Top 5 ShareASale Affiliate Program Setup Mistakes

As an Outsourced Program Manager (OPM), I manage accounts in a variety of verticals and on all the major affiliate networks, but merchants seem to encounter the same issues when setting up their affiliate program on their own. Whenever we (AM Navigator) get a new client (with an affiliate program) we perform an audit to determine what needs to be fixed in order promote the affiliate program in the proper light and there seems to be the same items most (not all) merchants either neglect or complete partially. This post will cover the top 5 items merchants on the ShareASale affiliate network neglect to include or complete partially when setting up their affiliate program.

#1 – Program Agreement (AKA Terms of Serivce)

This document is probably the most important as it is the “rules” by which affiliates need to follow. Important points to include are:

  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) guidelines – Be specific on what words are off limits and what words can be used.
  • FTC policy
  • Coupon policy (if applicable)
  • Fraud policy

#2 – Emails sent to affiliates during the sign-up process

This is another piece that many merchants do not capitalize on. The 3 emails affiliates receive from ShareASale on the merchant’s behalf are:

  • Apply Email – This is sent to an affiliate once they apply to join a merchants affiliate program. This should tell the affiliate that their application is being reviewed and they will be contacted within 24 hours with a decision.
  • Decline Email – This is similar to the apply email. It only gets sent to affiliates that merchants reject from their program, but in fairness to the affiliate it should include reasons why they may have been declined and give them an opportunity to contact the program manager and/or re-apply .
  • Approval Email – Merchants get this one wrong the most of the three (3). This email should include information about the program (description of the company and main selling points of the affiliate program), PPC guidelines (like outlined in the program agreement), links for them to use immediately (have the code available for them to simply copy and paste), and contact information for the affiliate manager.

#3 – 88×31 Logo

You may be asking yourself, a logo? The 88×31 button banner is important because it is one of the most popiular sizes affiliates use, but it also provides additional exposure when affiliates are looking for merchants to promote. In the merchant search section affiliates view potential matches and a logo is included with many of them and it helps to “convert” the prospect into an affiliate. A simple logo can be the difference.

#4 – Banners

I have seen merchants have over 50 banners available and then I have seen a few that have 5. There is no “magic number” for banners, but having the most popular sizes available is critical. Merchants need to provide sizes that affiliates can use. I have seen obscure sizes and then the most popular sizes are missing and I scratch my head, but here is a link to the most popular banner sizes.

#5 – Newsletters

Last, but certainly not least, newsletters. A good majority of merchants I have done audits for either send newsletters out infrequently or not at all. The latter is most common. How are merchants supposed to communicate with affiliates? The newsletters should be sent out bi-weekly, but at the very least monthly. They should include any news about the program, coupons/deals, links to creatives, and contact information.

I could have gone on forever, but I gave the top 5 items many merchants either neglect or do halfhearted when setting up their affiliate programs. Every aspect of an affiliate program should be completed fully, no matter how relevant a merchant thinks it is. Affiliate managers jobs are to “WOW” affiliates and get them to promote their products/services and having a fully integrated and set up program is the first impression to all.

Top Affiliate Marketing Management Agencies and Best OPMs

OPM — Outsourced Program Manager — a person or company responsible for the management of an affiliate program and performing the management (of the program) on an outsourced basis.

I know, I am biased as I run an OPM agency myself. But even if you take this factor into consideration, nothing can justify why, month after month, rankings of affiliate marketing companies mysteriously consistently omit some of the world’s top-notch OPM companies. Or most of them, to be frank.

If you are looking for an outsourced affiliate management agency, you must consider all the quality options available out there.

Here are the ones that somehow almost never “rank” but are, in fact, recognized by the affiliate marketing industry as some of the best in class. Many of them have been managing affiliate programs for more than twenty years. Note that the list is not meant to be a ranking of any sort, but represents an “alphabetical” list of affiliate management agences. We’ve also included highlights on each agency, as presented by them on the agencies’ own websites.

1. AM Navigator

AM Navigator affiliate marketing OPM agencyThis Boston-based award-winning agency is laser-focused on leveraging affiliate marketing to drive sales to the businesses that they work with. Their core service is (i) full affiliate program management, but they also do (ii) affiliate program audits, (iii) affiliate program launches (and re-launches), as well as (iv) affiliate marketing consulting,  and (v) training.

2. Acceleration Partners

Acceleration Partners affiliate program managementWith offices globally, this large agency provides services in (i) affiliate program management, (ii) publisher development, and (iii) partner marketing program management.

3. Adam Riemer Marketing

Adam Riemer Marketing agencyThis Washington DC-based one-man agency provides services in (i) affiliate management, (ii) search engine optimization, and (iii) digital marketing and strategy.

4. All-Inclusive Marketing

All-Inclusive Marketing affiliate managementHeadquartered in British Columbia, this agency isn’t only focused on Canada but works in the United States and beyond. They can help with (i) affiliate marketing, (ii) influencer integration, (iii) SEO, (iv) analytics and attribution.

