If you’re waiting for Black Friday & Cyber Monday weekend to kick off the shopping season, then we’re sorry to say you may be late to the party – but have no fear! We are here to give you some valuable tips and best practices to help you during the holiday season!
Part II: Content Tips
Tip #4: Develop a Knack for the Niche
Nearly 85% of retailers will send an email to their customers about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (Shop.org). Simply pushing advertisements for generic deals from big box retailers won’t work. It may raise awareness for the sale but it won’t answer the reader’s question of “why is this relevant to me and why should I buy it?” Put yourself in the mind of the consumer and try to think about the pain points they experience throughout their shopping journey.
Creativity is the key to standing out from the crowd and your promotion or product-related post needs to be memorable and unique. As technology and shopping portals become more personalized and tailored to their specific interests, consumers are growing accustomed to finding exactly what they are looking for – no matter how niche. Generic guides featuring “Gifts for Him” or “Gifts under $50” no longer resonate with consumers. Today, shoppers are looking to find “the perfect gift under $35 for their tech-savvy aunt who loves urban gardening” or, “gifts for an 8-year-old nephew who is obsessed with Batman (but only the Batman with the black mask, not the blue one).”
In addition to the topic you choose to write about, think strategically about the components of your blog posts. Posts should include shareable images, clear and creative titles, seasonally-relevant banners, advertisements to your top revenue-generating posts, and more.
- Unique blog post title that potentially answers a question that someone would type into a search engine.
- Original images (Don’t have Photoshop? Check out these free design resources: Canva.com and Gimp).
- Clickable tags with seasonally specific keywords (Gifts under 50, Gift for dog lover).
- Add a temporary “Gifts” category to your blog’s main menu that features holiday-centric posts and special promotions.
- Make sure side bars are updating with relevant banners and affiliate links!
- Add share buttons to each post!
Tip #5: Optimize Your Images and Posts for Google Search.
Almost half of US shoppers will use an online search to find their gifts this year, which is a huge advantage for Affiliate Marketers. While content is king, pictures are worth a thousand words so consider taking some extra time to optimize the photos in order to be found by new shoppers.
- Stick with standard image types that Google can index, such as BMP, GIF, JPEG, or PNG.
- Always utilize “alt text” and be descriptive so that you know what the image is supposed to display regardless of whether or not it loads.
- Be sure that you are naming your image file with terms that are relevant to what it is.
- For example, if you are posting about the new eyeglass collection from Warby Parker and have an original image of you wearing the frames, name your image such as “warby-parker-simone-frames.jpg” rather than a generic file name.
Tip #6: Consider User Experience
Often times we consider the front-facing components of a site to be the most important – beautiful images, well-crafted copy and unique content. But when the competition rises and consumers are changing up their typical behavior – spending more time researching and reading product-focused content, searching for new and unusual gift recommendations, shopping on-the-go or in the grocery line (thank you smartphones!), etc. – new things can make a difference in their decision to make your site their “go-to” shopping destination. Optimize your content for page load speed which means avoiding heavy graphics like carousels and social scripts.
Not only should you draw in your readers with a user-friendly website, but also with creative, customized, memorable posts. Don’t provide generic deals, find unique ways to show that your audience why you think the deal is valuable.
Consider what your readers will relate to – remember that they are not necessarily shopping for themselves during this holiday season. They might be shopping for people on their gifting list. Organize your posts and Gift Guides with a new menu structure so that shoppers can shop by price point, category or recipient type. Cross-link to other relevant posts and embed links throughout the body of your content to allow seamless navigation through your posts.
Tip #7: Call to Action Through Email Sign-ups.
The majority of all e-commerce retailers will send an email on Cyber Monday, email competition will be tough! Don’t lose heart – remember that you are a trusted resource which gives you the competitive edge over retailers. Email marketing generated 23.1% of online orders overall the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend (Omnisend). Your readers trust you – use that to your advantage and don’t forget to use email to reach your subscribers!
Timing is everything when sending your emails. Consider what time is best to entice your readers to click through and buy.
In addition to timing, before you send any emails, ask yourself if your subject lines will help you stand out amidst the mass of emails in your reader’s inbox. Check out the top 19 words that are “expected to dominate the holiday marketing email campaigns you see in 2015” (Vertical Response).
Don’t forget to use some or several of these key words in your email marketing campaigns – but put your own spin on it!
Resource: Email Design Guide
Did you know? Google, Yahoo, and Bing now give priority to mobile-friendly sites, while sites that aren’t optimized may experience a negative impact in their rankings. It’s important that your mobile website has the same content, search features, and level of design and usability as your desktop version. Source: Iron Paper
TIP #8: Optimize for Mobile, in Advance!
It is no surprise that more and more people are using their mobile devices to make purchases. It is becoming increasingly crucial to ensure that your website and emails are mobile friendly – test, test, test! Soundest reports that 30.3% of online orders for Black Friday happened on a mobile device. For Cyber Monday, mobile accounted for 21.9% of online orders, and 26.4% over entire sales weekend. 40% of purchases are directly influenced by smartphones (iMediaConnection), so make sure you are planning your marketing strategies appropriately!
For ShareASale, 25-30% of traffic and 15-18% of all orders on Cyber Monday 2014 came from mobile devices. In 2014, U.S. adults spent 23% more time on mobile during an average day than in 2013 (Business2Community). Percentage of mobile purchasing will continue to rise, so double check with all your Merchants that their tracking is solid across all their sites – including web, mobile and tablet!
Affiliate’s Checklist for Black Friday & Cyber Monday