The Ultimate Guide To Staying Organized With Your Affiliate Marketing

It’s happened to you, right?

One minute you’re scrolling through Instagram watching hilarious videos of dogs, and all of a sudden, you’re watching someone explain how a pair of socks has changed their life and ordering your own using the promo code that saves you $15. 

Affiliate marketing is everywhere, and what was once an exclusive community of influencers is now open to anyone who wants to share about something they love (or even just like) and get a financial return. 

The exact number of people engaging in this strategy is unknown, but in the US alone there are over 11,000 affiliate programs

So, how do you stand out and become a successful affiliate marketer in a saturated market? 

The ability to get and stay organized, discover the right tools, figure out how you’ll get leads,  and use strategic tactics to measure and analyze results can be the difference between earning a few dollars here and there and making a steady income. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s products or services and receiving affiliate commissions as a result of each sale made. 

Some merchants base compensation on a fixed commission per sale (or per lead), while others work as a combination of upfront payment and commission on the backend of the sale. 

One of the most common examples of affiliate marketing is the Amazon Affiliates program. 

Anyone can sign up to be an Amazon affiliate, share the products they love, and receive a commission on each sale. 

Check out Glory Cycles in eBay (a section specialized in bicycle equipment and accessories) or the Consumer Search in Home Depot (analysis site) for another couple of affiliate marketing examples.

Affiliate marketing with Instagram is becoming more popular than ever.  If you have spent any time on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok, you have likely encountered affiliate marketer promotions for FabFitFun boxes, fitness equipment, or clothing lines. And the trend is only increasing. 

Why Does Affiliate Marketing Require Hyper-organization?

Like any business venture, affiliate marketing requires a great deal of organization and follow-through. The most successful affiliate marketers typically have multiple affiliate deals simultaneously, which means there’s a lot to manage.

Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as reaching out one time and securing a long-term partnership. 

Instead, the process of acquiring new deals, following up on pending conversations, and doing the work required for active partnerships requires organization and vigilance to navigate all the moving parts successfully.      

The inability to effectively manage the affiliate marketing cycle and multiple partnerships could result in loss deals, low sales, and consequently financial loss or additional stress. 

Have A Strategy

While the concept of affiliate marketing itself isn’t complicated, becoming a successful affiliate does require forethought and planning, as well as a strategy that narrows your focus and serves as a roadmap for your final destination.

Define Your Niche

Defining a niche for your affiliate marketing focus is one of the first decisions you need to make. 

Signing up for any affiliate program offering competitive rates might be tempting and earn you a quick dollar, but it’s not a great long-term strategy. 

Defining a specific niche not only helps you build a more targeted audience but also positions you in the affiliate marketing world. It’s a saturated market, but it’s still very possible to become known in a specific industry with the right niche and positioning. 

Remember, you’ll need to promote the products and services a great deal, so choosing something you know or have practical experience with will make the work more enjoyable.

For instance, if you are not someone who likes makeup or wears makeup daily, you probably don’t want to start with a makeup brand that will require you to do beauty tutorials. 

Plus, you’ll want to build credibility with your audience as well. If you’re promoting health and wellness brands one day and junk foods the next, your target market will notice. Defining the niche early and staying consistent will pay off in the long run. 

Define the Types of Products You Want To Promote

Once you’ve defined your niche, it’s time to go a step further and decide which types of products or services you want to promote. 

For example, if you’re a creative business owner, you might be interested in promoting the software and technology tools you use in your business. 

In this case, you would make a list of all the products and services you use and explore whether or not those brands offer affiliate marketing programs. 

For example, these services might include CRM software, bookkeeping software, graphic design tools like stock photography, photo editing software, or domain host provider for a website designer. 

Defining the products and services you want to promote requires careful consideration of several factors. 

These include:

  • The commission structure or payout
  • Any required disclosures
  • Restrictions on where or how you can share content
  • Resources available to help with promotions (free content, graphics, etc.)

Set Goals And OKRs 

Your financial goals often determine the process of setting goals, objectives, and key results. For example, the goals might be as simple as securing two or three affiliate partnerships and earning a moderate amount of money for someone who wants to make a little extra revenue. 

However, having clear objectives and measurable goals will be critical for those who want to create a profitable business from affiliate marketing. 

While the goals, objectives, and key results will be personal to each individual, a few examples are: 

  • Secure five affiliate partnerships 
  • Become a leading influencer in the beauty industry
  • Establish a blog with a domain rating of 60 or higher with 5,000 monthly visitors
  • Earn $10,000 per quarter from affiliate revenue

Ensure your goals are measurable and realistic but it’s also great to stretch yourself a little and aim high. Document your goals somewhere where you can see them each day and if necessary, enlist an accountability partner to help you stay focused. 

Create A Stellar Content Plan

Create A Stellar Content Plan

Earning a commission from a sale (or sometimes a generated lead) is the only way to earn revenue from affiliate marketing. Therefore, it’s necessary to continually publish relevant and compelling content to share the products and services with the right audience at the best time.

Creating a content calendar is necessary to plan and manage content for multiple brands on multiple platforms. 

By using a calendar format, you can see everything that needs to be created and shared in one place and manage deadlines more effectively. 

