Is your affiliate site ready for Christmas?
Jeremy Palmer and I held a Holiday Shopping Teleseminar on Black Friday (November 24th) to assist affiliatemarketers ready their sites for the busy holiday season ahead.
The good news is that if you haven't started your holiday promotions, you still have time to do so. Contrary to the popular claim that Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year, Comscore ranks it as the 12th busiest shopping day and most e-tailers report their peak days happening between December 5th and the 15th.
Better yet, the opportunity for new and seasoned affiliate marketers continues to expand. Disenchanted with holiday shopping crowds, limited selection and stock, a record 114 million people are forecast to buy online this year; and the average consmer will spend $728 – compared to $681 in 2006.
Here are 10 basic points to consider as you prepare both your site and your paid search campaigns.
- Know your merchants' shipping cut-off dates and inventory status. Merchants will communicate this information to affiliates either through email or their sites. Cease paid search campaigns for those merchants and or products that are out of stock or that cannot reach the consumer in time for Christmas delivery.
- Look for last minute opportunities. Promote gift cards and certificates for merchants that pay a referal fee, such as Amazon which is paying 6% on gift certificates until December 31st. Be aware of those merchants that offer express shipping and in-store pickup.
- Know what your audience wants. The most popular items to promote include clothing, books, toys, music, fragrances, consumer electronics and gift baskets.
- Seek out specialty merchants. Brookstone.com, Hammacher Schlemmer, and Sharper Image all specialize in higher-end, unique gift items.
- Limit the number of merchants that you promote to a manageable number. Seek out those that don't sell offline and/or offer expanded online selection. Refrain from promoting merchants that have stores in every town or that offer in-store only deals and pricing, ie. Circuit City, Best Buy and WalMart.
- Get in touch with your merchant partners. Ask them what their recommedations are regarding hot product and best deals.
- Address your visitors' concern for price. Promote those merchants that offer the best prices, deals and coupons.
- Focus on your paid search campaigns. Budget for higher volume and review ad costs and sales reports from merchants and ad campaigns daily. 58% of people shop at work on Mondays after a frustrating weekend shopping offline, so where possible (MSN Adcenter) target your ads to specific days of the week, or times of the day. Consider direct linking (arbitrage) where permitted by your merchant partners.
- Increase your broadcast message frequency. Your subscribers are actively looking for deals at this time of year – be the first to tell them about the best ones!
- Stay focused. While we all want to have the perfect site that promotes all the best merchants; limit your site changes, landing page creations and paid search campaigns to a number that you can handle.
Keep those points in mind and you're guaranteed to have a Happy Holiday! 🙂