Affiliate managers all over the world are gearing up for the holiday season. For some affiliate programs, 40%, 50%, or even 60% of their sales could come in just a few weeks. It’s important that affiliate managers are prepared for what is about to come. Today, I share 7 things every affiliate manager needs to know about holiday affiliate promotions.

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

How to Crush Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Affiliate Promos

Affiliate Profile: How a First-time Affiliate Finished in 2nd Place with Tosha Schore

How to Use Affiliate Webinars to Grow Your Business

What The Top Affiliates Are Doing in 2022 According to Award-Winning Affiliate Manager Jamie Birch

The Massive Shift in Affiliate Marketing…and The Opportunity it’s Creating for YOU!

Why Teenagers Are So Successful At Affiliate Marketing…And What You Can Learn From Them

Holiday Affiliate Promotions: 7 Things Every Affiliate Manager Needs to Know

Affiliate managers all over the world are gearing up for the holiday season.

For some affiliate programs, 40%, 50%, or even 60% of their sales could come in just a few weeks.

It’s important that affiliate managers are prepared for what is about to come.

Today, I share seven things every affiliate manager needs to know about holiday affiliate promotions.

In the last episode, I talked about how to crush your Black Friday and Cyber Monday affiliate promos.

I talked about it from both perspectives, mostly from the affiliate’s angle, but also from the affiliate manager’s perspective.

So if you missed that, make sure you go back and listen. Well, it’s a great episode.

I shared 15, if I say so myself, I shared 15 tips and strategies for making the most of your Black Friday and your Cyber Monday promotions.

And we talked about how a quarter of all your sales could come for the entire year.

It could come in those two days and for many people, 50% and 60% of their sales are going to come in a three, four weeks stretch around the holiday season.

So it’s important to get things right. We put together a few years ago our ultimate guide to holiday affiliate promotions.

I’m going to link to that in the show notes if you want to go check that out.

It’s mostly from an affiliate perspective, but as an affiliate manager, you need to go check that out.

There are also seven things you need to know about holiday affiliate promos that I want to share with you today.

For you, those of you out there that are affiliate managers or you’re running an affiliate program on your own, you need to know these seven things.

Because if you don’t, you could be in for a rude surprise, a rude awakening.

So we’re just going to jump right in with these here.

Number one, it’s hard work.

Holiday affiliate promos are hard work. Long hours, can be exhausting. You got to be available on weekends.

Like, I’ll talk more about this next week. You’ve got to manage your energy.

It really is like a big product launch, but it’s even longer.

You got the say the two weeks prior to Black Friday where you really start to ramp up.

And then you’ve got from Black Friday through I haven’t looked for this year, but roughly December 20, December 19, 21st, that last day for shipping, where it’s guaranteed shipping by Christmas Eve.

It’s hard, it’s stressful, and it’s six, seven weeks long.

And I remember like, when I went through this the first time where the holidays mattered, it was 2010.

So I say the holidays matter because, in the previous five years that I’ve been running affiliate programs, they didn’t matter, I was in the industry.

January was actually our biggest time and honestly, though, it wasn’t that much busier than any other month.

And then I got into a program, actually, it was 2009 that I was running where we were busy from basically two weeks before Black Friday, getting ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, all the way through the holiday season.

And then we’re in guitar instruction we had January, which was busy because January was New Year’s resolution.

So it was like 10 11 weeks long. Just absolutely exhausting.

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And again, you got to manage your energy. We’ll talk about that next week.

But especially in light of everything else that I want to share in this episode, there’s a lot to do.

And one of the things that you need to know is that one on one communication becomes more important.

So one on one communication, it’s not easy. It’s worth it, it’s absolutely worth it.

But it is hard and it just adds to the busyness, but it cuts through the clutter so much more than mass communication.

So this is one of those things that just adds to the difficulty, adds to the amount of work that you have to do.

Like instead of being one of 100,000 people getting an email, or 5000 people, 200 people, one on one communication, using things like Messenger, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, DMs, Voxer, and text messages, these are things that are typically one on one, right?

And finding ways to work as much one-on-one communication as possible is a great way to break through the clutter.

Sometimes it’s as simple as just a quick Facebook message. You don’t have to do this. You can’t do this.

If you have 1000 affiliates, you can’t send every single one of them a Facebook message, but you do it with the ones that are going to move the needle.

So you send out an email and you just say, “hey dude, I sent you an email.

It’s got your links for the upcoming promos and swipe copy.

Let me know if you need anything else.” it be a copy-paste thing.

The cool thing is I call everybody dude so nobody is offended when I just say hey dude.

