Affiliates should be in the process of finalizing their holiday marketing plans. Ideally, you started planning early and are now ready to execute on those plans.
Here are some things affiliates should be doing now.
Get an Early Start
The most important step toward taking advantage the holiday season is getting an early start. Retailers often start their planning as early as June or July. For affiliates, this means that keeping on top of retailers you work with to ensure you know what they have coming. Affiliates should have their holiday campaigns up and running by October. The National Retail Federation reports that over 40 percent of people plan to begin their shopping by October, with over 12 percent planning to begin before September. Getting an early start increases the chances of capturing early birds.
Leverage Paid Placements
During the holidays retailers are looking for opportunities to reach new audiences or target specific demographics. This is good news for affiliates. Even if you don’t have huge traffic numbers. Having an engaged, loyal following in a specific niche can mean retailers looking for paid placements may contact you. But you don’t have to wait for them. Develop a hit list and reach out to those you think would be a good fit for your audience. Have a rate card ready that includes pricing, positions that are available and size of ads. Also have a terms sheet to formalize the agreement.
Maximize Major Dates
The holidays are comprised of much more than Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the week leading up to Christmas. Of course, those are huge, but the season has developed some other major days and periods that can also be lucrative.
- Singles Day (November 11th)
- Thanksgiving (November 23rd)
- Black Friday (November 24th)
- Small Business Saturday (November 25th)
- Cyber Monday (November 27th)
- Giving Tuesday (November 28th)
- Green Monday December 11th)
- Free Shipping Day (December 15th)
- Super Saturday (December 23rd)
- Boxing Day (Canada) (December 26th)
Be Mobile Savvy
Expanding digital channels, such as mobile and social media, have added to the immense opportunities the holidays provide. In 2016 mobile accounted for 50.3 percent of all ecommerce traffic, surpassing desktop traffic for the first time ever. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise 38 percent of shoppers say they will not return to a website if it’s not mobile optimized. If your affiliate site isn’t ready for mobile shoppers, you will lose out. According to CJ’s Affiliate’s 2017 Holiday Intelligence Report, mobile sales in CJ’s global affiliate network jumped 21 percent last holiday season, giving mobile commerce a 30 percent share of total holiday sales.
The good news is that with just a few simple adjustments you can improve your holiday conversions. On landing pages, be sure the value proposition of any product you’re promoting is front and center. Highlight all the features and specifications, as well as the problem the product addresses (if applicable). And don’t forget to include multiple images. Including images on landing can improve conversions by 161%, according to Hubspot. You can also consider providing user reviews, which increases trust about the brand.
Promote Free Shipping
The cost of shipping can make or break your sale. According to a recent UPS Pulse survey, free shipping was deemed the second most important factor for shoppers when purchasing online. And a whopping 93 percent of shoppers take action for free shipping. So, if you’re promoting a product and the retailer is offering free shipping, let people know up front.
Finalize Gift Guides
Many holiday shoppers search terms such as Hottest Toys for Christmas, Gifts for Co-Workers, Most Popular Teen Gifts. Having gift guides in a variety of categories will put you front and center for those searching. It also allows you to promote a variety product together and gets potential buyers to stay on your site longer. Thus, increasing the chance of a purchase. So, no matter your niche, create as many gift guides as possible and promote them heavily on your homepage and through your social media channels. And be creative. You don’t have to just have the Best Gifts for Tween Girls. Think about offbeat and creative curated lists as well. For example, Gifts to Help Tweens Unplug or The Must-Have Cool Tween T-Shirts.
Don’t Forget the Procrastinators
There will always be last minute shoppers. Make sure to have some gift card options for those procrastinators. You could also include travel vouchers as well as memberships to food and wine clubs. If you work with online retailers with a brick-and-mortar component, you can also tout in-store pickups as way to entice last minute shoppers.
Starting immediately and crafting your campaigns to run over a longer period of time enables affiliates to improve their chance of overall holiday success.