The Black Friday/Cyber Monday boom is just around the corner once again. During this small window of time, billions of dollars are spent in the United States alone as shoppers snap up products of all types for holiday gifts, or just to get in on great deals.
Analyzing 2021 Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BCFM) performance shows that American shoppers dropped a whopping $33.9 billion between Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, with an average of $301.27 per purchase.
Thus, planning out your approach to generating sales for this incredibly lucrative five-day period is critical for merchants to ensure profitability for the year.
Moreover, with how significantly the ecommerce landscape has shifted in the past several years, with digital sales growing by leaps and bounds, it is more vital than ever for ecommerce brands to prepare for a tsunami of clicks on conversions during the BCFM period, otherwise known as cyber week.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Commerce Retail Indicator Division released its Quarterly Retail Ecommerce Sales Fourth Quarter 2021 report, showing exactly how much online sales have grown in recent years. As Forbes reports on ecommerce sales growth:
“E-Commerce sales were $870 billion in the US in 2021, a 14.2% increase over 2020 and a 50.5% increase over 2019. E-Commerce represented 13.2% of all retail sales in 2021 in the US.”
If your brand wants to maximize your affiliate marketing for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to hoover up as many dollars as possible, here is what you need to know.
Why Now is the Time to Prepare for Cyber Week
If you are going to dominate your competitors during the BCFM period and have your deals stand out among a sea of potential savings, getting your marketing materials prepared early is essential.
For merchants, the impact of cyber week extends well beyond those five days, which means that waiting until the last minute to get prepared will result in a ripple effect that could negatively impact the company until the following year.
Thus, now is the time for ecommerce brand leaders to begin formulating strategies, figuring out how to implement them, and begin developing creative assets to utilize. In specific, there are two overarching things that must be done right now:
- Creating a marketing strategy for the event itself
- Hyping up consumers for upcoming deals using influencer and affiliate marketing
With fears of a recession looming over the country, it is imperative that you have your cyber week strategy set in place and ready to punch through to consumers before your competition.
Here’s what you need to complete to achieve that aim.
Six Ways to Get Your Brand Ready for BCFM
While there are only two things you need to do to prepare, those tasks contain a variety of smaller sub-tasks, which include:
1. Get Your Strategy in Place
The first thing you will want to do is to evaluate your marketing efforts and performance from the previous year, taking note of important elements, such as:
- Most successful channels
- Least successful channels
- Top performing affiliates
- Marketing materials used
- Most effective landing pages
- Best selling items
At the same time, you will also want to analyze the previous year’s strategies and performance of your competitors and take inspiration from elements that worked well.
All of this knowledge will help you to establish which tactics can be recycled, built upon, or adopted for the upcoming event.
Finally, when crafting your overall strategy, ensure that your affiliates are an integral component for hyping up sales and consumers in the lead up to the big event.
2. Create a Holiday Calendar
Since you are getting ready for cyber week, it is only prudent to map out a complete holiday sales calendar, since you will be creating assets for affiliates to use for all of these dates anyway.
Necessary dates to list include:
- Black Friday
- Small Business Saturday
- Cyber Monday
- National Free Shipping Day
- Christmas Day
- New Year’s Eve
For each of these dates you will want to create a checklist to ensure that you have the necessary assets, many of which are listed below.
3. Optimize Landing and Product Pages
The landing pages you utilize for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other holiday sales events must reflect that specific event and the deal you are offering.
Moreover, you will want to abide by landing page optimization best practices to make them as engaging and alluring as possible. Additionally, you may even want to consider creating dedicated landing pages for top-performing affiliates to give shoppers a more personalized feel and to deepen relationships with your best influencers and affiliates.
At the same time, you will want to analyze your product pages to ensure that they are as effective at generating sales as possible. This means that you will want to review page structure, images, descriptions, CTAs, possible sticking points, and more to maximize conversion rates.
4. Ramp Up Affiliate Program Incentives
It is important to remember that, given how important this time of year is for all ecommerce brands, affiliates are likely to have a panoply of choices in who to promote.
Moreover, your affiliates have a limited amount of time and energy to work with, so they are probably going to be picky about the ecommerce brands they work with during cyber week. After all, given that merchants make approximately 20 percent of their retail sales for the year during this period, affiliates probably make a comparable percentage of their income here as well. Thus, they are going to pick the brands that will benefit them most.
Thus, getting to them early and incentivizing them to promote your products over the competition’s is critical. To achieve that you will want to entice them with things like personalized landing pages, upped commission rates, exclusive promo codes, bonuses, affiliate contests, and similar incentives.
Therefore, when you reach out to affiliates, make sure you do so early and clearly lay out your campaign’s asks, personalized offers, holiday commission structures, bonus time frames, dispute handling procedures, payout timelines, and other pertinent details that will interest them and persuade them to get your products and promotions in front of their audiences.
5. Reach Out to Affiliates Early
Affiliates are going to be the engine for much of your holiday campaign efforts. Publishers, influencers, and affiliates are what will expand your brand’s reach, awareness of its sales, and drive relevant consumers to become new customers.
Therefore, you will want to get your promotions to these folks as soon as possible so that your affiliates have the time necessary to create the right content to resonate with audiences and a dissemination strategy for those pieces.
Additionally, be sure to maintain communication with affiliates throughout the entirety of the season, including the lead-up to major sale days. If you aren’t responsive, they may potentially opt to promote another ecommerce brand for BFCM.
6. Update Affiliate Creatives
Affiliates depend on brands to provide them with essential creative assets like images, banners, videos, and the like to utilize in their content and on their website.
While you may not always be incredibly attentive to updating and modifying visual assets throughout the year, it is vital to do so during the holiday sales season. This is part of the reason that you will want to create a holiday calendar as you must generate creatives for each of these events for which you plan to run promotions.
Affiliate creatives that you need to develop include:
- Promotional images for each of the sales days
- Visuals for landing page images on the merchant’s site
Additionally, you will need to develop documents for your affiliates, detailing essential information they will need for their content, including:
- Promotion details
- Last day for shipping for holiday arrival
- Affiliate promotion codes
- Info on new products
- Product features for each item being promoted
- Contest details (if applicable)
Getting Your Affiliate Marketing Strategy Ready for BFCM
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday shopping season, in general, is a critical time for all ecommerce brands. As a result, competition is higher during this period than at any other point during the year.
To ensure that your deals, promotions, and products are the ones that consumers are looking forward to, start planning your BFCM strategy now by tackling the aforementioned tasks. If your brand wants to take its affiliate marketing to new heights this holiday season, reach out to Refersion to see how we can help amplify, elevate, and streamline your affiliate program to become a well-oiled conversion machine.