The holiday season is one period that is most likely to get an affiliate marketer overwhelmed and even more so when the necessary preparations have not been made. This season is a unique one as it offers a glorious opportunity for brands to boost their sales and become a lot more recognized within the industry.
With the holidays drawing closer, you can sense it’s going to be filled with plenty of opportunities and changes. People are now engaged in online shopping more than ever before despite the several economic challenges faced during the year. For an affiliate marketer, this is the best time to plan and prepare for the year’s biggest shopping event.
To take full advantage of the holiday season, adjustment of your marketing strategy, as well as early and adequate preparation, is key. In this article, we offer you a cheat sheet on the necessary pre-holiday sales preparation in affiliate marketing. Let’s take a look!
Evaluate Your Online Store
Your website is your cash-generating platform and therefore, it should be regularly maintained and updated. Before the holiday season, all business owners implement the most innovative solutions to get ahead of the competition and maximize revenues. Let’s take people working in stocks trading as an example! They constantly monitor the market to make sure they don’t miss their opportunity. Your pre-holiday rush can consist of similar activities: monitoring and implementing hot solutions for better customer service.
Here, it’s advisable to get a team to evaluate your online store and identify any possible improvements needed. Once the improvement areas have been identified, the next step is to fix the errors as soon as possible. Leaving the errors to “get to them later” will only increase the possibility of never taking the much-needed improvement steps till it’s too late.
Being fully aware several potential customers are currently doing research on their possible holiday gifts, now is the time to check the following:
- Bugs. No one likes a website with navigation problems. This will either make your potential customers take an early exit due to frustration or fail to locate what they seek;
- Product Information. It’s essential to make sure all your products feature the right descriptions and all necessary details are included. Customers, generally, have a low attention span and even more so when shopping for a holiday gift. Providing them with accurate information on your products will go a long way to ease the stress;
- Product Image. Images can go a long way to aid the decision-making process of a potential customer. As a result, using high-resolution images of your products is simply a no-brainer.
When your site visitors are able to easily navigate through the categories and identify accurate information about the products alongside top-quality images, the chances of them making a purchase are significantly boosted.
If your online shopping platform doesn’t allow customers to create a wish list, then you might want to rethink. The wish list feature is becoming increasingly popular across e-commerce platforms as it serves two good purposes:
- Customers can use it to list out the gifts they would like to receive during the holiday period and share with friends and family;
- They can use it to save the gifts they would love to get for their loved ones and come back to buy at a later date.
Add Gifting Features
A big mistake would be to attend to holiday customers the same way as year-round customers as their needs are usually quite different. Most times, holiday customers are more pressed for both time and money when compared to year-round customers.
Hence, there’s the need to make the buying process a lot more attractive and easier by offering additional services that will significantly reduce the gift shopping workload. Below are some of the features you can consider:
- Gift Certificates. These make for a great final gift because they can be sent through the mail without delay;
- Gift Wrapping. It’s one thing to get a gift, while it’s entirely another to have the gift wrapped in the best possible way. Offering a gift-wrapping option to your customers takes the burden off their shoulders while also earning you a little extra profit;
- Single Order, Different Shipping Addresses. This feature helps your customer get a gift for several people at different places without having to go through the trouble of delivering it themselves. Being fully aware holiday customers will almost always go for the easiest options, this is a must-have feature for your online shopping platform.
Be Prepared for Increased Demand
Every affiliate marketer’s goal for the holiday period is to make more sales. Now, what happens if your marketing strategy does way better than expected? What would be your next line of action if you’re able to draw in so much demand beyond your capacity? This is obviously a scenario you wouldn’t want to catch you unprepared!
To avoid this situation, there’s the need to organize your inventory, examine your sales data, evaluate your top sellers and incorporate all available analytics. This will go a long way to help you procure enough stock for the incoming demand. However, should you end up with overstock at the end of the season, sales on New Year’s Eve should help you move on to the remaining inventory.
While preparing for increased demand, it’s also important to anticipate a longer sales period. According to research carried out by Justuno focusing on US shoppers, holiday purchases would be made before Thanksgiving by approximately 65% of the shoppers. Also, 38% of holiday shoppers start buying as early as October while an additional 23% start making gift purchases prior to Cyber Week.
Save the Dates
Being aware of the major holiday dates in the fourth quarter of the year and adding them to your calendar is the first step to take when adjusting your marketing strategy. To get started, simply structure your schedule around the major holidays such as:
- Single’s Day – 11th of November (started in the ‘90s as a special holiday in China whereby singles appreciate one another with various gifts);
- Thanksgiving – 23rd of November;
- Black Friday – 24th of November;
- Cyber Monday – 27th of November;
- Green Monday – 11th of December;
- Free Shipping Day – 15th of December;
- Super Saturday – 23rd of December;
- Christmas Eve – 24th of December;
- Christmas Day – 25th of December;
- Boxing Day (UK; Canada) – 26th of December;
- New Year’s Eve – 31st of December.
As an affiliate marketer, the most important of these dates, which you can’t afford to ignore, include Cyber Monday, Green Monday, Black Friday, and Free Shipping Day.
Establish an Advertisement Plan
As the saying goes, “when you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Once you have worked out your promotions’ details, the next logical step to take is to develop your advertisement campaigns plan.
Here, you’d have to identify all advertisement media you’re going to use such as pay-per-click, social media, and email newsletters. You’d also have to create varying campaigns so as to draw in various segments of your target audience. Try out the Facebook Dynamic Ads to get started.
Make Use of Graphics
Graphics and any other content needed for the holidays for ads as well as a website should be created after the plans for sales and advertisement have been established.
Having your holiday banners, email templates, and ads done well ahead of time gives you the much-needed edge over the competition. Giving your store a festive appearance to get your customers in the holiday mood may be all your need for an increased holiday sale.
Give Your Website A Stress Test
As an affiliate marketer, you tend to focus solely on attracting a large number of customers to your website ignoring whether or not your shopping platform would be able to handle such traffic. The fact is, you can lose an incredible number of sales if your online store goes down even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. By carrying out a number of stress tests to make sure your online shopping platform can handle the rush, you can save yourself some heartaches when the time comes.
Also, it’s advisable to get some feedback from your customers especially when there’s still time to make some adjustments or correct any underlying problems. Consider the user interface of your website, check the loading speed, and improve the overall design of your online store. Remember, this is your last shot at making a great impression on your potential customers.
Market Your Products or Services
Now that everything has been properly outlined and in place, the time to reach out to as many potential customers as possible is here. This is the time when your creativity comes in to build anticipation, create excitement, and have your customers eager for the commencement of your sales. You can inspire people to make wish lists, send out surprise coupons, incorporate a countdown timer on the home page of your store, and more.
Get in the Holiday Spirit!
What are you waiting for? You have all the necessary information you need for a prosperous holiday season. The time to start planning is now. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine!
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0
No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.
Chris had the privilege of growing up in the Orlando, FL area and attended Valencia College where he studied international business. After school, Chris headed west to Los Angles, California. There he began his voyage in to the world of Global Trade Intelligence and affiliate marketing.
Chris currently resides in Salt Lake City, UT where he and his wife of Caren enjoy hiking, golf, tennis, the ocean and most important giving back to their local community. A good deal of Chris’ time is spent doing charity work.