I’ll say ‘Hey Jim’, Now if it’s female, I’ll address them by their name because it’s weird for most females, I don’t call them dude, but the idea is to send them a quick message.

It only takes 15 seconds, but if I do 15 seconds times 100, well that’s 1500 seconds, whatever the math is on that half an hour.

A lot of times I don’t have half an hour. It takes a lot of time and energy to do this, but it’s worth it.

Again, these are things to be aware of. Like your hours are going to be longer.

We’ll talk about this more in the next episode.

Just one quick tip on this, divide up your day as much as possible.

When I was doing the big holiday affiliate promotions, I typically would get up at like seven.

I’d work for about an hour, an hour, and a half, kind of knock out some stuff like final emails.

Then I do like, my morning exercise and get ready. And then I work for like two, 3 hours.

The same thing I do for product launches now, work for a couple of hours.

Then I’d take like an hour off, spend some time with family lunch, whatever.

Then I work for two or 3 hours. And I would divide my work up into like four, roughly maybe an hour and a half to 2 hours in the morning.

That first one in the morning, but then the other three would probably be about 3 hours long.

So I would work like 11 hours, but it would be in like four or five segments.

And that’s one of the ways that I was able to do that.

So just know that it’s going to be hard. It’s a lot of hard work.

The second thing you need to know is that you’ve got to focus on your existing affiliates.

The holidays are not the time to go out and try to recruit a ton of affiliates.

It’s tempting to do that. It’s tempting to be like, I’m going to go round up tons of new affiliates in the lead-up to Christmas.

But it doesn’t work. Visibility is key during this time.

And in theory, if you have an increase in the number of affiliates, it will translate into an increase in sales.

That’s in theory, but this is the problem. The holidays are a busy time for everyone.

So communicating with brand new affiliates who aren’t used to getting your emails, they’re not super familiar with you.

They also, by the way, have 17 other people emailing them. It can be really difficult this time of year.

So I do recommend that you try to identify some new affiliates in the months leading up to it.

But once you hit this time of year, don’t spend a lot of time and energy trying to get new affiliates. Don’t spend a lot of time on that.

Most of the year, you might spend 40 or 50% of your time recruiting new affiliates, but in the holidays, it probably is under 10%, maybe even 0%.

Focus on your current existing affiliates, all right?

That allows you to focus on really standing out in the clutter, capturing the attention of the affiliates you already have, versus trying to go out and get new ones.

The third thing that you need to know is that your affiliates need incentives above and beyond commissions, all right?

We talked about this in the first episode.

30% to 60% of your sales can come from holiday affiliate promotions.

So here’s the deal.

Like, we’re talking in a four-week span, so go all out.

I ended the last episode talking about how affiliates need to go all out.

As an affiliate manager, don’t get cheap. Don’t get cheap. Go all out yourself.

This is the time when you can get a little risky.

Like what are some big contest ideas you could run?

Could you go run a $2,000 contest when a $2,000 contest seems a little scary?

Wow..! If we did $2,000, what if we don’t make that back?

This is the time of year to try it.

Do contests that involve all affiliates. That’s important.

Not just your top affiliates, but things that are going to involve all the affiliates. Let’s get everybody’s body going.

If you got 500 affiliates and only 87 of them have been promoted so far this year, how do we get that number to 125, 155, or 175 just in this one-month stretch?

How do we go from 80 affiliates that are promoting to 160 in like a five-week period?

Think of ways to do that. One of the best ways to do that. I shared this about ten episodes ago or so.

I talked about individual affiliates or individual affiliate goals, right?

Where you say something like, okay, you look at the stats, and if you look at last year’s numbers, let’s say July 1 through November 15, I’m going to make some round numbers here.

This affiliate sent $10,000 in sales, and from November 15 through the end of the year, they sent another $10,000. 50 50 right?

So they’re projected to finish at $20,000. This year, they’re at $7,100.

So they’re projected to finish at $14,000 $7,000.00 They’re projected to finish at $14,000.

If I offer them a $2,000 bonus to beat last year, they beat 20,000. All right, then that $2,000 is worth it.

Assuming the math works out, your cost of goods and stuff like that, maybe it’s 1500, whatever.

Because here’s the deal.

First of all, I’m asking them to beat last year’s, but they’re projected at 14 So I’m really paying $2,000 for that $6,000.

So that’s number one.

Number two is the odds of them landing exactly on $20,001 is pretty slim.

One of two things that’s likely to happen.

They’re going to either bust through it and hit 23, 24, 25,000.

