Julia Stanley, Director of Partnerships at LT Partners
Rachel Jones, Director of Partnerships at LT Partners
September 27th, 2023
Take the time to reflect on what worked last year. Identify the top partners and placements that met (or exceeded) performance goals, the promotions that performed the best, and which days saw peak traffic and sales. Once you’ve established the components that drove your program during the 2022 holiday season, take stock of what has changed for your brand in 2023. It is also important to understand your competitors and how you stack up against them. You can do this by keeping tabs on competitors’ cashback rates, promotions, and content inclusions, and by requesting share of voice data from top partners and reviewing benchmarking reports (which are available in most Affiliate Networks).
(Pro Tip: LIFT gives LT Partners' clients the edge when it comes to benchmarking and partner trends. The partnership performance analytics platform enables clients to pull insights from across the LT Partners brand portfolio).
Once you’ve done the prework, you can make more informed decisions about the technical elements of your Holiday 2023 Affiliate Marketing plan, from your campaign goals and budgets to your partner strategy (cashback procedures, content priorities, and creative approach).
Share your goals and content approach with partners early, leveraging your prework to create buy-in in your methodology. Be sure to request Q4 media kits at this time to ensure you’re staying ahead of the curve (and that your partners are too) while getting access to the best placements, content inclusions, gift guides, and more. Don’t wait to lock in placements - time is of the essence, and the best opportunities go the quickest. Finally, remember to communicate shipping cutoff dates as this information is relevant to those last-minute shoppers.
There are tried and true marketing methods that resonate with consumers during the holidays. Utilize comprehensive gift guides and listicles that are specific to certain categories and demographics, like “Best Gifts for Foodies” or “Best Gifts for Your Mother-in-Law”. Pitching brands with a specific gifting angle is a smart tactic to earn organic coverage through top publications like The Strategist, Good Housekeeping, Forbes, Esquire, and more. Additionally, effective Holiday 2023 Affiliate Marketing programs will involve gift card strategies for those “Last Minute Gift Idea” articles. As Cyber Week approaches, be sure to share all promotional details with top-of-funnel publishers that emphasize Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, as it’s important to have your holiday promotions featured.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday typically are the largest revenue drivers in Q4, it’s important to also establish a strategy for other major shopping days including Single’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Double’s Day, Green Monday, and Boxing Day. Work to understand the promotional strategy for these events and make sure you lock in coverage as needed.
In our July article, Affiliate Marketing Trends & Best Practices in 2023, New Engen Chief Growth Officer Lacie Thompson said, “Affiliate marketing is a partnership-based business.” Keep this in mind as you proceed with your holiday marketing efforts, and connect regularly with relevant stakeholders throughout the holiday season. Maintaining an open line of communication will help you stay on track and instill confidence in your publishers and partners.
While it’s critical to reach audiences at key moments throughout the holidays, leaning in during quieter periods can allow you to avoid the noise and save money. This is especially critical with content and influencer partners, as those opportunities can take multiple touch points with consumers, but are impactful for driving new customers with higher LTV.
Finally, have a contingency plan - and map out the triggers you’ll need in order to take swift action. This will require knowing which partners can support quick wins if performance is light and identifying potential CPA adjustments for individual partners. Additionally, be proactive by creating promo codes in advance, as these can serve as an effective lever for increasing performance. Deploy a strong mix of promotions, including threshold offers to boost AOV, sitewide promotions to drive topline revenue, and targeted category deals to lift product sales.
These best practices will support your Holiday 2023 Affiliate Marketing strategy and set you up for success in 2024. To learn more, read our recent deep dive into Affiliate Marketing trends and best practices. And if you want to help elevate your brand’s affiliate marketing program, contact the LT Partners team of Affiliate Marketing experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.