Mistakes Internet Retailers Should Avoid With Affiliates This Holiday Season

Another Halloween has come and gone already. With Thanksgiving creeping up on us, the Holiday Shopping Season is pretty much here. Don’t believe us? Just head to your local Target and you’ll see plenty of Christmas decorations already out on display.

Yes, Q4 is a huge gift for businesses, affiliates, and publishers alike. Why, for many affiliates it can actually make up the bulk of annual revenues. So how do you maximize your earnings during the spending-frenzy insanity of the final quarter of the year? By avoiding three critical mistakes, that’s how!

Sometimes the best way to do something right is to know how not to do it. With that in mind, iAffiliate Management wanted to share 3 Mistakes Internet Retailers Should Avoid with Affiliates this Holiday Season. Read on and learn the best way to handle things by avoiding the worst techniques.

1. Don’t Be a Stranger

In Kevin Costner’s world, it may be true that “If you build it, they will come.” Okay, so that might be a good idea for baseball stadiums but it’s really bad advice for websites. If you don’t make any noise, you’re not going to get much attention. Don’t just start an affiliate program and then sit back and wait for everyone to promote it. Instead, you need to be vocal; you need to reach out.

For starters, you should be sending out regular emails to your publishers. Remind them that you’re here. Be sure to send entertaining and engaging emails too, rather than just straightforward, boring, non-helpful ones. Have something to say and say it. Also, include as much information as possible (i.e. specific affiliate links) to make it super easy for publishers to promote your site and your links.

In addition to emailing your current publishers, you should make as much noise as you can. It’s real lout out there during Q4 as everyone’s competing to get their message heard. So extend your reach as far and wide as you can. Tap into your social media channels to spread the word about your affiliate program. Tweet regularly. Update your Facebook page. Write entertaining blog posts. Guest post on other popular blogs. Advertise. Cross-promote. Basically do anything and everything you can to let your voice be heard.

2. Don’t Be Stale

With the exception of croutons, nobody likes anything stale. And we’re not just talking about food. Content can get stale too so be sure to change up your creative. Refresh those affiliate text links and graphics as you head into Q4.
It’s a good idea to have some evergreen content available to your publishers, but it’s also helpful to constantly be offering something new. That goes double, no, triple for the holiday season. Tie your creative around the winter season itself or build some Black Friday/Cyber Monday assets. Tackle all the demographics for gift giving (moms, dads, kids, grandparents, pets, etc.), give Santa Claus his due, or promote a special Gift Guide you may be building.

The more unique offerings you can put out for your publishers, the better chance they’ll find something useful for their site. It’s also a good time to try some new things out. Put up a bunch of new banner sizes, try shorter (or longer) length of copy in your text ads, and maybe give some videos a try. See what works and what doesn’t, and follow through on your next round of changes. Keeping your content fresh for your publishers shows that you care about them and you’re willing to constantly offer them new tools to promote your business.

3. Don’t Ignore Your Publishers

Customer loyalty is pretty critical to a company’s success. But don’t underestimate Publisher Loyalty as well. Establishing close and personal relationships with your best publishers can make a huge difference in how much attention your affiliate program is getting this Q4.

While it’s always a great idea to offer some overall publisher incentives (Like having a contest where you give out an iPhone 5 to the highest sales increase for the month), taking the time to personally reach out a dozen or so of your biggest publishers can go a long way.

Pick up the phone and chat with them. Send them a personal email thanking them for their continued support and ask what you can do to serve them better. Flat out just send them some sort of bonus. That could be something as basic as just buying them a gift card or getting them something really personal like sending a DVD you know they’ll love.

Publishers are much more apt to promote your company if they have a personal interest in it. If they know you and consider you a friend or someone they enjoy doing business with, then they’ll certainly want to push your company and products on their site. There’s most definitely something to be said for the little things. So take the time to show your best publishers how much they mean to you.

By avoiding three big mistakes this fourth quarter, you can arm yourself to have a real profitable holiday season. Don’t just rest on your laurels, don’t use the same old promotional assets, and don’t ignore your publishers. Or to put it simply, don’t forget to market yourself!