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It’s the holiday season and that means studying what top affiliates are doing to dramatically increase their sales. What are the top affiliates doing this holiday season? Today, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends and share their top affiliate strategies for this time of year.

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Previous Episodes of The Affiliate Guy

Overcoming 5 Myths About Holiday Affiliate Promotions

7 Holiday Content Ideas for Affiliate Marketers

7 Things Your Affiliates Need During Holiday Promotions

How to Stand Out as an Affiliate During the Holiday Season

Holiday Affiliate Guide Pt. 1: There’s More than Just Black Friday & Christmas

3 Lessons from a Hater

What Top Affiliates are Doing This Holiday Season

This whole series has been building up to these final two episodes. This episode is all about what the top affiliates are doing this holiday season. And the next episode is all about what the top affiliate managers are doing this holiday season.

I invited some friends to help me with these episodes, some affiliate managers, and other legends in the industry. And in this episode, they’re going to share what the top affiliates are doing this time of year. What are they seeing? What are their affiliates doing?

What strategies are they employing? What are they seeing their top affiliates doing that maybe their top affiliates don’t even want them to know about? They’re not sure maybe their affiliates are sharing some of these things, but maybe they’re not sharing others. So I’ve got some clips from them. I’ve also got some clips from some past episodes sharing my top strategies. So I hope you enjoy it. Let’s dive right in with our first tip.

Hello, this is Jeannine Crooks. I’m the partner acquisition and development manager at Awin US, we own the Awin and ShareAsale affiliate network. I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. So I’ve seen quite a few Q4 best practices. I wanted to share my number one strategy for making the most of your holiday sales. And that is timing is everything just as 2020 was crazy, 2021 will be also, but for a variety of other reasons, this year we’re dealing with unusual timing and every aspect of the holiday season, there are delays in raw materials, delays in finished products, delays in shipping orders. As a result, consumers are shifting their buying schedules to accommodate as many unknowns as possible.

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So it’s vital for an affiliate to do so as well. According to e-marketer, it’s estimated that one-third of adults have already started their holiday buying and by Thanksgiving, two thirds will have done so as well, right now, nearly half say they won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, but the best news for our industry is that nearly three-quarters of consumers plan to use desktop retailer sites and we all know there’s no better way to get them there than affiliate links.

Advertisers have taken note of this accelerated schedule and have already started sharing their plans for holiday sales. Many are even starting their sales earlier in November, in hopes of claiming their share of the early buying activity. The smart publishers are paying attention to all those emails and preparing their sites for whenever each special goes live.

You can also prepare your audiences by promoting certain products in advance, like suggesting them as gifts. Yet another challenge is the weakness of the economy due to inflation purchasing power is down. So advertisers know they have to compete sooner rather than later for those holiday gift dollars. That’s just one more reason for holiday shopping promotions to start earlier, too. So even though 43% say they won’t show up on any of the three most popular shopping days, more than half still will. So it’s vital for your site to be ready for them. Check out all your links to make sure they’re working properly and still pointing to the right items. Pay attention to any alerts about items that may be out of stock or have delays consumers do understand delays, but they only hate it when they don’t know about them in advance.

So just to review, let’s make sure you’re ready for all these important dates. Black Friday on November 27th, Small Business Saturday on November 28th, Cyber Monday on November 30th, and Giving Tuesday on December 1st. Well, most people focus on Black Friday. In fact, Cyber Monday could be even bigger for you. Either way you can win on both days plus all the days in early December when shopping is highest, be prepared to alert your visitors about shipping deadlines and after those have passed, encouraged things like gift cards or subscription boxes as last-minute gift ideas.

E-marketer also forecasts the projected growth in 2021 sales and it’s a good one. E-commerce shopping climb 32.5% during 2020 and is expected to increase an additional 11.3% to nearly $207 billions in 2021. The average basket size has grown as well from $27 and 97 cents in January 2019 to a strong 34 83 in July of 2021. Strong categories will be apparel, beauty, and other things which consumers haven’t purchased much in the last 18 months. It’s even got a term revenge shopping. Now, this also includes electronics and so many people are still working from home and are prioritizing comfort and convenience over the cost at Awan and ShareAsale. We expect Q4 2021 to be spectacular. We hope it is for you as well. Both networks have additional tips and tricks on the awan.com and shareasale.com blogs wishing you a fantastic holiday season, I’m Jeannine Crooks.

Hi, this is Stephanie Robbins with Robin’s interactive. Robin’s interactive is a niche affiliate management company focused on health and wellness brands. And my number one tip for having a successful and profitable holiday season is to reach out to your affiliate manager. And remember that your affiliate manager is a great resource for you. You will be amazed at how many managers have the ability to increase commissions, offer exclusive deals, tips, and much more. Be sure to share your marketing plan with your manager as well for best results and reach out as early as possible. Since many times, we just have a limited amount of offers, giveaway opportunities, and bonus opportunities. Thanks and have a great Q4.

