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Deian Isac
Head of Agency Success
Last updated on September 20th, 2023

Reseller vs. Affiliate Programs: Differences and How to Make Use of Them

Key points

  1. Reseller programs target individuals or businesses interested in reselling a service, either to supplement their portfolio, or because they are good at marketing it.
  2. Affiliate programs are usually geared towards marketers who are just looking at marketing a service without having to set up a client portal, or be involved in the process of selling services.
  3. Tools such as Service Provider Pro allow agencies to offer both, an affiliate and reseller program, helping them partner up with other agencies.

Whether you’re offering SEO, blog content, lead generation tactics for agencies, or other services, affiliates and resellers have the potential to make up a large chunk of your overall revenue.

So shouldn’t running successful affiliates and resellers programs be as easy as possible?

The client portal Service Provider Pro provides powerful tools for bringing on partners to promote and white label your productized services. With this in mind, I’ll explain some of the specifics regarding our affiliate module and a brief overview of the reseller module.

But first, let’s take a look at reseller vs. affiliate programs.

The difference between reseller and affiliate

Before you take a deep dive into reseller and affiliate programs, let me explain what the difference between those terms is.

Reseller program

Resellers are individuals or businesses whose purpose is to resell the service or product of a different business/individual. Instead of creating their own service/product, they rebrand existing ones, put their brand on it, and often add a markup to pay for marketing activities.

Not all resellers are mainly selling the services of other merchants, some use them to extend their existing portfolio.

Reseller examples

Let’s look at a few concrete examples to make things easier:

  • An SEO agency has been getting many requests from their clients about social media management. While they don’t offer this service themselves, they’ve partnered up with a reputable social media management agency, and resell their services instead.

  • A social media management agency receives countless questions about design services. Their clients would like custom graphics that don’t rely on stock images. To fulfil this service niche, they partner up with a design agency who creates custom graphics on demand.

As those examples show, resellers are using established services and marketing those to existing clients (or new ones), while the original provider uses SPP’s built-in order management to deliver them.

Reseller use cases

Agencies aren’t the only ones making use of reselling. Let’s look at a few use cases where this business activity makes sense.

  1. Offering additional services: The aforementioned examples already showed that you can offer additional services, and therefore upsell existing clients. It doesn’t have to be a service outside your niche, though. Let’s say you’re a content writing agency that mainly writes blog posts. If you want to optimize a landing page for lead generation, you could partner up with a specialist who knows how to write copy that focuses on conversion.

  2. Generating extra revenue: If you’re looking to grow your business, reselling services is a great way you can accomplish that. Instead of hiring new talent, and exploring services you have little experience with, you can simply resell them and earn money through your marked up fee.

  3. Branching out: Those who become a reseller could also be experienced service providers looking to start up a new business—but without all the usually associated costs. Hiring people to fulfill services is costly, especially if you don’t know if your business will succeed. Joining a reseller program removes those upfront costs, leaving you with more money for marketing.

Reseller advantages & disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
low upfront costs lack of control over quality
easy to scale up a business hard to compete on price
partnerships with established companies

Affiliate definition

For those who think being a reseller is too much work, there’s an alternative: affiliate marketing. Instead of actually selling services and handling clients (and their payments), you’ll be paid a commission for every referral.

Over 80% of brands leverage affiliate marketing to generate leads and sales.

Source: affiliate marketing statistics from Wecantrack

Basically, you’ll just be a sales person advertising for a service provider without having to worry about purchases. Tracking is usually handled for you, so you just need to send prospects your personalized link—and that’s it!

What you need to be an affiliate

If you consider yourself more of a marketer, you can simply promote a company and its products and services. In order to do so, you’ll need to set a few things up to get paid for every referral:

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  • Set up a referral strategy: How are you going to recommend products/services of a company? You’ll need prospects to click on your affiliate link after all. One way is to set up an affiliate website, and place your links below products/services you’re mentioning. You could also cold-call prospects, promote on social media, or via emails.

  • Know the products/service well: Nobody is interested in buying a service or product from a random person. Every sales has to be earned by making clear that you’re an expert who’s convinced by what you’re recommending. Only recommend services and products related to your activities. For instance, if you’re an SEO, recommend SEO software or specific SEO agencies.

  • Automate your affiliate activities: Even if you’re not a developer, there are many no-code tools you can use for automation. Let’s assume you’re running a website that recommend certain services. You could set up a simple chatbot that answers basic questions, reducing the amount of time you have to invest in converting leads.

  • Think of your long-term goals: Since you won’t be earning money via sales right away, be patient with your affiliate marketing. Payouts might need to be approved manually, and won’t kick in until many months down the road. The good news is that affiliate marketing can become a passive revenue source that brings in money without you having to do anything.

Affiliate advantages & disadvantages

Advantages Disadvantages
almost no costs tracking can be tricky due to ad blockers
you can generate passive revenue no revenue guarantee
responsibility is low

Using SPP for your affiliate or reseller program

If you’re looking to get started with an affiliate or reseller program, Service Provider Pro has a solution for both.

The affiliate module allows you to grow your agency thanks to built-in affiliate tracking and commission approval. Keep an eye on how much revenue affiliates are generating, decide if you want to manually approve each referral, and download a CSV file to pay them.

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Those looking to bring their agency to the next level can use the reseller module. It essentially allows you to set your services to be resold by your partners, who import them into their own client facing portal powered by SPP. You’ll still do the fulfillment while your partners take care of bringing in new revenue.

We went from selling to price conscious B2C podcasters to now whitelabeling with dozens of partners using SPP's reseller module. No other tool has this feature.
Rom Raviv, CEO
Rom Raviv

The great thing about SPP is that it’s a white label client portal software. You can set it up on your own subdomain, upload your logo, and make it look like it’s a part of your business—perfect for reselling services.

Convert your clients into brand ambassadors with our affiliates feature

Reseller vs. affiliate FAQ

What is affiliate income?

Affiliate income are the commissions you earn for being part of an affiliate program. Depending on the terms, commissions are paid out in certain intervals, therefore generating a source of (passive) income.

How do you become an affiliate?

Most companies have a special affiliate program set up that requires you to sign up for an account, giving you in return an affiliate link to share with prospects. In some cases, you’ll also be able to track your referrals and commission.

What are the main differences between reseller vs affiliate programs?

The main difference is that affiliates are mainly marketers recommending products or services, while resellers actively sell them, process payments, and often handle the client relations.

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