Black Friday and Cyber Monday Monday are only 4 weeks away…and the time to prepare for them is NOW! If you’re going to take advantage of these two huge days, max out your sales, and get your holiday season promos off to a great start, this is a must-listen episode. Today, whether you’re running your own affiliate program or your an affiliate, I’ll reveal the 10 strategies you MUST use to maximize your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
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How to Maximize Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Affiliate Sales
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are only four weeks away, and the time to prepare for them is right now. If you’re going to take advantage of these two huge days, max out your sales and get your holiday season promos off to a great start. This is a must listen episode.
Today, whether you’re running your own affiliate program or you’re an affiliate yourself, I will reveal the ten strategies you must use to maximize your Black Friday and Cyber or Monday sales.
What’s up and welcome back. This is it, guys. This is our annual holiday series. We have done this for like the last five years, I think five or six years. Every year in Q Four, we do a holiday series and this whole guide. We got more than 20 episodes, articles, videos, probably like 30 things by now.
There’s a link in the show notes to the Ultimate Guide to Holiday Affiliate Promotions. You will want to check that out. It’s what it says it is.
It is the Ultimate Guide to Holiday Affiliate promos. There’s so much information on there that will help you max out your sales. And that’s important because this is the time of year it can make or break your affiliate program for a lot of programs.
Now, the focus this year is mostly on the affiliate program side, so we’ll be covering some stuff that’s applicable to affiliates, though probably about a third of it, but we’re kind of coming at it mostly from the angle of the affiliate program side. So if you’re an affiliate though, keep listening because there’s a lot of good stuff in here and you kind of see things from that other perspective too, which will help you.
Today, it’s all about Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For some companies, these two days collectively they make up 183rd 182.5 of the year, but they can make up 150th of your sales, sometimes 130th. For some companies, these two days can be like a twelveTH. They can be the equivalent of a month of all sales for the entire year.
At Shutterfly. Roughly 5%. One 20th of all of our sales happened on these two days. At Adidas, it was between three and 4% in two days. And the other thing is, it sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season where 50 60% of all yearly sales occurred. It is huge. People are looking for deals. You might be, oh, my audience is different. They don’t look for deal.
Yes, they do. They are not special. Your audience is not special. Your audience is looking for deals. More than likely, your audience is looking for some sort of a deal. Sales are growing at a rate and this blew me away. This blew me away. Sales are growing at a rate for the past decade. So Black Friday sales, cyber Monday sales nearly 20% per year every year for the past decade.
That is unreal. Here’s another stat that’ll blow your mind. Affiliate conversion rates during Black Friday and Summer Monday, that four day stretch, increased 140% over the last few years. The growth rates are huge. The conversion rates are huge. Black Friday and Cyber Monday that’s not surprising that growth rates and conversion rates are 20% year over year. That’s ridiculous. You might be surprised that the conversion rates are going up by 140%.
But check this out. I’ll share another stat in a minute. We compared pre Black Friday and Cyber Monday conversion rates.
So October 1 to Thanksgiving Day to the actual Black Friday and Cyber Mondays, the growth in conversion rate was 140% higher. Average conversion rate, that is, across multiple niches, like 25, 30 different niches, product types, price points didn’t matter. The actual conversion rate was 140% higher.
Here’s the thing. The actual discount, October 1 through November 2 was 4. 4%. The average was 4. 4%. Most things sold for their full price.
The average from Black Friday through Cyber Monday is north of 10%. But here’s the crazy thing. The average order size actually increased.
Think about this. Picture this in your mind. There’s an inverse relationship between conversion rates and average order size.
As conversion rate goes up, average order rate goes down, or average order size goes down. You get a bunch of traffic, you get the discounts and all that, but the average order size goes down. As discounts go up, average order size goes down.
That is the typical thing. Like, look at it on a micro level, right? If you have $100 product and you normally sell it at full price, it’s no surprise that if you do a 50% discount, conversions go up significantly, but the average order size typically is cut in half.
But that’s not true with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. We’ve been conditioned that the average order size goes down as conversion rates go up, but not with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The deals are so good that if you convert somebody, it’s likely they’re going to add another deal to their cart before checking out.
And the trend is that people are spending more and more these days. So it’s really cool. You get increased conversions, you get increased traffic, increased conversions, increased order size, and loyal customers.
So how do we crush our Black Friday and Cyber Monday promos? I want to share ten strategies. Now, these are mostly coming from both perspectives.
So you affiliate managers, listen, these apply to your program. They apply to you affiliates as well. So number one is you got to start teasing it in advance.
