I’m sure you’re aware that online sales during the holiday season amount to billions of dollars every year. And you might have heard stories about affiliates who did particularly well during this time of the year, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
It’s all true. In fact, last year we earned close to $30k in November and December from just one site:
So in last week’s coaching session at Digital Worth Academy we took a deep dive on maximizing holiday season commissions. We got some really positive feedback so I thought it would be worth sharing some of that knowledge here too.
If you run an affiliate business and want a piece of the holiday pie for yourself, read on. Because if you implement the instructions in this article, you could also find this shopping season incredibly profitable.
Do All Affiliates Benefit From Pre-Holiday Preps?
I’ll start by saying, the amount you earn this November and December will depend on your particular market, your site visitors’ spending habits, and the amount of traffic you are already getting. The more traffic your site gets, the more you can directly benefit from what I’m about to say.
If you’re currently blessed with thousands of visitors a day, it could be incredibly worthwhile to implement the steps I share below. You should read to the end, take careful notes, and get going with your holiday action plan.
On the other hand, if your site attracts only one or two visitors a day, this plan probably isn’t for you. The process I’m recommending can be somewhat time-consuming, and if you’re currently getting very little traffic, you’ll benefit more by spending that time adding evergreen content to your site and building links.
What about the folks in the middle? If you’re getting a moderate amount of traffic, you have a decision to make. Read to the end of the article, so you’ll have a clear understanding of what it takes to prepare your site for the holidays. Then, you’ll have to decide if it makes sense to invest the extra time and energy.
Having said all that, even if your traffic and affiliate earnings aren’t great yet, I urge you to read on and pay close attention to my suggestions anyway. By this time next year, you might be in a better position to implement a rigorous pre-holiday plan, and then you, too, will be able to benefit from an increase in holiday sales.
(Note: If you don’t have an affiliate site making sales yet, you can grab the blueprint and software suite that did it for us, and so many others.)
Understanding Customer Mentality During The Holiday Season
We generally see higher conversions from our affiliate clicks from mid-November to mid-December, with the days around Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the highest converting.
Note that customers tend to buy a LOT of products (and multiples of products) during this time period. It’s a time of year when people stock up on gift items for friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers. That’s great news for you, because if your site visitors purchase a large number of items through your affiliate link, you’ll get a commission for all of them.
That’s why this is an especially important time to get people to click on your affiliate links.
The more visitors you can get to click through now, the more money you will make.
This is a crucial point. We know that people wait for November and December to roll around before making certain purchases. Customers know that by holding off until mid-November, they’ll benefit big-time from special holiday offers.
Let me use a real example to illustrate my point. I was looking over some sales stats from previous years. As I was poking around, I discovered that in 2017, a particular customer made a single purchase of 75 Kindles and 18 Echos. That’s remarkable, and it actually says a lot about consumer spending habits this time of the year.
We can’t know why someone would need so many Kindles. They might have been purchased as gifts or for a school or library. What we can say with some degree of confidence is that the customer likely waited until November to make such a big purchase.
Incidentally, the affiliate site that generated the sale made no mention of Kindles anywhere!
So, how exactly do you get people to click on your links?
Give Them What They Want
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, customers are on the lookout for special discounts and sales, more so than during the rest of the year. They’ve saved their money, they’re ready to buy, and now, more than ever, they want your help in making a purchase decision.
Your job as an affiliate is to help readers make decisions. At this time of the year, that includes finding them the best store and the best savings for buying the products that you’re reviewing.
Many affiliates don’t do this, and that explains why, despite the incredible buying frenzy from mid-November to mid-December, some affiliates don’t actually make more money this time of the year. I suspect this is because they haven’t made it clear to their customers where they can get the best deal.
If you don’t update your site with special holiday offers, your customers will go elsewhere to find that information.
Even those customers who have read your product review and decided what to buy will go elsewhere to find the best price. That would be an unfortunate and unnecessary loss of income for you.
So, How Do You Maximize Your Earnings?
The best thing you can do to boost your income potential for this time of the year is to add seasonal offers to your site.
Your first step here is to decide how to allocate your time. Start by looking at your content and deciding which posts you should focus on during the upcoming season. Your goal is to invest time in the posts that will bring you the most money.
How do you decide which posts to focus on?
By gathering and organizing vital information about your site.
Find out which of your posts get the most traffic. Go to Google Analytics. Then click on ‘Behavior,’ ‘Site Content,’ and ‘Landing Pages.’ This will show you what posts visitors are reading.
Find out which of your posts earn the most commissions. Go to your affiliate account, and determine which of your posts currently generate the most money.
Categorize your cash content. Based on the information you’ve gathered, divide your cash content into three categories:
- high-priority posts (which generate the most traffic and sales)
- medium-priority posts (which get some traffic and sales)
- and low-priority posts (which have zero or very little traffic and sales)
Organize the information you’ve gathered. Record all the information about your cash content on a spreadsheet. Use this to determine how and where to spend your time.
How to Add Holiday Offers to Your Posts
Starting around mid-November, you should add seasonal offers to your high- and medium-priority posts. Again, those are the posts that get more traffic and lead to more sales.
