I’m always looking for a good way for effective contact management with affiliates. Right now, I use a combination of just the regular Mac OS Mail app and Google Mail for Apps. My AMWSO email address is through Google Apps right now. Anytime I have an email account for a client, I either forward it to my main AMWSO account, or simply have Google retrieve mail from the POP of the client mail account. This way I have one place for all of my affiliate contact mails. The Google search in mail is great for tracking down certain affiliate contacts, but I also use IMAP and the Mac Mail app with Quicksilver to do searching. (However, I do find that searching directly in Google is usually more effective and thorough).
I also keep notes on certain affiliate contacts in the Mac address book, and also I use an application called Evernote. The Mac address book has a great freeform field for making any kind of notes (and it’s searchable in Spotlight) I need to make for a particular affiliate contact. I also use another nice note taking app, Evernote, when I want to take a screen clip, or make notes on where my client is getting placement on an affiliate site. Also keep notes on todos for contacting certain affiliates or making offers and proposals.
Number one tools for communicating individually with affiliates is email of course. Occasionally, I’ve tried to call an affiliate (and I use Skype), but with Google Talk and Skype and the ability to just have phone numbers dedicated to voice-mail so easily, it’s rare to find an affiliate that will actually answer the phone. However, leaving a voice message does often get the job done to give an affiliate extra nudge to get in touch. I think everyone working online knows what Skype is all about so no need to get into to much detail on that app.
Lastly, when I’m doing recruiting or a heavy activation campaign, I use the good ’ole spreadsheet to record results that can easily be saved in a format for reporting to the client. My own system is not complicated at all, and doesn’t utilize in whiz bang apps, but it definitely get the job done for me.
One quick note, one might expect us at AMWSO to use a common CRM system, across the company to easily consolidate and share affiliate contact information. A shared CRM should make things easier for us. However, we very much value and respect our clients confidentiality. Even though we run many affiliate programs, we do not share affiliate data or information across those program (without explicit client agreement and approval). This respect also applies to affiliates. An affiliate manager not involved specifically with a program doesn’t need to know the how/what/where in regard to a particular affiliate promoting a program.