Hey, this is Rick Magennis from Bearcat Media, a full-service affiliate program management agency. I’m also the owner of the Rick Magennis show, a podcast that discusses all things, affiliate program management. Today I am going to share with you my number one tip for affiliates to make this the best quarter ever. So as an affiliate, your goal is to maximize your commissions, and especially in Q4, the number one thing I tell affiliates all the time is to ask the brands that they’re working with. If there are opportunities for bonuses, or if there are any tiered commission structures that are in place, some brands do not actively promote the tier structure, but I recommend the affiliates actively reach out to each brand. They’re working to see if that is possible.

Looking for some good affiliate programs to promote? Check out our recommended affiliate programs here!

Recommended affiliate programs

If they can earn more commission by generating more sales, that is going to not only increase the affiliate’s commission and earnings but also the brand is going to be happy as well. So don’t be shy about asking the brands for the performance tiers or bonus opportunities, because if they don’t have them in place, you may have triggered something for them to actually create them.

And they may actually give you more fruitful terms in terms of the incentives and bonus opportunities. So I always say never be shy, always ask for something because what’s the worst that can happen is they say no, but that is my tip for affiliates to make this their best quarter ever.

Hi, this is Kelly Ground, the head of the affiliate and brand strategy from the Premier Global Partner Marketing Agency, Acceleration Partners. I want to share my number one strategy to increase your commissions this holiday season. There were major updates in 2021 to other marketing channels, including the Apple iOS update in April, which impacted Facebook and Google. Because of these changes affiliate marketing is looking even better than ever before with a higher return on ad spend for many brands and continued growth. This is a great opportunity to pitch some placement opportunities via CPA increase and flat fee.

Brands are looking for ways to spend their budgets for Q4 and potentially shift budgets from less profitable channels. In addition, many brands are looking for flexibility with supply chain issues. This is a great opportunity to proactively reach out to the brands you’re working with and add them to last-minute placements or product roundups. They may not know a month before. If they’re going to have the inventory to be included in a paid placement, I recommend more than ever before being flexible and open with last-minute product roundups or email placements.

Brands may get a shipment they weren’t expecting and want to push it ASAP. This is a great opportunity to improve your partnership and be top of mind, as brands are looking at 2022 budgets and finally finding opportunities for brands to combat their competitors will continue to be a trend. Consumers are looking for the best deals and brands want to ensure they are top of mind, not their competitors. If you can show examples of how you can shift traffic from their competitors to them, they’re definitely going to be interested. Personalization and audience targeting is an ongoing conversation and something brands have a big appetite for now and in the future.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, please visit www.accelerationpartners.com. Thank you.

Hi, this is Lynsey Kmetz, managing director for Apogee Agency. We are a digital marketing agency based out of Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in affiliate program management, public relations, influencer marketing, and paid digital advertising. My number one tip for affiliates wanting to maximize sales during the holiday season is to promote the brands you love over and over again. This is honestly true all year long, but especially during the holidays. Repetition is key. Everyone is shopping this holiday season and they are either looking for the perfect gifts to give or they’re looking for products that will make this time of year. Just a little bit easier. Show how the affiliate products that you love can help solve either of those problems and then make it easy for your audience to check out and get that solution on its way fast.

On social media, show the products off and show how you use them in your daily life. If possible, share the features, the benefits, and why this particular product is the absolute best that there is. Be sure to include any discount or incentive that you know of that is happening along with your link or your unique coupon code. If you have one consider making an Instagram highlight of a gift guide, that includes all your favorite products that you can refer your audience to use over and over again, create quick reels or Tiktok, showing the benefits with your code to buy, send out an email to the mailing list of your favorite must-haves for the season. With all of these touchpoints and your audience, seeing your love for the product over and over again will help you increase your conversions and your affiliate income.

Blog posts, one of the great things about blog posts, especially with flash sales is a lot of times, if you can get that post written, you can do like a, if you can do a heads up post like a day before, two days before, then it’ll get ranked for that flash sale.

Let’s just say a medium-sized company is doing a, on December 20th, they’re doing an eight-hour flash sale, 50% off. And it’s called….. I’m trying to think of a funny name, a good name here. It’s called the Shutterfly Shipping Deadline Sale. That’s a terrible name, but let’s just say that’s, what’s called. And you get that post out two, three days beforehand. Google’s already ranking that when people are searching for that on the day of trying to figure out, okay, what’s that coupon code again? I saw something about this what’s that? What is the actual deal? What are the terms and conditions, blah, blah, blah. They’re going to find your posts. They’re gonna find your posts.

So don’t forget about blog posts either. Don’t forget about the fact that you can write a blog post about a topic and then have a call-out on there for various flash sales.

Here’s another tip, you’ve got a review for a product. And throughout the holiday season, they’re running various flash sales. Make sure you update that post, have a little call-out box, create an image that’s specific and go rotate it in and out. Based on the time, if there’s a flash sale coming up, here’s a way we talked about in a recent episode about growing your email list. Here’s the way to grow your email list.

If they have a flash sale coming up and you have a review, you might cannibalize a few of your sales today to delay them to tomorrow. Let’s say they have a festival coming up tomorrow, put a call out on there that says Shutterfly is doing a flash sale tomorrow, December 20th, from noon to 8:00 PM. Eastern click here to get to be the first notified when it goes live.

