Posted 27 October, 2020 at 14:15
With Black Friday on the horizon, Virginia Rizzi, head of affiliate marketing at Glass Digital, shares some tips for how to improve your affiliate strategy ahead of one of 2020's biggest retail events.
Black Friday is one of the biggest retail days in the calendar. However, like most aspects of 2020, it's not immune to the effect COVID-19 is having on the economy, with forecasts predicting a shrink in spending of around a quarter when compared to 2019 (Wunderman Thompson).
While this is a poor outlook for the high street, online sales are set to surge, with two thirds (67%) of Black Friday shopping to be done online as people stay at home. And, with an expected total spend of around £3.7 billion, it's going to be worth getting your marketing strategy right this year.
If you'd prefer to take a low-risk, high reward approach in this fragile climate, then you should take a look into developing a strong affiliate marketing campaign ahead of Black Friday. To help you do just that, I'm going to share a few tips for success you can follow.
Things move quickly in Q4, and homepage exposure and newsletter inclusions can get booked up a lot more quickly than other times in the year. This is why it's really important that you reach out to your key affiliates as soon as you can to secure strong placements that showcase your brand.
You'll also find that affiliate rate cards increase in price as the Q4 period goes on, so a quick booking can pay off. It's worth block booking where you can, too, as you can benefit from a discounted rate and your brand will be promoted in one location, which can help to build brand awareness.
Discounts are synonymous with Black Friday. However, if you're apprehensive about offering them, it's worth remembering that they don't have to be detrimental to your margins or cheapen your brand if you adopt the right strategy — in some cases, they can even boost profits.
For instance, you could run your promotion on stock lines that you want to shift, which can clear inventory that would sit there unsold. Or, you can offer a discount that's only applied when a certain basket value is reached (e.g. £10 off an order of £100), which can encourage further spending. You could also try offering discounts on gift cards for your store, which will drive more customers to your site without offering too much of a discount.
One of the best tools in your arsenal ahead of Black Friday is the data on how your affiliate campaigns performed last year. Were they a success? Are there areas you could clearly improve upon this time around? Try to fix gaps in your strategy and consider doing more to capitalise on areas where performance was strong in previous years.
I mentioned how COVID-19 is set to have an impact on Black Friday, making it slightly unpredictable, but you can check on recent search volume around your brand and products over the last couple of months to get insight as well. It may be obvious from popular searches that customers have been waiting for Black Friday to purchase your products — for instance they may have been searching a certain product name plus "Black Friday" or "Black Friday deals". You may also be able to see which products are proving popular from the search volumes.
When you're finalising your affiliate strategy, you need to make sure that any discounted products have enough stock to satisfy demand. This is important, as you don't want it to negatively impact the customer experience and have potentially damaging consequences for your brand.
Stock issues can be tricky to navigate, but you'll have the most success by making sure there is good communication between your affiliate marketers and ecommerce managers. With better dialogue between those organising stock and those handling offers, your operation can adapt to low stock levels quickly, ensuring the offer can be withdrawn in a timely manner so that shoppers won't be left disappointed. Making sure the affiliate marketer also has the latest stock data can help too.
I hope these tips help you put together a great affiliate marketing strategy ahead of Black Friday. Put this advice into action and you could take advantage of the anticipated boom in online sales.