It’s the holiday season and that means your affiliates need some special attention. It’s your job as the affiliate manager or business owner to give them what they need. There are 7 things they need for their holiday affiliate promotions and today I’ll share what they are.
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7 Things Your Affiliates Need During Holiday Promotions
So as we’ve talked about throughout this series on holiday affiliate promotions, it’s a crazy time. There’s a lot of clutter and a lot of noise, a lot of chaos, and your job as an affiliate manager or a business owner, whatever your role is in the company is to make it easy, to make it easy for your affiliates. And so today we’re going to talk about the seven things that they need to succeed with promoting you, and again, that’s your job. Your job is to help them succeed. You spend 30 minutes giving all of your affiliates, what they need could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can be worth $5,000 even. Well, if you make $10,000 an hour typically, then maybe that’s not worth it. Maybe 30 minutes of your time, isn’t worth $5,000. But for most of us, that’s a pretty good ROI.
So you gotta know that the things that you’re doing to make life easier for your affiliates is going to have a good ROI. So the first thing that your affiliates need is they need to know the important dates. Now we covered this in the first episode in this series, I mentioned all those dates. If you miss that, go back and listen to that episode. I talked about how it’s more than just black Friday. It’s more than just Christmas right now.
1) Over-communicate the important dates.
Affiliate managers, your job is to tell your affiliates to over-communicate the important dates. They need to know all those dates. They need to know every single relevant date, even those dates that we didn’t cover in the first episode in this series, maybe there’s a specific promotion you’re running from December 4th through seventh. There’s no significance to those dates.
They need to know. Maybe you’re doing something different on December 10th. They need to know, is there a flash sale going on a two-day sale, a weekend sale, some sort of a special offer, a bundle, a discount they need to know. And as an affiliate, it’s your job to ask.
Now, the key here that I didn’t necessarily make a hundred percent clear in the first episode is that your affiliates need to know the date ranges. So for instance, is your black Friday sale? Friday only. Is it Friday through the weekend? Is your cyber Monday sale one day or two days? Does it expire at 6:00 PM Eastern or midnight Pacific? Where does it apply?
Like the last shipping day? Is it for the lower 48? Is it different for Alaska and Hawaii? Does it include Canada? I don’t know. Like they need to know all this well in advance. They need to know these things now. As a matter of fact, they need to know as much of this as possible now.
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2) They need to know what’s hot.
They need to know what’s hot. What are the hot items this time of year? What should they be promoting? If you’ve got multiple products, what should they be promoting? What products are outperforming the norms? When are those products hot? Are there certain products that are hot or on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Then they’re going to be later in the year or later in the season. Maybe there’s some stuff that’s geared more towards new year’s resolutions.
People don’t buy them as gifts, but people buy them for themselves for the new year. Are there products that are more popular early in the shopping season because maybe it’s women buying for men? I mean, news flash, women shop earlier than men. Men, we do our Christmas shopping, like post-December 15th. So when are these products hot and if it’s women who are buying for men, for example, where women buy for women, the targeting is going to be a little bit different than if it’s men buying last-minute gifts. So what products are good for last-minute gifts. Shipping times will have something to do with that. So it’s important for your affiliates to know that and for you to tell them.
3) They need a winning plan.
Now they need this year-round, but they need promotional plans. So it’s your job to put it together. Going back to what we talked about with those dates, put together a plan, meet with those big affiliates, and actually co-create a plan.
So if you go to Mattmcwilliams.com/promoplan, and we’ll put that in the show notes, you can download the template for this. It’s a template that we’ve used to get our affiliates to promote a bunch more by creating a plan with them. You hop on a quick zoom call, 15 minutes is all it takes. And you co-create a plan where it’s like, we’ve got black Friday. This deal got this on cyber Monday. We got this, we got the last shipping thing. Okay. So you’re going to send a teaser email on Tuesday, and then we’re going to give you early access to our black Friday deals. So you can promote that starting at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving, boom, boom, boom, go down the line, create a plan with them. Oh, you’re promoting this other thing, then that’s okay.
That’s no big deal. What if we do this? And then you and you move things around, then you create generic promo plans and you record a video walking through it and let your average affiliates create their own plan, but they need a winning plan. They need to be told, not just the dates. Like when is black Friday, once, Friday after Thanksgiving same all year. And what time is your deal, but they need to be told things like you should tease this here and make sure that you send an email between nine and 10:00 PM on Black Friday, because that’s when people start getting home from being out shopping and boom, boom, boom. And you give them a plan for the times that they should actually promote.
4) Your affiliates need is great creatives.
They need great eye-catching creatives. These need to be creative to grab the attention of the audience. Like in two seconds, they should know what the heck is going on. So just a few tips on creatives and I’m not the creative’s expert, but these are some tips I’ve picked up from our graphic designers here are:
a) Use images of people, not cartoon-style graphics. They, they just, they perform better. They convert better.
b) Keep your pictures simple with a focus on the use of the product or the product itself.
c) Split test your creative early on. So especially for your black Friday creative, it’s kind of hard to split test it if you haven’t already, but you can split test creative, like right after cyber Monday for a few days for the holidays, and then use the higher-performing ones for your affiliates.
d) Create a sense of urgency, use creativity to focus on things like deadlines and sales ending.