Now you add 30 people to your email list. It’s a great way to use a blog post. It’s an old blog post. You’re just updating it for the season. So don’t forget about these social media, sidebar ads, simple blog posts. You can 10, 20, 30, 40% more sales. So don’t forget about these. Don’t laugh at me like that guy did I mentioned at the beginning that there’s data on this, right? So here’s the data of these three in terms of effectiveness.

This is in terms of this is a spreadsheet algorithm that we created in terms of click-through rate and ultimately sales. So during the course of the year, and this includes the holiday, so this is the whole year. We couldn’t figure out the best way to get this without having to run too many reports. So you’ve got the whole year, the year as a whole. The effectiveness of social media is about 150th of that of email. It actually was was 118th, about three years ago. It was 132nd in 2017. And then from basically from July 1st, 2018 through June 30th, 2019, it’s getting up there about 150th. It’s like 147.

That means that if you get a click from social media, it’s the equivalent of getting, well, let me reverse it. If you get a click from email, it’s the equivalent of that. You have to get 47 clicks from social media to equate the sales.

From sidebar ads in 2016, this is getting year-round. It was 114th. So about the same, but not quite as bad. It went up to 122nd and then 124th over the past year. So about what does that 4% roughly? So you got to get 24 social media hits.

For a blog post. It was about the same as sidebar ads. Actually, no, it was a lot better than sidebars. So I’m looking at the data here. It was actually, so the velocity here, social media. Okay. I got it. Sorry. I was like, wait. So for I’m in the holiday section, all of a sudden, so for blog posts, it was one-ninth in 2016, in 2017, it was one-tenth. And then from July 1st, 2018, through June 30th, 2019, it was actually down to about one-eight, and a half. So we’ll just call it a little bit. It was hot one-ninth.

So it actually has improved a little bit, but if you take just the holidays, so this is from the Monday before Thanksgiving, during those stretches through what typically is the holiday shipping deadline, which we just decided to pick for randomness or for equalness. We just picked December 21st. That’s so many years, it’s the 19th, some years. This is the latest the 21st. So we just picked the 21st. Social media goes on average for those three goes down to one-eleventh. That’s a third better. We’re talking from one, an average of about one 40th over that three-year span to one-eleventh. It’s actually, almost four times better. So it only takes 11 clicks from social media to equal one click from email.

For sidebar ads, it’s down to one-ninth. So what did I say earlier as lost where I’m at one 20 something if you know it was hi, I’m sorry. I’m looking at trying to read my notes and none of them make any sense. Because it’s actually just so I’m reading my notes for these data. I’m reading them from a transcription. And so if I actually read this it’s hysterical, it says it’s like 1.27, but anyway, or one out of and it goes on it’s hysterical. And then it’s like an audible. It just says inaudible, which is so funny.

So one-ninth, which is pretty good, blog posts, it’s actually almost down to 1.1, 1.2. So blog posts are only a small fraction of a percent worse than email. And that actually it’s skewed because here’s the thing that SEO factor with email, you can only reach people on your email list, but with a blog post, you reach people, you bring in new people through SEO. Like we talked about people who are searching for that really changes the dynamics.

It really changes the dynamics because now instead of just emailing your entire list of people who might or might not be interested, you’re getting people who are searching for it and getting people who are searching for it. So then there’s scarcity there’s a built-in scarcity to people who are gift shopping. If you think about people who are doing this search on December 17th, they’re more likely to buy right now than they are to research it for six weeks. So you know that they’re not going to research it for six weeks because they’ll miss the boat entirely and if they’re looking on your posts December 14th, 17th, whatever, it’s so much more effective in terms of sales because they got to buy now, they have to buy now.

So this click-through rate compared to email goes up and typically, like I said, social media is so low, but it goes up during the holiday season. So if you look at the nonholidays versus the holidays, it’s a pretty dramatic difference. That’s why these strategies work so well this time of year.

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So I hope you got a lot out of those.

I hope you got as much as I did. If not more, I took some notes from these. First of all, I had to do a couple of reminders for myself. I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I didn’t share those this year, but also some great tips from Janine and from Rick and Stephanie and Kelly, just some really good tips there.

Now, if you want some more holiday affiliate tips, do three things. As we talked about this whole series:

Make sure you subscribe. So you don’t miss a single episode.

Our next episode is all about What The Top Affiliate Managers Are Doing This Holiday Season, they’re going to reveal their strategies. Make sure you check out the past additions of the ultimate guide to holiday affiliate promotions.

We got a link to that in the show notes, and it was never too late to start warming up your audience for the rest of this time or warm them up for January. That’s your big time. Let’s get them warmed up now to go grab that warmup guide at Mattmcwilliams.com/warmlist and make sure to come back for the next episode, the top affiliate managers are revealing their holiday strategies. 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.

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.

One thought on “What Top Affiliates are Doing This Holiday Season

  1. Mark Stewart says:

    I am doing class online and MattMCWilliams also

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