According to the National Retail Federation, holiday spending in 2021 grew by 14.1 percent over the previous year, thereby setting a new record at $886.7 billion.
Naturally, because of how wildly lucrative and important Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the holiday shopping season is for ecommerce brands, it is imperative to get your brand ready for cyber week 2022 and beyond.
For those who leverage affiliates during this period, it is critical to understand how to set your affiliates up for success so that both the brand and its affiliates can maximize sales and have a happy, profitable holiday season.
If you are looking for affiliate marketing tips for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday season as a whole, you’ve come to the right place.
Here is how to set your affiliates up for success during this critical quarter.
How to Set Your Affiliates Up for Success: 10 Critical Tasks to Complete
As far as getting your brand and affiliates ready for the holiday shopping season is concerned, there a quite a few brand-focused and affiliate-specific to-dos that must be completed, including:
1. Review the Previous Year’s Performance
The first thing you will need to do is review your affiliate performance from last year’s holiday shopping season. It is important to identify who your brand’s top performers were and how they are doing with your brand now.
For those that are still going strong, reach out to them with special offers of dedicated landing pages, promo codes, and other personalized materials to show your appreciation for their efforts and dedication to your relationship.
If there are affiliates that performed exceptionally well last year but have since fallen off, try and find out what caused the drop-off and how you can get the partnership back on the right track.
2. Finalize Promotional Deals
Part of how to set your affiliates up for success is delivering to them the information on the promotional deals for the season. Getting this info to them in a prompt manner enables affiliates to start planning and creating content to help ecommerce brands drive sales.
Thus, finalizing the sales and promotions to be run during the holiday season should be a high priority for retailers.
3. Cement On-Site Placements
On-site adverts or newsletter highlights can be a great tool for increasing awareness of a brand’s holiday deals. Therefore, retailers who plan on running paid placements with their affiliates should secure those spots now, as inventory goes quickly for this time of year.
4. Speed Up Affiliate Onboarding
Attracting top affiliates into your affiliate program can be a challenging task in the exponentially expanding world of affiliate marketing. Once you do manage to get these folks in the proverbial door, it is essential to ensure that your onboarding process is as quick and smooth as possible. Therefore, you will want to review your onboarding procedures prior to the holidays and eliminate any points of friction.
When analyzing your affiliate onboarding course, consider everything from the affiliate’s perspective, ensuring to include everything you would want to know, including:
- Where to find creatives
- Proper linking procedures
- Strategies for selecting products to promote
- Who to contact with questions and how to reach them
- Payment information
If your brand hasn’t already created and implemented a “getting started” guide that covers all of these materials, now is the time to get that together and smooth out any rough spots present in your onboarding process.
5. Revamp Commissions for the Season
When it comes to getting affiliates to promote your products over another brand’s, money talks. Therefore, it is necessary to review your current commission rates, margins, and industry averages for your brand’s product categories to figure out how much you can bump commission rates during the holiday shopping season.
Keep in mind (and clearly communicate) that these are not permanent bumps but are limited-time offers that are restricted to specific weeks or months. The details you will want to share with affiliates about the revised commission rates include:
- Commission: Present affiliates with the commission amount for specific products or categories.
- Cookie Length: Determine the amount of time (in days) that can elapse from first click to conversion for the affiliate to be credited with the sale.
- Payout Details: Clearly define payout methods, thresholds, and timelines to help set the affiliate’s expectations on how and when they will be paid for their efforts.
- Terms of Service: Establish the exact parameters of the program and provide an explicit agreement between ecommerce brands and affiliates.
6. Ensure Open Channels of Communication
If you want affiliate marketing tips for black Friday that will teach you how to set your affiliates up for success, few (if any) are more important than making sure that affiliates know how to reach someone at your brand and that they are responding in a clear and timely fashion. This is especially true for questions about product details and promotional offers.
Thus, it is wise to establish a contact portal, dedicated email address, or to utilize a comprehensive affiliate marketing platform for affiliates to reach out to the brand. At the same time, it is advisable to commit a team member to monitor and respond to affiliate requests quickly.
Communication is key to any relationship, and when it comes to working with affiliates, it is essential to be there for them during the run-up to cyber week and other major sales holidays.
7. Align Affiliate Efforts with the Brand’s Marketing Team
For every marketing campaign (especially critically important ones like those run during the holidays), it is critical to get all of your marketing channels on the same wavelength to promote a single, consistent message.
