It’s the holiday season and that means that there is A LOT of noise and clutter in the affiliate world. Everyone is ramping up their promotions, their recruiting, and their communication. Although getting noticed is easier than it’s ever been, standing out is harder than ever. The challenge is to find a way to make sure your affiliate program rises to the top of this “pick me pick me” frenzy.
And it all starts – and ends – with giving your affiliates some VERY special attention.
At this time of year, your job as an affiliate manager or a business owner who manages affiliates boils down to this:
Do EVERYTHING you can to set your affiliates up for maximum success.
That will make everyone happy…except your competitors!
In this post, I’m going to spell out 7 things affiliates need to succeed in promoting you during the holidays…
Depending on your business, this extra attention during the holiday season could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, even if you don’t play at THAT level, bumping your affiliate sales up by an incremental boost of 20% – 30% is a pretty good ROI.
Let’s dive in…
7 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Holiday Promotions
The first thing that your affiliates need is a crystal clear understanding of what’s happening and when. It’s easy to get locked in on Black Friday and Christmas but it’s more than that.
You need to go deep…
1) Over-communicate the important dates.
Your affiliates need to know ALL those dates. They need to know every single relevant date. Sure Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Thanksgiving are the biggies.
But, maybe there’s a specific promotion you’re running from December 4th through seventh. Maybe you’re doing something different on December 10th. Is there a flash sale going on? A two-day sale? A weekend sale? Some sort of a special offer? A bundle? Special discount?
YOUR AFFILIATES NEED TO KNOW!
And they need to be aware of date ranges. For example, is your Black Friday on Friday only? Is it Friday through the weekend? What about Cyber Monday? Is your sale one day or two? Does it expire at 6:00 PM Eastern or midnight Pacific?
What about the last shipping day? Is it for the lower 48? Is it different for Alaska and Hawaii? Does it include Canada?
Affiliates need to know all this well in advance.
As a matter of fact, I’d encourage you to let them know NOW.
2) 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, help your affiliates understand which products are outperforming the others.
WHEN are those products hot? Are there certain ones that are hot on Black Friday or is Cyber Monday the better bet?
And don’t forget…you may have some products that will perform better later in the season…stuff that’s tied more to new year’s resolutions.
People won’t be buying them as gifts. They’ll be grabbing them for themselves so they can hit the ground running heading into January.
Are there products that are more popular EARLY in the shopping season? Not everyone leaves the buying ’til the last minute.
***NEWSFLASH*** Women shop earlier than men. Men typically START their Christmas shopping after December 15th. (that’s experience talking)
Bottom line: you’re the one who needs to give affiliates the heads-up as to when your products reach maximum appeal.
For instance, when women are buying for men or other women, the targeting is going to be different than if it’s men buying last-minute gifts.
Also, highlight which of your products make great last-minute gifts. Shipping times will need to be factored in so it’s important for you to let your affiliates know.
3) They need a winning plan.
Promotional plans are important year-round…
But during the holiday season…an absolute MUST!
And it’s YOUR job to put it together.
You want a DETAILED plan that includes ALL the important dates we discussed earlier.
We’ve used this template successfully to get our affiliates to promote A BUNCH MORE!
Here’s a tip…create the plan WITH them!
All you have to do is hop on a quick zoom call for 15 minutes and co-create a plan…
The back and forth might go something like this…
“So, we’ve got black Friday. This deal goes on Cyber Monday. There’s this last shipping day you need to know about.”
“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 start promoting that at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving.”
Boom. Boom. Boom.
“Oh, you’re promoting this other thing, then that’s okay…What if we do this?”
And then, you move things around where necessary.
You can create generic promo plans with an accompanying video of you walking them through it.
Let your average affiliates create their own plan,
The important thing to understand…your affiliates need to be directed by you.
They need to be told things like ‘you should tease this here’ and ‘make sure that you send an email between nine and 10 pm on Black Friday because that’s when people start getting home from being out shopping.’
Make sure the plan includes the times that they should actually promote.
4) Your affiliates need GREAT creativity.
They need eye-catching creatives that GRAB the attention of the audience. IMMEDIATELY! Like, in two seconds!
Creatives that instantly communicate what the heck is going on.
Here are a few tips on coming up with strong creatives…(I’m no expert but these are some tips I’ve picked up from our graphic designers)
- Use images of people…not cartoon-style graphics. They just perform and convert better.
- Keep your pictures simple with a focus on the use of the product or use an image of the product itself.
- Split test your creativity early on. Especially for your Black Friday creative. It’s kind of hard to split test it if you haven’t done it already but, you CAN split test creative right after Cyber Monday for a few days for the holidays and then use the higher-performing ones for your affiliates.
- Create a sense of urgency by tailoring your creatives to focus on things like deadlines and sales ending.
A few other tips…
Make sure that the text is legible on a mobile phone. That’s important. The pretenders often forget this!
Creating holiday-themed creatives is a way to get additional impact. Research shows up to a 14% increase in sales just by making graphics slightly holiday-themed using, snow images and red and green, blue, gold, etc.
