14-Point Holiday Season Affiliate Marketing Tips, Strategies, and Tools

shutterstock_63491380_jpg_280x280_crop_q95

Hello there! I hope your 2013 is going well and you are ready to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. I wanted to put together some useful tips for generating more traffic and affiliate commissions during the busy holiday shopping season so you can maximize your affiliate marketing earnings. More people are shopping online this year than ever before, so it’s must to take advantage of that with your affiliate marketing efforts. Here are some online marketing tips you can use to maximize your online marketing activities this holiday shopping season:

1. Post About Hot Gift Items – posting about the hottest holiday gift items is a great way to build your site or blog with content people are actually searching for during the holidays, ex. “10 hottest gift ideas for 2013? or “What are the top gadget gifts for 2013?” Do your research and depending on your niche there will be a set of hot products that are in-demand this holiday season. Then, create pages on your site or blog with good content write-ups about these hot products and use “lists” as well because they tend to be read and shared, such as: Top 11 Tech Gadget Gifts for 2013, 6 Must-have Corporate Gifts Ideas to Impress Your Clients, 8 Innovated Gifts for Your Children. Titles like that can really pull in the traffic and are more likely to be commented on. Remember, the more content you post the more search rankings you can garner with each page of your site, so post a lot of pages and fill them with great, keyword-rich content and titles to maximize your SEO benefits. Gear your December promotions towards holiday savings, coupons, and great shopping deals, which a lot of people will be searching for those keyword phrases for various merchants, so make sure to weave that content into your postings and pages. Great deals for the holidays that can be promoted all month long every day. Finally, you have your after-Christmas sales that can promoted from every merchant you affiliate with.

 2. Ask for Special Coupons or Promos – asking your affiliate managers and advertisers for special deals, coupon promotions, or vanity coupon codes (coupon word matching your site)  are great ways to leverage your site’s branding to market exclusive deals to your traffic, subscribers, fans, and followers. Not all affiliate advertisers will be able to provide this because they can’t do it for everyone or may not at all due to lack of resources, but you can get lucky with a great promotions sometimes and really kill it. Make sure to get the current month’s deals from the advertisers you are promoting so the offers in the posts will be compelling and convert higher with your visitors. Make sure to keep your deals current and timely, otherwise visitors will hit brick walls when trying shop using the codes, which isn’t ideal at all. Just keep posting those great deals as you get them from your affiliate advertisers and then share the pasts/pages on Facebook and Twitter. Also, make sure you are emailing your database weekly with all the latest and greatest promotions.

 3. Ramp-Up Your Social Networking – Make sure you are adding Facebook friends, Facebook fans from your site traffic, and Twitter followers on a constant basis so you have more people to expose your offers, promotions, and pages to during the holidays. However, don’t crush people with too many offers in a short span or they may get turned off from your frequency. Don’t recommend something you haven’t tried yourself, however you can make product suggestions and promote really good deals and coupons from merchants you are affiliated with. If you always have fresh content and promotions your audience will really appreciate that and you will be building website branding with your traffic which is good for repeat traffic. Check out Facebook “Boosted” Posts which allow you to advertise your fan page wall post to a larger amount of your fans and their friends, it really spurs engagement! One of my $100 promoted posts got 3000 likes and a ton of comments, so the exposure can be huge. Also, Facebook allows you to promote a post on your personal profile, which can get you some extra exposure for cheap on Facebook.

 4. Increase Posting Frequency – Posting tons of original articles to your site or blog, then sharing it all socially, are the best ways to ramp up your traffic in advance of the holidays. Adding frequent posts of fresh content to your site can really expand the number of pages you have indexed in Google, Yahoo, and MSN/Bing which increases the chances your site will rank under a larger variety of search phrases and bring in more free traffic to your site. Once you make a new post on your site you can immediately share the title and page url on Facebook, Twitter, and your fan page. Make sure to add something like, “Isn’t this a wonderful deal?” to your postings to increase interaction and response especially on Facebook. Your goal is to get as make Likes, Comments, and Shares on Facebook as you possibly can to gain the most exposure and traffic. Post alternate versions of your articles and posts to 3rd party article directories, like ezinearticles.com, with rewrites of your articles and titles to maximize your organic rankings. I recommend 1-10 posts a day to your site to increase your search engine indexing and page count. But you can never post too much to your site as long as it’s all unique content. Over time, you can build your page count into the thousands of pages which will bring your site more free “organic” search traffic. Make sure you have the Sharethis.com social buttons at the top of each post and your Facebook fan page widget at the top of the right column of your site or blog. I recommend using the Facebook commenting plug-in at the bottom of each post, so it’s shared on Facebook instantly by your commenters. Check out aweber.com to implement a pop-up to gain the visitor’s name and email in exchange for your helpful guide or newsletter subscription. This can really maximize the number of people you can remarket to via email and send back to your site or fan page.

