Over the past decade, consumer holidays such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become some of the most anticipated ecommerce shopping events for affiliate marketing. Shopping event sales have grown over $200 Billion -- from about $500 Billion in 2009 to just under three-quarters of a trillion dollars in 2019. That’s 45% growth over the past ten years.
Most affiliate marketers know that in order to hit their targets over the holidays this year, they need to start their campaigns early and focus on optimizing their brands’ PC and mobile experiences. The question is, how do brands empower their affiliate marketing program to rise above the rest in a noisy and crowded environment where consumers —and partners — are inundated with offers on a daily basis?
Here are 6 affiliate holiday tips for brand marketers to crush their holiday numbers, and for partners to maximize the income from their affiliate sites:
1) DON’T FORGET WHAT YOU KNOW
When designing a holiday marketing program, always keep in mind what you know and why you’re an expert in your field. The season of giving can get extremely hectic for affiliate marketers, so it's important not to get so rushed to get something out the door that you forget the fundamentals of what works for your target. Use your accumulated experience when it comes to developing and fielding programs.
Keep your end customers in mind when creating marketing messaging. What tips and tricks from your success last year will move the needle for your partner's 2019 promotions? What commission rates provide partners with the most incentive to earn incremental income while also protecting your profitability? What makes your end customers click, convert, or buy?
2) STAY CUSTOMER FOCUSED: THINK QUICK & EASY DEALS
Your brand is all about your promise to your customers, not just a temporary sale-a-bration! When crafting offers, keep your brand story and values top of mind — do your deals communicate your core values?
Are these offers mind-numbingly simple to understand? When the answer is yes, it’s time to test and validate with your target audience. Test CTAs for feedback on which deal messages generate the highest CTR and conversion rate, then optimize accordingly. Both images and copy should be tested, so you can pinpoint which deals and messages are most likely to resonate among your affiliate sites and end customers.
3) EMPOWER PARTNERS WITH A RANGE OF CREATIVE ASSETS
Do the heavy lifting and provide a full range of creative options to your partners. This probably includes: text links, banner ads, video, email marketing — all of which should include optimized CTA’s. Make sure that partners have the ideal asset for whatever content they feature, whether that’s banner ads or text links with which they can monetize their blog.
Then help your partners choose the right assets for best results. For example, an email to your partners could read: “Here are the best performing deals for 2019 (with tested copy & images)," which can set you above the rest as a preferred brand to feature. This type of messaging optimization will make sure those selling for you have one cohesive voice. Drilling deeper, you can highlight different promotions for different affiliate sites — working directly with individual partners to align products and services with the most appropriate partner.
Also, consider video marketing and messages! In 2017, 68% of shoppers visited YouTube on their smartphones to determine what to buy. To take full advantage of this trend, brands can create video content, encourage their affiliate sites to conduct more product reviews, or inspire travel blogs to leverage brand videos in their articles. Having an integrated and highly visible video marketing strategy will help your partners maximize conversions among those who are still on the fence and looking for a positive review before making their final purchase decision.
4) SHARE MORE DATA WITH YOUR PARTNERS
The holidays are a great time to start sharing more actionable data with your affiliates, as your partners will be able to get maximum use from it. Sharing additional data parameters on what and how shoppers are buying will empower partners to do what they do best — drive traffic and sell your products.
Make sure you are measuring all of your mobile consumer journeys and conversions as well. Here at Partnerize, we have a range of tools and integrations for comprehensive mobile measurement. Mobile tracking not only increases the number of sales you credit to your campaigns and partners, but also generates actionable data for partners, so they can optimize mainstream and niche campaigns across web, mobile web, and app.
5) LEVERAGE YOUR BRAND'S SOCIAL CHANNELS
Leverage your brand’s social media channels to help amplify partner activity. Their motivation is to sell more, boost income from affiliate commissions, and to earn more money. You can help them by pointing more people to great content. Keep in mind, your partners are not your competitors; the more they succeed and sell, the better it is for your brand.
The more effort you put into your brand’s social media strategy, the more you empower your affiliates sell for you. Feature content from top partners and influencers across your social media campaigns during the months leading into the holiday season, and the weeks before Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Singles Day. Focus on the best partner messages and maybe one or two will hit the viral jackpot for maximum brand and partner visibility.
6) STAY CONNECTED
Marketing messages are everywhere. If the average consumer sees about 5,000 ads a day, imagine how many your affiliates are exposed to. Focus on communicating with your affiliates frequently during the build-up to the holidays, and be sure to add value during those partner conversations.
Make sure you provide valuable and actionable content. For example, if you see a “BOGO” deal is performing exceptionally well, share that information with the rest of your partners to maximize its impact and increase the potential for your partners to earn more income. This open line of communication with partners will make you and your partners a marketing force to be reckoned with against your competitors (even those working with the same partners!)
Remember, partnership is about partnership. The more your brand goes above and beyond to feature, equip, or amplify your top partners — the more incremental revenue and sales lift your affiliate programs will generate from your partners who are determined to be successful.