Affiliate Program Management

Join the club of Elite Affiliate Managers

What makes an elite manager irreplaceable?

  • They generate 7-8 figures in revenue.
  • They’re constantly striving to bring in new affiliates.
  • They’re maximizing their current affiliate relationships.
  • They have a sales-driven mindset.

The impact that elite affiliate managers have on customer acquisition and revenue cannot be overstated. This guide will outline the key areas and tactics that you’ll need to master in order to become legendary and join the club of elite affiliate managers.

ClickBank has been working with some of the best affiliate managers in the industry and providing them the key tools and features they need to run a successful program for over 22 years.

We know what it takes to rise through the ranks and we champion and support those who make it to the top.

Through that we have learned, seen and helped develop the elite affiliate managers and we want to unlock the vault and share what we’ve learned with you.

Do you have what it takes to rise through the ranks?

If you’d like to have your name mentioned as part of this group, your first step is reading this guide today. Whether you’re an experienced affiliate manager operating a mature in-house program for your brand, a blooming freelancer, a rockstar at an agency, or you’re new to affiliate management and just getting started, you’re sure to find guidance in here that will help you on your journey to become a legendary affiliate manager.

So, what exactly are affiliate manager legends made of? How do they achieve success? What are their secret weapons? How do they rise through the ranks?

This guide will provide specific direction for how you can make your affiliate program more optimized, profitable, and ready to scale. It will help you:

  • Verify that the offer is ready to scale
  • Work effectively with other team members
  • Learn about the tools you need in your toolbelt
  • Scale your affiliate acquisition with a customer acquisition mindset
  • Develop creative deals and maximize your affiliate revenue

You entered into affiliate management understanding that this is a large and aggressive channel for customer acquisitions and revenue channel for businesses.

You might be asking yourself why you’re not reaching the levels of success you expect.

Or, you may be reaching the levels you expected and wanting more.

If you feel like you’re leaving something on the table or you’re wondering how you can get to the next nevel, this guide will address everything… from the one tip you might be missing in order to achieve the next level of success to the full recipe for what it takes to accelerate your program.

What’s in this guide?

The first section is the most important. In it, you’ll learn how to tell if the offer is ready to scale.

The second and third sections provide priceless insights into the team and tools you’ll need to efficiently work with teams and companies and the best tools to scale an affiliate program.

The last two sections pull it all together with intel on epic offers and a no B.S. recap of what you can expect once you’ve joined the elite.

Today, affiliate marketing programs are a dime-a-dozen. There’s no denying that. They’ve become a default channel much like any other token channels that are pervasive amongst all marketing teams. They come in all shapes and sizes.

Most of the time, these programs are missing a critical element to move the needle for the business. They’re not reaching their full potential.

That critical element is an elite affiliate manager with the tools and the ambition to take the program to the next legendary level.

This guide is for those who shudder at the thought of wasted opportunity. We curated the best of the ClickBank brains to make sure that your program and your success doesn’t stagnate. With the help of this guide you can make yourself irreplaceable and join the club of the most elite affiliate managers.


Is the offer ready to scale?

The first question you must ask yourself is:

“Is the offer ready to scale?”

Affiliate programs live and die by their offers.

An affiliate program can only go as far as the offer will allow it. Before you compare your offer to other successful offers, you need to consider the vertical, the niche, and the structure of the offer.

ClickBank has experts that understand. Our account managers and business development managers can help you know when the offer is ready, if it’s ready, and what areas they need to focus on.

This guide won’t be able to tell you if your offer is ready. That takes special attention.

However, what this guide can do for you is tell you are two really helpful tricks to answer the questions:

“Is my offer good enough for affiliates?”

The answer is: Maybe

Numbers and benchmarks for offers vary from niche to niche and year to year.

To help combat that and make sure that you are using the proper benchmarks for your offer here are two tips you should make regular practice:

  1. Use marketplaces such as ClickBank to see the stats of current top performing offers in your niche. You can set your benchmarks right from there and know where you stack up.
  2. Use your network by talking to other affiliate managers about the stats they are getting with their current offers or list managers talking about the top offers they have.