5. Apogee

Apogee affiliate management companyFormerly known as Greg Hoffman Consulting, rebranded in 2016, this boutique agency offers support with (i) affiliate program management, (ii) public relations, (iii) influencer management, (iv) social media management, and (v) paid digital advertising.

6. Clique Affiliate Marketing

Clique Affiliate MarketingThis one is also what we would call a boutique agency. They work in areas of (i) affiliate marketing program management, (ii) attribution modeling, (iii) influencer program setup and management, and (iv) also provide consulting services in all of the above areas.

7. eAccountable

eAccountable digital growth agencyThis award-winning Denver-based firm has grown far beyond pure affiliate-related services. As of the time of this post, they support merchant promotion through (i) affiliate marketing, (ii) Amazon’s and other marketplaces, (iii) search engine marketing, (iv) digital consulting, (v) email marketing, (vi) organic search, and (vii) social media.

8. ebove & beyond

ebove & beyond affiliate OPM agencyThis Florida-based agency believes that “any online business is supported by 3 key strategies: customer acquisition, customer retention, and customer experience.” To aid in the achievement of these three, they support (i) affiliate marketing programs, (ii) email marketing initiatives, and (iii) website optimization efforts.

9. Goodsell Marketing

GoodSellMarketing affiliate agencyHopping to the other coast of the United States, in San Diego we’d find Goodsell — an “affiliate and influencer marketing agency” that can help you launch an affiliate program, managing “the cost to your budget” and monitoring “all affiliate activity.”


Chuck Hamrick is what we’d call an “affiliate marketing veteran.” Having been in this business for decades, he is also one of the original OPMs (or outsourced program managers) who you definitely want to consider.

11. iAffiliateManagement

iAffiliateManagement affiliate management companyMinneapolis-based and almost entirely focused on affiliate marketing, this OPM agency offers (i) affiliate marketing management, (ii) affiliate program audits, and (iii) help with digital strategy and planning.

12. JackMarketing

This OPM is one of the earliest players in the industry. Jack Kotowski operates out of Santa Barbara and helps “create, build, fix, re-launch, and manage affiliate programs”. He was the one who got Zappos affiliate program to #1.

13. JEBCommerce

JEBCommerce affiliate marketing agencyFounded by an industry veteran Jamie Birch, and his wife Sarah, this Idaho-based OPM agency positions itself as one helping clients “acquire customers, analyze customer behavior, and optimize their online presence to achieve the best possible results.” They do this through (i) affiliate program management and (ii) conversion rate audits and recommendations.

14. Lab6Media

Lab6Media affiliate program managementWhile you may not see them on “rankings”, this agency has an absolutely stellar team, including such affiliate marketing legends as Karen  and Joel Garcia, Angel Djambazov, and Scott Jangro. Their services include management of (i) affiliate programs (ii) influencer campaigns, (iii) paid search marketing, and (iv) mobile app campaigns.

15. Robbins Interactive

Robbins Interactive affiliate managementStephanie Robbins started her agency more than a decade ago and has been growing it since then. Her agency’s areas of expertise are (i) micro-influencer activation and, of course, (ii) affiliate management.

16. PartnerCentric

PartnerCentric affiliate marketing agencyThis Austin-based affiliate marketing agency has been around the block a few times. They offer several levels of affiliate program management service: (i) Enterprise for larger corporations, (ii) Prime Sector for fast-growing businesses, (iii) Emerging for startups.

17. Silverbean

Silverbean global affiliate management agencyHeadquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) and with offices in Sydney, Amsterdam, and Chicago, this agency focuses solely on affiliate and partnership marketing, embracing partnerships with content publishers and influencers, search marketers, app developers, and more.

18. SmarterChaos

SmarterChaos by Digital Media SolutionsAcquired by Digital Media Solutions in 2020, SmarterChaos is an online performance management agency positioning itself as “an outsourced agent for large branded advertisers, helping to build strong affiliate sales and Cost per Action (CPA) channels”

19. Snow Consulting

Snow Consulting affiliate management agencyFounded by Roger Snow, an affiliate marketing old-timer, this is a classic OPM agency that focuses on all things affiliate program management. Whether you have a brand-new affiliate program or a stale one, give them a call.

20. Team Loxly

This smaller company is run by two big industry veterans: Deborah Carney and Vinny O’Hare. They focus on Internet and affiliate management consulting and are certainly worth calling as well.

While many of the above-listed OPM agencies aren’t frequently included on the lists of “best affiliate management agencies”, next time you look at a ranking (of “top affiliate marketing companies”), do look through a couple more lists before concluding that your picture is truly complete. After all, you’re about to entrust your brand’s marketing to them; and in this situation, as Harry Davis would put it, “It’s all about due diligence, due diligence, due diligence.”

[Last Updated: 02/11/2022]