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Launch Your Affiliate Career with These 10 Must-Have Referral Marketing Tools

Referral marketing can be a great path to take for those looking to make money online from home. However, the journey toward success is only as strong as the tools used to get there, no matter what direction you take. 


Fortunately for new affiliate marketers, there are a lot of tools out there to help you maximize your affiliate program efforts. To save you some time researching, we’ve taken the grunt work out by compiling a list of our 10 favorites. From SEO tools to design programs, here are some of the tools you’ll need to become a successful affiliate marketer.  

10 Must-Have Tools for Referral Marketing

For Affiliate Programs and Effective Campaigning

The first step in becoming a successful affiliate marketer is determining the source and ad structure for your affiliate partnerships. Those who have been in referral marketing for a while may have certain brands they want to work with, but if you’re just starting out, affiliate networks like ShareASale can be a great place to shop for various brands and products for affiliate ideas. Then, once you have a partnership in place, certain tools like AdEspresso and CoSchedule can be critical for maintaining a consistent campaign cadence. 


  • ShareASale: ShareASale is a platform that connects affiliate marketers with merchants who offer products or services across multiple industries that can be promoted through affiliate links.  

Join ShareASale



  • AdEspresso: This platform supports the creation and management of ad campaigns run on Instagram, Facebook, and Google, all from one place.

Sign Up for AdEspresso



  • CoSchedule: With the CoSchedule digital calendar, affiliate marketers can organize their social media efforts by scheduling and publishing to multiple platforms at once. 

Get CoSchedule



  • Sumo: This program is one of the most highly rated free email capture tools available. Sumo works to convert site visitors into customers with an integrated email opt-in tool. Sumo is a must-have for those looking to build their email subscriber list. 

Get Sumo



Your content is really only as good as it is visible. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one SEO program in your affiliate marketing toolkit. Programs like SEMRush and Ahrefs are great for doing keyword analysis and research, which is critical for ensuring your content remains visible, relevant, and competitive.



  • SEMRush: This platform is an all-in-one tool that enables affiliate marketers to search and analyze SEO keyword performance, review insights, and improve their online visibility. 

Get SEMRush



  • Ahrefs: Ahrefs is another online platform that provides link-building, keyword research, and analysis for affiliate marketing programs. 

Get Ahrefs


For Content Editing

No one likes a typo, so unless you’re a natural word wizard, all quality content (and sometimes the affiliate links themselves!) need editing before it can be published to the public. Online tools like Grammarly, Pretty Links, and others can be tremendous assets for ensuring your content is clear, correct, and engaging.



  • Grammarly: If editing makes you cringe, Grammarly will be your new favorite tool. Grammarly works by identifying writing mistakes in real time, allowing you to catch and correct them before hitting “publish.”

Get Grammarly



  • Pretty Links: Sometimes URLs, particularly those for affiliate links, can appear long and messy. Pretty Links is a WordPress plugin that transforms long, ugly URLs into shorter, “prettier” ones. 

Get Pretty Links


For Design

If designing graphics and visuals hasn’t traditionally been “your thing,” you may want to consider exercising that skill. According to Truelist.co, content that contains a visual element gets 94% more views than content without. Fortunately, with some of today’s online platforms, you don’t need to have a degree in graphic design to create something captivating.



  • Canva: Unless you’re skilled with Adobe InDesign or other more sophisticated platforms, you’ll likely want an easier (and cheaper) online design tool for your graphics. This is where Canva comes in. With Canva, you can easily create social media graphics, animated visuals, logos, and more. 

Get Canva


For Performance Tracking and Analytics

Part of growing your online presence and passive income is understanding how to continually improve. This is why having a performance tracking program, like Google Analytics, integrated into your social media accounts and ad campaigns can make a big difference. 



  • Google Analytics: If you plan on running Ad campaigns anywhere, like on Google or Facebook, you’ll want to create a Google Analytics account to track your ad’s performance. Using a unique tracking code, Google Analytics measures the performance of your ads, providing you visibility on clicks, views, and conversions. 

Learn More About Google Analytics


Getting the Right Tools for the Right Job

While this is a general list of referral marketing tools, the specific platforms you’ll need to make passive income will largely depend on where and how you plan on integrating affiliate links. If you’re planning on using your YouTube channel and following for your affiliate marketing, for example, you may not find it as necessary to have an online design tool like Canva. 


On the other hand, if your desire is to create a whole new Instagram profile dedicated to your affiliate marketing program, you’ll not only need a tool like Canva, but you may even need an advanced or “Pro” level account to access more sophisticated templates and design tools. 


Sitting down and mapping out exactly how you envision yourself as an affiliate marketer is the best way to make sure you have the right marketing tools in place. Having clarity on this piece will not only help optimize your passive income, but also provide the vision necessary to craft your efforts with purpose and direction; two critical elements for any successful endeavor.


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