Affiliate marketing is a lucrative way to create a passive income stream for your business as long as you a) join the top high-paying affiliate programs and b) have access to an active and relevant audience.
When you work with Software as a Service (SaaS) brands, you have the ability to generate a recurring income stream. How it works is you endorse your preferred software tools by sharing a unique link to your tribe. When someone signs up for a subscription, you get a share of the monthly revenue generated.
Also for organizations, an affiliate program is a powerful growth tool which requires a minimal budget, effort, and time. As the affiliate program expands, brands enjoy a good return on investment (ROI) combined with more brand exposure to relevant audiences.
A great example is LearnWorlds Partners Club which has exploded over the past couple of years. LearnWorlds’ affiliate program allows you to earn a 30% recurring commission for the lifetime of any paid account that you refer. By simply referring one customer, can add an average of $1,076 per year to your bottom line. What if you referred one, two, or three customers every month?
By 2022, the affiliate marketing industry will be worth more than $8 billion according to Forbes. This figure shows that the market will have doubled compared to 2015.
Here below, we have compiled a list of the top high-paying affiliate programs that you can register for right now and start earning commissions. Our web research was performed in August 2021, and at the time the program details were as accurate as possible. We intend to update the article as program terms change and new affiliate opportunities come up but please do your own research to find the best deal for your business.
Without further ado, here are the best affiliate programs in 2021 and beyond.
Commission: 30% lifetime recurring commission
Payment method: Paypal
Best for: Lifetime commission and 90-day cookie
Sign up: LearnWorlds Partners Club
The big draw with the LearnWorlds Partners Club is the 30% commission which is guaranteed for life. That means while the customer remains subscribed, you’ll get paid 30% of their monthly bill. If they upgrade, you will also receive an increased commission.
Receive payouts to your Paypal account and keep track of what’s coming in each month with the dashboard and notifications. Tracking is reliable and accompanied by performance data so that you can maximize what’s working. Even if your customer doesn’t sign up on their first visit, 90-day tracking cookies mean you have three months to make the sale (by comparison, eBay Partner Network has a one-day cookie lifespan.)
New to affiliate programs? No worries. LearnWorlds offers training to help you take the first steps. You’ll also gain access to ready-made banners and resources so that launching your link is fast and easy. As well as different sales funnels with impressive conversion rates, regular coupons and promos help encourage your customers to hit ‘Buy’. If you boast a big audience, expect personalized benefits and perks.
The LearnWorlds Partners Club is free to join and signup takes less than a minute.
Payment method: Paypal
Best for: Impressive average earnings
Sign up: ActiveCampaign Affiliate Partners
ActiveCampaign is another email marketing service provider with an appealing affiliate program. You can sign up and receive your link to get started in seconds. As well as a starter pack, you’ll get access to a portal, assets, and webinars to use in your sales funnel. You will also get an invite to join the ActiveCampaign community to learn from your fellow marketers.
Naturally, a big draw to this partner program is the commission. You’ll receive 20% of the subscription price paid every month for as long as your referral remains a customer. This rises to 30% for higher numbers of referrals or longer subscription periods. The average affiliate earns $1,350 per referral. The service is available across 15 languages and 170 countries. If you have a big international audience, this could be the scheme for you.
Affiliate marketing is a time-effective way to make money online as an online business owner. Choose a product or service you can market naturally with a high rate of commission to add a solid and reliable income stream to your business.
Commission: a lifetime commission of 30% on all referral transactions
Payment method: Direct payments into your PayPal account
Best for: freelancers, bloggers, product reviewers, and content creators of all kinds, affiliates with small-to-medium sized business traffic, marketers or small agencies, those who love using Visme
Sign up: www.visme.co/partners
Visme’s Partner Program is open to anyone, but the most successful affiliates have a highly engaged audience that needs a powerful, yet easy-to-use visual content creation tool. A Visme affiliate receives access to a private dashboard, Visme’s marketing kit, and a dedicated affiliate link once approved.
Using their custom link, affiliates can share Visme with their audience on their website, blog, or social media channels. Visme’s affiliate program offers a steady revenue stream of 30% lifetime commissions, recurring monthly as long as a customer remains with the company, and interactive resources with beautiful visual content, as well as free marketing assets, such as banners, videos, and sales copy. To attribute new leads and customers to affiliate IDs, Visme uses one of the leading referral tracking systems.
4WP Engine (WordPress)
Commission: $200 or 100% of first month payments
Payment method: Check, direct deposit, or wire transfer
Best for: 180-day cookie lifespan
Sign up: WP Engine Partners
The popular hosting platform has a generous and award-winning affiliate program. Offering $200 or 100% of the first month’s payment, you can also earn bonus payouts when you sign up five or more clients. The cookie lifetime is a spacious 180 days. With custom, optimized funnels, promos, and discounts, this is a fantastic opportunity to boost your earnings. The application process is easy and quick, and you’ll benefit from Affiliate Manager support once you’re on the program. The banner and landing page templates make getting started a dream.
