If you ask a blogger to recommend some useful affiliate marketing tools, be prepared to spend hours sifting through the inevitable bullshit of guru products and pyramid schemes that come your way.
This is because there aren’t many truly useful affiliate tools out there, certainly not tools that can double your profits overnight or turn losing ideas in to winners. But if you dig deeper in to the affiliate community, you’ll generally find a selection of products that DO live up to the billing. They might not change your business overnight, but they’ll act as stepping stones to a position where you can compete with the best.
I’m going to list some popular affiliate tools. These are services that I’ve personally benefited from, or know others who have, and think you would too. Some will only be relevant to specific types of marketers. So take my endorsements with a pinch of salt and see what works for you.
- Track And Optimize Your Campaigns
- Monetize Your Websites
- Improve Your Productivity
- PPC & PPV Research
- SEO Research And Tracking
- Dealing With Your Accounting
Prosper202 / Tracking202
If you’re looking for the software to turn your money seeping campaigns in to ads that line your wallet, Tracking202 – one of several tools in the Prosper202 suite – is arguably the most popular choice in the affiliate marketing community.
Tracking202 was one of the first tracking solutions to give affiliate marketers the freedom of seeing where their money was being made or lost. If you’re running an advertising campaign on Google, you want to know which keywords are creating the sales and which phrases are putting a dent in your pocket. Tracking202 lets you do this. I know of several established affiliates who swear they wouldn’t be where they are without the advantage of having Tracking202’s data-pit at their disposal.
The Tracking202 package is free. You can setup an account, configure your campaigns and be working smarter in a matter of minutes. Prosper202 on the other hand is self-hosted, so you will need your own domain and server dedicated to housing the app. What is the difference between Prosper202 and Tracking202 you ask? Many people seem to muddle the terms. Prosper202 is the name given to a group of affiliate tools, whereas Tracking202 is simply one of those tools.
For PPV marketers, CPV Lab is truly a revelation. Tracking your affiliate campaigns on contextual networks has thrown up some problems in the past. While it’s possible to track these types of campaigns using Tracking202, it’s never been as easy as it perhaps should have been. CPV Lab is specifically designed for the PPV marketer. It lets you track, automatically split test and use AI to optimize the most profitable aspects of your campaigns.
By making use of CPV Lab’s comprehensive tracking, you can be sure that if there’s even a sniff of profitability in your latest campaign, the software will pinpoint where that opportunity is. You can split test multiple landing pages, featuring multiple offers, on multiple URL/keyword targets. While we’ve been able to use existing software to track each of these fundamentals in the past, CPV Lab is the first tool to break down each and every variable in a way that is easy to monetize. If you’re a PPV marketer, this tool is a must-have.
If you’re in the business of developing niche websites that attract decent numbers of visitors, firstly, congratulate yourself. You’re doing better than most. Now wouldn’t you like to monetize your baby with automated dollops of cash in your PayPal account? There are a lot of display networks you can join where you’ll be able to insert a snippet of code to display various ads, but nearly all of them favour the advertiser over the publisher.
From my experience, you will find much better value in offering direct banner sales through your own site with the help of OIOpublisher. Skeptical? Check out my OIOpublisher page. Most of the ads are taken. And that’s because OIOpublisher makes it damn easy for me to monetize the blog. I set my price and OIOpublisher literally handles everything else. The advertisers can see if I have any slots open, so they can submit their banner for approval and I only have to approve or reject them when I receive the email notification. It saves a ton of emails. The software is also extremely flexible. You can set ads to display when nobody has made a purchase, add rotations, or even select unique ads for different categories in your blog.
OIOpublisher can be installed as a WordPress plugin or used on a standalone site. If you have traffic, get this bad boy installed and start monetizing those visitors on your own terms. Your wallet will thank you.
On my blog, I regularly talk about email marketing being one of the best ways to provide a long term stable income for your business. AWeber is the email marketing software of choice for many affiliates, including myself. You can use the software to add newsletters and subscription forms to your existing sites. AWeber then acts as a gateway for you to communicate with your subscribers by email.
Many affiliate marketers base their entire businesses around building mailing lists. There’s always good money to be made in the list and I like the way AWeber simplifies the entire process of building one. You don’t need much technical know-how, and a ton of email templates are provided to get you up and running straight away. Pricing is also very competitive. You won’t be paying the big bucks until your list reaches a size that merits an upgrade. And by that time, you should already be making good money from it.
Ahh, what would I do without white noise? If you’re suffering from a working environment where there’s distractions all around you, white noise is the single most effective way of canceling it all out. Other than shooting your neighbours, of course. SimplyNoise is a free tool that will do wonders for your productivity by simply focusing your thoughts on what needs to be done next.