ClickBank publishes a quarterly report that covers key insights around the top offers that are performing on the ClickBank Marketplace. Here are a few other measuring sticks you can use from the latest report:

  • Last current the average order value in the supplements niche was $183.08
  • The conversion rate for that same niche was 1.37% {this is lower because of the scale of top offers)
  • And, the average affiliate payout is $113

As you know, an offer is not your homepage. An offer is not an ecommerce store featuring all of your products. Nor is it a landing page.

The offer must address the main pain point your target customer is experiencing; explain how your product solves it; and offer a direct call to action (CTA) to make a purchase decision at that moment.

We highly suggest starting with a singular offer as you begin building your program. We see far too many programs fail out the gate because they miss this step. Developing a solid offer takes extreme focus and precise iteration to get right. For now, focus on just one.

You’ll thank us later.

How to Build an Epic Offer

If you’re concerned that your offer may not be up to par, we highly recommend you point your offer creator or owner to our other super guide: Scale It: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level with an Affiliate Program. This guide covers how to build an epic offer in depth and will walk you through the steps to craft a successful offer that is worthy of building a scalable affiliate program around.


Scale It: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level with an Affiliate Program


How to work with your team and companies to make them want to work with you.

Do you have the team and the too s you need to run and manage an elite affiliate program? One of the key skills of an elite affiliate manager is learning which hats to wear, which to juggle, and which to delegate. As an affiliate manager, there’s no shortage of bandwidth suck. Managing assets, payments, tracking, and promoters can be mentally taxing and syphon the energy you need to shift your focus forward. How can you build a network of the best connections to help your clients scale their offers and make you the ultimate irreplaceable affiliate manager?


The first and most important relationship you must tend to as an affiliate manager is your relationship with the offer owner. The best way to help an offer owner is to fundamentally understand their high level vision. How do you do that? You ask questions and listen.

You also need to know what the offer owner’s role in affiliate marketing was prior to hiring you. Do they just want results or are they invested in the relationships they have already fostered and grown?

Then, it is your job to get the offer to the point where it’s ready for affiliates and ready to scale. With the direction and big picture from the offer owner, you can source content and creative assets; direct the development of landing pages; recruit and find the right affiliates; and increase conversion and AOV to scale.

It starts with a foundational understanding about the offer and transparent expectations about the potential performance of the offer.


If you’re lucky enough to have a staff copywriter on your team, the best way to support them to do their work is to bring them in on the big vision of the offer. Before the copywriter can make word magic, they need to know the audience, the offer, the pain points, and the solution message. If you equip them with all of this, they can focus on the important stuff: the copy.

To empower your copywriter, share past performance data and examples of other assets so they can optimize. Providing these kinds of assets will endear you to copywriters and improve their performance at the same time.


If you’re helping clients scale, you’ll need a hand or two with tech, dev, or IT. Integrations are super important for your clients’ success. You might know what works together but getting it to work together? Now that’s a different story. The best way to work with IT is to connect IT teams. You don’t have to be the liaison-in fact, IT communication works best when there is no middle man. Provide clear steps of what you need done in order to help them expedite their own process.

Checkout a few of our integrations and robust APls.


We encourage you to find and work with a web designer who is conversion focused and has conversion rate optimization experience. Both web design and functionality is critical for the lifetime value of an offer. Work with the web designers and share previous offer successes so they have a good idea of what direction to head in.


To keep offer owners successful and sustain the lifetime value of the offer, you need to ensure that they have the customer support they need to mitigate chargebacks and fraud. Without a sustaining offer, offer owners will not be able to retain and attract affiliates. The post-purchase experience is critical to keep your clients going strong and able to pay affiliates commission.

This is where ClickBank can lend a hand. We offer customer support for all of our vendors and affiliate managers.

What tools are required to scale and manage the affiliate program?

In addition to fostering relationships with the right people, you need to have the right tools. Keep these assets sharp and on hand to accelerate your rise through the ranks.


Networking is your bread and butter. You need to know the right offer owners and the right affiliates AND you need to get these two groups of people working well together. The best way to do this is to join the right affiliate networks, like ClickBank.