Consistency from graphics to a landing page is VERY important for establishing trust.
Your job is to get impactful creatives into the hands of your affiliates.
Occasionally, an affiliate asks for a specific graphic. My advice? Do your best to create it. It’s usually not that difficult a request to fulfill and it goes a long way to cementing your relationship with the affiliate.
5) You need to focus on your existing affiliates.
The holiday season is NOT the time to go out and try to recruit a ton of affiliates. It’s tempting…but it doesn’t work.
In theory, it would SEEM like increasing the number of affiliates would translate into an increase in sales.
But here’s the problem…the holidays are a busy time of year for everyone. The key is high visibility.
Communicating with brand-new affiliates who aren’t used to getting your emails and who aren’t really familiar with you is likely to be a huge distraction. Think about it. They’ve got 17 other people emailing them.
It’s just not the time to add a significant number of affiliates.
However, there’s nothing wrong with identifying SOME new affiliates who might be able to help you reach some unique niches.
A great way to get those new affiliates is by using the strategies in my First 100 Guide:
If you are ready to take your business to the next level and start an affiliate program, start with my free report, Your First 100 Affiliates. This report takes nearly two decades of experience, trial and error, and lessons learned about finding top affiliates in nearly every conceivable niche and puts them all into one report. Grab your copy here!
But as a general rule, the holiday season is already busy enough without spending a bunch of time trying to recruit new affiliates.
Instead, be laser-focused on serving the affiliates you already have.
6) Study the competition
What are your competitors doing promotion-wise?
Not exactly sure?
Don’t be shy about signing up for their affiliate program to see what and how they’re communicating.
Maybe you can beat them by just being faster.
Affiliate marketing rewards timing.
I’ll tell you right now…if we’re two weeks from Black Friday and I have to choose between two programs, I’m picking the one that’s ready to go.
Say one offers a 40% commission. The other offers 30%. But it’s ready to go. I’ll take 10% less. I mean that’s a simple thing right there.
Look at your affiliate payout…assuming that your competitor is doing the right things and is offering a 40% commission, but you’re at 30%, that’s a problem.
Maybe you need to bump up to 40% right now. Sure, you cut into your margins a little bit but the trade-off is a probable increase in your sales.
You need to think and REACT on the fly.
What are your competitors doing promotion-wise in terms of competitions and incentives? What about their contests and incentive programs?
What kind of creatives are they providing? You may discover they’ve got 10 different Facebook-sized graphics and they’re all holiday-themed.
That tells you that you probably need to have at least five. You don’t need 10, but you can’t have two.
So always be looking at your competition…
What are they doing in terms of communication? How often are they reaching out to affiliates?
Almost 15 years ago, we had a competitor that ALWAYS sent their weekly affiliate communication out on Tuesday afternoon.
Because I had made it my business to know this, guess what I started doing?
I sent our promotion out WEDNESDAY morning which gave me a chance to react to what they were doing.
Then, I began to notice that we were actually more creative than them. So, I started mailing MONDAY. I just figured…let’s just beat them to market.
Years later, the guy who ran their program and I actually ended up working together. He confided to me just how frustrating that was for him.
If you notice a pattern, then you can capitalize on it. You can be first to market.
Those are the types of things you want to do when you study the competition.
7) One-on-one communication.
Personalized one-on-one communication with your affiliates isn’t easy…but it’s WELL worth the effort.
It will pay off many times over.
It allows you to cut through all the noise and clutter much more easily than mass communication.
Here’s your affiliate’s reaction to mass communication…
‘Oh wow, I’m one of a gazillion people getting this email.’ Zzzzzzzzzzzz Right?
But one-on-one communication via Facebook messenger, Instagram, DMs, Voxer, or text message?
TOTALLY different reception!
Finding ways to work as much one-on-one communication as possible is a great way to send a message that you care about the affiliate’s success.
Often, a quick, simple Facebook message will do it.
Now, if you have a thousand affiliates, you can’t do this with every single one of them.
But you CAN do it with the ones you feel confident are gonna move the needle.
Imagine being an affiliate and getting THIS kind of personal attention…
‘Hey dude, I just sent her an email with an update. It’s got your links for the upcoming promo and some swipe copy. Let me know if you need anything else.’
Think THAT might get you a few extra sales?
So there are 7 things you can do to stand out during the upcoming holiday season and get your affiliates overperforming…
- Over-communicate the important dates.
- Let affiliates know what’s hot.
- Give them a winning plan.
- Provide them with GREAT creatives.
- Focus on your existing affiliates.
- Study the competition.
- Deliver one-on-one communication.
Will implementing them force you to go the extra mile? Yup!
But the increased ROI will make it all worth it!
So there you have it, 7 ways to get the most out of your holiday promotions. Which is your favorite tip? Leave a comment below.
And if you’re ready to take your affiliate program to the next level, make sure to check out The Affiliate Code Unlocked.