Commission: 50% for first purchase, 20% recurring commission (Up to $800 per purchase)
Payment method: Paypal, Visa, and 68 other methods
Best for: Variety of payment methods
Sign up: GanttPRO Affiliate Program
GanttPRO offers project management and team collaboration software. The affiliate program stands out for several reasons. From signup, GanttPRO provides you with great support, including product training tutorials to help you with promotion. You’ll receive useful marketing materials and can create your own affiliate offers and discounts to attract signups.
The affiliate commission structure starts with an impressive 50% for the first sale followed by a recurring 20% for subscriptions up to a maximum value of $800 per purchase. The 90-day cookie lifetime gives you enough time to make the sale, which you can track in your affiliate dashboard.
Commission: 25% to 35%
Payment method: Paypal
Best for: 120-day cookie lifespan
Sign up: PromoRepublic Affiliates
Patrick Moore, Founder and creator of CryptoWhat.com recommends selling digital products over physical ones. “They offer higher commissions thanks to internal links in the product that earn the creator income,” he says. PromoRepublic is one such digital product: a social media management platform that should be an easy sell for your customers.
You’ll earn from 25% to 35% commission, with the average payout ranging between $40 and $1500 per month. No doubt helped by PromoRepublic’s generous 120-day cookie lifetime. Keep an eye on your earnings from the all-in-one dashboard. Receive monthly Paypal payments, including bonuses for top performers.
Commission: $65 per signup
Payment method: Paypal, wire transfer, ACH transfer
Best for: No limits earning
Sign up: Bluehost Affiliates
A reliable web hosting services platform with an attractive affiliate program, Bluehost is free to join with instant access. Tap into helpful resources and a dedicated support team to propel your online marketing endeavors. You’ll earn $65 per signup.
Plus, if you join Constant Contact, Bluehost’s sister email marketing company, you can earn commissions at $105 per person and $5 per lead. There’s no cap on earnings or referrals, so the sky’s the limit on what you could bank.
Commission: Up to $1,000 for a single conversion
Payment method: Paypal, Payoneer, bank account
Best for: Lifetime attribution
Sign up: Fiverr Affiliates
As a Fiverr affiliate, you earn from promoting services offered or the brand’s own products. You get paid for converting traffic, and it’s possible to earn up to $1,000 for a single conversion.
There’s no limit to the number of referrals you can earn from, and the program offers lifetime attribution. It’s free to join. Affiliates receive professional support, access to a user-friendly dashboard, and creative resources.
Commission: 200% bounty per merchant, 2x monthly price plan from 2 months onwards
Payment method: Paypal
Best for: No maximum referral limit
Sign up: Shopify Affiliates
Shopify, the world’s leading e-commerce platform, has a comprehensive rewards system for affiliate marketers. It offers a 200% bounty for every merchant you refer, plus two times your customers’ monthly price plan after they’ve been with the service for two months.
Payouts arrive via Paypal, and there’s no maximum referral limit. The 30-day tracking cookie is a little tight, but Shopify primes even newbies for success with a suite of tools and brand assets to help you get started. You also have access to The Growth Center for resources to help you develop content and optimize your performance. Track your results in a dedicated dashboard designed to highlight growth opportunities.
Commission: $200 for every new subscription, $10 for every new trial, and $0.01 for a new signup
Payment method: Check, direct deposit, or wire transfer
Best for: 120-day cookie lifetime
Sign up: Semrush Affiliate Program
Earn commission on sales or trial activations with Semrush, the marketing SaaS platform known for SEO. With $200 for every new subscription and $10 for every trial, it’s a well-paid affiliate program with a decent cookie lifespan of 120 days. You’ll get a dedicated account manager for round-the-clock support as well as access to assets, including banners and landing pages.
Commission: 30% recurring lifetime
Payment method: Paypal or Stripe
Best for: Lifetime earnings
Sign up: Moosend Affiliate Program
Moosend is an email marketing platform with a tempting affiliate program. If 30% recurring lifetime commissions to your Stripe or Paypal account sounds appealing, sign up for free anytime. You’ll get a unique affiliate link tied to a reliable tracking system. Make the most of the free resources, including banners and comparison pages to give your link the wow factor.
You’ve got three months to make the sale with a 90-day cookie lifespan. You can track your success with real-time statistics and insights to help you hone and improve your funnel. Or check-in with the dedicated support team if you need a hand. The best part is when your customer upgrades, so do your payments.
Commission: 50% commission
Payment method: Paypal, check, bank transfer
Best for: High-ticket products and commission
Sign up: ThriveCart Partners
Get ahead of the curve when you sign up for ThriveCart’s new affiliate program. With this checkout cart software, you’ll benefit from a 50% commission on standard signups at $495 and pro signups at $690. As your earnings grow, access metrics and forecasting to help you strategize.