ClickBank has been empowering entrepreneurs for over 20 years, in 200 countries, with over $4 billion in commissions paid. You could say we know a thing or two about scaling affiliate programs. ClickBank was designed to help affiliate managers like you scale your program. We are the only global marketplace that enables sales growth without growing the work, so you can focus on scaling your affiliate program.

So, whether it’s your ClickBank account manager making an introduction on your behalf, or your own personal networking at a tradeshow, never stop building connections. Your next handshake could easily become your next biggest deal. ClickBank clients enjoy tapping into our deep rolodex of some of the industry’s biggest names. Connect. Collaborate. Learn.


As an affiliate manager, you need to keep a pulse on performance with elite performance reporting. This means tracking your key performance metrics for offers and affiliate performance. ClickBank will help you track hops, order form impressions, and sales by default. Learn more about ClickBank reporting here. This will help you identify potential issues as well as top performing affiliates to build and strengthen relationships with.


As you begin issuing hundreds and thousands of affiliate commission checks, you’ll soon discover how big of a headache things like 1099s, W9s, and tax remittance per state and international laws can become. Finding a partner like ClickBank to help you track, manage, and pay all of this can be a real lifesaver. This is another huge hurdle that often blocks a business from scaling their program to its full potential.


One of the most important affiliate satisfaction levers you can pull is the payment lever. Affiliates require consistent payment. Ontime payment is where ClickBank shines.

ClickBank helps you automate affiliate payments and make it seamless for you and your business. Make sure your affiliate program pays your affiliates on time, every time.

Paying your affiliates on time is something that can become incredibly challenging as your affiliate program scales. If you don’t have the right process and solution in place, it’ll blow up on you and cause massive damage to your program.

It’s also important to pay attention to how your affiliates prefer to be paid. There are many different models out there; CPM, CPA, revenue share, etc. You must balance what’s best for your business with what your affiliates want. There are definitely advantages from your standpoint as a seller to certain models over others. Revenue share, for example, protects you as a seller since you only pay your affiliate when they make an actual sale.


When you host offers on a marketplace like ClickBank, you’ll love how it empowers your affiliates to self-service their needs and promote your offer with minimal hand holding and limitless scale.


ClickBank is a global leader in online retail of digital and physical products, with more than 200 million customers and distribution in over 200 countries, for over 20 years. ClickBank is the only global retailer that covers everything. From accounting to compliance, ClickBank optimizes the performance marketing experience for affiliates and sellers alike. We offer 99.99% uptime, proven and reliable order form, and reliable payments on-time, every time.


Scale It: How to Take Your Business to the Next Level with an Affiliate Program


How to find and recruit affiliates to build an affiliate funnel.

As an affiliate manager, your responsibilities include matching offers to affiliates you think would be ideal for promoting them. There are various types of affiliates and each type has a particular skill set.

For the success of the offer and for your success as an affiliate manager, it’s crucial that you’re able to make the right affiliate connections. In order to do that, you need to be able to identify the types of affiliates out there.

What types of affiliates are there?

Affiliates can be broken down into five separate groups: performance/direct response affiliates, content affiliates, influencers affiliates, newbies affiliates, and blackhat affiliates.


The performance/direct response affiliate is the most popular affiliate type on ClickBank. Performance marketers want to see conversions quick and have a skillset that works will with cold traffic.


Content affiliates promote through… you guessed it… content. Typical types of content affiliates rely on biogs and videos to market. These kinds of affiliates promote products through testimonials, forums, and reviews. Popular platforms for content affiliates include Facebook, YouTube, and websites.


The term “influencer affiliate” describes a broad swath of affiliates that, like content affiliates, rely on a certain level of branding for reliability. Unlike content affiliates, however, influencer affiliates tend to need more imagery and lifestyle marketing to gain traction. Popular platforms for influencers include lnstagram and TikTok.


Newbies affiliates are affiliates who are new to the affiliate marketing industry. They may be learning about affiliate marketing through several platforms so they haven’t quite figured out the ins and outs. Newbie affiliates can be some of the best affiliates if they have the right tools. Automation, resources, and tool pages is the way to empower them to be effective.


