How To Guide to Starting an Affiliate Program on ShareASale

You are ready to start an affiliate program and have decided to use ShareASale as your affiliate network, but now what? Setting up an affiliate program can be a daunting task, but let me show you a step-by-step approach to successfully set-up an affiliate program on ShareASale. In total there are 8 steps and I will describe what needs to be completed within each step.

Step 1 –Commission Rates and Program Description

This is where you determine your default commission rate per sale and/or lead. It can be entered as a percent or dollar amount (make sure the correct radio button is marked). If you are going to be doing a two-tiered commission structure this is also where you enter that information.

The program description should describe your product or service, the commission being offered and any other enticing details that will get affiliates to join. Along with the program description you should create your program agreement. This document will lay the ground rules for affiliates to follow while promoting your product/service.  It should include SEM restrictions, coupon policy, and other restrictions affiliates should be aware of. Finally, make sure to add your logo here. It should be no larger than 300 pixels wide and 200 pixels high.

Step 2 – Administrative Options

This step is where you have the options to control the behaviors of your affiliate program. Tasks to be completed include:

Setting the auto-approve affiliate option -we recommend reviewing each application individually.

Reply email text – this is the message that gets sent to potential affiliates when they apply to your program. It generally includes a short message informing them that their application is being reviewed and decision will be made within 24 hours and if there are any questions to reach out.

Email notifications (when affiliates join your program) – not necessary, but you can select “yes” to make sure you are reviewing each application as they come in.

Low balance notification – we recommend getting notified, just in case!

Balance threshold notification – you get an email notification when your balance hits the threshold entered here.

Email when a sale/lead takes place – This is totally up to you, but it could just be filling up your inbox. You can see all new transactions upon logging into the main interface of your program.

Tracking Cookie – How long do you want the time to be between the original click through and the sale? 60 days is their default, but you can select whatever one makes sense for your business.

Step 3 – Choose a Program Category

In order for affiliates to find your program you need to select a category. There are almost 40 categories to choose from (they only let you choose 1), so make sure you select one that relates to your business. You also add keywords here for affiliates to use when searching through ShareASale for merchants to partner with.

Step 4 – Place Tracking Pixel

We are getting closer to launch now. This is the most important step of the process because the pixel you will be installing on your site will be tracking all affiliate activity and will be the tracking mechanism for your program (clicks, sales, etc.). We recommend having a person with an IT background install to ensure it is done properly.

Step 5 – Testing the System

Once the tracking pixel is installed you must make sure it is working properly. What happens here is you do a test purchase to make sure the pixel is firing when necessary and all the information is being collected by ShareASale.  The transaction completed will be voided before the program goes live.

Step 6 – Funding the Account

General rule of thumb here is to deposit a minimum of $100 to start. Once the program is live you can set up the auto deposit feature (highly recommended) and deposit more money if you desire to cover sales that may come in initially.

Step 7 – Upload Creatives

In this case “creatives” mean your banners and text links. Depending on how many banners you have created there is an option for a mass upload as opposed to doing it one by one.  If you are not sure what banners to include check out this article that will provide more clarity.

Step 8 – Request Activation

This is final step. Once steps 1 -7 are complete you can request your affiliate program go live to ShareASale. Once activation is requested it may take 24-48 hours to go live. ShareASale checks everything again on their end to ensure you are 100% ready to start running an affiliate program

There you have it, a guide to starting an affiliate program on ShareASale. Follow the steps carefully and you will have a live affiliate program. Now it is time to start recruiting and making money.

Five Types of Affiliates (with Examples)

You have learned how to recruit affiliates into your program and where to find them, but what is their value to you and how they can help grow your affiliate program? Below are 5 of the most common affiliates and a little bit about them:

1. Coupon Affiliates

They are the most common type of affiliate. They are not a fit for every program, but if you do allow them in your program they can drive qualified traffic to your site through coupons offered through the affiliate program.

In many cases the larger coupon affiliates rank highly for coupon-related terms in the organic search results.

Examples include: RetailMeNot,, and

2. Incentivized Traffic Affiliates

This type of affiliates shares a part of the commission (received from merchants/advertisers) with the end user.

The incentive may come in the form of cashback, points, virtual currency, or similar arrangements.

Examples include: Ebates,, Mr. Rebates, and even Bank of America.

3. Content Affiliates

They are blog (or forum) owners that create unique content (their own or UGC) for their visitors. They send traffic to a merchant’s site through banner ads and/or text links embedded in content. They may not have the traffic of coupon affiliates, but they generally have a high conversion rate and provide incremental value to merchants.

4. PPC Affiliates

They are affiliates that run paid search campaigns using Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and other platforms and use affiliate links to monetize their efforts. This type of promotion is high risk for the affiliate, as they have to pay for the ads and there is no guarantee for a return on investment. They can work in conjunction with merchant’s current PPC efforts to ensure they are not bidding on the same sets of keywords, or not competing with the merchant by capping their bids.

5. Comparison Shopping Sites

They are price comparison websites and aggregators. These affiliates provide the end user with a tool to compare prices (or other product characteristics!) across an array of merchants, utilizing advertisers’ product feeds to power their engines (Shopping Comparison Engines, that is).

Examples of comparison shopping affiliates include:,, and many others.

Knowing the various types of affiliates will help in determining their potential value to the program and will help in growing your affiliate program. Recruiting the right affiliates will be a step toward success and bringing in the incremental sales volume you desire.

How to Find Affiliates to Recruit Into Affiliate Program

Last month I discussed the importance of affiliate recruitment and the effects it can have on an affiliate program. Today I will be diving into where to find affiliates to recruit.

Each day, as you are going through the applications of potential affiliates, you are thinking where can I find quality affiliates other than coupon affiliates? Many times the quality affiliates or super affiliates will need to be solicited to join your program. Here are 4 popular places and tools used to find affiliates for you affiliate program.

I. Search Engines

Using Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find sites that rank for relevant keywords to your business is a great place to start. For example, if you are a children’s clothing merchant you would search for sites that rank highly for keywords related to children’s clothing. Blogs that create unique content are great targets when using search engines.

II. Tools/Software

There are free tools and also paid tools used in recruitment. Many of the paid tools provide more robust solutions, but the free ones also are a great help. Examples of free tools include: SEO Quake and Backlink Watch. Paid tools include: Linkdex Publisher Discovery, Raven SEO Tools, and The point of the tools is to find sites that have affiliate links of your competitors and then you can reach out to affiliate promoting your competition and invite them to your program.

III. Social Media

Finding relevant prospects may also be fruitful using social media. Searching the social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn groups, etc) using targeted keywords can present you with prospects with strong social media followings that can promote your product/service through their various channels.

IV. Conferences/Events

Conferences like Affiliate Summit, PubCon, Performance Marketing Insights and others are great places to meet current affiliates and most importantly prospective affiliates. Affiliates are at the conference to learn, but also seek out opportunities to grow their businesses. Don’t be shy at these types of events as you never know who you will meet and how they can positively impact your affiliate program.

Later this week I will discuss different types of affiliates you can recruit into your affiliate program. So stay tuned…