Hire the Right Affiliate Manager for Your Brand

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Hiring an affiliate manager is a big step in the right direction for every brand. Where do you start when it comes to finding the right fit for your company?


Ever hear the cliche “good help is hard to find?” It’s never been more true than with affiliate managers. Affiliate  marketing is a niche channel that not a lot of people have experience with. 

Good affiliate managers are hard to find. You need to find the right fit for experience within your niche, but it has to be a salary you are comfortable paying out.


This article is going to go through creating the affiliate manager avatar and three good options you have to put The right affiliate manager in place.


Create the Perfect Profile


The best Way to find your ideal affiliate manager is to create an avatar of the perfect candidate. You’ll need to ask three big questions.


Are you willing to hire a remote employee? 


Remote workers are more popular than ever these days (#thankscorona) and companies are finding the massive savings from hiring  someone that does not need to be in the office every day. Although having someone in the office is nice to have, it is not a necessity in today’s business. As long as you find someone you can trust, hiring a remote worker will help you find much better talent. 


What type of experience do you want?


If no one else at your company knows anything about affiliate marketing, you’ll most likely want to hire someone with at least 5+ years of experience managing programs. 


What is your budget?


Are you dipping your toes in the water or diving in head first? Figure out how much you are willing to pay someone on a monthly basis to run this program.


Three Options for Hiring


Now that you have the right job description in place, it is time to weigh your options on who to hire. Traditional methods say you hire someone with experience to fit the bill. However, is this the right choice for your company? To hire the right affiliate manager for the role, you should look at these three good options.


Hire an experienced in-house manager


Nothing is better for a program than to find a person that can hit the ground running. Finding someone with years of affiliate management experience, specifically in your niche, will be difficult and most likely costly. ZipRecruiter shows the average affiliate manager making $62,000+ in the annual salary. Salaries are going up based on experience; some with 10+ years will make six figures.


If you hire and in-house manager, make sure they have a good diversity of experience. It is awesome to have a candidate that has experience in your niche, but experience across several different niche will prove to be valuable when getting creative with a program. This person must have a solid understanding of affiliate tracking and have the capability of running point with thousands of affiliate partners. By hiring someone with an affiliate marketing background, your affiliate program will ramp up quickly and cleanly.


Hire internally and train them right


The affiliate manager is probably not the first person you are hiring on the marketing team (or the sales team).  Most likely you’ve chosen other marketing disciplines to hire first, like an SEO,  content manager,  PPC manager, etc. So there’s a good chance you have a good fit or an affiliate manager right beneath your nose.  


The biggest reason to promote an internal higher into affiliate manager would be their knowledge of the brand. Most elite managers you hire would need a few months to ramp up and really understand the niche, company culture, and the brand. Hiring internally would help you skip this step. The downside is, they will have little to no experience. 


If you go this route, there are excellent resources for affiliate manager training to help with the fundamentals and advanced techniques to running a program. Performance Marketing Manager is a conference-style video training for affiliate managers, packed with tips, tricks, and hacks that train affiliate managers the right way.


Hire an affiliate management agency


Outsourced program management (OPM) are contractors that are veterans in the affiliate space. These are proven leaders in the industry that usually have 10+ years of experience, or at least directors overseeing programs and strategy. Hiring the right agency is one of the best ways to ensure your program is in good shape. 


The most appealing reason to hire an outside agency is the cost effectiveness. When you hire an in-house manager, you are $5,000+ per month plus benefits. For many OPMs, you will likely pay a monthly retainer fee and a performance based commission. Prices will range from $2000 to $10,000 per month, depending on the level of involvement and the quality of the agency. However you won’t be paying for insurance, vacation days, or overhead. 


Another benefit of OPMs is their little black book of affiliates. They have contact info of partners they have worked with in the past and can easily bring them into your program (if it’s the right fit). OPMs also will have relationships with affiliate networks, helping to provide access to discounted pricing and accessible tech support.


On the other hand, OPMs will not be able to give you the love and attention that a full-time employee will provide. They will do good work and run a program very efficiently, but they are looking to only spend 10-15 hours per week on any one program. 


Wrap it up


Tough decisions need to be made when choosing the right affiliate manager. Make sure you weigh your options properly, and if you need help, reach out to me to point you in the right direction. Good luck in your search.


Author Bio

Dustin Howes is the owner of, an online academy dedicated to training affiliate managers how to recruit the right affiliates, optimize their time, and take the growth of the program to the next level. Connect with him at



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