As the second biggest shopping season behind the winter holidays, more than $18 billion is spent annually on Mother’s Day gifts in the United States.
Of that, 25 percent is attributed to purchases made online. This represents a steady increase over the years when you consider that in 2011, 21 percent of Mother’s Day purchases were made online.
While most purchases are made during the five days leading up to Mother’s Day, the most successful affiliate marketing plans are set into motion weeks in advance. So, to help you make the most of the upcoming Mother’s Day shopping season, here is a four-week affiliate marketing plan.
Week One: Identify Products, Create Sales Copy
First, meet with your account manager at your affiliate network to brainstorm ideas specific to Mother’s Day. Part of this should include seeing how your products align with the most popular Mother’s Day items. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers tend to shower their moms with:
- Clothing and accessories
- Gift cards
- Personal services, like a day spa visit
Of course, if you’re promoting products that don’t fall into these categories, you can still drive Mother’s Day sales by working more closely with your account manager and publishers to develop creative campaigns and special incentives.
Next, update your website copy to feature your Mother’s Day offers prominently. Since you may be attracting shoppers outside of your usual target audience, consider creating separate online paths based on the type of Mother’s Day shopper you’re aiming to attract. For example, you could call out a specific route for dads, sons or daughters.
Once you’ve updated your website copy, develop fresh ads so you can provide your publishers with a variety of options that reflect their specific audiences and your special offers.
Week Two: Identify Publishers, Get Feedback On Incentives
Working with your network account manager, identify the most active publishers supporting your products as well as those publishers promoting the most popular Mother’s Day gifts. Be sure that your expanded scope includes publishers that specialize in deals and comparison shopping so that you can maximize your reach.
For example, publisher BradsDeals is known as a top, one-stop resource for the latest coupons and deals from thousands of leading retailers. In fact, BradsDeals has amassed more than 11 million newsletter subscribers.
Since Mother’s Day is their second busiest shopping season, BradsDeals maps out its strategy well in advance. According to Jennifer Goodwin, director of partner relations, “We meet with our advertisers weeks in advance and start to roll out our campaigns in early April. This includes an online Mother’s Day guide, a blog featuring the best deals on the most popular Mother’s Day gifts, and working with merchants to present exclusive offers. Also, we’re tapping into our vast amount of data so that we can offer advertisers an opportunity to send highly-targeted and effective newsletters to attract and convert the right buyer.”
Once you’ve identified your target publishers, connect with them to express your interest in participating in their Mother’s Day campaigns. Let them know about the campaigns you have underway, and get their feedback on the types of incentives they find to be the most motivating. From there, you can determine the types of Mother’s Day incentives you’re going to offer based on publisher feedback and performance. If you’re working with a new publisher, consider a sign-on bonus or other type of incentive.
Week Three: Promote Offers, Experiment With Ads & Deals
Promote exclusive affiliate offers. The combination of a great offer for consumers and exclusivity to the affiliate channel drives sales while showing your commitment to publishers. Encourage publishers to experiment with the variety of new Mother’s Day ads and track their effectiveness so you can make adjustments if necessary.
Consider bundling related items as part of a Mother’s Day special to increase the average order value. For example, you may want to present a package that combines flowers with a day spa certificate or presents mom with her new tablet computer over brunch.
You can also create a special incentive for affiliates that specialize in mobile comparison shopping. While we know that a quarter of Mother’s Day shopping is being done online, let’s not lose sight of the fact that many of those shoppers are going to be comparison shopping on their smartphones while they’re in the brick-and-mortar stores.
Week Four: Target Last-Minute Shoppers, Evaluate Progress
Create a contest for publishers to run during the days leading up to Mother’s Day so you can capture the last-minute shoppers (who will likely make up the majority of your target audience). Along with specials such as free shipping and guaranteed overnight delivery, consider other differentiating factors that will make you stand out as the clear choice from the consumer’s point of view.
These can include last-minute specials or discounts on future purchases. As you start to analyze your results, take note of the efforts that drove the most traffic and sales. You’ll want to keep them top-of-mind as you start planning for graduation and Father’s Day.
The key to making the most of any holiday shopping season, especially Mother’s Day, is to plan at least four to six weeks in advance. This way, you can refine your strategy, offer compelling incentives, and make adjustments if necessary without losing traction during such a compressed period of time.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.