When creating your calendar, it’s essential to reach out to your affiliate partners and identify any key dates that specific content needs to be published. Then, set reminders for particular holidays or national observance dates that align with your brands, and build in margin to engage online, as well. 

Creating consistent content is crucial but so is staying engaged with followers by managing comments, following other influencers, and responding to messages. It’s also good to remember that content doesn’t always have to be just photos and text. 

You can share infographics, videos, quotes, statistics, and content from other sources to help build your credibility and provide a wide array of different content for your audience to consume. 

Track, Track, Track 

Once your planning is in place and you have established affiliate relationships, it’s time to start promoting your products and services and earning revenue. While this is an exciting time, it’s also critical to begin with the right tools in place to track, measure, and analyze your results. 

Have the Right Tools To Support You

Knowing which tools you need to use can be overwhelming, and too many tools may overcomplicate the process. 

However, finding the right combination to help you analyze, measure, and plan future content has excellent benefits. 

For instance:

  • Stay organized as you collaborate with other influencers and affiliate marketers by tracking joint campaigns and coordinated content publishing.
  • Earn more money when you analyze which links are converting and spend more time on the right activities.
  • Make a better impression on partners by meeting deadlines and managing tasks with a content calendar to keep you on track.
  • Enjoy more freedom and work when you want when you use scheduling tools to post on social media for you.
  • Easily share campaign ideas, joint promotions, and propose partnerships using a project management system that supports easy online collaboration.

Tools To Help You Stay Organized 

To avoid overwhelm, narrow down your list of must-have tools in these four areas: 

  • Integration tools
  • Analytics
  • Project management
  • Content planning

Then, once you understand how each area is important to your overall strategy, take them one step at a time and find a system that works best for you. 

Integration Tools

Once your affiliate business begins to grow, it can become increasingly difficult to track and manage many different campaigns. 

Even if you’re using all of the tools mentioned to plan content, schedule publishing, track analytics, and house everything within a project management tool, the business aspect of the work often detracts from the fun and excitement of sharing products and services you love. 

This area of growth is where integration tools can be a smart solution. For example, tools like WeCanTrack help affiliates compile their data into one dashboard and monitor activity from a central location. 

This centralization reduces the need to set up manual reports and log in to multiple sites to see how campaigns perform, and it also helps affiliates make data-driven decisions and real-time adjustments to campaigns, funnels, and website content.

Analytics

Like any digital marketing tactic, earning money through affiliate marketing requires a certain level of analysis and adjustments from time to time. 

Before improving your performance and driving more traffic to your affiliate links, you have to understand your current data and your audience’s online behavior. 

There are several options for analytics tools, but Google Analytics is the most popular and a great place to start. 

When you implement Google Analytics on your website (simply adding a tracking URL to the backend of your website), you’ll be able to understand how users interact with your affiliate links and analyze which links people are clicking the most.

The data will also provide insights into which pages are driving the most traffic to your website and which links are converting so you can optimize those pages even further. 

Project Management

Since affiliate marketing encompasses so many different components (communications, reminders, tasks, calendars, etc.), investing in a project management tool is a smart strategy to manage everything in one place. 

 

Notion is a powerful project management tool that allows you to create databases, checklists, and templates to support your workflow in the way you need it, without locking you into complicated or unnecessary templates. 

For example, inside Notion, you can create an Affiliate Marketing database or table that includes:

  • The company name
  • The affiliate URL where you log in and manage your account
  • The commission style or structure
  • The sharable URL for promotions
  • Keywords you use in promoting the product
  • The link to your content calendar (either within Notion or a separate application)
  • Any other relevant details to track like payment history, contact names, etc. 

This project management style takes an investment in the front end but pays off as you stay organized and can spend more time marketing and promoting. 

Content Planning

As mentioned above, creating a stellar content marketing plan is critical to staying consistent on multiple platforms and managing several affiliate programs at one time. 

Plus, once you have a general content calendar in place, a weekly system to schedule content, publishing becomes more manageable. 

While there are plenty of options for content management, tools like Hootsuite or Planoly are great for publishing all types of content on separate platforms. 

For instance, you can schedule out your Facebook posts for days and times when you know your followers are most likely to be hanging out online and then plan different content for Instagram or TikTok based on the followers there. 

Most affiliate marketing programs will allow you to schedule at least one or two weeks out, and many even support managing comments from the tool. 

Final Thoughts

Even with an estimated 80% of companies engaged in some form of affiliate marketing, the industry’s future is still widely unknown. 

Some experts predict that the affiliate marketing industry is already too saturated and that Google search results are already weeding out old-school review sites focused primarily on affiliate marketing.

However, the evolution of far fewer retail locations, a booming online shopping industry, and skyrocketing usage of mobile devices all signal that affiliate marketing is here to stay. 

Organized marketers, meticulous planners, and data managers will likely rise to the top, find opportunities to earn unlimited income, and lead the future of affiliate marketing. 

 

Affiliate Disclaimer: I may (and probably do) receive affiliate commissions from any products I recommend or links I put on this page. My opinions are my own but they are truthful and I do my best to recommend products that I have vetted and/or purchased myself.

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