Blackhat affiliates are the “scary” affiliates-the ones who use less than reputable measures to get conversions. Some people are okay working with blackhat affiliates, others aren’t. They can drive large amounts of traffic quickly, but it comes with a risk.

It’s Up to You to Figure it Out

It’s on you, as an affiliate manager, to get to know the offers that your clients need affiliates for. If you’re working with a client who is protective of their brand, finding the right influencer affiliate would be an ideal step. Elite affiliate managers are masterful at understanding what kind of affiliates the offer needs right now and how to tweak the offer. This is not a one size fits all business.

If you’re working with a client who is ready for a performance affiliate marketer, work with them to make sure their offer is ready. If the structure isn’t there, the offer won’t compete. You have to do your due diligence as an affiliate manager and make sure that each party is primed for success.

How to Find the Best Affiliates for Your Clients

Here are a few methods for finding affiliates to promote your clients’ offers. You want to highlight what makes your offer unique and attractive to affiliates.


You will need to be able to clearly articulate why you have converting offers ready for them. This is all about convincing affiliates to partner with you. Oftentimes offer owners will create pages to refer interested affiliates to in order to give them this pitch and what they need to be successful. This is something you, as an affiliate manager, can do too.

Thomas McMahon, Senior Business Development Manager here at ClickBank, covers the top 3 ways to attract affiliates to help promote your products in this video. Elite affiliate managers are able to create great tools. Their pitches and succinct and targeted.


This is likely one of your favorite parts of your job so we’re sure you already know how important it is. To find affiliates you have to network. Go to events like Traffic and Conversion. Cut deals on the fly. Network face to face. This legwork will pay huge dividends. Networking is one of the most important components of an elite affiliate manager. The network with intention. You go in with a plan and you understand that this is a relationship.


Engage online. Join and interact on Facebook groups and other online communities. Use your pitch. Put your sales pants on and hammer the pavement. You might get some chilly responses-but hey, they don’t call it cold outreach for nothin’!


Ask yourself key questions to further qualify the affiliates for the offer.

  • Who has the traffic and how can you connect with them?
  • Who is the audience and where are the affiliates who have access to them?
  • How do these affiliates like to get paid and how much? Know your numbers and know what these affiliates need.
  • Are there places you’re not looking that I could explore? We’re talking affiliate networks, Facebook groups. Leave no stone unturned.
  • Tap your network. Sometimes the best affiliates are the ones closest to home.
  • Don’t start with top affiliates. Test and optimize first. You only get one shot. Don’t fire this bullet too early. Start midsize and work your way up to top affiliates.
  • Be transparent. Tell potential affiliates when an offer is new and lacks data. Setting the right expectations will go a long way for your reputation.

You know better than anyone that you can’t rely solely on an affiliate network to provide affiliates. This is why your job is so important.

A network can only take you so far. It takes an affiliate manager to identify where an offer is and pinpoint what affiliates can bring to a brand, not detract from it. One way to attract affiliates is to think like an offer owner and use the power of the funnel.

Affiliate Recruitment Funnels

You can recruit affiliates by utilizing a customer acquisition funnel and getting into that same strategic mindset. First identify the goals of each step of your funnel. Imagine the first touch point a potential affiliate will have with your brand. Is it compelling? Does it solve a problem for them?

Then, what incentives can you offer to keep that affiliate engaged? What ia attractive about your offer that speaks to them on a personal level?

Remember, the role of an affiliate manager is all about relationships so empathy is one of the most important skills you bring to the table.

Develop the value language of your offer. Ask a copywriter to help you if you need to. Move potential affiliates through the funnel until they are committed to you.

Keep in mind though, that above all, honesty is important in affiliate recruitment. This industry is small and if you burn someone, your reputation will be tarnished.

Affiliate Retargeting

Another marketing strategy you can use in your affiliate recruitment process is retargeting. Retargeting is a great opportunity to stay in front of potential affiliates. Place a pixel on your tool page and retarget potential affiliates with straightforward ads about your offer.

Optimize Your Affiliate Recruitment Tactics

As you continue to grow, you will discover certain channels and sources that produce the best affiliates. Which of your affiliates stand out as rockstars? Where did they come from and how can you find others like them?