So you really paid $2,000 for an extra 9 10, $11,000, maybe twelve or 13, or they fall just short.

They get to $19,000. You now got $5,000.

Remember, they’re projected to finish at $14,000. You got $5,000 for free on just their commissions.

So look at those individual goals.

Maybe there’s an individual goal with a specific product where you say they’re doing all right overall, but this particular product is a little low and maybe you need to close out the inventory. I don’t know.

So you say, hey, if you sell 1000 of these, we are going to give you a $10,000 bonus. I don’t know.

Something like that, right?

Could you do an increase in commissions if they do a certain thing?

There’s all types of things like get crazy with it. Think of something that you could do.

Think of some ways you can incentivize them above and beyond their commissions because they need that.

You’ve got to stand out.

The number four thing you need to know is that your affiliates need a winning plan now.

They need this year-round, they need promotional plans, right?

We’ve talked about this so often. If you want to get a template you can use, go to Mattmcwilliams.com/promoplan.

You can download the template for free, but it’s your job to put it together. It’s your job.

We talked about this in the last episode.

You got to get them the dates and the plan, and you can meet with those big affiliates, right?

Cocreate the plan again, just go to Mattmcwilliams.com/promoplan.

We’ll put that in the show notes. You can download the template for this.

It’s a template we’ve used to get our affiliates to promote a bunch more by creating a plan with them.

So you hop on a quick zoom call, 15 minutes, whatever.

You co-create a plan like, hey, we got Black Friday.

We got it on Cyber Monday. This is the last shopping day.

So here, you want to send a teaser email on Monday.

Then we’re going to give you early access to our Black Friday deals.

You can start promoting that at 06:00 P.m on Thanksgiving. Boom, boom, boom, right?

Now, go down the line, and create a plan with them. Super easy, right?

You move things around like you want to create generic plans, and then you record a video where you walk through it.

Let your average smaller affiliates create their own plan. But they need a winning plan.

They need to be told not just the date, like, here’s Black Friday.

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Black Friday is always the Friday after Thanksgiving, but what time is your deal?

They need to be told things like, you should tease this here. Make sure you send an email between nine and 10:00 P.m.

Here make sure you do this, this, and this. Share this on social media.

Give them a plan for the times that they should actually promote.

Write out a winning plan for them. They need to have that. All right?

Number five, you need to know what’s working for your business and also what’s not.

You need to know what’s hot because affiliates need to know what’s hot.

So if they need to know what’s hot, you need to know what’s hot so you can tell them.

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 on Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Maybe there are certain products that sell better in December than they do in November.

Maybe there’s some stuff that’s geared more toward New Year’s resolutions.

People don’t buy them as gifts. People buy them for themselves for the New Year.

That’s important to know because they’re buying them for themselves.

So the messaging is different.

Are there products that are more popular early in the shopping season?

Because maybe that’s when women are buying for men.

I mean, newsflash, right?

Women shop earlier than men.

I do all my Christmas shopping on December 15 to December 17, my wife probably already bought my Christmas gifts.

It’s crazy, right?

So when are these products hot?

If it’s women who are buying for men, those products are probably going to sell in late November, or early December, versus men buying the last-minute gift-type stuff, right?

So what are the products that are good for last-minute gifts for husbands buying for their wives, boyfriends buying for their girlfriends, whatever? Think about that.

Shipping times have something to do with that.

So your affiliates need to know what’s working, what’s hot, and what are those things?

Like the shipping times?

Like if the shipping time on product A is seven days, but on product B, it’s only five, that changes when those products need to be sold, if that’s a thing. Right?

If you’ve got shipping deadlines and things like that.

It’s important for your affiliates to know that. It’s important for you to tell them to know what’s hot when it’s hot.

The 6th thing you got to know is there’s a lot of clutter.

I talked about this a little bit in the last episode.

From the affiliate manager’s perspective, you got to overcommunicate like this is going to be the theme throughout the series.

Over-communicate, affiliates over-communicate to your audience.

Affiliate managers, over-communicate to your affiliates.

Remember, you are not the only affiliate program that they’re in.

So over-communicate the dates, over-communicate the promo details, over-communicate what they should be doing, over-communicate their links and where to get resources like swipe copy and graphics and promotional strategy, and things like that.

Just over-communicate with them. Look for any ETM.

We call the excuses to mail any ETM that you possibly can if you have a Facebook group, any excuse to post, excuses, excuses to mail, excuses to text, excuses to.

Anything you could think of, like an upcoming holiday, an update, or an opportunity to post a video sharing something you saw in the stats.

Like there’s oh, my gosh. This sales of this there’s something on the news that says holiday shopping is going to be up 20% this year. Go share that, right?

