Q4 has officially begun, which means that it’s time to boost those marketing budgets and to get ready for a massive influx in business.
Taking a look at this time last year, retail ecommerce sales in Q4 of 2021 grew to $218.5 billion, which represents massive opportunities for retailers.
Moreover, holiday retail forecasts for 2022 anticipate this year’s events to be even bigger. According to Deloitte’s holiday retail forecast, ecommerce sales are expected to grow by 12 to 14 percent, representing an anticipated $260 billion this holiday season.
Thus, it is important for retailers to understand how to plan a successful Q4 strategy. A big part of that is recognizing that the holidays do not begin and end with Cyber Week.
For ecommerce brands to maximize their potential earnings this holiday season, it is critical to possess a holistic strategy for the entire quarter. Moreover, for those in the affiliate marketing space, this means that understanding how to keep up affiliate marketing momentum for the entire time is vital to success.
Thus, today, we will be covering 10 affiliate marketing tips for Q4 to help your brand keep energy and sales high all the way through to the New Year.
Let’s get started.
10 Affiliate Marketing Tips for Q4: Keeping the Hype High
There is a lot that goes into getting a brand ready for Cyber Week, especially for those that run affiliate marketing programs.
To ensure that your affiliates continue to crush it all throughout Q4, some of the vital tasks to carry out include:
1. Review Affiliate Performance
When it comes to how to plan a successful Q4 strategy, understanding which of the brand’s affiliates were top performers during the previous year and who has been driving the bulk of affiliate sales throughout the current year is critical.
Comb through the brand’s data to figure out which affiliates and publishers the brand needs to start up a conversation with to secure placements and share offers with them, which leads us to our next point.
2. Secure Placements Early
The holidays are the most competitive time of year for ecommerce brands. This means that by November, many of the biggest affiliate blogs and websites will have all of their inventory slots filled until the following year.
Thus, it is critical to secure the brand’s placements as early as possible. The fact is that brands need some time to deliver campaign assets to affiliates and affiliates need time to produce content, place links, and the like.
Therefore, the sooner you are able to identify, negotiate, and reach out to top affiliates to reserve brand placements, the more likely retailers are to see the kind of results they hope to see from their affiliate program in Q4.
3. Excite New Affiliates
When discussing affiliate marketing tips for Q4, it is important to remember those who are new to your program and affiliate marketing in general. Thus, brands should have a strong activation offer in place for newly-onboarded affiliates to get them excited about promoting a retailer’s products.
Thus, brands might consider implementing (or amplifying) a first-time sale bonus and other performance bonuses for new affiliates.
Additionally, be clear that these offers are limited-time, but do extend beyond the season’s biggest dates, like Cyber Monday.
4. Offer Holiday Bonuses
Outside of new affiliate bonuses, it is important for brands to sweeten the deal for their top-performing partners by implementing higher commissions and alluring performance-based incentives.
While doing this does require more of an investment on retailers’ ends, it will help the brand to stand apart from its competitors, who are also vying for coverage from premier affiliates.
5. Keep Creatives Up-to-Date
Of course, getting promotional materials and campaign creative to affiliates as early as possible is important. Again, affiliates need time to create content around these sales.
However, given that the Q4 has a number of large sales events take place in a relatively short period of time, it is critical to ensure that the brand is keeping its campaign materials up-to-date and consistently feeding the right assets to affiliates.
Thus, as the season progresses, it is important to clean up creative text links, banners, and other materials in the network, removing anything that is outdated.
At the same time, it is vital to ensure that materials for current and upcoming sales are available and easily accessible for affiliates. At the same time, retailers should also be keeping non-promotional messaging up-to-date for each sales event, including information on free shipping thresholds, gift card availability, fulfillment date cutoffs, and the like.
Materials that are essential to keep current include:
- High-Quality Imagery: This includes visual assets and creatives that promote specific sales, photos highlighting certain products, and other relevant imagery.
- Shareable Content: This includes things like gift guides and other content that affiliates can share with their audiences to help increase their content’s quality and provide links back to brand pages.
- Approved Messaging: Provide approved copy and talking points for each of the different sales throughout the season.
6. Go Beyond Cyber Week
Every online retailer is going to have massive sales during Cyber Week, extending deep discounts and alluring offers to customers on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
However, there are a handful of smaller Q4 events where ecommerce brands can capitalize and likely gain a greater share of attention over rival brands that are not participating. Some of these events include:
- Single’s Day – November 11th
- Green Monday – December 10th
- Double’s Day – December 12th
- Free Shipping Day – December 14th
- Super Saturday – December 22nd
Thus, it is critical to have a Q4 content calendar in place with materials to help promote sales on these shopping event days.
7. Consistently Communicate
Communication is critical to the success of all relationships and marketing campaigns. Therefore, it is wise to schedule out an affiliate newsletter to send out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to let publishers, influencers, ambassadors, and affiliates know about updates to offers, new asset uploads, upcoming promotions and other vital details.
Staying in touch with affiliates through this means is an easy and efficient way to connect with partners on a broad scale at a time where everyone is incredibly busy.
When sending out affiliate newsletters, be sure to:
- Share promo calendars so that affiliates know what is upcoming
- Inform them about asset updates
- Share information around shipping deadlines
- Offer assistance for any affiliates that are confused or struggling with anything
8. Create a Flexible Backup Plan
It’s fair to say that we live in rather unpredictable times. As a result, it is important for ecommerce brands to expect the unexpected. This means that retailers should prepare backup messaging and creative to extend sales events, should they not generate as much revenue as the brand anticipates. Additionally, have newsletters prepared to send out to affiliates on short notice, should such a situation arise.
9. Create Post-Holiday Plans
One of the single most overlooked opportunities in Q4 lies in the post-holidays lull. While many ecommerce brands go quiet after Christmas, sales after this period can be quite strong as many consumers are looking for post-Christmas sales and bargains.
Therefore, one of the best affiliate marketing tips for Q4 is to not go dark, but instead start developing sales and campaigns to launch at the beginning of Q1 the following year.
Use this time to create clearance events and post-holiday sales where consumers can buy deeply discounted seasonal items that didn’t move in Q4.
Where affiliates are concerned, be sure to let them know about your plans via the newsletters being sent out and include important details about the sales, rate adjustments, and the like.
10. Conduct Post-Holiday Outreach
Remember that affiliate marketing is all about relationships. As many get wrapped up in how to plan a successful Q4 strategy, some can lose sight of this fact. Thus, once the season has died down, it is important to reach out to affiliates and thank them for being a part of such a successful season.
At this point, congratulate them on their wins and provide a recap of what worked for them and where they still have room to improve in the months ahead.
Keeping Affiliates Engaged Throughout Q4
Q4 is about so much more than just Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While some merchants hyper-focus on these dates, the entire holiday shopping season is a huge opportunity for scaling brand revenue. Thus, ensuring that your affiliates stay engaged throughout Q4 is vital to a lucrative holiday season.
Also, be sure to continue pushing when others ease up, as this is a tremendous opportunity for exposure and growth. Keep affiliates in the loop and get them excited and ready to start off the year with a bang.
Utilize the affiliate marketing tips for Q4 outlined above to ensure that you maximize your brand’s program and profits during this end-of-year blowout.