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12 Affiliate Strategies To Maximize Q4 Revenue

12 Affiliate Strategies To Maximize Q4 Revenue

Maximize Holiday Revenue

The 2015 Holiday Season has arrived and the Performance Marketing Association’s (PMA) Publisher Recruitment Council is here to be a resource for you! With the mission of helping publishers identify new monetization strategies and opportunities, the Publisher Recruitment Council compiled some resources and best practices designed to help you get more out of your Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and remaining Q4 strategies.

  1. Start planning NOW: The changing seasons bring excellent topics for engaging content and sizable opportunities for earning. Every holiday has its own special must-haves and your audience is relying on your expert guidance for where to get everything. Reach out to your affiliate managers early to assist in strategic development and receive holiday advice. The key to maximizing your earnings this holiday season is simple – plan ahead.
  • From All Inclusive Marketing – “For those of us in e-commerce, being ready to compete during the retail holiday frenzy can mean the difference between our merchants (and their publisher partners’) success.
  1. Join new affiliate programs: It may be a good time to expand what you promote and join some  new affiliate programs. During the busy holiday season of Q4, it’s not only about targeting content for your readers, but also who your readers are buying gifts for.
  • From the PMA Publisher Recruitment Council – “For those new to affiliate marketing, this is a step-by-step guide, giving insight into how to become an affiliate of a merchant’s program.
  1. The potential for earnings is huge in Q4: Don’t take our word for it? Take a look at these stats:
  • From eMarketer – “eMarketer forecasts that US retail sales in the months of November and December 2015 will increase 5.7% year over year, reaching $885.70 billion. That’s an upward adjustment from the 3.2% growth rate predicted earlier this year—and the highest since the 6.3% rise in 2011.
  • From NRF – “More than 126 million Americans plan to shop online on Cyber Monday. Nearly 85 percent will use a computer at home, and one in five plan to use a mobile device to shop.
  1. It’s all about timing: Strategically timing posts and discussing relevant products will spike a reader’s interest, thus increasing revenue. If you post too early, readers won’t be ready to engage; too late and they’ve gone elsewhere for guidance and likely missed the shipping window. The cut-off dates for shipping vary depending where the reader is located, but it’s generally suggested that publishers post about two weeks before the big day to give readers sufficient time to receive their item.
  • From the PMA Coupons and Rewards Council – “The 4th Quarter Promotions Cheat Sheet and Tips offers specific advice about holiday shipping deadlines and key dates for promotions.”
  • From Experian – “During the 2014 holiday season five of the top 12 online shopping days were Tuesdays or Wednesdays. This is a shift from previous years when traffic was highly concentrated on Mondays. With consumers shopping online later in the week, you have more opportunities to win their online business as well as reach them later in the week in order to influence and drive in-store transactions.
  1. Use descriptive language: Links to products without description are less likely to spark interest. Sell the product a bit!
  • From The Blogger Network – “One of the most important things that you can do is make your site ‘sticky’. People are going to come and visit your blog, how will you keep them there and have them click around your site for a while? Make sure the right content is at top of every page.”
  1. Think Mobile: Develop your content with mobile users in mind.You want to make sure that whether your readers are using a laptop, tablet, phone or other mobile device, they are able to view and navigate your content easily and buy right then. If it’s hard to get to what they want to see, the chance of them making a purchase from your affiliate link is unlikely.
  • From Deloitte’s 29th Annual Holiday Study – “Among the 72 percent who will use smartphones for holiday shopping, 58 percent will use the device for finding store locations and 52 percent will use it to check prices.
  1. Use images: Images work much the same way descriptive language does. They bring life and detail to the product. Plus, they’re likely to do some of the product selling for you.
  • From ShareASale – “Brand marketers and bloggers rely heavily on photos and graphics as part of their content strategy because images appeal quickly to readers’ emotions.
  1. Focus on sharing deals: Your readers are more likely to make a purchase decision if they feel like they’re getting a deal, such as discounted pricing or free shipping. If you find a great deal, share it! It’s more likely to convert.
  • From Marketing Land – “Pinterest says people are already searching for and Pinning creative gift sets and stocking stuffers…47 percent of Pinterest users start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving (compared to 39 percent of the population overall).”
  1. Have an obvious and solid call to action: Don’t assume your reader will click on a link. Take advantage of promotions offered by your merchant and highlight it as much as possible.
  • From FMTC – “Stick to our Formula for Adding the Perfect Deal: Item(s) on Sale + Discount + Dates + Code = Perfect Deal. By including these items in your label, we will have all the important information for your deal. Also, please include any terms and restrictions in the description of the deal.”
  1. Remain flexible: Merchants may present amazing opportunities for you at the last hour. Having a plan is crucial for success but also remain open to new opportunities.
  • From Greg Hoffman Consulting – “Successful merchants make adjustments based on consumer feedback and trends. A strong affiliate is one I can count on to implement both short and long term strategies.
  1. Think about next year: Optimize for the following year as well when creating gift guides and timeless holiday content in advance.
  • From ShareASale – “On top of planning for the fourth quarter, you should begin the beginning stages of coming up with a strategic plan for the following year. It might feel stressful to be planning this before the current year is over, but we promise that it will be well worth it!”
  1. Success comes down to partnerships: Reach out to your affiliate manager to discover top products for your audience.
  • From Marketing Land “Just as last year’s retail trends are important, so is measuring last year’s Q4 program performance. Who were your top partners? What did your marketing calendar look like? Were there missed opportunities? … Always remember that affiliate marketing is a people-centric business. Building and maintaining strong relationships with affiliate partners is crucial to having a successful holiday season.”

With these best practices in place, you position yourself for a great fourth quarter and strengthen your existing brand relationship.  What is your favorite 4th quarter strategy?

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Tricia Meyer is an attorney and affiliate marketer. She is the founder and owner of Helping Moms Connect and Sunshine Rewards as well as the current Executive Director of the Performance Marketing Association. You can find her on Twitter @SunshineTricia.

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