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Increase Earnings by Organizing Your Affiliate Information

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How many times have one of the following situations happened to you?

  • You’re about to write a post and mention an affiliate product, then have to spend time to look for the affiliate link for it.
  • You’re in need of a new banner for an affiliate product, but have no clue where to get it.
  • You’re curious about your earnings for an affiliate product that isn’t under the umbrella of a major network, so you have to search for the affiliate site login, figure out your username, reset your password, and so forth.
  • You’re watching your Twitter stream and see someone asking for opinions on an affiliate product that you wrote a review for sometime last year, so now you have to find that review post.
  • You’re just shy of your next payout on SamCart and want to do a little push on all of the affiliate products you have under that network, but their promo materials are spread out all over the place.

While some of these things don’t take a lot of time, I’d bet there have been situations where you passed including that affiliate link, banner, checking your stats, tweeting your review post, or making several product pushes because you were too busy to mess around with tracking the information down.

To avoid this kind of problem in the future, why not get all of your affiliate marketing information all in one place? My favorite way to organize is simply using Google Docs. It’s free with your Google Account, and it’s accessible wherever you go, from your desktop at work to your laptop at home or your iPad to your Android when on the go without messing around with USB drives or wishing you were on a different device.

The Ultimate Affiliate Marketing Organizer

The following are important pieces of information I have in my Google Spreadsheet to organize my affiliate marketing resources.

Affiliate Marketing Organizer

Product Name – Simply the affiliate product name.

Contact (name, email, twitter) – I find that it’s best to keep track of who to contact when you have questions or concerns about a particular affiliate product or program. Most are happy to help you if it means you’re going to promoting their product! I’d also suggest following your favorite affiliate product creators on Twitter – it’s a great way to see if there are any updates to the products, sales, etc. coming that they might not have notified their affiliates about via email.

Niche – If you do affiliate marketing for more than one niche, then this will allow you to filter your programs just for one particular niche when promoting via blog posts, Twitter, and other avenues.

Type – Chances are, your affiliate products are made up of eBooks, events, membership programs, courses, plugins, themes, applications, and so forth. I like having mine distinguished that way if I’m specifically wanting to write a post on top WordPress plugins or themes, I can just filter those types in my spreadsheet.

Network – Most of your affiliate products may fall under major networks like SamCart, E-junkie, ShareASale, and other major affiliate networks, but you can also include links to those that have their own proprietary network.

Vendor ID – Clickbank, for example, has a Vendor ID for different affiliate programs which you can see in reporting. It’s good to have as a quick reference when you’re looking through your earnings reports.

Login & Password – Nothing is more frustrating than having to find login information. I wouldn’t suggest putting your full password in an online document, but instead maybe hints to your password as some networks require funky passwords with caps and special characters while others limit you to a certain amount and specific types of characters.

Product Price – If you are an affiliate for more than one eBook and have the chance to promote just one for a particular occasion, this might help you decide which to choose based on the audience. If you think they’re big spenders, go with the highest priced item. If not, go with the lowest priced one.

Minimum & Maximum Commission – When you’re looking to increase your earnings, the amount you’ll make off a product will definitely influence your decision on how much promotion to do for the product. The more you could make, the more you will probably want to promote it!

Promo Materials, Login & Password – While affiliate products on ShareASale have their banners and suggested text links on that affiliate network, products on other networks such as Clickbank and E-junkie tend to have offsite promotion material links. Some of these are available to the public while others are behind a separate login. Finding these materials (banners, swipe files, etc.) has always driven me insane, so having the links all in one place can be a lifesaver!

Affiliate Link (full & Bit.ly) – Depending on where you want to share your affiliate link, you might want to grab the full thing or just one that you have customized on Bit.ly or another URL shortener of your choice. Note that you’ll also want to follow affiliate program emails religiously and periodically check up on your affiliate links as some products might change affiliate networks. Nothing bites worse than making a sale and then losing the commission simply because the new affiliate network can’t track the old links (but can conveniently still make the sale).

Blog Link – If you use plugins like Ninja Affiliate for WordPress that converts your affiliate links to something more customized, then you can stick that customized URL here.

Review Post (full & Bit.ly) – If you have a review post for a product, you’re more likely to make more income from it. Hence, you’ll want to link to the full URL for the review post in your writing and occasionally reshare the shortened one on Twitter. This will help you keep track of those links.

