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Maximising Seasonal Affiliates for Your Brand

Everyone reading this is probably fully aware of how shopping online increases before Christmas. This holiday season is not anything new for retailers.

Seasonal periods aren’t just about Q4 though. Every brand and its proposition is different. So, there may be peaks scattered throughout the year.

How do you make the most of these peaks with your affiliate program?

Let’s find out.

Know Your Dates

This is crucial. If you don’t know when Mother’s Day or Black Friday is this year, how can you accurately plan for them?

Build a calendar for the year. A simple spreadsheet will do, but it will help keep you focused on upcoming activity. 

I like to run all key promotional dates along the top and list my coverage for each one underneath. That way, I have a clearer picture of whether I have enough exposure for an important launch date or seasonal period.

Gift Guides

Primarily content sites, but there is a range of different affiliates looking for gift guide brands. 

Shoppers seek out inspiration. Get in front of customers with a high-purchase intent and showcase your best products. 

Also, use this as a chance to recruit. A content site might be featuring a competitor that doesn’t have an affiliate program. Give them the option to swap you in so that they can earn a commission from any traffic it sends.

Seasonal Games/Content Hubs

Any large affiliate site will have a marketing calendar planned out for the year. Within this calendar, the partner will have content that a brand could get involved in.

This might be a content hub on their site or a dedicated email. Either way, ahead of time, get hold of their calendar and see if anything aligns with your brand.

Be aware, placements can sell out quick. Hesitation could mean missing out on a valuable spot to promote your business.

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Product Commission

There are always going to be products that sell better at different times of the year. They might be winter boots or summer camping gear. 

Encourage your affiliates to talk about and promote these products by offering some incentives. You could for example offer a higher commission on these products to entice them.

Not only could this tactic achieve more sales for key product lines. When we increase commission in this way we are maximising our ROI. Flat raises of all commissions are not intuitive when it comes to margins or budgets.

 

Creative

Often, affiliate program creative can become tired or stale. The preferred method for partners to promote is through text links, which results in banners becoming unloved.

Seasonal periods though can create a great chance to revive your creative assets.

Ask for feedback from your affiliates. If bloggers aren’t using your banners, enquire as to why. Do they need different sizes or something more tailored to their audience?

Why not incentivise publishers to use your banners. An increased commission or on-off bonus can help to get things moving.

Remember, to improve conversions, try to feature key seasonal products on the banner. You can also go one further and make sure that the product is visible on the landing page. That way, customers don’t have the search for them.

Review Performance

Understanding who performed well over a key date the previous year will give a good idea of who to work with moving forward.

Affiliates both big and small can often see peaks in trading. Identifying and working with them during these peaks can help you ride the wave.

Go back over the past few years of data if your program has been around that long. Have there been any trends with who performs well and who doesn’t at differing times?

Certain affiliates may have a done a great job of driving orders for particular products or categories over a holiday period. If so, ask for feedback on where your brand was featured as this will add weight to placements you pick for the upcoming year.

I would recommend building your activity around what has already been successful. Then, layer new opportunities on top if you have the budget available.

Seasonal Websites

With affiliate marketing, discovering an untapped niche can be lucrative. This is why the channel has such a diverse range of publishers that brands can engage with.

On this note, seek out affiliates that have built their niche around a particular seasonal event or even a single day. There is potential for them to have built a loyal following of repeat visitors for this period.

Some examples that I have come across include both categories based but also super niche:

Take advantage, book coverage with them and see how their performance compares to your non-season affiliate partners.

Shopping Habits

We have seen over time how shopping habits have changed. Being proactive on this can help you get the upper hand on your competitors.

Absorbing case studies and industry news about marketing and specifically affiliate marketing can shape decisions.

For example, in the UK, Black Friday has now become a key seasonal date online. But, there has also been a trend of customers searching for bargains before this time.

Booking placements the week before Black Friday could help your brand minimise tenancy costs while grabbing proactive bargain shoppers.

Conclusion

Knowing the key dates for your brand is the start.

Once you have your internal calendar, you can start to match it up with the affiliates. Then analyse the data to see who is already working and get them booked in first. 

Finding new niche opportunities will help your program to grow year after year. Make it a part of your active affiliate management to always been on the lookout for new partners to promote your brand.

Are there any tips around seasonal affiliates that you would recommend? Drop us a note in the comments sections below.

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