If you are like me, there is nothing more satisfying that putting a big exaggerated check mark next to a box on my To-Do list. “Success!” I scream with glee, as I am sure you do too.
At ShareASale, it is our goal to provide you, our client, with as many gleeful moments as possible. Therefore, I present you with a To-Do list today that you can have the sweet satisfaction of ticking off one step at a time. And the added bonus, your Affiliate Program will be well stocked and armed for Q4. Win, win.
Please feel free to download our Q4 Merchant Checklist and tape it securely on your computer monitor to ensure that you march into Fourth Quarter 2013 well prepared. I’ve provided a full explanation of each check item below.
If you have some of your own favorite fourth quarter prep items or tips, please feel free to share!
- Auto Deposit: Set up auto deposit in anticipation of the increased sales you will see this quarter. Consider adding a secondary funding source on file to assure your Affiliate links will not break during this critical timeframe.
- Avoid Website Changes: Fourth Quarter is not the ideal time for doing a full site relaunch. To ensure there are no disruptions to your tracking pixel, make any planned website updates no later than October 1.
- Give Recruitment a Break: There’s something you don’t hear very often! During the last three months of the year, shift focus to activation rather than new recruits as Affiliates are less likely to add new programs during the fourth quarter. Affiliates will be focused on updating their sites with products and links from current partners rather than seeking out new partnership opportunities.
- Keep in Touch: It is always in good practice to stay in regular contact with your Affiliates. But this is especially true during Q4. Send monthly (at least) newsletters with hot sellers, coupons, sales content, gift ideas, etc. Keep the Affiliates up to date and in tune with tips and ideas on how they can best market your site.
- Schedule Newsletters: Save yourself a little stress and schedule your communications in advance. When you are inside the newsletter tool, you can schedule the date of newsletter delivery under the Finalize step.
- Be Responsive: Be very timely with all your responses to any Affiliate inquiries. Any delayed communication will increase the likelihood they may move on to another Merchant or product. You can also contact any Affiliate directly from the “Contact” link in the Affiliate’s detail page or from the Affiliate List. Direct contact should be used in the event that you need to cancel or void any transactions. Be sure to list a clear reason and get in touch with the Affiliate to let them know the transaction has been reversed and why.
- Double Check Contact Info: Speaking of Affiliates reaching out to you, be sure that the email address in your account is up to date and accurate. I’d also suggest adding your contact details to newsletters, reply emails, program bio, etc. so it’s very easy for Affiliates to identify the person managing the account. Contact details should include: Name, Email, Phone, and any other means by which you would like Affiliates to contact you (i.e. Facebook, Blog, IM, Twitter, Skype, etc.)
Promotions / Deals
- Give Advanced Notice on Deals: Be sure to give plenty of advanced notice for any promotions/coupons you will be running during this quarter to allow ample time for Affiliates to get the deals uploaded on their sites. Load all deals/coupons in the ShareASale deals database.
- Upload Gift Cards: There are many sites out there dedicated to gift cards. If you offer the sale of gift cards on your site, you can upload these to the ShareASale Gift Card Database as an additional creative option for Affiliates.
- Pre-schedule Promotions: Using the Advanced Commission Structures you are able to create custom commission rules that will help you automate any promotions you may be planning on running this quarter. You can set up rules ahead of time and have them set to run on transactions for a specific time period.
- Gain Exposure in the Holiday Center: Consider taking out a listing in ShareASale’s Holiday Central. There are several Q4 categories to choose from such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, Hanukkah, and Winter Season. If you have products targeted to any of these holidays, it’s a great way to gain some extra exposure for your program.
Videos can do so much more than pictures to capture a consumer’s attention, which is why we expect to see more e-commerce businesses replace photos with videos in 2013.
- Upload Product Video: We are a visual people and therefore video continues to be a viable and useful creative. If you have any product videos available or short reviews, you can make that available to your Affiliates.
- Maintain Datafeed: Double check that your datafeed is up-to-date with in stock products. ensure that all images, landing pages, and prices are listed correctly. I would also consider automating your datafeed uploads but utilizing FTP access. This will allow you to schedule and automate the file upload process. Submit a ticket if you’re interested in uploading your datafeed via FTP.
- Pass Along Gift Guides: Gift guides are a popular ways to promote a specific selection of products. Or give your Affiliates creative applications for marketing your products. Create a storefront/collection of products or put together product recommendations for your Affiliates. If you have a datafeed uploaded, you can utilize the ShareASale widget tool to create gift guides. For example, you could create a widget with products featured by price range. Each tab could be a different price point – under $10, under $25, under $50, etc.
- Creative Check: Double check that the landing pages for your creatives are working and correct. Keep in mind that deeper landing links tend to convert better than those directing to the homepage. Especially if the banner reflects a specific section or category of your website. If you are an apparel retailer for example, consider creating a banner specifically for your Jackets category that lands on the jackets page, Dresses banner on the dresses page, so on and so forth.
- Automate Creatives: There’s no doubt you may be releasing a ton of deals this shopping season. You can save yourself the time of logging in and adding each deal to the database but utilizing our API. With the API you are able to upload coupons and/or creatives, as well as edit any current banners, text links, or deals. Hooray timesaver!