I was recommended OmniFocus via Twitter and it hasn’t disappointed. This is probably the best task management software I’ve stumbled across to date. Manage your to-do lists, create project goals and receive reminders when your lazy arse has been slacking. What more could you need to keep those milestones in check? OmniFocus lets you capture tasks on the fly with it’s simple interface. The good news? It’s brilliant. The bad news? It’s for Mac only. Sorry Windows fans! Better luck next time.
How do I start to explain UBot? This thing is a beast. It’s billed as “business automation software” and that’s exactly what it is. UBot can be used to program a computer to perform all of the chores that you’d rather not have to deal with. Sick of link building? Hate doing keyword research? Want to mass produce fresh unique content in seconds? UBot can be used to plow through all of these tasks while you focus your energy on the work that matters most. UBot takes the barrier of entry of “knowing how to program” out of being a programmer.
I can’t think of any other software that comes close to matching what UBot brings to the table in terms of automating your business. It’s relatively expensive but one glance over the power and flexibility of this thing and you’re going to see exactly why it’s not given away for free. Don’t listen to my endorsement, just take a look at what it does and see for yourself!
Use coupon “finchpie” to get $50 off. Yes, you heard me right. Finchpie.
Elance is a market where you can hire and manage skilled workers. One of the best ways to improve productivity is to set tasks that you’re capable of doing, and to outsource what you’re not comfortable with. Elance is a great way of finding the talented individuals who can take your business to the next level. Rates vary from dirt cheap to very expensive. I personally use the service to outsource a lot of my content creation.
oDesk offers further opportunities to outsource work to a large pool of freelancers and small agencies. The site seems to be a lot more popular with non-Western workers, which has it’s pros and cons. You’ll obviously be able to get work done on a much smaller budget. On the downside, communicating with some dude in a Venezuelan hut isn’t always the best way to spend a Monday morning. oDesk is a good place to outsource the jobs that require technical skill but little in the way of Shakespearean wordplay. Think web design, logos, programming…
Affportal is a collection of tools designed to give you a competitive advantage over your rivals in the PPC and PPV games. It’s obvious that millions of dollars are wasted every month on campaigns that are poorly planned, badly implemented and thus quickly forgotten. Affportal is helpful for it’s variety of PPV tools. You can perform keyword and URL research at the mash of a button. Scraping entire lists of URL targets is a great way of getting a quick turnaround on data for your PPV campaigns.
For PPC marketers, Affportal bundles in exclusive access to the Wordze platform. None of these research tools guarantee you even the slightest sniff of success, of course, but they’ll give you a headstart over 95% of your competition. Last time I checked, Affportal came with a free trial. Give it a peek and see if it appeals.
This is another tool that was recommended to me over Twitter. I was looking for the best way to analyse search engine competition for my future niche projects. The overwhelming response was that Market Samurai would do the job and much more for me. I signed up to the trial and it impressed me straight away. I don’t really believe in any software handing me business opportunities on a plate, and Market Samurai is no different.
However, as a guy who comes up with 27 different ideas per working hour, Market Samurai has been a great help for weeding out the chaff ideas from those that could potentially grow over time. The analysis tools are second to none, and I’m a big fan of the keyword rank tracking aid. It’s like a beefed up version of what you’ll find with the Firefox SEO plugin below. Market Samurai offers a diverse collection of tools that are a worthwhile investment for anybody in the business of building niche websites. And hey, let’s face it, that’s most of us.
SEO For Firefox
Firefox has been my browser of choice since the true crapitude of Internet Explorer finally dawned on me. Besides being the number one web browser, it has a whole bunch of valuable plugins and extensions. But none more essential to the Internet Marketer than this little gem. SEOBook’s SEO For Firefox plugin has been installed over 150,000 times. It’s free and takes a matter of seconds to add. But once it’s active, you’ll never have to go burrowing for search engine data ever again.
The SEO For Firefox plugin lets you spy on the link profiles of your competition. See where those rankings are coming from, evaluate the various backlinks and pinpoint the formula to launch your site up the search engines and past your rivals. You can also track your site’s performance for various keywords over time. If you’re making progress, the SEO For Firefox plugin will tell you so.
If you’re running an online business that has a total turnover of close to zilch, you probably don’t need to worry about accounting or taxes just yet. But for those of you who are actually making a decent income from affiliate marketing, the taxman will want to know about it. I used to worry myself to sleep over the financial workings of my business, and for one reason – I’m not trained to handle accounting. Crunch was a Godsend for me. For Â£60/month, Crunch will take care of all your documents, payments and end-of-year bollocks that could otherwise reduce an affiliate to tax evasion if left to deal with on his own.
When I decided to pack up my bags and go traveling around the world, it was a huge assurance to know that I could have Crunch act as an agent and deal with my taxes. The software is excellent, as is the support team, and I highly recommend them. Your company must be registered in the UK for Crunch to handle your accounting.
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