Most advertisers and publishers are currently in the midst of Q4 planning. Meanwhile, many consumers are delaying bigger purchases until the holiday season. However, don’t let this seemingly slower sales period hold you back from making the most of what’s left in Q3 and setting the foundation for a successful year-end.
To make the most of this in-between period, here are 12 proven promotional strategies that will drive traffic and sales through the affiliate channel over the next six to eight weeks.
1. Do a competitive analysis. To develop compelling promotions, you have to know what you are up against with regard to your competition.
To do your analysis, create a publisher account with your affiliate marketing network and look at the publicly available information with regard to commission structure and the communications that competitors are sending out to publishers.
2. Offer deeper discounts on end-of-season clearance items. If you’re like a lot of retailers, you’re probably eager to move your end-of-summer items and have already marked them down. As you’ve probably noticed, your competitors are doing the same thing.
At this time in the season, consider taking an extra 1 or 2 percent off clearance merchandise, adding a promotion code to it, and offering free shipping. This three-pronged approach has enabled retailers to differentiate themselves and consistently see strong results.
3. Run promotions for at least one week. The ideal time frame is between five to seven days. This period of time, along with a promotion code, will maximize results.
4. Spotlight free shipping. Whether free shipping is already standard with all purchases or whether it’s presented as a limited time offer, be sure to make this information stand out in your offers as it helps drive conversion.
However, if free shipping is not a viable option for your business, you can alter the terms to offer it for purchases over a certain threshold.
5. Create compelling offers on items consumers are craving. For example, you can offer deluxe, free samples of popular goods when customers purchase another product. While this approach has been very successful for beauty products, it can just as easily apply to back-to-school items or luxury goods.
6. Offer valuable gifts for higher end purchases. If a consumer is already in the market for a particular item, you can tip the scales in your favor by adding a gift if they make the purchase within a certain period of time.
Since this approach may not work for every company, depending on their brand and product lines, you could alternatively offer several smaller, high-value gifts.
7. Present private offers to top publishers. You can build this incentive on top of existing offers for an added boost and also as a way to recognize top performing publishers.
8. Develop separate SKU-based offers with higher commission rates. At first, this may seem like you’re cutting into your own profits. Yet in reality, this approach has proven to drive more sales without burning through your budget.
9. Call out last shipping dates. Build your promotion highlighting the last shipping date to create a sense of urgency. Be sure to add in a promo code and you’ll likely see an uptick in sales on that last day. For example, your promotion could be based on the “Buy by Tuesday using promo code XYZ and receive free shipping.”
10. Communicate regularly with your publishers. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked. It’s important to call your top publishers monthly or quarterly and send them activation campaigns on a regular basis.
Ask them how you can help improve their efforts. You’ll also want to reach out to publishers whose activity has been declining so you can identify and address any issues or stumbling blocks.
11. Work with coupon sites. Consumers love coupons and publishers are diligent about pushing them, especially if it’s an exclusive. Yet coupons may not be suitable for all brands. However, don’t let this hold you back from working with coupon sites. It’s a little known fact, but you can still appear on the coupon sites even if you’re not offering a coupon.
12. Plan for the holidays now. As we gear up for the holidays, advertisers should already be working with their publishers on promotion strategies to make the most of the last six weeks of the year. It’s in the best interest of advertisers to be working closely with their publishers now to get Q4 off to a great start and sustain that momentum throughout the season.
You’ll see an even stronger close to the third quarter and better performance through the end of the year by enhancing your current promotional strategies. By running these promotions now, you’ll also be able to test and tweak them to work out any kinks before the holiday rush.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.