Video – Videos make for great promotional content – especially if your video shows how easy a particular affiliate product is to use, such as setting up a plugin or WordPress theme. Keep your video links handy to push in a post or share with someone asking questions about a particular product and be sure that your review post link is in the video description.

Minimum Payout – Just something nice to know if you want to figure out how far you need to go to get paid again.

Earnings – Want to know how successful you are with your affiliate programs? Then track your earnings! Networks like Clickbank will let you run earnings reports from the last year, and E-junkie will let you see affiliate-specific earnings from the past few years (mine goes back through 2006). This will give you a good idea which products your audience loves and which ones, no matter how much you push them, are just not making enough income to be worth it.

Updated – This friendly column will remind you if it’s about time to check your earnings, links, etc. to make sure there’s nothing new you need to know about.

Get This Spreadsheet on Google Docs

If you’re not in the mood to create this spreadsheet from scratch, never fear! You can view the Google Docs’ spreadsheet online. If you are signed into your Google account, simply use the File > Save option to save it to your documents and start filling it in with your information.

Excel and Open Office Versions

If you don’t have Google Docs, or would prefer to save it on your local machine, go to the Google Docs version and use the File > Download As to save it as your desired file type. I’d suggest Open Office or Excel if possible for functionality.

Filtering

In the Google Docs version, you don’t need to do anything – just use the arrows on each column to sort / filter. If you download it in another version, be sure to add the Filter back to the header row so you can sort / filter specific information using the arrows. In Microsoft Excel 2007, select the first row and use the Filter option on the Home tab under Sort & Filter. In Open Office Calc, select the first row and use the AutoFilter option under Data > Filter in the menu bar.

Your Affiliate Marketing Organizer

Do you use a similar spreadsheet or other ways to organize your affiliate marketing logins and program information? Is there anything you would add to this spreadsheet? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Brendan | MMA Training says:

    Great post Kristi and thanks for the Google docs spreadsheet. If you run affiliate sites you could also save the login url and username and password in a spreadsheet as well for ease when needing to perform repetitive tasks like updating WordPress.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      You’re welcome Brendan – good point about saving your affiliate site info too!

    • Gregory C. says:

      Amazing post indeed, I was ready to look into software for this, but this Google Spreadsheet system is perfect!

      Great idea, implementing this right now.

      • Kristi Hines says:

        I always try to find ways to use the tools I have first over looking for new software – just one less thing to have to learn, install everywhere, and integrate. 🙂

  2. Awesome post – managing affiliate info can be a nightmare, but this is brilliant. Well done and thanks for sharing

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Thanks Aaron! It certainly can be. I’ve been organizing a lot of other info I needed in Google Docs, and the last time I hit the “where is this program’s banners” issue, I thought my affiliate marketing stuff should be the next thing to get organized. 🙂

  3. If we are organized, we can do a lot better and I am sure with the help of simple tools such spreadsheet fro google docs, we can manage our affiliates better and can take suitable actions if required. Awesome post and thanks for sharing.

  4. That’s a great idea, Kristi; I have my stuff ‘organized’ (very loosely organized) on an excel spreadsheet and a text file. It’s not very portable. This fixes a bunch of problems.

    Thank you

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Portability is a necessity for me which is why I love Google Docs. Especially with my Android app – now I can have access everywhere!

  5. Nate @ Strayblogger says:

    Thanks for the great tips- I’ve never thought to use a spreadsheet for that type of info.

    When I’m scoping out the backlinks of my competition I use Google docs to keep a list of easy-to-get backlinks that I find, and it’s become a very useful resource for me.

    But your post points out that you can use docs for a keeping a lot of different useful info- thanks.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      I keep backlinks in Google Docs too Nate, along with a ton of other information! 🙂

  6. Joshua Zamora says:

    Hey Kristi thank you for the helpful slap in the face 8)

    I answered yes to all the situations you described.

    I’m going to carbon copy your spread sheet

    Joshua the ZamuraiBlogger

    • Kristi Hines says:

      They are all things I answered yes to originally too Joshua. Hope it helps you solve all of those problems!

