Developing and Implementing an Affiliate Marketing Calendar

This is a live blog post from an #AMDays session presented by Karen Garcia of GTO Management.

It doesn’t matter what size company you work at, a simple marketing calendar can be your digital helpers and reminder for planning and executing a consistent marketing strategy for your company or client.

A Solid Calendar reduces stress, provides visibility, gives you more freedom, diminishes crises, allows for proactive creativity.

“Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even through they rarely stick to their plan” – Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

Your Current Marketing Plan

Best is proactive plan done well in advance, campaigns meet or exceed expectations regularly, track and reviews detailed KPIs regularly and tests new things consistently.

Neutral plans are attempted but not well executed, perform alright, track basic KPIs and revied only accosionally and sometimes test changes.

The worst plans are all reactive or non existent, no KPIs are tracked, nothing is tested. So just do your best to do your best proactive plan. 

Where do you start? Make a list. 

You – make a list of everything you do on a day to day basis. If you’re not sure what you do, write down in a journal for three days every task you do, and you will be able to identify your task list.

Then make an exhaustive list of all the things you want to do, whether you’re currently doing them or not.

Internal – obtain available marketing plans from other internal channels. Review last year’s affiliate activities. Look through reports, emails and newsletters. Review last year’s activities in other channels (social, blogs, customer newsletters, etc)

Your competition – review competition’s affiliate activities, affiliate newsletters are often publicly available. Review competitions customer newsletters. Not signed up? Do that now. Also, set up Google Alerts, review competitions social media and blog for additional ideas.

Look at holidays that are NOT traditional. 

  • Super Bowl Sunday
  • March Madness
  • International Tabletop Day
  • No Pants Day
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Traditional Holidays you should also be ready for:
  • New Years Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Back to School
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday / Cyber Monday
  • Hanukkah
  • Christmas
Everything you do falls into one of two categories – Granular and Big Picture. If you don’t put the big things first you’ll never get them in at all. Examine details of “big picture” campaigns and create an outline. This should include objectives and goals, messaging, literature and collateral creation, other needed resources (graphics designer, coding, etc), other channel plans – and work backwards from launch date.
Here’s a sample campaign – Father’s Day
Objective and Goals:
  • Get affiliates to promote products for Father’s Day
  • Increase sales from last June by 20%
Messaging
  • Consumer Message: Fun for Dad, Father’s Day in June 17th
  • Affiliate message: Father’s day gift Guides and Banners
Literature and collateral creation
  • Ned new banners, create gift goes, blog post, newsletter
Other needed resources (graphic designer, coding, etc)
  • Update data feed with new products
  • Father’s Day holiday shipping deadlines
Other Channel Plans
  • New Top Sellers list
  • Consumer email dates.
  • Twitter Campaigns
(now do this, but put it in spreadsheet format) Use Brandeo.com to help you create your marketing calendars.
Drill Down
Now that you have your big picture, drill down into the smaller supporting, granular tasks you need to track:
Recruiting – look to niches that support your upcoming project, but  don’t forget other key affiliate demographics
Delegation – determine who is responsible for various resources, such as graphics and determine their deliverable timeline
Reporting – What are your important KPIs for this campaign? What is your measure for overall success.
If you don’t know what your metrics are for reporting, your campaign has already failed. You need to know what your measures are for success. Keep track of those metrics and attach them to your campaigns so you remember how they performed. Think of your affiliate marketing calendar as a taxonomy chart. Drill down as far as you need, but continue to keep the big picture in mind.
Contest Strategy Calendar
Develop your content in advance
  • If you publish daily, complete content 2-5 days in advance
  • If you pushes 2 times a week, complete content 2 weeks ahead
What goes on the calendar?
  • Content Title
  • Author
  • Publication Date
  • Publication Status
  • Destination (blog, print, facebook, twitter, newsletter, etc)
  • Notes
  • Any other process you require like legal reviews, images, approvals, etc
  • Metrics.
Use Daily Task Lifehack from Neville Medhora of AppSumo to stay organized. Work with your affiliates one on one to ensure the timing is right and they get to be the first ones to announce deals to end users.
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