The 2019 Guidebook to Being an Effective Affiliate Program Manager

Affiliate Marketing Guidebook 2019

2018 is nearly behind us. We hope that you all are having a successful Q4 and have had a successful 2018 as a whole. As we look forward to 2019, we wanted to take a moment and put together a post to serve as a guidebook to being an effective affiliate program manager.

Whether you manage one program or over a dozen, these basic principles will help you continue to stay focused and succeed as an affiliate program manager in 2019.

Program Audit

It’s a new year so it’s as good a time as any to audit the affiliate program(s) you manage. Here are just a few things you want to think about when auditing your program(s):

  • Audit of program policies and terms of service
  • Affiliate creatives – are they up to date? Do you have the sizes affiliates like to use?
  • Affiliate landing pages – is this something you have in your program? Could it be beneficial to have some created if you do not?
  • Competitive Intelligence – have you reviewed your competitors‘ affiliate programs recently?
  • Do you have any specific policies in place for your affiliate approval process? Are the right affiliates getting accepted into your program and the wrong ones getting declined?
  • Are you checking your affiliate sales for any potential fraud or agreement violations (i.e. paid search, social media, etc.)?
  • Affiliate recruitment – What is your recruiting strategy for 2019? We recommend making this a significant part of your overall program strategy and spending a lot of time searching for and attempting to onboard new affiliate partners.
  • Dormant affiliates – how many affiliates in your program are inactive? What are your plans to activate them in 2019? Bonus opportunities for the new year are always a great place to start.
  • Do you plan to expand into any other geographic markets in 2019? If so, what is the affiliate landscape like in these markets?
  • Do you have a link on your merchant site for your affiliate program? This is something every affiliate program should have so that potential shoppers who might also be affiliates can easily find your program.
  • Affiliate newsletters – if you can swing it, it could be a good idea to plan out the first few newsletters of the new year and give your affiliates an idea what they can expect from your program in 2019.
  • Product data feed – Does your program use a data feed? How often is it updated? Make sure it’s all ready for the new year.
  • Affiliate tool kit – Do you have an info packet, one-sheeter, or tool kit that you can send to affiliates? You can check out this post here to learn how to create the ultimate affiliate marketing tool kit for your affiliates.
  • Contact info – Is it easy to find your contact info? You always want to make sure affiliates can easily reach you.


Affiliate program managers have many tasks that they need to accomplish on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is pretty safe to say that the number one most important trait to have as an affiliate program manager is organization. A successful affiliate program manager will have all their tasks carefully documented and organized into a system that works for them and helps them make sure things don’t slip through the cracks.

We recommend finding a task list manager and/or CRM system that works for you.  There are so many great tools out there that can help affiliate program managers stay organized.There are paid tools like Media Rails that can automate email workflows and help with affiliate recruitment.  There are also free tools like, which can serve as a basic day-to-day checklist and help you keep items slotted in certain days on the calendar so that you can be alerted when these tasks need to be taken care of.

This should go without saying, but it’s also important to find a good calendar app and use it. Your calendar helps run your life. Have your calendar sync to your phone and make sure all important meetings and tasks are on your calendar so there’s never an excuse to miss them.


The next common practice for being a successful affiliate program
manager is that of being available and responsive. This goes hand in hand with
being organized. Affiliate program managers gets hundreds of emails. It’s
important to know which ones are urgent and which ones can wait.

You never want to keep important affiliate partners waiting for too long. If they have requested something that might take longer than 48hours, it would be a good idea to send them a note and keep them in the loop on the process. You’ll even score bonus points if you can service them on urgent tasks outside of standard business hours. The reply that you’re giving them might be one they aren’t getting from one of your competitors. Responsiveness can be a difference maker when building strong relationships with key affiliate partners. Affiliates are more likely to want to work closer with you if you’re responsive to their needs and they can count on you to get the job done.

Creating labels, markers and folders within your email can be something that might help you stay organized when responding to emails.  Everyone has his or her own systems but it’s definitely something worth considering!

Here’s to 2019!

What are some things you guys do that I may have not mentioned that you believe helps make you a successful affiliate program manager? Please comment below! We enjoy the discussion.

We wish you the best of luck with all your affiliate program endeavors in 2019 and beyond. Along with commenting, feel free to email us if there’s anything you think we should add to this post or if you have any questions.

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