With 365 days, four seasons and plenty of events throughout the year, how do you really take advantage of seasonality? Most affiliates don’t do this enough, despite the fact that it can hugely increase your sales.
In this article I’ll explain why you should have an editorial calendar and give you five tips on how to successfully monetise from seasonality.
The Importance of Keeping an Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar allows you plan and schedule your upcoming affiliate promotions for the year ahead. By planning ahead and creating your calendar at the end of the year for the forthcoming year and you’ll give yourself a great head start in coming up with successful creative strategies for your affiliate campaigns.
The most obvious seasonality examples are Christmas, New Year, summer holidays, the wedding season and back to school time. But some less obvious ones that you may not have thought of are Mother’s Day, Stoptober and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can also take advantage of viral campaigns such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or even celebrity scandals. Almost every merchant piggybacks on seasonality trends to increase their profits and so should you!
By keeping an editorial calendar you’ll ensure that you are well prepared for upcoming events, and won’t find yourself struggling to come up with and execute a great campaign at the last minute.
Here’s five ways to plan a successful seasonal campaign:
1. Plan Prominent Promotions on Your Site
Speak to the merchant and see if you can negotiate special deals, voucher codes or offers in advance. If you have a review type site, make sure to give seasonal vouchers or offers high prominence. Placing best-sellers of the season at the top of your site is ideal. You can also spotlight seasonal items on product comparison sites. For insights into the seasonal cycle of specific products, get in touch with the respective affiliate manager for those products.
2. Prepare Relevant Editorial Content for your Site
Plan relevant articles in advance. Come up with headlines related to the seasonal topic, write unique quality content and ensure that you are on the same level as your target audience. Whether you write content yourself or prefer to outsource, staying on top of it well in advance means you avoid a last minute rush the day before Cyber Monday!
3. Consider Altering Your Site Theme to Reflect the Event
Small changes to your site theme such as adding an amended logo with something Christmassy or a summer holiday related image to your header or sidebars can lead to a more emotional connection with your audience. Little changes can often get your target audience talking on social media, word of mouth or in forums. If you embrace a season, your visitors will too.
4. Build New Niche Sites
Sites can be built specifically for a chosen seasonal peak such as a sports event site, a summer holiday must-have site or a Christmas gift idea site. If you build a quality niche site, make sure to capture email addresses so that you can build an additional income stream with a targeted email list. A great way to do this is by offering a free e-book.
5. Plan Email/Newsletter Campaigns
Newsletter campaigns do especially well for big seasonal events such as Christmas and New Year (all those people resolving to lose weight or stop smoking can make you a lot of money!). You can provide product recommendations for the event as well as offering your readers value with lists such as “3 Tips for Stopping Smoking” or “5 Ways to Lose Weight”. But don’t just sell. You should be aiming to build strong relationships by providing a heart-warming, non-commercial message. If you build a quality list and send quality mails to the right target group, the return on investment can be huge.
Merchants too have to plan their seasonal campaigns. Dedicated merchants proactively use the affiliate channel to promote special campaigns and to give affiliates the creative they need such as seasonal banners, infographics, video, email templates, discount codes and more. But whether a merchant or affiliate, you should always document your seasonal campaigns carefully so you have a point of reference for future campaigns.
Seasonal marketing should always be part of the sales funnel. Both merchants and affiliates should position their offers so that they tie in with the season in order to maximise profits and to build powerful relationships with their audience. By working together, merchants and affiliates can always take great advantage of seasonality. And with 2015 rapidly approaching, now is the time to start preparing your editorial calendar!