Of course, make sure that the text is legible on mobile. That’s important. We’ve talked about this before, but creating holiday-themed creatives. In the last episode, I talked about ways to stand out as an affiliate. And one thing I said was make your own creatives. And if the affiliate program, if they’re providing red and green, the news, dark blue and gold or light blue and silver as an affiliate program, create different graphics, have some versions that are blue and gold have some that are green and gold have some that are light blue and silver things like that. Dark blue and gold mix things up a little bit and then keep those themes consistent with your landing pages. Consistency from graphics to a landing page is an important thing for establishing trust. That’s super important.
Again, make sure that there is a holiday theme to it. The research shows a 14% increase in sales just by making graphics, slightly holiday-themed, snow, red and green, blue, and gold, etc. Affiliate manager. Your job is to give these creatives to your affiliates and affiliates, like I said, in the last episode, if they don’t give them to you, then you need to ask for them, you need to create them yourself. If your affiliates asked for a specific graphic, do your best to create it. It’s usually not that hard to create a specific graphic.
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5) Your affiliates need, or they need incentives above and beyond commissions.
We set it at the very top of this series, 30 to 50% of your sales. And in the average niche, I’m not talking about holiday niches where it could be 90%, but 30, 50% of your sales could come in like a four-week span. So really go all out. Don’t get cheap and try to, well, what if we do a $2,000 contest? No, like this is a time where you may feel like maybe I might need to get a little risky. So what are some big contest ideas you could run?
Things that involve all affiliates. That’s important, not just your top affiliates, but things that are going to involve all affiliates. Let’s get everybody going. We have 500 affiliates and only 87 of them have been promoted so far this year. How do we get that number to 150, just in this one-month stretch?
So think of ways to do that. One of the best ways to do that is what I shared a couple of episodes ago, where I talked about those individual goals, where you say something like if they’re projected to do, based on your projections, they’re projected to do say 25,000 in sales for this quarter, you find a way to get them to 40, to get them to 50. If last year during this same stretch, they did $44,000 and they’re projected this year to do 25. Then you just challenge them to beat last year’s by a dollar and that’ll really get them to move.
What are some other ways that you can do individual goals for them to really incentivize them, or there may be individual goals for specific products is there a way where a specific product you could go really all out, maybe you have a higher margin with that product, or maybe it’s a product that you want to just clear out if you’ve got inventory, I know we did this many, many years ago, obviously is 11 years ago now. And we had a product that quite frankly, took up a lot of warehouse space and we were making room for something that was coming in, something that really sold well, but we had gotten a deal on it overseas, where it was about, I don’t know, 25% less than what we were paying.
So we saved like a million dollars on the cost of goods. And so what we did was we ordered like so much of this stuff that we needed to warehouse and we needed to clear this thing that wasn’t selling very well out. So we did just like some stupid thing where it’s like it was 50% off. And the commissions, I think we did 50% off with 50% commissions.
Typically we did, I think 30% commissions, we had a pretty high cost of goods. And so we basically broke even on selling these. It might even last $150 product selling it for 75 bucks offering a 37-50 commission. I mean, I think our cost of goods is like $31. You factor in credit card processing and all that we might have on the high end, we made like a dollar a sale on the worst thing we lost like three or $4, but it was worth it just to get it out of the warehouse. And we ended up moving like 10,000 units. I think we had like 12,000 units in stock. We moved like 10,000 of them in three weeks. So that might be something that you do. Get crazy with something. So just think of ways you can incentivize them above and beyond their commissions.
6) They need you to be available.
Again, one month, four weeks, 30, 50% of your sales. You’re going to do four times, six times more sales in this stretch than you’ll do any other month of the year. See, you need to be four to six times more available. I am not an advocate of working 70 hour weeks. I’m not anybody who knows me know, knows that I am all about like downtime. One of our, one of our core values in our, in our company is that we ruthlessly protect our downtime. And I tell people, you work for Mattmcwilliams consulting, Inc. You’re not going to work nights and weekends, except maybe in a very busy time. And we typically reserve that for three or four weeks out of the year.
Now, if this time of year is big for you and your business what does that mean? You probably need to start work a little bit earlier. You need to work a little bit later. You’re probably going to be working 50, 55 hours and you might normally work exactly 40. One way to manage that is again because people need quicker response times this time of year, maybe your affiliates are in a different time zone, or maybe they just work weird hours. What I’ve done when I back when I go back to my work with Shutterfly is I would work kind of an odd schedule.
I’d wake up early and knock out all the emails and do some creative stuff. I work from like 6: 30 to about 9 and then I only had one kid back then and she was really young. So she rolled out of bed at about 8: 30 or 9. I get I’d spend an hour and a half, two hours with them or with her and with my wife, we’d spent a little bit of time together. Then maybe I do like a workout take like two and a half hours there kind of in the morning about 11:30. I go check. I go check-in. I respond to some emails for half-hour.
