With the start of Q4, the holiday season is once again upon us - much to the joy of affiliate marketers. While this time of year is definitely busy and often stressful, it is also the season when most affiliate marketers earn the majority of their income, with projected US online holiday sales to reach $42 billion this year*. To help ensure that you have your most successful holiday season yet, we are here to provide you with some useful strategies for getting ready, advice on how and when to prepare your sites, and insider tips on some top merchants to promote this year.
The first step in preparing your holiday campaigns is to decide which products you'd like to promote. Whether this means sticking with your usual merchants and capitalizing on their holiday offerings or picking up some new, seasonal merchants and products, there is a wide variety to choose from. If you are sticking with your current merchants, get in touch with your affiliate managers to find out what they have to offer for the holiday season. For example KooKooBearKids is offering a wide selection of customized Christmas gifts such as customized holiday stockings, ornaments and apparel, and affiliates can choose from a fresh batch of banners to promote these items. Your affiliate manager should be able to provide you with new creative materials, and the details on the specific holiday promotions that are being launched. If you are looking for new products to promote just for the holidays, some simple search engine inquiries or searches within your affiliate networks should provide you with ample choices. Sites such as Yahoo's Buzz Index and TrendWatching.com can also provide some useful ideas for what's hot right now.
Once you've established which products you want to promote for your holiday campaigns, the next step is to develop or update your sites accordingly. Depending on your personal marketing methods, you'll want to develop content and tweak your SEO to suit a new set of keywords. Refreshing the layout and design of your sites is also a good idea, whether it be incorporating some festive new colors or graphics, or switching to a new blog theme such as the wintery ones offered by Wordpress.
The next, and perhaps most important task, is to test all of your new links. Be sure to go through every step of your visitor's process, to ensure that all of the necessary images and landing pages are working properly. Once your testing is completed you can set your site live, ideally as early as possible. While shoppers may not be looking for holiday gifts before Thanksgiving, launching your promotions well in advance gives you more time to be picked up by search engines and grow traffic organically.
If you like to do things last minute you may try PPC on your niche Christmas product ideas or email offers out to your database through a Christmas newsletter. An initial newsletter at the start of the Christmas season is a good way to introduce your database to the seasonal promotions you are offering. Sending a few follow-up mailers closer to Christmas is an excellent opportunity to highlight last minute deals and express shipping offers.
If you are a coupon site you might like to do an "advent calendar" type concept where each of the days leading up to Christmas feature a product or a special coupon, this would be a fun way to keep customers coming back to your site, and is easy to update with the help of merchants' data feed.
Share Results has a few great merchants that might be a great fit for your holiday campaigns this year. Imaginary Greetings offers an array of products that will capture the imagination of children such as Personalized Letters from Santa, and a "Santa Proof Evidence Kit". Zazzle also offers a wide variety of personalized items from apparel and gifts to Christmas cards and stamps. To find our more about all of our merchants visit Share Results today or drop us a line for a customized list to suit your traffic.
* Source: eMarketer.com
Nicky Senyard is CEO of Share Results. Share Results provides top-level affiliate management, support and reporting to leading global brands such as American Medical ID, KooKoo Bear Kids, and Real Networks. Share Results prides itself on its vibrant, personalized, relationship-focused model of affiliate marketing and works closely with affiliates and merchants alike to achieve results.