Seasoned marketers know that strategies that once worked won’t work forever. Times change, and approaches that once worked in the field of marketing might not be as applicable as they once were.
When drafting your business’s affiliate marketing strategy, there needs to be certain considerations taken into account that allow you to identify areas for constant engagement and enhancement. One of these considerations you should be regularly thinking about is seasonality: the way the seasons of the year affect your marketing strategies.
At first glance, you might not think of it as a factor that would have an effect on your business’s marketing approach, but it is something that can affect the relevancy of your affiliate marketing strategy as the year goes on.
Here are some reasons you should be taking seasonality into account and the ways that it will be determined over the course of the year.
What does your audience look like?
Before you can begin forming your affiliate marketing strategy throughout the year, you need to understand the people your affiliate program is talking to in the first place. If you can’t determine who your average customer is, then you’re already lost.
For instance, is your customer an at-home master chef or someone simply interested in producing quick-and-easy meals? This will lead you to decide whether you provide them with recipes and tools intended for people experienced in the kitchen or simple, easy-to-make recipes for that summer bonfire barbecue.
As another example, ask yourself if your target customer is a long-time fitness guru or someone interested in getting fit. This will determine whether you’re talking to them during the summer, offering them high-tech clothing to enhance their training regimens, or around New Year’s, providing them with insight about getting fit around their New Year’s resolutions.
Identifying your audience is essential to you being able to understand 1) how your affiliate marketing strategy should first be developed and 2) how it will be leveraged season to season.
What seasonal promotions make the most sense to you?
Before we get into the variations between seasons, we need to understand what type of promotions make sense to you as a marketer. What experiences have you had with seasonal promotions, either that you’ve created or that you’ve seen from other companies, which left an impression? Is there a particular approach that seems effective and should be implemented through your own marketing strategy?
The types of promotions marketers tend to use over the course of the year most often include ones related to notable holidays. These are hallmarks that people keep in mind, providing place-markers that make it easy to identify progress from season to season and month to month. In terms of holidays, these markers often involve times of celebration between families and friends — times year gifts are purchased, food is made, and memories are shared.
Seasonal promotions offered most often to customers include sales, promotions, and specials that aim to increase engagement. This engagement is made by utilizing a person’s excitement for that time of year.
A simple example is Starbucks. Every year, they offer specially made drinks geared toward each season and major holiday. In terms of the winter/Christmas season, they make drinks including mocha, peppermint, and eggnog. For autumn, the first drink to come to mind is that of pumpkin spice. And their branding changes with this menu change, showing that the brand is shifting its focus to align with customers’ interests as the year progresses.
Your business can achieve the same engagement, recognition, and appreciation by implementing similar attention to detail, putting in the effort to modify and enhance your affiliate marketing strategy throughout the year.
Taking Seasonality into Account
Now that you’re thinking of incorporating seasonality into your affiliate marketing strategy, the question arises: How do I fit it into my business? The following are some tactics and considerations that can make it easy for you to implement seasonality into your marketing decisions.
- Incentivizing your customers and affiliates during each season
Seasonal events are a prime time to engage your audience, as they’re already likely to be searching for products and deals. This is a time where you should be providing for both your affiliates and their base: Offer special affiliate links to be given to audiences, which come in the form of deals, coupons, special gifts with purchase; give affiliates increased commission rates during holiday boost periods or offer bonuses for increased conversion rates.
These limited-time runs are meant to boost traffic and engagement during the holiday time, working to boost brand engagement while providing affiliates with work and offering customers great deals.
- Incorporating relevant affiliates and creators for each season
While you may have affiliates you’ve relied on for the whole year, they might not be best-suited for increasing holiday engagement. Around the holidays, it’s a smart idea to reach out to relevant affiliates — affiliates specializing in content geared toward the holiday season. And, if not changing the affiliates you use, it might be time for you to bring on new creatives who can boost the affiliate content you’re producing.
Content creators that specialize during these seasonal events make for the perfect addition to your team, as they can help your business create banners, ads, social media graphics, and other branding elements to be shared far and wide, helping to bring attention to your brand through the usage of seasonally crafted content.
- Pushing sales for the season
It’s a good idea to sell your products to each season, providing products and services that are most useful to your audience around a specific time of year. To boost engagement with these products further, it’s essential to provide some sort of deal that will wrangle in customer attention. But you can take it a step further and capitalize on the holiday rushes from each season.
Sales sometimes can be minimal around certain times of the year like Easter and Christmas, but it could be a smart idea to offer attractive, competitive deals during times of the year like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, where people are scouring to find excellent sales while looking to make big-ticket purchases. Offering big deals during these short periods is bound to gain customer attention, and it’s a great way to make a profit while greatly incentivizing affiliates.