Success breeds success when it comes to affiliate momentum. Once you have some affiliates working well with your offer, this tends to build on itself and other affiliates who promote similar offers will naturally find your offer and be attracted to it.

When it comes to bridging the communication gap between your clients and affiliates, there’s no such thing as too much. One of the best things you can do as an affiliate manager is ask questions because at the end of the day, knowing more about your clients and the affiliates that they need will only situate you for success.

Then, of course, there’s the commission-the number one way to incentivize affiliates and up your affiliate recruitment game.


Affiliated: How to Build Your Brand With Affiliates


How much should you pay affiliates in commission?

Elite affiliate managers understand the more your pay, the more affiliates can play. More commission should always make more results.

But you need to make sure you can afford to pay it before you offer it. According to Thomas McMahon, senior business development manager at ClickBank, sellers need to be competitive with their commissions in comparison to their competitors but should stay within what they can afford based on profit margins. The better the margins, the better you should make your commission rates to further incentivize an offer.

For a more indepth view into how to pay your affiliates, check out Thomas’s video on how much commission you should pay your affiliates.

So, what goes into calculating the right commission rate?

Product price, commission percentages, joint venture, cost of goods, fulfillment and shipping, net revenue per sale… it all has to be factored in to set a commission rate just right.

The goal is to find that sweet spot where you’re acquiring the max amount of new customers through affiliates motivated by a hig commission while still maintaining a good net profit.

  • Commission Tiers We’ve Seen Work at ClickBank:
    • Digital offers: 75% to 100% commission range
    • Physical offers: 35% to 60% commission range
    • High ticket offers (above $100): 30% to 60% commission range
  • Commission Calculator Tool

We recommend you also check out “What is a Good Affiliate Commission?” by ClickBank’s Thomas McMahon. This is a very important piece of the puzzle and mastering the skill will set you up for future success as an affiliate manager for other offers as well.

Once you start building an affiliate base, it’s time to consider how you will close the deals that really matter.


How Much Commission Should You Pay Your Affiliate


How to harness your personal creativity to structure deals and get more from the partners you have.

Elite affiliate managers know how to make you more money. Not only with new affiliates-but with existing ones as well. There’s a reason some affiliate managers rise through the ranks and others don’t. Like most big successes in life, the real work happens in the little things. If you apply your own entrepreneurial ingenuity and the grit that got you into your management role in the first place and use a few of these tactics, you’re sure to join the elite club of irreplaceable affiliate managers. Here are a few insider tips on how to get more out of the deals with elite affiliates and get them bringing your more of the best:


Many affiliates are building their audiences through their own offer. You can work out a deal with that affiliate to add your offer on their thank you page. Special offers, like free shipping or a free value-add resource (quizzes, guides, etc.), work best here.


Tap into other forms of traffic that the affiliate you work with might have. Find out about what potential audiences they have and see if a cross promotion could be possible.


A custom swipe swap can be a great way to help each other grow and foster that symbiotic relationship.


If it’s possible, out co-branded sales pages on the table.

Get Creative With It?

This is one of those times where the sky really is the limit. Think through it-what else can you offer to get more out of the deal? Copywriting? Page reviews? What’s your area of expertise? Leverage it without mercy. And don’t forget to ask for testimonials as you go.

A good testimonial is priceless.


Affiliated: How to Get More Affiliates


The real deal on what it takes to become an elite affiliate manager.

When it comes to creating a successful affiliate program, the sky’s the limit. When you partner with ClickBank, there is no end to your scalable frontier.

ClickBank is the only global retailer and affiliate marketplace that empowers entrepreneurs and brands to sell their products online through performance marketing and automation of everything, from customer payments to affiliate paychecks. From building offers, to providing networking opportunities, to back office tools, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve worked with top affiliate offers and the top affiliate managers in the business for over 22 years. If you want to be a member of the elite and you’re not on ClickBank, we want to talk to you. Choose a top tier trusted partner and let us support you on your journey to them top!

To find out if you’re ready, book a meeting with a ClickBank Business Development Representative today. We look forward to helping you join the club.