10 Affiliate Marketing Strategies for Maximizing Black Friday and Cyber Monday Traffic and CommissionsThursday, November 8th, 2012
Hey all my affiliate marketing friends and colleagues! I wanted to put an article together about the upcoming 2012 holiday shopping season which will be the biggest ever according to all indications. “Black Friday,” which falls on November 23th this year and is the day after Thanksgiving, and the following “Cyber Monday” are when online retailers are rolling out their best deals of the 2012 holiday shopping season. Not to mention this time kicks off the Holiday shopping season for consumers, so demand for deals at popular retailers will be strong with online shoppers. Every year, millions of Americans flock all over the Internet looking for deals and promotions to maximize their gift shopping budget. But how to capitalize on your Black Friday/Cyber Monday Affiliate Marketing efforts and maximize your time spent and commissions? Here are some suggestions to maximize your affiliate marketing activities leading up to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday time-frame:
1. Posting About Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals – this may sound obvious but the more pages of unique content you create on your site about various company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (that you are affiliated with), the more search engine rankings and free traffic you can get to those pages, and therefore possible referral commissions. Make sure to maximize your page titles and post titles to be relevant to what people are searching for, i.e. “Black Friday – Cyber Monday Deals on Electronics from TheNerds.net – Save up to 60%” or “The 10 Best Black Friday Gift Ideas for 12 Year Olds for 2012.” These would be examples of website page or post titles. Your “on-page content” is also really important to getting the organic search rankings for the exact search phrase or related searches going on, so include good, original, thorough content on all your pages about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal info to maximize the number of search results each page of your site can get from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The more pages of content you post to your site or blog, the more potential search rankings you can gain, and therefore traffic you can get to your site. I would suggest posting as the affiliate deals are sent to you, including an original write-up describing the merchant, the deal, photo, and how great it sounds. Then, once you have created the page/post on your site, you can share it on your Facebook profile, Facebook fan page, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other social network you participate with. I encourage you to use images in all of your posts so you can pin the images to Pinterest after you post, which can create click-through traffic to your site from Pinterest.
2. Socially Sharing With Your Friends/Followers/Community – once you create your post or page, you should spread it around through your own social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Fan Page, Pinterest) and also post it to “bookmarking” sites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, and StumbleUpon. This can help syndicate your posts onto more sites, and if the articles get popular on those social sites they can bring in good traffic. Also, submitting your content to well-ranking 3rd party sites like these can get you extra organic search listings for the article’s title and content. Definitely encourage your social friends to Like, Comment, Share, and Retweet your posts on Facebook and Twitter by asking for it and also do the same to their status updates. By interacting socially with friends on Facebook and Twitter they will do the same for you and it will help your content go viral to their friends, thereby increasing traffic to your affiliate offers and promotions. Try to avoid posting the exact same content in multiple places because it won’t really work for you to get rankings, rather post different variations of the same title and content in multiple places and then link back to the page on your site (such as on article directories). Make sure to have the social sharing buttons on every page of your site, see ShareThis.com to install the social sharing buttons to your site. Also the Facebook fan page widget is a must in your website/blog layout. Get really familiar with page sharing onto social networks and make it a part of your posting routine.
3. Messaging Your Base – If you are accumulating a database of email addresses through your website, you should most definitely be sending email newsletter blasts to promote Black Friday – Cyber Monday deals from your favorite affiliate Advertisers on a weekly if not daily basis. There are many email sending tools that are easy to use and very cheap including: iContact, Constant Contact, and MailChimp (which is free for up to 2000 contacts via Google). Make sure you are posting Fan Page and personal Facebook status updates daily and sharing your new site posts through your fan page to encourage fans to check it out and click-through. Really try to interact with your Facebook Fans and actively try to build more fans at every turn. If you are writing post after post, promoting a bunch of Advertiser’s deals you don’t have to be worried about bothering anyone because you are exposing them to new offers every time. Try not to post the same thing repetitively unless it’s a tremendous deal or one that has gotten great responses and uptake. Otherwise, keep posting more and more Advertiser’s deals to your base and you will gain more dropped cookies and traffic from it. Keep it varied and frequent. Don’t worry about posting too much because you never know which deal will resonate with your fan base. I recommend several posts per day through your fan page and other social networks.
4. Facebook Promoted Posts - Make sure to check out Facebook Promoted Posts, which ensures that a large percentage of your Facebook fans see your fan page postings. This has a flat-fee cost based on the amount of exposure you want for the post, but is very effective from my experience. Not to mention you can choose to expose your wall post to the friends of your fans which can be really powerful and allows your post to go viral beyond your fans. You can even ask some of your affiliate merchants to pay for the cost of the promoted posts, or even mark up the cost of the promoted posts to generate profit. Of course, the more engaged fans you have the better it will work, so you have to experiment with it and see what works best. But don’t be afraid of promoted posts, they are amazing! Also, make sure to try out sponsored posts on your Facebook profile for $7 per post. Also, make sure to check out Facebook fan advertising, which allows you to build your Facebook fans for a per fan fee. This is a very good way to boost your fan count and therefore have more people to expose your holiday deals to. You can really target to your ideal demographic which is nice. You can NEVER have too many targeted fans on Facebook to market to.
