Emily Strachan

Visualsoft Affiliates Guide For The Peak Retail Period

You may be wondering how we are already in Q4 and where the rest of 2018 has gone – we are too! The dark nights are starting to arrive with the festive season almost upon us and there’s much more than just Christmas to plan for, with other key dates such as Halloween, Bonfire Night, Black Friday, Cyber Week and Singles Day to take into consideration!

If you haven’t already planned for Q4, you will need to act fast to ensure you maximise performance, particularly through the affiliate channel. Our in-house team discovered that there was a 91% increase in conversions alone across the Black Friday Weekend, when comparing 2016 to 2017. We always suggest prior planning for the peak retail period, to ensure you secure the best activity with publishers. However have no fear, if you still need some inspiration on how to plan for a successful quarter through the affiliate channel, our Enterprise Account Manager, Callum Ridley, is on hand to share his top tips!

Outline your objectives:

Forward planning is key when it comes to maximising performance through the affiliate channel, especially when it comes to Q4. However, in order to plan and create a successful strategy, you will need to first set objectives. Once these are in place, you will be better prepared to make objective led decisions and create and shape campaigns and promotions, which not only meet your objectives but extend beyond them!

Channel and/or seasonal objectives should always relate back to your overarching business goals, but it is healthy to include a mixture of publisher-specific objectives, seasonal goals and even tie-ins with other marketing channels. For example, setting a single objective of ‘increase turnover’ is too vague to help guide your strategic thinking. Here are some ideas on how to break down your Q4 objectives:

  • Increase new customer acquisition to 30% for the month of November.
  • Improve attribution rate of content publishers.
  • Maintain profitability of 40%, including any promotions.

Know your audience, be ready to compete:

Q4 is a highly competitive time, with most, if not all of your competitors ramping up their marketing efforts and pricing strategies. It’s important that you understand your target audience so that you can engage with them effectively. Once you know your audience, you can work with specific publishers that have similar target audiences to produce the best results. If you’re unsure on the target audience of a publisher, take a look at their media decks or simply get in touch with them directly – in our experience they are usually more than happy to help!

Make your campaigns and promotions not only appealing but competitive so that you are not being overlooked in favour of your competitors, after all, you will be competing against hundreds of retailers at this time of year. We suggest reviewing competitor activity regularly to keep up to date with what they are doing and how that could be affecting the customer’s decision to purchase with you.

Recognition and reward, lead to successful partnerships:

Q4 is an extremely competitive period for retailers, which also means publishers are more competitive too. Publishers will be working with many brands and retailers across multiple sectors to execute their individual campaigns and will see an increase in traffic over this period, further increasing the opportunity for you to target new customers and engage with your existing customer base.

With this in mind, you need to ensure you are offering publishers a competitive commercial reward to help them increase performance for you as the advertiser in addition to improving the relationship with the publisher. You can reward publishers in a number of different ways including increased CPA rates, bonus schemes and tenancy packages.

Increase visibility, to avoid invisibility:

You need to be active and visible when customers are looking for your product, otherwise, they will find it elsewhere. To increase visibility through the affiliate channel we strongly recommend you allocate a budget to allow the use of tenancy placements with key publishers. This will not only increase performance but also increase brand awareness and create stronger partnerships – in our experience, money talks. For example, when working with publishers through tenancy you could gain additional exposure through onsite placements, inclusion in newsletters/solus newsletters and gift guide inclusions.

It’s also important to make sure your campaigns are live and tracking across all devices, including mobile (potentially even offline to online and vice versa). This is crucial to understanding the customer reach of a campaign, especially with more people purchasing through mobile devices than ever before.

Take the collaborative approach:

Your Affiliate strategy should be consistent and collaborative, taking into account all of the campaigns you are running across each marketing channel (such as Paid Search, Email and Social), in order to ensure a successful quarter. Promoting mixed messages is an easy way to cause confusion, which may lead to the customer shopping elsewhere, so it is vital that all marketing channels are working in tandem.

Don’t forget to align creatives too! Working from a campaign design will help you to improve the customer journey and increase purchases. For example, if you have a landing page onsite for Black Friday, use the same design across all channels and publisher verticals including display, onsite conversion tools, cashback and content. We have the technology, expertise and robust account management to catapult your affiliate performance over the next quarter and beyond, so if that sounds good to you, we’d love to chat to you.

If you want to discuss Affiliate Campaign Management with Visualsoft Affiliates in more detail, contact our team direct on 01642 988 416.

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