Christmas is a peak time for affiliate sales. This may be stating the obvious but at Christmas time last year we saw UK internet users make 2.8 billion visits to retail websites and spend 372 million hours online shopping. Boxing Day alone saw 113 million online visits. The affiliate channel is a huge opportunity for advertisers this time of year so here are our top tips to help maximise this potential and help boost your affiliate campaigns.
1. Be competitive
Compelling consumer offers and favourable affiliate commission models are needed to be able to gain cut through and stand out during the busy festive period. Whether this is in the form of an exclusive commission that is passed on to the end-user, a bespoke voucher code offering 3 for the price of 2, free delivery or even a free gift, it is these types of promotions that will help you gain additional exposure across key affiliate sites and help you increase conversion rates.
2. Christmas delivery dates
Keep both affiliates and consumers happy by being transparent when it comes to last order dates in time for Christmas. The more flexible these dates are and the closer these are to Christmas the better as this will allow affiliates to scoop up those last minute shoppers.
3. Product feeds
Stock selling out quickly can be an issue, especially at Christmas - therefore keep product feeds updated at all times to keep conversion rate strong and ensure that affiliates are promoting the very latest products that are in stock.
4. Key partnerships with your top volume driving affiliates
Plan and ring fence budget early on in the year to book premium slots and exclusive offers with your top performing affiliates. Premium slots can include homepage exposure, category page takeovers, newsletter inclusions or Twitter mentions which will all contribute towards maximising growth. These types of exposures can be purchased on a tenancy basis or negotiated as added value based on the strength and competitiveness of an offer. Always make sure to monitor your stock levels and make sure that your offer is in line with this as well as overall campaign objectives.
5. Incentivise affiliates
This is a great method to increase sales with certain affiliates or to re-activate those dormant affiliates that are on your programme. A performance audit across all affiliates will help highlight those affiliates that you wish to see drive incremental volume and will form the basis of your engagement strategy. Incentivising tactics can include offering a commission bonus based on delivering a set percentage uplift in sales or you may choose to keep things festive by offering a competition to win a Christmas hamper to the affiliate who meets their sales target first.
6. Plan ahead
Forward planning is fundamental to an affiliate campaign especially at Christmas time. Affiliates are keen to book their exclusive slots and tenancy deals as soon as possible so factor this in to your forecasting so that you are ahead of the game when it comes to that time of year when affiliates release their promotional calendars for the festive season. This will help you secure the level of exposure required in order to hit your campaign KPIs.
There isn’t much value in having a strong offer and promotion if affiliates are unaware about it. Communication is a vital part of running a successful affiliate programme and affiliates should receive tailored communication that keeps them informed of the latest offers, current stock levels, recent press releases for content purposes, insight into performance as well as overall campaign goals. It is also about finding the right balance so as not to bombard affiliates during this time.
8. Updated banners and content
Bring some seasonal cheer to your affiliate assets in order to achieve stand out and drive engagement. Useful, engaging and specialised content works well to drive affiliate sales particularly from the long tail affiliates on your programme. Personalising content to users is becoming increasingly important and should be a consideration for affiliate marketers.
So there you have it, our top tips to ensure you hit the ground running when it comes to affiliate activity at Christmas time. At equimedia, we run a number of successful affiliate marketing campaigns across the retail, not-for-profit and financial services sectors if you are interested in finding out more please contact us on 01793 715440.