5. Online Press Releases - Online press releases are a great tool to increase your website’s exposure as well as building inbound links to your website. I recommend either PRWeb or eReleases.com. You can send a press release such as: Black Friday Deals are Launching on Evan’s Shopping Mall or 2012 Holiday Deals Have Launched at Mom’s Saving Mall (or whatever your website is called). Make sure to embed a couple of hyperlinks to your website in your press release to maximize inbound links to your site. Online press releases have cost, so make sure to have a really great titles and great content to make sure it gets good search rankings based on your content. Typically online press releases get distributed to 100′s of well-ranking websites, so over time this strategy can gain increased saturation in the search engines and bring traffic and exposure to your website. I recommend doing online press releases on a monthly basis, if not weekly. They work great!
6. Word of Mouth – telling people to check out your website or blog for some great deals shouldn’t be under-estimated. Having a website url that can be emailed, told by phone, posted socially, or otherwise communicated to your friends and family is great because why wouldn’t someone shopping online buy through your site when they can get great deals from all the top merchants online? So make sure to tell people to check out your site or blog for some great shopping deals whenever you can. Make sure to list deals and coupon from all the advertisers you are affiliated with so your friends and family will actually get a great deal and get excited about it, which will cause them to return later for more deals. You can even ask your affiliate advertisers to provide you with a dedicated coupon code (vanity coupons) to match your site url, which adds a little site branding to the experience and can increase the conversion rate of the sale. Social networking has stepped in to facilitate word of mouth, so make sure to be a very active social networker, which can help expose more people to the offers you are promoting.
7. Running Sweepstakes and Contests - Running sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways through WooBox.com is a great way to maximize your reach, build fans, and gather data for your newsletter list. The nice thing about Woobox is that it gives you the ability to capture more email opt-ins and Facebook fans from your site visitors, fans, and email subscribers. You can even convince some of your affiliate advertisers to sponsor your sweepstakes and donate the prize so it costs you very little to run the promotion. Then you can promote the sweepstakes on your site, newsletter, fan page, tweets, and other ways you can get the word out about your holiday sweepstakes. This is a really powerful way to maximize your exposure, grow your Facebook Fans, and build your email subscriber list. And, it’s extremely affordable to run a basic sweepstakes on your site with Woobox.com. Let me know if you have any questions about how to do this effectively. I have plenty of great examples to show you.
8. Pay-per-click Advertising - paid search engine advertising isn’t for everyone, and definitely has cost associated with it, so you have to tread lightly and really pick and choose what keyword phrases you want to advertise for in Google Adwords and Bing Ads (Yahoo and MSN/Bing). Google Adwords is definitely more expensive per click due to how many companies are advertising under various keyword phrases. Look to set up keyword campaigns for the affiliate advertisers that allow keyword bidding, utilizing the deals they have provided for you in your ad copy and pages you are sending the traffic to. Making general keyword phrases “convert” can be difficult for affiliates due to their low margins relative to the advertisers themselves, but there are sweet spots that can be exploited, i.e. inexpensive keyword phrases with high conversions. This is definitely an advanced technique and should be run very conservatively, spend-wise, until you know what keyword phrases are performing. In general, Bing Ads will be a more affordable way to go with your pay-per-click advertising campaigns, due to less competition, however there is less search volume than on Google. But it can definitely be a great way to compliment your site traffic with targeted search traffic that should perform well with good ad copy and landing pages. Not to mention lead to more Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
9. Getting Higher Commission Rates - once thing is for sure, most companies don’t pay their affiliate marketers what they possibly could for a sale, especially for a new customer sale. Look to ask your advertisers for higher payouts during the holiday season, they can only refuse, however most won’t offer it to their affiliate base so you have to be proactive and ask. Having a long cookie duration is also highly desirable to affiliate marketers, so make sure to promote companies that offer longer cookie lengths than their competitors, this gives you more of a chance of converting a click into a sale. Some advertisers may offer a performance incentive structure, meaning you will earn more commissions the more sales you produce. This can be effective, however doesn’t help smaller affiliates earn more. So I would suggest asking your affiliate advertisers for higher commission rates across the board, if they say no you can tell them you will promote their competitor and they will likely give in to your request.
10. Beyond Black Friday/ Cyber Monday – Black Friday / Cyber Monday is just the start of great deals from online merchants lasting all through December, so make sure to ask your affiliate advertisers for deals on a frequent basis. Posting holiday deals to your sites and blogs on a frequent basis can really build your site’s page count and can get you more organic traffic, so make sure to post as frequently as possible, the more frequently the better, and then share. Not to mention you can gain more fans and followers from the new pages of content when you position the Facebook Fan widget prominently in your site’s layout.
I hope you like these tips on how to maximize your Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Holiday Season affiliate promotions. If you would like to discuss any of these strategies please let us know. Thanks and have a great 2012 Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Holiday Season!