As an affiliate, you need to tease these things in advance. As an affiliate of energy, you need to tell your affiliates and give them the tools to tease these in advance. Start revealing deals and offers in advance. Make it into an event.
Look at what the major retailers are doing. They’re already promoting them. They promote them weeks in advance. Model after them. Look at what those major retailers are doing and model after them.
Like, we’re going to start by the time this goes live. We will not tease ours quite this far in advance. This will go live about a month before Black Friday. We’re not going to tease them in advance. That’s it. But we will start teasing them.
By the way, we’re going to have so actually I’m going to do it now. I’m going to tease them. We’re going to have some crazy Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Oh, my goodness. Yeah. We’re going to build some buz and excitement.
So start mentioning them a few weeks out. Mention them in a newsletter. Post it on social.
Mention them in a blog post. You don’t need to send like, a dedicated email. We’re not going to send a dedicated email teasing our deals, but I will mention them here and there like I just did on the podcast here.
And as an affiliate manager, you need to come up with your offers right now. Press pause. Come up with your offers right now.
Start letting your affiliates know within 24 hours of listening to this. Go do it. Because they can’t tease these deals if they don’t even know what they are for another two weeks.
So seriously, press pause. I’ll be here, not going anywhere. I’ll wait and press pause. Just press pause. Go ahead. Maybe you’re driving.
Get to a stoplight, rewind. You’ll be at a stoplight probably within a minute, but press pause and then come up with your offers right now. If you’re driving, then I want you to spend the rest of your drive thinking of those offers.
Let’s get those offers dialed in today, tomorrow at the latest, and let your affiliates know within 48 hours. Affiliates, you need to start paying attention to those merchant deals and announcements. Now is the time to start paying closer attention to affiliate emails that you get from your affiliate programs.
I normally don’t recommend obsessing about the emails you get from affiliate programs. I’m an affiliate manager. I want you to obsess about them. But I don’t recommend it. But we’re getting into that crunch time. Start paying attention to them. When a deal is announced, write a post about it immediately.
So here’s the thing I’m going to talk about review post in a little bit. But if you hear about a deal for a company today, when this episode goes live and you write a post about it today or tomorrow, you will beat other affiliates to the punch.
You will rank high for those terms and you will make more sales. You get it. So be on the lookout for news and deals from those programs so you can beat other affiliates.
So your action steps if you’re an affiliate manager, like I said, press pause, come up with some deals, announce them within 48 hours. If you’re an affiliate, reach out to affiliate managers asking about any deals. Maybe they already sent an email, but you missed it.
And then set aside 30 minutes each day to create content based on any newly announced deals. And then third, just set some reminders to check your email for deal announcements daily.
As an affiliate manager, create a waitlist page. Give affiliates a link that goes to a waitlist page so they can start promoting early. You can collect leads. You can collect emails.
Hello. You can get people to your site for your Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals now. So, number one, tease in advance.
Number two, treat these holiday promos. Treat this Black Friday and Cyber Monday like a big launch. Go big.
You’ve got two days. Basically, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, maybe four if you do a thing over the weekend. A lot of times companies will go, Black Friday deal, then a weekend deal, then a Monday deal.
Either way, you’ve got this small window that can account for 5 10 percent of all of your sales for the year. As an affiliate, plan on sending 3 4 5 6 7 emails in that time frame. Plan on doing the warm up like we just talked about.
By the way, as an affiliate manager, you need to teach your affiliates how to warm up their audience. You’ve got to teach this. So I’ll put a link in the show notes for a PDF you can download, and they can download how to warm up their audience.
Okay? I’ve got seven ways in there that affiliates can get their audience ready for these promotions. It’s one of the most important things an affiliate can do to ensure a successful promo.
It’s free, by the way, so when you down load it, I’m giving you permission to copy and paste all of the tips and strategies to share with your affiliates. You can use them yourself. Share them with your affiliates.
I don’t care how you use them. You have permission to copy and paste them and share them with your affiliates. You just got to grab the Guide Mattmcwilliams.com/affiliatewarmup and I will put that link in the show notes. You want to make sure you grab that.
So we’re treating this like a launch prelaunch warm up. Multiple social media posts per day. At least one email, teasing it in an email a day. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Early morning emails, late night emails. Plan big, right?
Lots of social media posts, lots of everything. Focus on the deadlines too. Like, if you have a Black Friday sale and it’s 72 hours long, guess when most of the sales are going to come in the last 4 hours with you have a 17 day sale, guess when most of the sales are going to come in the last 4 hours.
If you have a twelve hour sale, guess when most of the sales are going to come in the last 2 hours. Nothing moves people like a deadline. So affiliate managers go big during this time.
