The Bumps Along The Way
As developers of high-quality Shopify apps, we found ourselves last year in a challenging spot. Despite offering top-tier apps like Candy Rack, Nada or Gift Box, gaining traction in the densely packed Shopify App Store was a steep climb. Additionally, ad costs on the platform skyrocketed — from $3 a couple of years ago to more than $9 for popular keywords (like "upsell" in our case) in the recent past!
Back in the day, we used to have a couple of partners already, and we genuinely valued our partnerships and the feedback from our app users, but the absence of a suitable tool to manage affiliates held us back. We managed everything manually with a Google Spreadsheet. We needed a streamlined way to support and incentivize our partners efficiently and to expand our partnership network.
So we decided to make our own road. We productized and developed a custom affiliate platform solely focused on Shopify apps, which we named "PartnerJam" and we became its own first customers.
The Resulting Impact
And guess what? PartnerJam turned out to be one of the best sources of traffic. In the first year alone, we saw an additional $40k in revenue through partnerships forged via PartnerJam. Our community of publishers expanded to over 140 active members, earning themselves more than $10k in commissions.
It's clear that investing in partnerships requires a long-term commitment. The growth curve becomes steeper after a while.
Revenue and overall performance
Today, we're consistently generating more than $6k of monthly recurring revenue (MRR) from the program, and the growth shows no signs of slowing down.
Lessons We Learned
This journey reinforced our belief in the value of an affiliate program as a crucial part of the acquisition strategy for any Shopify app. Here's what we've learned:
- Navigating Market Saturation: Collaborating with partners who have hands-on experience with our apps turned them into effective promoters, helping us break through the noise. We created our own available Slack channel (let us know if you want to join!)
- Cost-Effective Promotion: Our affiliate program offered a much more affordable and efficient alternative to the increasing Shopify ad and Google ad costs.
- Partners’ View Matters: Giving our affiliate partners a modern platform with an up-to-date dashboard, relevant statistics, and payout overview really helped to motivate them to continue using the program and growing their portfolio.
- Building Meaningful Relationships: The affiliate program enabled us to foster stronger relationships with our publishers, providing us with invaluable insights and even shaping our product roadmap. It's a genuine win-win situation!
The best part is, we're extending this opportunity to all Shopify developers. We're thrilled to announce that we're offering PartnerJam for FREE! Yes, you read it right. For the next few months, we aim to gather community feedback, and during this period, the platform is absolutely free to use.
We've discovered that an affiliate program isn't just an auxiliary income stream; it's a strategic tool for growth and product development. And now, with PartnerJam, we're sharing this strategy with the broader developer community. Let's embrace this opportunity and embark on the journey toward success together!