October 1st marked the first day of Q4 and sellers and affiliates alike are focused heavily on the busiest shopping quarter of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas all mean huge sales opportunities for all. According to ShareASale:

•Q4 2011, consumers spent $50 billion online shopping!
•Affiliates see upwards of 50% of their revenue during Q4.
•Cyber Monday was the #1 highest shopping day of 2011.
The following two Monday’s were #2 and #3. These three weeks are the most impactful spending time of the year.

If you’re not already full swing, you’re a bit behind the rest, but you still have time to catch up and get your placements in order before you miss out completely! Here are a few tips to make sure you’re taking advantage of the busiest sales cycle of the year.

 

1. Fund Your Account

If your affiliate network offers it, make sure your program is set on auto-deposit. You do not want to risk going offline right when you have your biggest chance to sell.

 

2. Test Your Links

Make sure you have no broken links in your program. Check all your creatives (text links, banners, widgets) to make sure they are working and tracking properly.

 

3. Optimize Your Datafeed

This is one of the first things you should do when you launch your program, but if you haven’t already, make sure your data feed works with proper images showing, accurate prices and descriptions, that titles have essential keywords and so on.

 

4. Create Some Widgets

If you have a data feed creating widgets will be easy. If you have widgets already, go back and make sure they are showcasing your best and most relevant sellers this season.

 

5. Check Your Welcome Letter

One of THE most important tools you have in getting your affiliates active is your welcome letter. The majority of these are auto responders, however there are things you can include to help affiliates get excited about promoting you sooner. Include links to text links and banners,  mention your product data feed, list your best selling products and include your contact info in case they have questions. Then respond right away!

 

6. Promotions and Deals

With buyers ready to spend, they will be looking for the best deals online, especially over Black Friday and Cyber Monday so make sure you have lots of promotional offers and deals, both for affiliates and customers, and communicate those clearly. You can also keep a few exclusive offers to help you negotiate placement on sites you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get without an exclusive offer.

 

7. Newsletter Outreach

If you have personal outreach options, I always encourage you to speak with your affiliate partners directly, however don’t forget about everyone else! Send a weekly or monthly newsletter that highlights your deals, offers, new releases, website updates and any other essential information an affiliate would need to know to help them sell this season.

 

8. Giveaways

Affiliates love having giveaways to get their audience excited – it’s also a great way to get an editorial piece or better placement on a website. If you have a product that you can share with your affiliate or they can share with their audience you will get more exposure and better placement this season.

 

9. Holiday Placement

If your affiliate network has a holiday section, get listed there. If your affiliates have a holiday or season season section, get listed there. Be relevant and make sure you are found where people are looking.

 

10. Relevant Creatives

It’s amazing how many sellers never update their banners or text links. Make sure you have seasonal banners that are appropriate for each major selling day and be relevant. For banners, make sure you have a clear image, branding, message and call to action button.

By following these points you’ll be sure to have a far more successful Q4. When you’re done, be sure to go back and check your reporting for year over year growth.