You’ll get ready. I might have like two calls maybe another call. Maybe I’ll actually with the client three o’clock I’d shut down for a few hours. I check in again, right before dinner, like 5:30 and then I’d take a few hours off, and then I’d check in and maybe do anything that I needed to do for the next morning, that night, like 9:30, 10 o’clock at night. So I would only work like nine hours in the day, maybe upwards of 10, but I would work in these like two and a half hour pockets. So you were never going very long, getting a response from me if you needed it. I would work on weekends. I’d check in like Saturday morning.
Mid-afternoon on Saturday, late in the evening on Saturday I worked on Thanksgiving. because the day before Black Friday, I mean, I worked, I remember we, I remember specifically when you’re we went over to my mother-in-law’s and I went and set up a computer upstairs in one of her, her bedrooms set up the computer and I go up there about every, that way I’m not like down amongst everybody, like do my stuff. I go up every couple of hours and just check in and respond, to 4, 5, 6 emails. And then I’d go back down with the family. So your hours might need to be a little different. You need to be available. You need to be on all channels, you need to communicate how they want you to.
So if you’ve got affiliates who use Skype, you need to have Skype. Open. Voxer has got to have Voxer’s email. I don’t recommend checking email. I checked him on once a day, maybe twice a day, some days when it’s busy and I’ve got a big promo going on, I check it four to eight times a day.
So here’s the thing right now. You got a little bit of time, finish your focus work now. The things where you need to really focus on and your creative work and all those things do those now. So you’re not rushing to do those when you could be responding to people. This allows you.
I don’t want you to spend 12 months a year in reactive mode, but from like the Tuesday before Black Friday, through like December 21st, you gotta be in reactive mode, not purely reactive, you’re going to be proactive, but you’re going to be reacting. You’re gonna be responding within a couple of hours almost throughout the day, other than from like 11 o’clock to 6 o’clock or something like that. When you’re sleeping, that’s understandable.
I don’t recommend checking email first thing in the morning. But during those busy days, I checked email first thing in the morning, because that way, if an affiliate needed something, I could get back to them. I checked my social media, my direct messages and Voxer, and things like that first thing in the morning. So they need you to be available.
7) Stick to the plan as much as possible.
They need you to stick to the plan as much as possible. No surprises, no surprises. Don’t create the plan and give them a plan and then change it, it’s okay. Like if you call an audible once during the month, that’s fine. But not like every week, don’t start going off and doing this thing and that thing and adding this and pulling in that not everything’s done in advance. One of the best ways to do this is to put a moratorium on tech updates.
Like we, we had a rule like the Thursday before Thanksgiving was the last day to do any tech updates. Everything was created in tested that we could, we create it. And we would be able to test it on that Friday. And if anything needed to be fixed, it could be fixed on Monday. And then we were done like test things in advance, make sure the links work. If you’ve got different links for literally your free shipping day, December 14th, this year, that things should be tested before black Friday and put to bed. It’s done. So stick to the plan, create the plan, stick to the plan. Even if it’s like man, and who, if we changed this, you can get an extra 2% note. Because you’re not going to get the extra 2%. because you’re gonna tick off your affiliates for changing things.
So no surprises, the moratorium on tech updates, that’s huge. And just test things and do everything as much as you possibly can as far in advance as possible. If you’re listening to this and it’s like, but I’m listening to this two days before Black Friday, man, do the best you can. You can’t test, you can’t have everything ready right now. So next week after cyber, get through cyber Monday, then test everything else and do everything else. All right. And then make a plan for next year.
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So number one, like said over-communicate those important dates.
Number two, you need to let them know what’s hot.
Number three. You need to give them a winning plan to go download that promo plan sheet.
Number four, you need to give them great creatives. And I shared the whole kitten caboodle on that.
Number five, you need to give them incentives above and beyond their commissions.
Number six, you gotta be available. I know it’s a busy time, so you’re gonna be busy.
Number seven, you need to stick to the plan as much as possible.
There are three more things that you need to do:
1) You need to subscribe if you haven’t already. So you don’t miss a single episode in this series. We still got four more and you don’t want to miss any of those, especially don’t want to miss number eight. You’re going to hear from some great people with their tips.
2) Go check out the past additions of the ultimate guide to holiday affiliate promotions. We got some great stuff for your affiliates in there. I’ll put that link in the show notes.
3) You need to teach your affiliates how to warm up their audience right now. So go grab the warmup guide at Mattmcwilliams.com/warmup and come back for the next episode. I’ve got seven-holiday content ideas for affiliate marketers that you don’t want to miss. I’ll see you then.
Thank you so much for listening today. Remember to check out all of our deep dives into affiliate marketing at theaffiliateguy.TV. And if you have a question, ask it at asktheaffiliateguy.com who knows maybe you even be featured on an upcoming episode.
Lastly, if you haven’t yet make sure to leave a rating and review wherever you’re listening to this episode. See you soon.