How-to: Automate and Streamline Your Tedious Affiliate Activities
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We can’t be productive all the time, can we?
After all, we have a social life and plenty of activities on your minds outside of work day-in and day-out; Affiliate Marketing isn’t everything we do in our normal routine.
Sometimes we get lazy. For others, it’s a lifestyle of being wired and on-the-go. Either way, it still means a lot of work to keep a website active on a basic level.
What about when we’re zapped on energy and motivation (let alone trying to keep an active profile)?
Here are two substantial items you should consider streamlining and automating to reduce stress and keep your affiliate marketing going at full pace.
Streamline: Batch and Schedule Work
Freelancers (and all-around productive individuals) will let you know that batch processing your work can have a profound effect on getting it all done.
The term is a little one the computer jargon side but the basic principle is that you take a large block of your tasks, all being related, and do them all in one go.
Let’s consider a common scenario:
Affiliate Marketer #1 knows that he’ll publish three new articles for the upcoming week, schedule an email newsletter, and will need to update his social profiles. His approach details doing the gamut of activities on a daily basis based on his schedule.
Affiliate Marketer #2 has the same amount of work but decides to take a select day to produce the three pieces of content, goes ahead and schedules an entire month of newsletters since he’s already in the system, and uses automated social media tools to buffer a few weeks’ worth of updates.
All the work will get done but the key difference, here, is the focus.
When you have a seemingly impossible to-do list, it’s likely you’re doing the easiest items first and then the remainders throughout the day depending on your mood. If you flip that around, break down the list based on ‘types’, than you can wipe out large portions of the list (and build a buffer in your work which frees your time to work on larger projects).
1. Compile your daily tasks, goals, and projects-based activities into one spreadsheet
2. Categorize each of the items based on their similarities
3. Select day in which you will complete just one ‘type’ of activity
It may not seem like much but you will certainly get the job done because you are focused and you will have built momentum as you work on similar items.
From there, schedule anything that will go live and work on the next batch.
Instead of spending 40 hours working on your website, you’re knocking it down in half the time because you’re honing your attention on the important items and avoiding distractions.
Automate: Use Tools for Social Media Sharing
Social media is meant to be social.
You cannot pass up the opportunity to develop great relationships, engage your audience, and discover new and exciting content on the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn (or any others you may be on).
However, much of your routine with social media is the sharing of content which doesn’t need your full attention.
We know that people will have a greater response if you’re active on social networks but we can’t possibly all find the time especially if we have other important tasks. Since your routine is fairly basic, minus the one-to-one interactions, it would be advised that you utilize automated social media tools to keep an active profile on these networks.
Here’s another scenario:
Affiliate Marketer #1 is active on multiple social media profiles and has gained a respectable following which demands attention. She spends an hour or so each day updating her profiles, chatting with people, and working on her marketing campaign. Without warning, she has to be away from work for an extended period of time which means the social accounts blackout. People move on, ask questions with no response, and traffic dips. When she’s back, she has a hard time gaining the same momentum as before her leave.
Affiliate Marketer #2 is along the same boat but she uses a variety of automated tools for when she’s away from the business. She schedules Facebook updates, tweets, and other shares. She still engages users that start conversations but the brunt of her work, with social media, is a fine-tuned machine which keeps followers happy and entertained.
A minor investment toward social media tools won’t break the bank.
Some of the more popular tools include:
Each provide a variety of features that will help expand your reach without the constant need to login and update on a constant basis.
Additionally, using these tools helps you avoid the quick distraction from constantly checking your feed which will throw off your rhythm.
1. Subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs
2. Export your website data so you have each link to your posts and pages
3. Sign up for one of the social media tools
4. Populate the scheduled updates based on RSS feeds and your content
Five minutes and you’ll understand how to use most of the tools so it’s not a huge time sink.
You’ll have created a constant stream of social media updates which will keep an active profile even when you’re on vacation or too consumed in work to jump over to the networks.
You could also combine it with the ‘batch processing’ approach and schedule out an entire month in a single afternoon – if you want.
Activities to Consider … or Not
The other areas of your affiliate marketing business can certainly benefit from automation but always consider what you’re giving up when you take your hands off the “wheel”.
There are the benefits of going full-on automated:
- More free time
- Schedule, on-time updates
- The ability to hand it off to others
Then there are some negative items:
- You may miss important connections
- You lose some ability to do rapid updates on-the-fly
- Some followers may be put off by the automation
In all, it depends on whether it will ultimately benefit your business especially if you’re able to free up time to work on larger, profitable projects.
Take a look at some of these additional resources for streamlining and automation in business:
- How To Automate Your Email Marketing Business
- Outsourcing Services for Design, Writing & Advertising
- AffiliatePrograms.com guide to outsourcing content
- The Art and Science of Autonomous Online Social Media Promotion
You may place more work up-front when getting everything together but it’s well worth the effort since your site and profiles will remain active, engaging the community, and keeping traffic soaring while profits come trickling through.
How do you streamline and automate your affiliate marketing business?