Black Friday and Cyber Monday are but days away, and Christmas is just around the corner. How ready are you for the busiest shopping period of the year?
In the UK, Black Friday and the weekend following generated over £3 billion in sales, whilst our friends in the US spent almost $8 billion. People are turning to shopping for Black Friday deals on their devices from the comfort of their own home, rather than braving the crowds and weather on the high street and in retail stores.
Have you prepared for the biggest shopping period of the year? Your website needs to be lightning-quick and bug-free otherwise those customers will take their credit cards elsewhere. As an affiliate you don’t need to worry about stock and shipping, just focus on promoting your site and the products you recommend.
1. Prior Planning & Preparation Prevent P*** Poor Performance
Have you done your research? By pre-empting the biggest Black Friday deals you can be ready to shout about them on your site. Consumers are already checking out Black Friday deals and scouting about for bargains, so map out your products and tweak your site if necessary. And look beyond Black Friday. Christmas is coming so it’s worth planning out your sales strategy to include Christmas and the January sales.
2. Spread the Word
Now you need to spread the word. Hammer those social media channels and get people excited about the sales and buying gifts for their loved ones through you.
If you have an email list, plan your communications in the lead up to the sales period. People have chosen to engage with you and your business so send them personalised messages that will have an impact when it comes to buying time.
Please note..Just a side note, when emailing people as an affiliate, offer them good content that encourages them to click through to your website. Affiliate links are more often than not discouraged or just plain not allowed in email communications, so bear that in mind.
- Social Media
Use your social media channels to shout about your website in the lead up to Black Friday. Create a schedule or social media calendar. Use the opportunity to drive traffic to your site by posting stand out content. Keep it classy – affiliate links and anything that looks spammy will be seen as suspicious or untrustworthy. Use your social media channels to reinforce your brand, integrity and authenticity.
Is your site optimised? Do all the products you feature on your site have unique, keyword-lead descriptions? Are all your products accompanied by optimised images? Have you got a good number of product reviews or blog posts on your site to offer value to potential customers? This will all help your site to rank for the products you want to earn commissions for and at times of the year like this, improvements in SEO will have a big impact on your site. And if you haven’t already, install Yoast SEO plugin to help your SEO efforts. Have a little look at this video for more details.
- Paid Ads
This is something to consider at this time of year. There is a lot of competition and it’s all a numbers game. The more eyes you can get on your site, the higher the chance of conversions, so consider increasing your reach with some carefully-targeted paid ads. This could be especially useful if you are a bit late to the party and your Black Friday preparation is only just starting.
You can spend as much or as little as you want on paid ads, and the key here is targeting. We would recommend Google AdWords and Facebook ads. As an affiliate you do have to be careful you’re not bidding on disallowed keywords and brand terms, and always drive the ad back to your website, not straight to Amazon. That is not allowed.
3. Prepare Your Website
A lot of people think that the way a sight looks is secondary to the content on the site. We don’t 100% agree with this – your site has to look authentic, enticing, trustworthy and it has to flow…
- Closing the Deal
Make sure that the process your visitor has to go through to make their purchase and get you the affiliate commission is as simple, intuitive and trustworthy as possible. By this we mean if you are using the WooCommerce cart, or something similar, is it working properly?
Is it displayed nicely on your site? When you then pass the basket information to Amazon, will the user know or understand why? Or will it come as a complete shock and cause them to abandon their basket? Put yourself in their shoes and make sure you’re doing everything you can to complete the sale.
- Make it Aesthetically Pleasing
Make your site look nice and festive by adding some holiday-themed images, banners or even a slider. Attractive visuals can help impress users and persuade them to make a purchase. It can go a long way to improving your users’ experience. The same for copy – make sure you had compelling, informative and even entertaining content in the right places on your site.
At this time of year people may have even less patience than ever, as they wade through the plethora of online deals to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Don’t give them an excuse to leave your website without at least having made an impression. And making your site hard to navigate is a sure-fire way to get them to do just that. User experience is tantamount so think like one of your customers and make sure your site flows nicely and leads to a fairly smooth conversion funnel. If needs be, simplify your navigation.
- Update Your Blog
You should really be adding new content to your blog regularly. If you haven’t been, get writing. You need to show that you are an authority in your niche, that people should buy products off the back of your recommendations and reviews and that you are engaging and entertaining. At this time of year buyer’s guides, shopping guides and curated gift lists are perfect examples of the types of content you could be publishing.
Here you can see that BestReviews has lots of updated content, relevant to the time of year. It's all about gift guides, the best gifts for different people, and even tips for having a vegan Thanksgiving.
4. Prepare Your Website Technically
It’s not all about looks though – your site has to perform well technically, otherwise you can wave goodbye to customers…
Have you installed an SSL certificate on your site? If not, you really should, and with a lot of hosting packages, you now get a free SSL certificate. Check out this video we did recently on installing an SSL certificate. Seeing the green padlock of trust that you get with an SSL certificate on your site will help the user to feel safe and secure on your site.
- Spikes in traffic
The ideal scenario during this hot sales period would be a huge increase in traffic to your website, but is your server ready for a spike in traffic? If in doubt, double check. The speed of your server is actually crucial and could be affecting your SEO negatively if you are on a slow shared server. We’ve just done a massive hosting comparison project, which you can check out here. If you feel that you need to make a change to your hosting, do it. It’s not difficult and your new hosting providers will probably help you out.
- Make Sure Your ALL Your Affiliate Links Work
The last thing you need is for your links to lead to a 404 page. Triple check all your affiliate links, particularly if you are using something like WooZone (WZone). Make sure that your products are updated and any out of stock products are not showing on your site.
For more info on WooZone, check out these videos: How to make an AMAZON AFFILIATE WEBSITE 2018 with WordPress Woocommerce and Woozone (Wzone) and Woozone (Wzone) Version 10 – Amazon Product API NOT Required
- Be mobile-ready
There are many reasons why your website should be fully responsive and mobile-friendly. There really is no excuse now to not have a website that look glorious on a mobile phone. And we all know that a lot of browsing and shopping is now done on a mobile device. Test your site on all devices.
If you haven’t started preparing, get moving! Make the most of the opportunity and be ready for the holiday shopping frenzy.
If you’ve got any more tips or experiences to share about getting your site ready for the Black Friday and Christmas periods, or any more insights into how to maximise sales during the festive period, drop us a comment.