As we head into Q4 and the holiday season, the eye of ecommerce merchants will focus even more on their online marketing efforts. Rightfully so! The next few weeks are all about delivering on the promise and planning of the past few months and starting the new year with a solid financial footing. For merchants with affiliate programs, this means preparing your program and affiliates for upcoming promotions and products.
Here’s four things you should do today to prepare:
- Test Your Check Out
If your checkout process uses more than one payment method, such as credit cards and Paypal, you should test both payment types to ensure that they track properly. There’s not much worse than realizing after the fact that a cart is only awarding partial credit and you have to manually figure out how much to award individual affiliates for the mistake. Placing a few test orders will save you a ton of frustration and potential work hours.
- Take a Look from the Affiliate Side
If you haven’t yet joined your own affiliate program, now is definitely the time! Create a test account and go through the process a potential affiliate would of joining your program and review everything that they see. Check the content provided in the network approval emails to ensure that it’s current and relevant. Do the same with any restrictions you expect affiliates to adhere to, including any search marketing or coupon requirements. Make sure affiliates can easily find a way to contact you if they have a question or an opportunity.
- Overhaul Your Creatives
Review the graphics and creatives affiliates use to link to you and replace anything old or outdated. Also, check that all your links work, that they go to appropriate landing pages, and if you’re using UTM codes for internal analytics purposes, ensure those codes are correct and included on your links.
- Prep Your Calendar
Between October 1st and Thanksgiving, there are just 38 work days. That’s it.
You need a calendar, even if it’s just for your own sanity. Schedule all your big picture items such as customer promotions, email drops, reminders, contests, and banner changes, then look to add in additional granular tasks such as any additional reporting or Q4 meetings that you know will occur. There’s thousands of recommendations out there for what kind of calendar works best, but honestly it will always come down to what works best for you. Personally, I mostly use a combination of Google Calendar, Trello, and a paper based lifehack from Neville Medhora of AppSumo for my day to day.
These four basic tasks will help your affiliate program put its best foot forward early in this busy shopping season and can prevent a lot of stress and hassle down the road.
Over the next week, we’ll continue to talk about additional things you can do to make for a successful Q4 in your affiliate channel.
If you feel stuck or overwhelmed, or just need a second set of eyes, Lab6 Media can help! Contact us today to discuss your affiliate program.