Most of the team here at AMWSO are traditional Windows users (despite my efforts to show them the light) I (Dave) am a big-time fan of Apple and a Mac user. I wanted to discuss some of the programs and apps I use on a daily basis in my workflow for affiliate program management.
My most frequently used app would be the browser (as probably is the case with many in the performance marketing industry). I switch most often between Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome. No particular reason for switching back and forth, I just can’t settle on which I prefer. So I’ll use Safari for a couple weeks, and then switch over to Chrome for a few weeks. I sync all of my bookmarks using Xmarks, so switching back and forth is relatively painless. For password storage and management I use the1password app. This is a fantastic app that allows me to generate very secure random passwords and completely different and independent passwords for every login. If some service does get hacked, they won’t be able to use the password they steal for me anywhere else. Also, it’s essential to manage a LOT of passwords for all the various client / AMWSO and personal accounts I have to use on a daily basis. For anyone working and relying for their income online, I would absolutely recommend using a good password management app.
Now, there are so many useful add-ons to the browser that I use for affiliate management, it would dominate a post. Actually, I’ll write a separate post just for browser add-ons and extensions. So let’s get back to some other software tools I use for affiliate management.
A good data management or spreadsheet app is a must. A good deal of my time is spent looking at affiliate performance, and digging into the data to identify affiliate performance trends. This is especially key in identifying affiliates who have improved performance recently or where performance has declined. I prefer using iWork Numbers app although I will admit it is nowhere as robust as Microsoft Excel, even on a Mac. Excel is much better in handing larger files, and with converting files (for example pipe delimited files), Excel can’t be beat. The reason I stick with Numbers however, is for the iOS integration. I’m trying very hard to be able to manage my workflow on an iPad or iPhone easily, so that if anything does come up no matter where I am, I’ll be able to respond quickly from my phone.
Excel and Numbers in conjunction with a good database app are a must. I use Filemaker. Although it still can be done with Excel or Numbers, I prefer using Filemaker to associate 2 different data files. For example with certain affiliate tracking systems, one must download “all affiliate information” separately from performance report information. Downloading separate files forces me to “link” the two files so I can have all my affiliate information joined with the affiliate performance data in 1 file / view. I do this through Filemaker, and then “export” to Excel/Numbers to manipulate the data a bit more easily.
I think this is a good stopping point. I’ve covered in a quick overview the tools I use to capture some data and perform analysis on the data. In a subsequent post, I’ll discuss the tool I use for communication and contact management with affiliates. Also, I’ll get into some of the tools I use to help manage things needed by affiliates, such as banners, keywords lists and article content. Let me know if this useful, and don’t hesitate to comment and tell me what tools you might use!