Just find opportunities to get in front of them and stand out.

Anything that you can possibly find, over-communicate as much as possible.

That’s how you stand out. If you send five emails, you’re more likely to stand out than somebody who sent one.

Send one email with a specific thing. This is the biggest pet peeve I have with affiliate managers that have been in the game for a long time.

They got into this thing where it’s like we send in a monthly newsletter.

A monthly newsletter? If I missed that, but I don’t hear from you for another month, also, you’re going to send a monthly newsletter that’s got twelve things in it.

Twelve things? I don’t read twelve things. I read one, maybe two.

So instead of sending an email with ten things to do, send five emails with two or better yet, send ten with one.

Most emails you send should have one call to action.

Here’s the promo, and here’s your link.

Here’s the swipe copy.

Do this one thing.

Promote this one thing.

Well, here’s an article about this.

And also we’ve got these seven things and these nine other things.

And here’s all your site copy for the next month.

If I miss that, you’re done.

I’m done most things.

Should have one thing in them.

One tip, one call to action.

All right, so over-communicate big time.

There’s so much clutter.

And then the 7th thing that you need to know is the holidays are a great time to activate affiliates.

Here’s the deal.

You got to look for inactive affiliates.

Look for affiliates who haven’t made any sales in the past month or two. Reach out to them.

I’m going to put a link in the show notes.

You can go get my best activation email templates. If you go to MattMcwilliams.com/Activate, we’ll put that link in the show notes as well.

Grab that, walk you through exactly how to activate the affiliates. Tons of templates.

These took me more than a decade to figure out. But here’s what you want to do, right?

You want to look for those affiliates who are down a little bit year after year.

I talked about this earlier, right?

They’re trending towards 14,000 when last year they were trending towards 20,000. They made 20,000.

So we reach out to them. That’s group one.

We want to not really activate them, but get them a little bit more engaged.

But also, like, who are the affiliates who last holiday season did a thousand or more in sales?

And this year they’re just inactive completely.

So look for those inactive affiliates.

See what they’re doing, what do they need?

I’ll reach out to these people. As I said, I’ll give you the templates.

I talked about this earlier, that one-on-one communication.

We want to reach out to those people, look for those affiliates that are down, that they’re completely inactive and will offer them some sort of outrageous bonus.

And then this is the key here, what I do when I offer that bonus.

So if I say, ‘hey, last year you did $1,000 over the holidays, and this year looks like you’re struggling a little bit, how can I help you?’

If you want to be in on this bonus opportunity, hit reply and let me know.

And I tag them and I communicate with them more frequently and separately.

I’ll actually follow their stats every day, see how they’re doing, and I will communicate with them, right?

I’ll get on calls with them, I’ll strategize with them, I work with them one on one to develop a plan to win as we talked about earlier during the holiday season.

And so I communicate with them more in-depth. There are two things that does.

Number one, they get that communication.

Number two, if they want to claim the bonus, they have to let me know.

They can’t just accidentally hit this threshold.

Oh, look, I made wait, didn’t he say if I hit 20,000, I’d get this $2,000?

Oh, that’s right.

No, they have to commit to it on the front, and they have to say, yep, I’m in for that bonus. Hook me up.

If I make it, I’m going to get this bonus.

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So it removes a few of those people who just accidentally hit the bonus level, right?

So find a way to get your affiliates active, and this is the perfect time of year to do it for so many of them.

So use the fact that this is a big season with a lot of money on the line to get some of those inactive affiliates activated.

So go grab those templates MattMcWilliams.com/Activate we’ll put that link in the show notes as well.

Make sure also, that you check out that Ultimate Guide to Holiday affiliate promotions.

Got that link in the show notes as well.

It’s a long one, so I’m not even going to say that one.

And if you got questions about this or anything else regarding holiday affiliate promotions or affiliate management, affiliate marketing, or whatever, you can text me anytime at 260-217-4619.

Feel free to text me any time for that.

And make sure you hit subscribe because the next episode is another one you don’t want to miss.

I got ten things that affiliate managers must do during the holiday season during these holiday affiliate promotions.

For affiliate managers, and business owners running their own affiliate programs, this means you have to pick and choose what to focus on.

There’s an endless list of things you could be doing during the holiday season, but what are the musts so in the next episode, I’m going to share ten things every affiliate manager must do this holiday season.

Make sure you hit subscribe so that you don’t miss that episode.

I’ll see you then.


Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.

Or…check out some of my free reports to help you get on the right track:

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Affiliate email template for affiliate managers

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