Thus, it is vital to ensure that your internal marketing team and affiliates are using the same information so as not to confuse shoppers and erode consumer trust.
This means that affiliates should have access to your upcoming promotional information and creative such as messaging, imagery, and other assets, which brings us to our next point.
8. Generate and Provide Access to Holiday Creative
Getting your holiday creative together early is critical for engendering the best campaign outcomes possible and is a key element in how to set your affiliates up for success so that they can start creating content right away.
Aside from information about the promotions themselves, there are a number of creative assets that should be provided to affiliates to help them promote your brand, including:
- Approved Copy: Help your affiliates to promote the right messages to their audiences by providing authorized copy and talking points. Additionally, it is wise to include different versions of the for different audiences, thereby increasing a brand’s chances of resonating with various consumers.
- Images: This should include completed images for promotional copy offers and branding kits that feature the brand’s logos, color profiles, typography, slogans, company image, and other such materials. Also, be sure to post product shots, image banners (with the necessary code) and other visual assets that can be used to create content for the brand and its affiliates.
- Video Clips: If your brand has video footage for products, it is wise to include these for affiliates that are focused on platforms like YouTube and TikTok.
- Approved Codes and Links: For affiliates that will not have more personalized offers, it is vital to provide brand-approved coupons, codes, and functioning links to dedicated holiday landing pages where deals can be claimed.
- Other Useful Materials: If your brand has any awards, media mentions, endorsements, noteworthy rankings, or other distinguishing achievements, these can also be useful to provide to affiliates.
9. Create Personalized Landing Pages and Codes
High-quality, optimized landing pages are an essential component of holiday sales events as this is a critical juncture in a shopper’s journey. When it comes to the holiday season, themed landing pages delight consumers and can be an effective tool for driving conversions.
That said, in addition to creating holiday landing pages for affiliates to promote and drive traffic to, your brand should consider offering its top affiliates personalized landing pages and special discount codes to help incentivize these folks to continue working with your brand and to show them that you are committed to the relationship. At the same time, this sort of offer will help to raise an affiliate’s esteem in the eyes of their audience, thereby creating a win-win situation.
No matter if you are creating an individualized or generalized landing page, be sure to include the following elements:
- Above-the-fold offer confirmation (price cut, savings amount, free gift, etc.)
- Compelling visual imagery
- Streamlined page layout
- Easy-to-find CTA
- Persuasive copy that answers consumer questions or potential objections
- Images of the affiliate and their branding elements (if the page is personalized)
- Inclusion of social proof (testimonials, star ratings, etc.)
- Exit popups
By creating personalized landing pages for top-performing affiliates, ecommerce brands can effectively incentivize partners to promote a brand and persuade their audiences to purchase its products during sales events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the like.
10. Personalized the Affiliate Experience
Ecommerce brands are likely working with a mix of affiliates at differing levels of experience. While some might be influencers who have participated in many holiday seasons, others can be brand-new to the world of affiliate marketing.
When it comes to how to set your affiliates up for success, a lot of this comes down to meeting each affiliate where they are and helping to support them. This means that some affiliates will require little help, while others will require a bit more hand-holding. Therefore, you will likely need to answer more questions for these folks, potentially engage in brainstorming sessions for content ideas, and discuss the brand’s products in depth to supply them with the level of understanding needed to promote them to their audience.
Additionally, retailers should take the time between events like Black Friday to quickly analyze performance for affiliates that need more help and let them know what is working and how they might be able to tweak their tactics.
Similarly, after the sales event is over, retailers can take a deeper dive into the campaign data and give each of their affiliates a more detailed breakdown of their effectiveness, where they did great, and what can be improved.
Supplying affiliates with a personalized experience and helping them to be more effective in their efforts can be an important factor in retaining affiliates for your program and generating more revenue for them and your brand.
Affiliate Marketing Tips for Black Friday and Beyond
Increasing affiliate marketing sales over Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other critical holiday sales events means that brands need to effectively support their affiliates with the information, materials, and assistance they require.
Much of this comes down to preparing early, delivering creative assets to affiliates well in advance of the big day, and being available to address any questions about products, promotions, and the like.
Additionally, be sure to emphasize what affiliates will get out of the deal, such as higher commission rates, personalized landing pages and coupon codes, special prizes for top performers and other perks your brand might be offering.
Employ the tactics outlined above to get your affiliates ready for the holiday sales season, and your brand is likely to see a considerable uptick in affiliate performance and holiday revenue overall.