It’s the most wonderful and hectic time of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just weeks away and kick off the 2019 holiday shopping season.
If you’re an ecommerce advertiser, you’re probably in the middle of some of your busiest times. So, we’ll get straight to the point.
Here’s how to prepare your affiliate program for the holiday season:
Determine Your Strategy
Craft a strategy that combines your affiliate marketing program with your holiday sales goals. Start by evaluating your marketing efforts for the previous year:
- Which channels have been successful?
- Which underperformed?
- Were there certain affiliates with high conversion rates?
- What materials did they use for the promotion?
- Which landing pages converted?
Find out what you can reuse and what should stay in 2018. Also look at what your competitors have done in the past or what they have done this year.
Set custom commission rates and bonuses
Evaluate your affiliate marketing budget by considering holiday special promotions. Factor in your program’s commissions, bonuses or discounts and how it fits into your return on investment. Then, if possible, set special holiday commission rates or bonuses to further encourage affiliates.
Create a Holiday Calendar
The holiday season goes beyond the excitement of Black Friday. There are a few holidays you can include in your affiliate marketing strategy in the coming weeks.
These days include:
- Black Friday : 29 November
- Small Business Saturday : 30 November
- Cyber Monday : 2 December
- Free Shipping Day: 14 December
- Hanukkah: 22-30 December
- Christmas day: December 25
- Boxing Day: December 26
- New Year’s Eve: December 31
Beyond Black Friday
Consider these important days as well as what you can do in the weeks following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is when the competition has cooled from the initial rush, but consumers are still actively looking for gifts, offering your brand an opportunity to increase sales.
One way to do this is to create a “shopping holiday” specific to your store. Set a specific day (or days) for great deals and fast sales to attract customers.
Cosmetics retailer Ulta, for example, has its annual “Holiday Beauty Blitz” featuring flash sales for different products each day until Christmas. Amazon is doing a “12-Day Deal” with new products every day. Macy’s has several holiday sale days, including the “After Christmas Sale” that focuses on post-holiday advertising deals.
Encourage affiliates by setting higher commission rates or offering bonuses for this special event. Affiliates can promote the event by sharing limited-time discounts and coupon codes with their target audience. An affiliate promotion can be something like sharing with followers: Use code JOLLY for free shipping, it expires at midnight.
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Provide Affiliates with Everything Vacation-Discount
Equip your affiliates with everything related to holiday deals so they’re ready to create and promote. Here’s what you need to share:
Clearly communicate all information of your holiday sales with affiliates.
Make sure you include:
- A detailed list of sales discounts and prices
- How long each sale lasts and when discounts/coupons expire
- Terms and Conditions such as sales exclusions or a gift return policy
- Sales slogans or popular phrases like “Save Big for Cyber Monday” or “Holiday Deals and Stolen”
The sooner you can provide this information, the better. By giving your affiliates advance notice, they will have plenty of time to prepare content, especially if it’s more in-depth like product reviews or training videos.
Additionally, affiliates can strategically act as a “leaker” for your deals, giving their audience some insider details about what to expect before the actual sale.
Last day for shipping for holiday arrival
Set your customers’ expectations by giving affiliates shipping deadlines. You don’t want affiliates promoting promises you can’t keep.
This can also encourage your customers to shop sooner.
To help give you an idea, here are the shipping dates for the two major US carriers. However, be sure to check your local and international services for detailed deadlines.
Affiliate promo codes
Promo codes are a great impetus for customers who are unsure whether to buy or not. In fact, two-thirds of consumers say they “make a purchase they didn’t originally plan to make simply based on finding a coupon or discount.”
Make sure you provide the full promo code to your affiliates. Consider case-sensitive characters, exactly when they will be active and when they will expire.
New Products and Featured Products
Affiliates are a great way to drive traffic and promote certain items. If you’re promoting new products during the holiday season, share it with affiliates and provide a detailed description of the product.
If possible, it may be helpful if they send a sample to affiliates beforehand so they can use it on their own. This can be used for “hidden preview” content such as modeling clothes or trying out new electronics before they’re released, creating interest and excitement.
Be sure to convey any information about your affiliate program, which may be different during the holiday season. This may include:
- New commission structures
- Bonuses and bonus timeframes
- Per product/category commissions
- Affiliate Contests
- Handling Refunds and Disputes
- Payment timeline after the holiday season
Share With Your Affiliates
This information may be sent via email, newsletter or your preferred affiliate communication.
It might look like this:
You can download the free template here.