation tools, and other useful features.
Another email option for those vetting out free affiliate marketing tools is MailerLite, an email platform with a near-nonexistent learning curve that provides plenty of scalability as brands grow.
Contrasted against MailChimp, MailerLite gives those on its free plan up to 1,000 contacts and 12,000 monthly emails. Furthermore, MailerLite supplies users with a drag-and-drop editor, A/B testing features, customizable templates, and other outstanding elements.
For brands to run a successful affiliate marketing program, it is crucial to recruit different types of affiliate publishers to fill various roles and keep a constant stream of affiliate revenue flowing.
Thus, in addition to standard affiliates and influencers, it is essential to generate sales with brand ambassadors.
This is where Yotpo becomes a powerful free affiliate marketing tool.
For those who are not already in the know, Yotpo is an extremely popular platform that helps brands to attract and engage new customers. However, it is also a fantastic tool for creating a successful brand ambassador program, as it is highly geared toward building interactive relationships with customers that are already singing a brand’s praises online.
With this platform’s free offering, users gain access to campaign builders, subscriber segmentation tools, advanced analytics and reporting, A/B testing features, and tons of other elements necessary for cultivating relationships with potential brand ambassadors.
If ecommerce brands want to limit the number of free affiliate marketing tools they use (and thus, need to learn), then HubSpot is likely to be a good option.
HubSpot is a CRM platform with a free option that offers a variety of different features and tools, including email marketing, ad management, landing pages, signup forms, pop ups, conversational bots, reporting dashboards, and a myriad of other features.
Using HubSpot, ecommerce brands gain access to a variety of elements for growing and managing an affiliate marketing program.
For brands that have limited bandwidth in the number of platforms they learn and use, HubSpot brings many critical affiliate marketing tools under a single, streamlined banner.
Brands often provide their affiliates with images and other assets to utilize to promote various products, sales, launches, and other events. Therefore, brands that don’t have the budget to work with a graphic designer need to have a good graphic design tool at their disposal.
Thus, Canva is a great free affiliate marketing tool for helping to create images and other visual assets to provide to publishers, bloggers, and other content creators to use during campaigns.
With Canva, brands can create custom graphics, add text to images, design visuals for specific social media platforms, and more from one simple-to-use platform.
Plus, Canva offers image templates, video editing features, a library of over 100 million images, a drag-and-drop editor, and everything else brands need to quickly and easily craft stunning assets to share with their affiliates.
Affiliate marketing programs are not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of strategy. Therefore, it is vital for brands to continually get the word out about their program and attract new affiliates. Thus, social media scheduling tools like Tailwind are excellent for spreading the word while saving time.
Tailwind focuses specifically on Pinterest and Instagram, which are two of the most prominent social media platforms for product promotion, which means that brands are likely to be able to find and attract ecommerce affiliates through these sites.
This free affiliate marketing tool gives users access to automatic publishing features, performance optimization tools, reporting and analytics, and more.
For brands that are interested in a social media scheduling tool but looking for something that can reach a broader range of networks, Buffer is an excellent choice.
On top of enabling social media publishing for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social networks, Buffer also supplies users with editing tools, link shorteners, organizational campaign tools, hashtag suggestions, analytics and reporting features, a bevy of social media monitoring elements, and many other valuable components.
As far as free affiliate marketing tools for social media go, Buffer is top-of-the-line.
Affiliate marketing campaigns typically have a fair number of moving parts. Between managing affiliate discovery efforts, onboarding new affiliates, sending out campaign materials, and other such tasks, there is a lot to monitor.
Thus, project management platforms like Trello can be an extremely useful free affiliate marketing tool.
Trello is a user-friendly tool for organizing all a brand’s tasks and projects in a single place. Using this tool, campaigns can be sorted into “boards” and “lists” composed of various to-dos that can be assigned to different team members. This visualization makes keeping on track and making progress on projects simple and effective.
While tools like Asana will certainly boast more features, it also comes with a higher learning curve. Thus, for small teams with a limited budget, Trello is an excellent tool for managing affiliate marketing programs and campaigns.
If brands are going to manage an affiliate marketing program, it is necessary for them to keep track of how much they pay out to affiliates to provide them with the proper tax documentation. Thus, a free accounting tool like WaveAccounting is in order.
WaveAccounting is a user-friendly platform for brands to manage various accounting tasks such as payment management, invoicing and billing, and other bookkeeping aspects.
Where affiliate marketing is concerned, WaveAccounting can be used to pay affiliates quickly and easily, track payouts throughout the year, provide portals for access to tax forms, and more.
Tracking finances is critical to running a successful affiliate program, so using a free affiliate marketing tool that can help to monitor and manage affiliate revenue is essential.
11. Portent Content Idea Generator
From time to time, brands will need to collaborate with affiliates to come up with content ideas for promoting products. When those times arise, having a free affiliate marketing tool like the Portent Content Idea Generator can make the task significantly simpler.
Using this tool, brands merely need to enter their target keyword, and the Portent Content Idea Generator will supply an endless string of potential blog titles to use as the basis for an article, video, or another piece of content.
This kind of free affiliate marketing tool is quite helpful in finding inspiration for content or even just headlines for an already-written piece that needs a title.
Again, affiliate marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it methodology, which means that brands must constantly recruit new affiliates and brand ambassadors to keep affiliate revenue flowing.
Thus, using free affiliate marketing tools like Sumo are great for capturing visitor emails via high-converting opt-in forms, exit-intent popups, banners, and the like. Additionally, Sumo integrates with many of the other free affiliate marketing tools mentioned above, such as MailChimp and HubSpot, thereby providing more substantial value for less effort.
Choosing the Right Free Affiliate Marketing Tools
There are lots of free affiliate marketing tools out there for brands to leverage. However, not all of them are created equal. Thus, it is critical to choose the ones that provide the most useful features and room for growth.
The free affiliate marketing tools listed above are all fantastic choices for building, managing, growing, and monitoring various aspects of an affiliate marketing program. Many of them even integrate with one another, thereby amplifying the utility and insights that can be gained from their deployment. Be sure to check out each and select the ones that are right for your brand’s needs.
And if you are ready to invest in an affiliate marketing tool that will accelerate your brand’s revenue and growth, reach out to Refersion to see how our platform can help you to maximize your marketing ROI.