  7. Moira Wight says:

    I enjoyed reading your article here Kristi – I actually use a version of this already – as an ex bookkeeper I just love spreadsheets, and use them to track all kinds of information for my business like the domains I have registered, publications I have, products purchased – the list goes on – it saves such a load of time when you organize your online business in this way. Putting it on google docs is a great tip as then you can access it anywhere – useful if you are working away from your home pc. Thanks for sharing your information. Moira

    • Kristi Hines says:

      I’m a huge fan of spreadsheets too Moira! I know there are a lot of apps out there that can help you organize things, but usually you need more than one to do multiple types of data. With spreadsheets, esp. Google Docs, you can organize everything in one place.

  8. Hi, Kristi.
    excellent post. I have actually been using a microsoft office document to keep track of this but I think it would be excellent to move it over into a google spreadsheet document so that way I can grab it on the go. I never even thought of that particular advantage thanks for sharing your tactics in this area!

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Being able to access a document from anywhere is a must for me Jenn, especially since I travel between my computer at work, two computers at home, my phone, and (hopefully soon) my iPad when I’m not in the mood to be sitting in front of a desktop. Google Docs has been a lifesaver!

  9. Cool! Thanks sister! It will come in handy.

    Ryan K

  10. Amy Lynn Andrews says:

    I do the very same thing to keep track of my affiliate links (although yours is turbo powered, Kristi, with all the info you keep!). Gotta love Google Docs. One of my readers asked me to post about affiliate link organization…but now I don’t have to. I’ll just send ’em here! 🙂

    Another tip:

    (Not about affiliate links, but about finding things fast…)

    Another thing that was beginning to drive me crazy was trying to remember all the previous posts I’ve written so I could link internally as I was writing new posts. There were a lot of times when I just didn’t bother to hunt down the link for a previous post.

    So recently I redesigned my site and added an Archives page on which I list every single post I’ve written (not manually, of course, Genesis does it for me). I intended the Archives page to be helpful to my readers but I think *I* use it way more than anyone as I can now find internal links really fast. I love it.

    • Since you use genesis, you must be using WordPress. If you use the link maker in the editor, I am 99% certain it allows you to search for previous posts and scroll through a list of the same. Just thought I’d point it out, since it could help a lot of people with internal linking if I am remembering correctly.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      I use my archives page for the same thing Amy! I also have another spreadsheet to track my guest posts so I have those links accessible as well. Definitely comes in handy! 🙂

  11. Zak Taylor says:

    Thanks for the post Kristi. I definately was in need of something like this to get me organised. Ive been writing, links, passwords etc all over the place from post it notes to napkins. As you mention, Google Docs is great for this type of stuff, love the simplicity and the cloud aspect of it. Thanks again Kristi, looking forward to read more posts from you.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      I had the same issue Zak. Some info was in my email, other pieces was on post-its, notebooks, etc. Having it all in one place definitely makes life simpler!

  12. Amy Lynn Andrews says:

    Another tip…

    If you don’t like working in the spreadsheet view, create a form and it makes inputting your data super easy.

    For example:

    1. I clicked the link Kristi gave for the spreadsheet:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aoqhxvq80NYgdHNvakxvSndDeUhvLUJieTRsZjNBU2c&hl=en_US#gid=0

    2. Because I have limited access to this spreadsheet, I just copied the whole thing and then pasted it into a New Spreadsheet (File–>New–>Spreadsheet).

    3. Once there, the “Tools” menu was active, so I went Tools–>Form–>Create New Form

    Hope that helps someone!

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Great tip Amy! I haven’t played around with the forms as much and pretty much live in spreadsheets, but for those who are not as much of a fan of them, that’s a great idea! 🙂

  13. thanks for tips and some great information

  14. Codeforest says:

    Thanks for the great Spreadsheet, I really had trouble in following all of the affiliate data.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      It would be nice if everyone had a the same system for organizing their affiliate materials, links, etc. But this helps until they do!

  15. Great advice. Organization is very important.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Definitely Rick! It can mean the difference between making more with your affiliate marketing or leaving it out and losing the exposure.

  16. Thanks Kristi for making the life more organized.

    I already use the Google docs but your file is quite comprehensive, worth updating my file.

  17. Kristi, yet another amazing post. I knew you will give us the spreadsheet, you always do everything for us 🙂

    I am definitely doing this, starting today, you know me when I run into a tip of yours. And yes, I have all those problems you listed at the beginning, digging around to find links, etc.

    Thanks so much. At first I was thinking why not just do it in Excel but the convenience of having it available all the time is the smart thing to do. Besides the fact that the passwords should be hidden of course, we can make the file invisible to others, right? (Haven’t used Google Docs much).