There’s a lot of email traffic and affiliates are slammed. And that’s all the more reason to get ahead on things now. You cannot announce your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals too early Affiliate managers, you can’t announce them too early. They should have swipe copy and graphics and all that at least two, three weeks in advance. At least two weeks.
Speaking of those, number three, you’ve got to make sure you provide your affiliates with great creatives. They’ve got to have great swipe copy. And I’m going to link to a post in the show notes about how to create great swipe copy for your affiliates. Okay? This is super important. You need specific graphics, so these need to be themed.
We have found that if you have themed graphics, it increases conversions 14% to 18% on average. And we’ll talk about this more in a few episodes, but generally speaking, get them what they need right now and affiliates get what you need right now. Ask for it, right?
The key to any successful promotion is to have a plan. Not a perfect plan, just a plan. What are you going to mail about?
What days and times are you going to mail? Are you going to do a blog post? You’re going to record a podcast episode? Social media post? What graphics are you going to use? Ask for graphics.
Ask for other creatives that are holiday themed or Black Friday or Cyber Monday themed. Just for example, like when I think of Christmas, if you put some snowflakes or some red and green on there, it can increase conversions, like I said, 14% to 18%. So asking these questions before the promo, making a plan will have a dramatic impact on how well you do in these promotions.
So as an affiliate, get the assets you need now. Ask for them, get the dates, get the promos, get the swipe copy, the graphics, the links, the coupon codes, all that stuff. A lot of times during the holiday season, the start and end days and times will be very specific.
You might have a deal that’s valid. From 03:00 P. m to 08:00 P. m Pacific Time.
And then another one that’s all day, another one that’s two days. So you need to make sure as an affiliate manager, you are communicating those exact times. Goes without saying, but you don’t want to email your list about a deal that ended an hour before they got the email. It’s going to frustrate your audience. It’s going to cost you money.
So affiliate managers, give them what they need. Get them those creatives. As an affiliate, I want you to start thinking about some things, like, what do you want to promote, what are those timelines, what are those strategies you’re going to use?
All right, number four, I want you to review what worked in the past and what didn’t.
So as an affiliate manager, what’s worked in the past few years? What products spiked in sales? What graphics worked, what email copy worked, what got more clicks, what promotions worked?
Did 50% off a couple of products beat 30% off site wide or vice versa? Study the past as an affiliate, like, what promotions have worked for you in the past? What’s some content that worked?
Think about Christmas songs. Yeah, there’s like one new song every year, right? So over the last 40 years, there’s probably been one new song.
I think all I want for Christmas is you by Mariah Carey. I think of Bruce Springsteen’s version of Santa Claus is Coming Town. There’s like one new song.
Otherwise we sing the same songs over and over and over again. Or even then. Santa Claus is coming town.
That’s a song that’s been around for a while. Basically. It’s currently famous singers singing songs that have been around for 75 years, 50 years, whatever.
And occasionally there’s a new one. Yeah, Ben Rector with the Thanksgiving song from a few years ago. Like, occasionally there’s a new one, but it’s mostly reusing the same stuff.
It works every year. So if something worked in the past, study it and reuse it. You don’t have to work so hard. And that applies to both sides. This is a great strategy. It’s easy to implement.
You don’t have to create content from scratch. You get to repurpose content, which saves you a bunch of time. The other thing is simply updating the past content, especially if it’s a blog post.
You can take advantage of the search engine ranking that the contents already earn, but then you update it for 2023 or beyond. Right. And that allows you to take advantage of your current ranking, but also to update the post every year, which is beneficial.
So if you’ve got a Black Friday 2022, one for a particular product, change it to Black Friday 2023 right now, weeks in advance, change it to 2023 and update the post with some new information and bada boom, bada bing, you got yourself some good content. Also study what others are doing. I mentioned before, you’ve heard me quote Picasso so many times when he says “Good artists copy and great artists steal.”
So watch what others in your industry, in your niche are doing. Watch what and how they’re promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Take notes, and you can use them next year.
Number five affiliate managers. You got to get your affiliates to write product reviews right now. If I Google your main products that you’ve got coming up this holiday season, what am I going to find?
What if I Google those main products this holiday season? What am I going to find? Is it like a bunch of people saying great things about you, a bunch of complaints, or just nothing?
One of the easiest ways to get affiliates promoting you have this other benefit. Increases your brand visibility, too, is to have affiliates write product review posts. Just imagine if you had a Black Friday deal and you got shutterfly.
We would get thousands of posts all on Google, all saying great things about us. Product reviews are a great way to capture people’s attention during this busy season. People are usually they’re spending more money than normal.
