Preparing Your Affiliate Program for Black Friday, Cyber Monday & More

Holiday Season Affiliate Marketing
It’s the most wonderful, and hectic, time of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just weeks away, kicking off the 2019 holiday shopping season.

If you’re an e-commerce advertiser, it’s likely that you’re in the midst of some of your busiest times. So, we’ll cut straight to the point.

Here’s how you can prepare your affiliate program for the holiday season:

Set Your Strategy

Prepare a strategy that combines your affiliate marketing program with your holiday sales goals. Start by evaluating your marketing efforts from the previous year:

  • Which channels were successful?
  • Which ones underperformed?
  • Were there certain affiliates with high conversion rates?
  • What materials did they use for promotion?
  • Which landing pages converted?

Find out what you can use again, and what should be left in 2018. Also, look at what your competitors have done in the past, or what they are doing this year.

Set special commission rates & bonuses
Evaluate your affiliate marketing budget with holiday specific promotions in mind. Factor in your program’s commissions, bonuses or discounts, and how it fits your ROI. Then, if you can, set special holiday commission rates or bonuses to further incentivize affiliates.

Create a Holiday Calendar

The holiday season goes beyond the Black Friday hype. There’s several holidays in the following weeks to include in your affiliate marketing strategy.

These days include:

  • Black Friday : November 29
  • Small Business Saturday : November 30
  • Cyber Monday : December 2
  • Free Shipping Day: December 14
  • Hanukkah: December 22-30
  • Christmas Day: December 25
  • Boxing Day: December 26
  • New Years Eve: December 31

Beyond Black Friday
Along with these major days, think about what you can do in the weeks following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is when competition has cooled down from the initial rush but consumers are still actively searching for gifts, providing your brand with the opportunity to increase sales.

One way to do this is by creating a “shopping holiday” specific to your store. Have a specific day (or days) for killer deals and flash sales to draw customers in.

For example, Cosmetic retailer Ulta has their annual “Holiday Beauty Blitz” featuring flash sales for different items each day leading up to Christmas. Amazon does “12 Days of Deals” with new items on sale each day. Macy’s has several holiday sale days, including their “After Christmas Sale” that focuses on advertising deals post-holiday.

Incentivize affiliates by setting higher commission rates or offer bonuses for this specific event. Affiliates can promote the event by sharing limited-time discounts and coupon codes with their audiences. An affiliate promotion could be something like sharing with their followers: use code JOLLY for free shipping, expires at midnight.

Reatil Surprise Sale

Provide Affiliates with Everything Holiday-Sale

Equip your affiliates with everything holiday-sale related so they are well-prepared to create content and promote. Here’s what you should share:

Promotion Details
Clearly communicate all the information of your holidays sales with affiliates.

Be sure to include:

  • A detailed list of the sale discounts and prices
  • Time of each sale, how long it will last & when discounts/coupons expire
  • Terms & Conditions such as sale exclusions or gift return policy
  • Sale slogans or catch-phrases like “Save Big for Cyber-Monday” or “Holiday Deals & Steals”

The earlier you can provide this information, the better. By giving your affiliates advanced notice, they will have plenty of time to prepare content, especially if it is more in-depth like product reviews or tutorial videos.

Additionally, affiliates can strategically act as a “leak” for your deals, giving their audiences some insider details about what to expect prior to the actual sale.

The last day for shipping for holiday arrival
Set the expectations for your customers by providing ship-by dates to affiliates. You don’t want affiliates promoting promises that you can’t keep.

This can also encourage your customers to make their purchases earlier on.

To help give you an idea, here are the shipping dates for two major US carriers. But, be sure to check for your local and international services for detailed deadlines.

FedEx Holiday SHipping

UPS Holiday shipping

Affiliate promotional codes
Promotional codes are a great push for customers unsure of whether to buy. In fact, two-thirds of consumers say they have “made a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make solely based on finding a coupon or discount”.

Be sure to provide your affiliates with the exact promotional code. Take into consideration case-sensitive characters, the exact times it will be active and when it expires.

New Products & Featured Products
Affiliates are a great way to promote and drive traffic to specific items. If you are introducing new products during the holiday season, share this with affiliates and provide a detailed explanation of the product.

If possible, it can be helpful to send affiliates a sample beforehand so they can use it for themselves. This can be used for “sneak preview” content like modeling clothes or trying out new electronics before they are available, generating interest and hype.

Program-Related Information
Be sure to communicate any information about your affiliate program that may be different during the holiday season. This can include:

  • New commission structures
  • Bonuses and bonus time frames
  • Per product/per category commissions
  • Affiliate Contests
  • Refund & Dispute handling
  • Payout timeline following the holiday season

Share with Your Affiliates

This information can be sent through email, newsletter or your preferred affiliate communication.

It can look something like this:

2019 Holiday Sale (1)

You can download the free template here.