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Thanks Brankica! You can make the documents private to you only on Google Docs, but I’m super paranoid. I don’t even type out passwords in a password protected Excel file – you just never know. I remember once, back in the Limewire days, finding that some people had accidentally shared their whole hard drives to the network. Financial documents, everything was accessible to anyone. Scary thought!

  18. carlos | ley de atraccion says:

    excellent, the organization of our time is very important, Google gives us interesting tools.

    thanks

    carlos

  19. Wow! This is really a great post! I never thought there would an organizer to organize something like this, thank you so much. I should get Google Now! Thanks again! Great Post! = )

  20. Thanks Kristy for the great information. This is for the first time I am hearing about Google Docs. Thanks for the valuable information.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      You’ll love Google Docs Kalesh! Best things Google’s come out with since Gmail in my opinion! 🙂

  21. Ian McConnell says:

    Thanks Kristi, that Google docs spreadsheet is awesome.

    I’ve been meaning to create something like this for a while and never found the time, so you just saved me a lot of work. Thank-you 🙂

  22. Great stuff. I am trying to set up a blog too, and I am sure this information will help me. I am having a dry run on blogger. This will determine what I do next. The address is http://artcentron.blogspot.com/. Check it out

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Hey Blue! I’d suggest if you’re planning on doing heavy affiliate marketing that you look into getting your own domain with WordPress. If Blogger doesn’t like what you’re promoting they can remove your blog. 🙁

  23. Best affiliate marketing advice 🙂

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Thanks Sean! Definitely a great way to get your affiliate marketing to a better place!

  24. fazal mayar says:

    nice post, as for me i prefer tracking my links to see the success of a ROI of my campaigns.

  25. Jane | Blogging Success says:

    Kristi, amazing stuff! That’s all I can say. Thanks for saving our time. I was actually using a txt file when I started out (about 10 months ago) and still keep that file. I know it is horrible, but I simply had it and added more info to it. Now I’m switching, right now.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Hi Jane! I started with text files, but you have a lot more functionality with the formulas in a spreadsheet. 🙂

  26. I’m a fan of any excuse to use a spreadsheet! This is a great share and thanks for supplying the template Kristi!

  27. Faisal Reza says:

    No wonder this is so smart. I always using Wordpad to write all the affiliate link. but always forgot it. With this smart tips, i get the idea how to keep affiliate link everywhere.. thanks.

  28. Mills jacking says:

    Maintaining spread sheets is not that easy and now that you have provided us with the format it will be easy to maintain the records and keep it safely.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      They get easier once you get used to them. I’ve been using them for personal / business purposes for (scarily) over a decade now. 🙂

  29. Great information and just what I needed! Thanks for the great article

  30. ibyang Online Poker says:

    Hello Kristi,
    thank you for specifying to write a blog about organizing the affiliate information, which are truly helpful. having clear and organized reports will make an affiliate marketer be motivated on how he will be add another income generating product. Google docs is excellent.

    • Kristi Hines says:

      Google Docs are definitely a great way to go – no more messing around with flash drives or not having the right spreadsheet on the right machine.

  31. This is great – I had just reset my clickbank password!! again…! and remembered this post!

    Thanks for the download – saved so much time.

  32. LaughsToHeal.com says:

    I really like how well everything is organized on this template and it’s given me alot of great ideas for keeping track of everything, but I had alot of problems downloading/copying it into my google docs.

    Can you offer an alternative way to do this please?

    Thanks!

  33. Thanks Kristi , I am new to blogging and this is my first blog. I write papers for college students and the blog is an attempt to do something different . So all assistance will be appreciated. Thanks

  34. Great post Kristi, I have “some” of my stuff organized, but the Google docs suggestion is one of those “duh” moments. Why didn’t I do that? I need to keep coming back for more, I think I can learn a lot from you!

    thanks, Nancy

  35. Ark Pizarro says:

    Great post Kristi!
    Thanks so much for the spreadsheet!
    Every time I visit this site I’m surprised by the quality content and value you guys provide. Incomediary rocks!

  36. Guido Zecckine III says:

    Great stuff. This is what I needed. I didn’t even want to start promoting any products until I had a way to keep track of everything. Now I have that, so thanks a lot. Some people are smarter than I am, and I thank God for their kindness in sharing with me. BIG props! Thanks.