They’re looking for gifts, so they’re much more likely to seek out product reviews. So take advantage of that. Now, here’s the problem as an affiliate manager, though-
Most of your loyal customers and affiliates don’t know how to actually write a review post that actually ranks all right, or that actually converts, that’s the thing. You want one that ranks high because if it’s on the third page of Google, nobody sees it. And if you want one that converts because if, oh, you’re ranked third, but nobody actually clicks through.
That’s why every year I personally update, we have a really popular guide. I mean, like, tens of thousands of people have downloaded. It called how to write a product review that ranks and converts And I update it every year with the latest in SEO, that’s search engine optimization, the latest SEO tips, and basically the best practices, right?
We recently updated for 2023. You can get a free copy to share with your affiliates. Again, I’ll put the link in the show notes, but it’s at Mattmcwilliams.com/affiliatereview. And again, I’m giving you permission to download the guide and give it to your affiliates so they can write their own review posts.
You can use it yourself, too, but I am giving you permission verbally right now so you could share with your affiliates. I’m never going to say a word. I’m not going to sue you or anything.
There’s some stuff like, you do not have permission to copy certain things on my website that’s stealing, but I’m giving you permission to steal it. You could copy and paste it and give it to your affiliates, but you have all my permission in the world, right? So Mattmcwilliams.com/affiliatereview. I’ve got a link in the show notes, but get your affiliates writing product reviews.
Speaking of reviews, number six, video reviews. Not sure if you knew this, but after Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. And obviously you know that Google Alphabet owns YouTube, and a lot of times videos show up in the rankings.
It’s a great place to post reviews. So one of the easiest ways to create a video review, a video sales letter for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, just take the elements that I shared about product reviews and create a script and record your video. So you just follow the fundamentals that I talked about, how to write a review post that ranks and converts.
You take the fundamentals in that guide, you create a video review, and they’re not going to rank as high, but you’ll snag a couple of sales. So as an affiliate, easy way to make some sales. They make it easier for the non readers who maybe are just kind of breezing along and they want to hear a review or they want to see a demo of it that works.
You just got to make sure optimize the video with a good title, include a good thumbnail, the Meta description, all that tags, keywords, all those things. Affiliate managers, get your affiliates to do these, and you can flood the search results. That’s key.
All right, number seven, affiliate managers, you need to over communicate the important dates. Your job is to tell your affiliates what those important dates are. They need to know them.
So you need to over communicate them. They need to know every single relevant date. They need to know, is there a flash sale going on?
Is it a two day sale, a weekend sale, some sort of special offer, a bundle, a discount? They need to know these things. As an affiliate, your job is to over ask.
Now, the key here is that your affiliates need to know the date ranges. So, for instance, when is your Black Friday sale? Is it Friday only?
Is it Friday through the weekend? Is your Cyber Monday sale one or two days? Does it expire at 06:00 p. m eastern midnight Pacific. Like, where does it apply?
You know, is it for the lower 48? Is it different for Alaska and Hawaii? Does it include Canada? I don’t know. 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, including stuff after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which we’ll talk about in a couple of episodes. So over communicate those important dates.
Number eight, offer special commissions, special bonuses. A lot of times, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are used to blow out inventory. So why not offer an enhanced commission on if you’re working for a company, ask if there’s something they want to blow out, because a lot of times, warehouse space is more costly than selling at a deep discount.
Something cost $100, but it’s costing $5 a month in the warehouse. Maybe the cost of goods was $160. And so normally, they don’t want to sell under $60 because they lose money.
But at the same time, if they keep it in the warehouse for four months, that cost another $20. Sometimes they’ll be like, hey, if you can get rid of these and sell them at 60 and offer an enhanced commission and we lose $20 per sale, that’s fine. Sometimes you can work with companies on stuff like that.
Aside of that, to get affiliates to promote this time of year when there are literally thousands of offers, you got to stand out with some sort of a special deal. So offer tiered commissions. If you sell 50 of something, get 10% more extra bonuses, do $10,000 in Black Friday Cyber Monday deals, and you get this bonus.
And one of the ways to do that is to make that bonus tied to, again, like, a two time thing. So Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So what happens is if they do $6,800 on Black Friday, now, if they only do 3200 on Cyber Monday, they get this big deal, and you get all these extra sales.
Sometimes it’s just offering a higher commission for a few days. In addition to deep discounts, you’re going to offer a higher commission. And, yeah, that might mean your company loses money. But again, if you’re moving stuff from the warehouse or getting affiliates active, it’s worth it.
All right, number nine, offer affiliates special deals. So in addition to the special commissions, give them some sort of special deals.