- Bundling products for the season
While people are looking for sales, you can work to get more attention about specified deals. Product bundles incentivize customers by providing them with a special purchase, either as a product added for free as an add-on with purchase of another item or bundling two products and selling them at a cheaper price when purchased together.
Combine products that enhance seasonal hobbies and events. Furthermore, such limited-time bundles provide a sort of exclusivity which will make it time-sensitive, making customers more likely to consider purchasing useful products in tandem.
- Capitalizing on the fun of the holidays
To get the most out of the holiday season, you should revel in the fun of it all. Offer something to both your affiliates and your customers that goes a long way. For affiliates, you can offer gamified elements to engage them in work, offering things like a bonus or gift if more than 15 conversions are made in a day; for customers, you can give them something exciting, such as a discount wheel they can spin upon landing on your page.
- Providing add-ons for gift-giving holidays
Let’s be honest: People really like free stuff. Moreover, the holidays can be a tough time that requires a lot of gift-buying and giving. Sometimes, we find that either a) we’d like a gift of our own or b) we’d like to just have a gift ready to be given to our family and friends without having to hunt it down.
To make the most of the season, you should consider providing a gift to both your customers and your affiliates. Has your affiliate been performing exceptionally well? Consider sending them an Amazon gift card as a way of saying thanks.
Here are a few other ideas to spread the holiday cheer:
- Small holiday-themed gifts to be given to customers as a surprise with each purchase during the holiday season
- Monetary bonuses for affiliates that have been with you for over six months
- Physical gifts for affiliates that hit a certain number of conversions over a short period of time
- Planning ahead
Before you get ahead of the season, it’s important that you plan ahead of time. You’ve probably felt a panic once in your life when you’ve realized that you forgot to get a gift until the last minute. Don’t ever treat your business the same way.
It’s important that you take the time to evaluate your needs prior to the holiday season to optimize the effectiveness of your affiliate marketing strategy, This involves determining what type of promotions you’ll want to run, what type of content will have to be created to promote these campaigns, whether or not you’ll need creative help in producing these campaigns, deciding on what types of deals you’re going to offer customers, and what reward tiers you’d like to install for affiliates if any.
Furthermore, while it’s important to plan accordingly for each season, it’s especially important that you remain consistent throughout the year. Your usual campaigns and seasonal strategies should all align with one another, whether that’s brand imagery, voice, style, and more. Customers and affiliates should know what to expect when it comes to your company.
Tips for Each Season Around the Holidays
While you should be marketing the qualities and characteristics of each season, it’s equally important to focus on the types of holidays that are contained within the four quarters of the year. Some holidays are more important than others, when it comes to consumerism, and these deserve considerable attention when drafting your affiliate marketing strategy. Here are some noteworthy holidays to consider along the way.
- Before Christmas
The time prior to Christmas is a blast for marketers. People are already looking to make purchases, so it’s easy to direct people to your products. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to play off the holiday spirit.
Take this time to market content toward the idea of the collective: to parties, gift-giving, friends, and family. If you’re in the health and wellness industry, you can provide content aimed at family members looking to find the right gift for a relative interested in your industry, helping to lead them toward the perfect gift. That expert opinion can be seriously appreciated by people hunting down gifts at this time.
- After Christmas
People normally don’t consider the post-Christmas as a time for consumerism, as people aren’t spending as much money during this time, but there are ways to market your business during this time. In particular, try to find a way to market yourself to people creating New Year’s resolutions for themselves. For B2C companies, it might be beneficial to market your business as a useful tool while they’re planning upcoming financial quarters.
- Late Spring and Summer
People relax some during the summer, with personal efforts often being focused on self-growth, whether through improving hobbies or self-image. This is a great time for businesses that sell active and outdoor products to target customers or for family-friendly brands to offer ideas and activities for families to enjoy with their children out of school.
- Consumer Holidays
As has been said before, American holidays enjoy their consumerism — holiday culture and capitalism are nearly intertwined with one another. These holidays are a perfect time to offer discounts, specials, promotions, and specialized gifts to both your customers and affiliates.
These holidays — which include Easter, Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more — provide the opportunity for businesses to boost their affiliate marketing programs, offering affiliates with increased commissions to rapidly increase brand engagement with customers.
Let Refersion Help You Promote Your Business
Marketing throughout the year can be an effective way to promote your business season by season. To properly promote your affiliate marketing campaign, it’s important that you develop your affiliate marketing strategy ahead of time. Following best practices and updating your program throughout the year is the best way to achieve this.
Join our events and access our guides to learn how Refersion can manage, track, and grow your affiliate marketing program.