Payments are quick, and there are opportunities to win extra prizes. If many of your subscribers are e-commerce stores, this could be the program for you.
Commission: 30% for signups plus $8.70 recurring per month per person
Payment method: Paypal
Best for: Recurring payments
Sign up: ConvertKit Affiliates
ConvertKit is an email marketing tool for automation with a great affiliate program. You will receive a 30% commission for every person you sign up, as well as a recurring $8.70 per month per person while they remain with the service. For bigger accounts, you’ll earn even more.
Anyone can join the scheme and get training, graphics, videos, webinars, tutorials, and a purpose-built dashboard to track earnings.
Affiliate Marketing Networks
Affiliate marketing networks act as intermediaries between publishers and advertisers (aka merchants). Affiliate networks are a digital marketplace where affiliates can find affiliate offers from merchants looking to outsource the marketing of their products or services.
The two parties involved are almost joining hands through this, especially since there are a vast array of options and opportunities available to both sides, and sure enough, both sides can find an ideal solution.
Here’s a selection of the most popular affiliate marketing networks.
14Rakuten (formerly LinkShare)
Commission: 3-7% commission on sales, 5% on goods
Payment method: Paypal, Alipay, Rakuten Points
Best for: Brand matchmaking AI tool
Sign up: Rakuten Affiliates
Rakuten, formerly LinkShare, is one of the best affiliate marketing networks with a huge range of brands to choose from. Their Matchmaking AI service makes it easy to pick the brands that suit your audience. You’ll also get custom curation and deep linking tools, training, and a dedicated support team.
You’ll earn anything between 3% and 5% commission on sales and 5% on goods. And with quick and seamless payments to your Paypal or Alipay account, it’s no wonder they’ve been voted the industry’s #1 Affiliate Marketing Network 10 years in a row.
Commission: Up to 90%
Payment method: Check, wire transfer, direct deposit, Payoneer
Best for: High commission
Sign up: ClickBank Affiliates
ClickBank is another affiliate network with a wide choice of digital and physical products to explore. Expect up to 90% commission paid weekly or monthly via a solid tracking system. A great choice for newbies, ClickBank gets you ready for success with their blog, podcast, and knowledge base.
Payment method: ACH (direct deposit) or physical check
Best for: Variety of products to promote
Sign up: ShareASale Affiliates
ShareASale (part of the Awin group) is one of the biggest affiliate networks with more than 4,000 programs in 39 categories such as accessories, business, education, and many more. It is also featuring affiliate programs like Reebok, Etsy, and Allbirds on its books.
Amongst its many features to support its affiliates, you will find lots of education and training material to help you grow your affiliate program.
Payment method: Direct deposit, Amazon.com Gift Certificate, or check
Best for: Well-known products
Sign up: CJ Affiliate
CJ Affiliate is similar to ShareASale, as both are among the oldest affiliate marketing networks out there. In CJ Affiliate, you can find brands like GoPro, Overstock, Priceline, and household names including J.Crew, Barnes & Noble, and Office Depot.
Choosing CJ Affiliate will allow you to promote well-known products which will be easier to promote, but, on the other hand their screening and approval methods takes quite some time to be completed.
Commission: Up to 12% (varies per product)
Payment method: Direct deposit or gift certificate
Best for: Variety of products
Sign up: Amazon Associates
From one of the largest retailers in the world comes one of the best affiliate programs. The big draw with the Amazon Associates program is the range of products and services you can offer. You’re sure to find something to entice your customers. John Pinedo, course creator and founder of Freedom Bound Business says, “In my first Amazon keyword research course, I recommended Amazon self-publishing tools such as Kindle Spy and Publisher Rocket.”
Commission rates vary up to a maximum of 12% depending on the product. Amazon kits you out with tools to launch your link successfully. Plus, you’ll get banners, product links, plugins, and other resources to get your marketing off on the right track. You can easily keep an eye on your progress from your account. The only downside is the one-day cookie lifetime. But as a trusted retailer with lower ticket items, impulse purchases are more likely.
Choosing the Best Affiliate Marketing Program for You
In the end, the best affiliate marketing program is the one that works well with your brand and your audience. When you choose an affiliate platform, program or network, you have to first identify the needs of your audience and what product will work best.
For example, if you are writing about blogging and how to start a small business or a startup, suggesting a website builder should be one of the tools you are promoting.
On the other hand, beauty influencers might prefer to promote physical products like make-up, clothing and choose an affiliate network or the amazon affiliate program.
Lastly, you will need to think whether to go with EPC (Earnings per click) or CPA ( cost per action) affiliate programs.
So, what will it be? What is the monetization method you are going to choose?
Stella Mikraki, BSc. Econ., MBA
Stella is a Senior Growth Marketing Manager at LearnWorlds. She has a background in consulting firms, service-based businesses, media, tech companies, and startups. She has also been an entrepreneur and corporate trainer. She loves all things entrepreneurship, technology, basketball, and the sea.