It’s amazing to think about how fast this year has gone with half of September done. We’re going to be on Christmas before we know it and we’re going to wonder how it’s time to celebrate 2020.
If you’re a marketer, you know it’s a time of crunch. For any business, Q4 is one of the busiest times of the year, and marketing is the driving force behind Q4 success. That means traditional marketing, marketing performance, and any other type of marketing with which you may be involved.
While much of what I’m about to do has a good foundation that covers all types of business, this focus will be on marketing performance and affiliate space. This area tends to be something that some brands leave to cover with their agency or they let the program ride with no additional involvement. However, getting more involved during this time with the program and adding your program to the overall strategy of the company can prove essential for a more successful end of the year.
By now, I’m sure you started your Q4 strategy as a company and if you haven’t, I suggest you get on with it as soon as possible, particularly when it comes to your affiliate program. Things move fast and now is the time to get going if you’re looking for success at the end of the year.
Now, where are you going to start? You can have a very effective plan implemented with very little stress added to the Q4 frenzy with the following five tips being your strategy focus.
1. Start planning yesterday
If you haven’t already, as I mentioned, you should begin to get your mindset into Q4 mode and start your strategy. Plan certain meetings with your programmanager(s) to discuss placements, budgets and objectives. Have you changed your priorities? What is the budget allowing? It’s always a good idea to have everyone on the same page at the start. This also relieves some work and stress on your end if your program manager is confident about their quarter approach.
2. Get your partners engaged
Offering Q4 bonuses and/or commission increases is a great way to prepare your partners to promote during this busy purchase time. If you want to take this route, I would suggest that you send out an announcement as soon as possible. This will ensure that your brand is in the minds of your partners as they plan their own Q4 schedule.
The same applies to placements. Now put “feeler emails” out to the top partners of your program and see if there are any Q4 placements you would like to receive before they all get booked. Many top partners are starting to schedule their Q4 placements early, so you’re going to want to punch other brands. The best course for affiliate success is to have top placements set, especially in this quarter.
3. Q4 assets: ready and available
At the end of the year, affiliates are just as busy, so try to make things as enticing and easy as they can. Create new seasonal banners and text links to add them to the network and let your partners know they are available (include a few ad codes to easily capture them as well). Another thing your partners would like is to promote seasonal landing pages. With topics like Fall Style, Thanksgiving Recipes, Holiday Travel Tips, and other specific targets popular this year, landing pages dedicated to specific topics can intrigue affiliates and help them promote them.
This way of thinking also works for your upcoming sales schedule. When it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals, for example, create a newsletter schedule leading up to the big event so affiliates can prepare better. The more opportunities you need to promote, the sooner your partners know what is available to promote.
4. Keep the game ahead
Speaking of promotions, try to have promotional details confirmed in advance as hectic as things can get. This time of year, last-minute sales are not always picked up and promoted. An affiliate or influencer has probably planned and scheduled as much as you have, so if they are unaware of what is being offered, they end up not having the time or space available.
It’s also a good thing to note all year round. If you tend to offer last-minute deals and promotions, your partners will assume that Q4 won’t change that. For big placements and opportunities, therefore, you run the risk of not being considered. Build that trust and relationship throughout the year and for the big holiday season you will be one of the first brands you think of your partners.
5. Don’t forget to breathe
Yes, this is a key point to be focused on during Q4. If you are stressing out, panicking or losing focus, you can forget something important, let things fall through the cracks, overcompensate, the list continues. Keep calm, organized and healthy for you and your team. And, remember to set realistic goals at all times.
If you still wonder how you can hit your goals with a relaxed Q4 with limited time, I get it. Customers save for Christmas gifts, people take time off to travel for the holidays (employees and affiliates), so you feel like you need to hurry and seize every opportunity you can at any time. That’s not what makes good marketing strategies, though.
If you take the aforementioned tips and include your affiliate program as a true extension of your marketing efforts, you will achieve the important goals. In fact, worrying about every small opportunity can cause you to put effort into goals that are not so important; letting you scramble to get back on track.
Don’t let you and your company get the best out of this Q4. With your partner program in mind, start planning and you’ll be sure to see big wins. During all this, just don’t forget about Q1.