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How to Motivate Affiliates for the Holiday Shopping Season

By November 25, 2019 No Comments

The peak shopping season of the year is right around the corner. As Black Friday fast approaches, you need your affiliates on the ball and ready to promote your products. But how do you mobilize your network of reps to make the most of this shopping boom? Read on for a few tried-and-true ideas.

1. Seasonal Theme Focus

Fall and winter lends itself to selling particular items. Warm clothes, coffee mugs, and fuzzy socks are all the rage. People expect to see more of these sorts of items offered for sale and perhaps even marked down.

Remind your affiliates (via your exclusive affiliate webpage, e-newsletter, or Facebook group) to rotate the products they promote to match the season.

Even if you sell products that don’t exactly fit the season, or have no season at all, you can still market them with a seasonal twist.

Do you sell wall clocks?

Don’t miss a second of your countdown to Christmas: upgrade to our state-of-the-art, stylish wall clock so you’ll know exactly when Santa is due to arrive!

Perhaps you sell area rugs, or couch covers, or bedding?

This is the time of year where visitors will be invading your house, hopefully in a pleasant way! But no matter whether your guests are well-behaved or not, put your best foot forward by sprucing up your decor with our… (fill in the blanks.)

I can think of dozens of things that aren’t necessarily holiday-themed, and I’m sure you can too. These are items that can be billed as preparing for guests, preparing food, and pretty much anything worth having can be presented as the perfect holiday gift.

Even if what you’re selling is specific to warm weather or summer, you can still run seasonal sales to counteract the off-season slump. Make sure you let your affiliates know in advance, and get your trackable discount and coupon codes ready to go!

2. Contests

Everyone loves a little friendly competition, and affiliates are no exception! Run contests to drive sales upward, and offer a reward at the end. Whether it’s a featured spot in your newsletter, an affiliate of the month (or quarter) award, an extra bonus, special branded items only available to top reps, or anything exclusive to contest winners, use your imagination and sweeten the pot!

You can run the contest based on leads generated, leads converted, total sales, sales rate increase, or any combination. You can choose a winner from multiple categories to make everyone feel like they have a better chance of winning. The more affiliates in your network, the more winners you’ll want to have, lest the odds seem impossible and discourage some of your affiliates from trying.

Gamification doesn’t just inspire newly on-boarded members to work harder, it also motivates long-term veterans to increase their efforts. Try using badges or special avatars that mark your affiliate’s level of success in your private chat room, forum, or social media hangout. Flairs, titles, or achievements are all great incentives for your reps to put their skills on display by attaining the next goal and rising even higher.

3. Leaderboards

Related to this idea of affiliate contests is the leaderboard. By showing affiliate rankings in rea -time for other affiliates to see, reps can see a tangible result every time they increase their conversion rate or make another sale. Trackable metrics are essential for this sort of gamification to work.

 Since you’ll already have these tracking metrics in place, it’ll be easy to keep tabs on which of your affiliates rises to the top, and why. Pay close attention to the methods that garner the most success, and make a mental note to check back later and make sure it didn’t hurt the long-term conversion rate for that affiliate. Once you know which methods are truly a success, spread the word and get your other reps doing it, too!

Make sure to reward your top affiliates with a bit more than just a cooler badge on the leaderboard. Remember, happy affiliates make you more money!

4. Commission Bumps

Strategic bumps in commission over the holiday season is a surefire way to motivate your affiliate to greater effort. By limiting the commission bump to a specific period of time, you create a sense of urgency to promote as much as possible while it lasts.

Check the industry average for affiliate commissions and audit your bottom line to see exactly how much you can afford to bump the rates. Remember that it’s more cost-effective to nourish the affiliates you already have than to recruit and cultivate new ones. So give them the best commission rate increase that you can reasonably afford and watch the sales roll in!

5. Performance (and Surprise) Bonuses

Bonuses have been shown in a study by Cornell University to significantly increase performance results. A simple 1% raise only boosted performance by about 2%. Take that same amount of money and give it in a lump sum for a job well-done, and performance rose as much as 19%. The core principle seems to be that specific rewards for a specific goal is more effective than a generic pat on the back.

Using bonuses is a bit different from the contest ideas mentioned above. You can target your best producers for ‘job well done’ bonuses, or you can seek out any lagging reps and give them a little something to say ‘we appreciate you.’ Or both.

Naturally, it’s a good idea to reward your most successful affiliates and keep them working hard. On the other hand, if you’re already running a results-based contest, your less spectacular reps may feel too intimidated to throw their hat in the ring and may just stay down for the count.

That’s when you reach out to the affiliates in the middle–not doing terrible, but also not on top of their game. By sending out some kind of ‘we appreciate you’ gift, bonus, or reward, you remind these reps that you care about them and the work that they do. This acknowledgment of their efforts will kickstart their motivation and take their promotion to a new level. The unexpected nature of the reward will have more impact than a run-of-the-mill one, too.

6. Content Campaigns

We all get busy with life and sometimes fall behind on our responsibilities. Content generation is hard. Writing articles, taking great photos, or composing a great video all take time and energy that may be wearing thin, especially around the holiday season.

Counteract this problem by generating content for your affiliates. Produce a pithy video, provide some IG-ready product photos, and whip up some blog posts or tweet templates for your reps to use as a springboard. Send it out to your affiliates and give them some starter ideas for how to use it.

 Have a campaign outline ready for your affiliates to follow and fill out with their own unique flair. What are you focusing on promoting this season? What new products or updates are you planning to release?

What tags or slogans are you using for promotion based on all the Key Performance Indicators you’ve been closely watching? 

Let your affiliates in on the program and watch the inspiration unfold before your eyes. Sometimes all it takes is one great idea to spark a hundred more.

Who Is Refersion?

We have the affiliate marketing software you need to succeed in the eCommerce industry. We have the experts to help you launch a customized affiliate network that fits your company, along with the tracking, control, and ease of use that allows you to master market trends and see the big picture. Refersion and its partners bring the best of payments, onboarding, advertising, and promotion, and put it to work for you and your business. Check out our services and see what we can do for you!

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