Essentially, you should go through those posts and add specific information about special holiday discounts. You want to highlight the best offers you can find for the products that relate to your post. There are a lot of ways to do this. I’ve listed a few:
Option #1: Add a ‘Best Deals’ section to your text.
Whether you’re working with an individual product review or a list post, you can add a section titled ‘Today’s Best Deals on Toaster Ovens’ or ‘Hot Seasonal Sales on Toaster Ovens.’
Option #2: Add a box for special discounts.
Somewhere near the top of your post, you can add a box listing special offers. I recommend not placing this box at the very top of your page, because you want your reader to realize this is a review, not just a list of offers. Consider positioning the box just after your introduction or somewhere else towards the top of your page, so it’s clear there is more content there for your visitor to read.
Option #3: Mention special offers in your call to action.
In your CTA, point out special deals, savings, and discounts. If you promote Amazon, remember they don’t allow you to include actual prices in your posts. What you can do is use the company’s product advertising API (which I’ll discuss below).
Option #4: Link to a ‘Special Offers’ page.
Add a link that brings your reader to a separate page with a list of hot deals. The benefit of doing this is that you can rank that ‘Special Offers’ page for related keywords.
But wait. There’s more…
How to Go the Extra Mile and Earn Even More
As you’re going through your posts and adding information about special deals, keep the following tips in mind so you can earn even more from your site.
Tip #1: Limit your list of offers.
List only a few of the best offers, and list only those offers that are specific to the product or product category that your page is talking about. Don’t overload or confuse your readers by listing too many offers or by mentioning deals on other products. Stick to the specific product or product category that is mentioned in your post.
Tip #2: Add a catch-all link for people looking for other products.
Under your list of offers, link to a general ‘deals’ or ‘category’ page on your merchant’s site, so visitors can click through to see more discounts. The link should say something like ‘Click here to see more discounts and savings on Amazon’.
This will help you get more clicks to the merchant you are promoting (remember how the more clicks you get, the more money you will earn?).
I can’t overstate the importance of this: during the holiday season, if you can get your customers to click through, they’re likely to buy something.
So, whatever affiliate program you’re a part of, try to get people over there.
Tip #3: Create a sense of urgency.
When you post information about special deals, create a sense of urgency for your readers. Don’t underestimate the power of good wording. You can boost sales simply by using phrases like “Today only,” or “Don’t miss out.”
Tip #4: Provide specific price and discount information.
In the offers you list, include the product’s name, image, price, and savings (percentage off). Having this information in your post helps tremendously with conversions.
As I mentioned earlier, Amazon doesn’t allow you to display specific information about price and/or savings. If you promote Amazon, you can use their free plugin or pay for AAWP, (which offers greater flexibility and a more polished look than the free plugin) to display these.
Tip #5: Look beyond the merchant(s) you normally promote.
You can include offers from a variety of stores that are popular in your market. If a particular store/brand doesn’t have an affiliate program, or if you don’t qualify for the program for some reason, you can often create links to the store through Skimlinks.
Tip #6: Monitor results.
Watch how your posts are doing, and for those that start earning well from these holiday offers, you can further increase your commissions by investing additional time in them. For example, you can:
- Check daily for new offers online. At this time of year, special deals come and go. Amazon has deals that are literally good for one day only. Add these offers to your posts.
- Adjust your offers based on your visitors’ behavior. Members of Digital Worth Academy can use the special Google Analytics report included in the program to learn what offers visitors are clicking on. If a large number of readers are clicking on a particular offer, make changes to your post based on that information. For example, you might want to move the most popular offer to the top of your list of offers, so people will see it right away. On the other hand, if you see that no one’s been clicking on a particular offer, consider removing it entirely from your list.
- Look at sales. Keep an eye on what people are actually buying. If you see that, out of the blue, people are buying a particular product, use that knowledge to generate new ideas about which offers to add to your list post. Find out what’s popular, and then add the item to your list post.
You can spend all day tweaking your posts, and it can get quite addictive, so make sure you allocate your time wisely. You should only work on content that is already earning you commissions.
Tip #7: Take the time to watch your sales and enjoy!
Seriously, if you do all this work, you can have some fun by visiting your affiliate account frequently and hitting refresh. ☺
Tip#8: Take notes for next year.
At the end of the season, take some time to write down your impressions. Make note of what worked (and what didn’t) this year, so you can improve your holiday promotions in the future. Write down what products sold, which pages generated sales, what type of promotion worked, and what wording was most effective. This is a crucial step if you want to consistently increase your holiday sales from year to year.
You have to consider this an ongoing, long-term project. Over the years, as you learn more about your market, you’ll gain a better understanding of how best to navigate the holiday season.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, you’re probably beginning to appreciate the potential of this approach. It’s a process that can be time-consuming, but it can greatly improve your holiday earnings.
Remember: your job is to help your site visitors by showing them the special offers they want. The merchant you are promoting will do the rest. Do your job well, and you will be rewarded with high commissions this season.