This allows them to stand out in a very crowded time. It could be on specific products where you’re going to give your affiliates or some affiliates or an affiliate a special deal on a specific product. Or it could be a specific category if you’ve got ten or 20 categories, like your shutterfly be like photo pillows, where you get, like, pillows with your grandchild’s face on it like pillows.
Affiliate traffic, special bundles where you take certain items and bundle them together. And that offer is only available through affiliates. You could offer site wide deals as well, maybe like, with exclusive coupons, spend X, get Y off right, all sorts of variety.
Affiliates only weekend. So if you’ve got public Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on Saturday and Sunday, run a special with just your affiliates, the only people who can promote it. We’re not going to put it on our site.
We’re not going to advertise it anywhere. Is through our affiliates and they get this special deal. Or you have a competition and you could do some stuff like the week before Black Friday, whoever the top ten affiliates the week before Black Friday get this affiliates only deal and that incentivizes those sales the week before Black Friday or most sales in the month of October, the top ten or 20 get this deal.
There’s all kinds of things you can do. Like I said, exclusive coupon codes, special landing pages. Think about for your top affiliates, it’s worth spending ten or 20 minutes to customize a landing page that can increase sales 5, 10, 15%, and that’s just in conversions. I’m not even talking about the fact they’re more likely to promote it because they have a special landing page.
Now, the last thing here, this is a warning. Plan on being available Thanksgiving Day.
Plan on working long hours leading up to and during these promos. You’re going to work the weekend, you’re going to work Thanksgiving Day. Yes, enjoy family time, but plan on working some.
Typically you’re not going to get a lot of stuff on Thanksgiving because your affiliates are enjoying you, too. That’s why it’s really important to make sure that you get ahead of this stuff. The week before is critical.
Obviously it’s critical a month before, but it’s really critical a week before. And then I treat Tuesday like it’s Thursday. So the promotion starts Friday, runs Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
Maybe I treat Tuesday like that day before. So the reason I do Tuesday instead of Wednesday is because Wednesday is the day before Thanksgiving. So a lot of times people are busy then.
But I still make sure on Thanksgiving when I’m running a Black Friday or Cyber Monday promo, and I’m not this year, so I’m going to enjoy the day. I’m not going to check my phone at all other than just texts from friends and family, but other than that, I’m not going to check it. But in the past when we ran Shutterfly or when I ran Adidas and other things, what I would do is I would check first thing in the morning and then I’d go about my deal and get ready.
And then this is back kind of early two thousand and ten s. And not everybody had reliable WiFi whose house we were at and stuff, but I would make sure that I had my computer and it could connect to my phone and get Internet off of that and things like that.
And I would make sure I just check in every 2 hours for 10 or 15 minutes, I would check back then, thankfully, we had it at our house. I think we moved to Fort Wayne the first couple of years. And so I would just go up to my office. It was upstairs at the time. I would just go up to my office and check. And it was easy.
No different than going to the bathroom basically, I respond to four or five emails and then I’d get back to enjoying the festivities for a couple of hours and then I would it back up and check.
Important thing here, if you’re an affiliate manager or this is your first rodeo with this, just communicate with your family. Let them know what to expect.
That’s important. So they’re like, why is my husband just going upstairs? Like, what is the deal? You didn’t say you had to work today. No. Communicate with them now.
Hey, just a heads up, on Thanksgiving Day, I’m going to have to do a little work. You can do it on your phone if you need to, but sometimes it’s just easier to have the computer if you’re trying to grab links and complicated stuff. I find.
And I would say in those busy years when Black Friday and Cyber Monday collectively were doing a million dollars in sales through the affiliate program for Shutterfly, I probably only worked 2 hours on Thanksgiving Day. It wasn’t a ton, maybe three on the high end. And then that weekend, usually I worked about 3 hours a day each day.
And so it’s not a ton, it’s just little questions here and there. But be prepared. Be prepared to put that time in.
So I’ve got links in the show, notes to everything I talked about, the ultimate guide to holiday affiliate promotions, how to warm up your audience before a promo, how to write a review post that ranks and converts, how to write swipe copy for your affiliates, all the stuff. So make sure you go check those out. If you got any questions or want to share your feedback on this episode, you can text me at 260-217-4619 last thing, make sure you hit subscribe as we have four amazing episodes coming up in this series.
How to get your affiliate program ready for the holidays, how to make this the best holiday season ever with your affiliate program, how to create those high converting affiliate graphics we talked about earlier for the holidays. And lastly, how to use the holidays to recruit more affiliates, how to grow your program long term from the holidays. So we got all those coming up, so make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.
I’ll see you then.
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