 5. Ask for Higher Commissions – asking your affiliate advertisers for better commission rates during the holidays is a great way to ensure you will maximize your earnings. Some advertisers may only do this if you have produced a good amount of sales volume in the past, but it never hurts to ask…they can only say no. Most affiliate advertisers have some room to increase affiliate commissions so you need to ask for a higher payout whenever possible. If they say no or are rude, tell them you will go and promote their competitor, which will change their attitude quickly. You can also offer paid placement on your website, blog, newsletter, or social networks. If you have a decent amount of traffic, fans and followers, there are advertisers that will pay an additional paid placement fee in addition to your affiliate commissions, so that’s a great reason to try to expand what you are doing steadily over time and build the relationship with your advertisers. You can sell them “Boosted Posts” to your fans on Facebook and charge an additional fee. Savvy advertisers know the value of a a promoted post on the right fan page, however it’s a recently new advertising medium so you have to suggest it and make it sound as great of an opportunity as it is. A few case studies wouldn’t hurt either.

 6. Email Your List – if you maintain a database of email addresses as you should, make sure you are messaging your email database at least weekly with the newest offers from your affiliate advertisers. Make sure you are growing your list with email opt-in plug-ins on your site like aweber.com. Take growing your email list seriously as it will pay dividends the larger a list it is. You can use services like icontact, constant contact, or mailchimp to blast your email list. Or just use aweber.com to handle it all. Make the investment in Dreamveaver to edit your HTML email, and have a nice HTML newsletter designed which you can use as a template for all your future blasts. This time of year, you can email your database daily if you have new promotions to share every day.

7. Run Sweepstakes and Contests –  running sweepstakes and contests on your website during the holiday time-frame is a great idea because you will gain more Facebook fans, email opt-ins, wall postings, tweets, and user data from your existing website traffic. Using Woobox.com is a great way to inexpensively run an exciting sweepstakes or contest on your site, fan page, email list, and twitter. If you can get your affiliate advertisers to supply the prizes for your sweepstakes…even better! You can do anything from giving away a $100 gift card to a multi-prize, mega-contest! This is the best ways to really maximize your traffic, fans, and followers. It’s my #1 recommendation to basically everyone, so make sure to implement a sweepstakes or contest during these pivotal next few weeks when traffic is up. Let me know if you need any ideas about how to run your sweepstakes promotion effectively! Here is a an article I wrote about how to run a holiday sweepstakes.

8. Turn on Paid Search – Pay-per-click search is still the #1 way to obtain targeted traffic, so why not turn on some PPC traffic to your site for the holidays! The only issues is the cost, check out Bing Ads for less expensive clicks under your popular keyword phrases. One great technique is to purchase keywords based on a merchant’s name with coupon code attached to it. Only certain companies even allow this and it can get quite competitive, but if you can drop your cookie on those types of searchers it should have a good profit level, since those searchers are likely in the buying process. But check with your advertisers before starting. Similarly you can target more general keyword phrases like “auto part coupon codes” (and even more product-specific searches with coupon code) and then link to a page of deals from affiliate advertisers. You could test that out to 100′s search phrases and seeing which converted and had a return. There are many angles to pursue with paid search, however since there is cost associated you have to tread extremely lightly with your keyword bids otherwise you will lose money and have nothing to show for it but some clicks.

9. Advertise for Fans on Facebook – The beautiful thing about Facebook advertising is the targeting! You can really drill down to the types of people you want to see your ads and gain just those people as fans. For instance you can target based on: age, location, sex, education, and “likes and interests” which ensures you will gain fans that are into the kinds of things that pertain to your niche or products/services you promote. There is a cost associated with this type of advertising, so you have to attempt to measure the amount of revenue your new fans are generating for you. If you can estimate your average per fan revenue you can determine how much you can afford to pay for fans and proceed to advertise each month for new fans. Then, you can do Boosted Posts to get them clicking and buying from the great deals you are sharing on your site! There’s your social media-based affiliate formula in a nutshell. ;)

10. Don’t Forget to Build Your LinkedIn – LinkedIn has really established itself as a great business-oriented social network, and worthy of spending time working it. I’ve been using it for years, but only recently have they made it more interactive and improved the usability so people will even spend time there. I absolutely love the new functionality. You can even share your affiliate deals on LinkedIn and your connections will see it. You can use it just like Facebook now. You can start a group about any niche or industry and people will just join it, which is valuable. You can really build up your connections by doing a “mass friend invite” from your email contacts. LinkedIn has fabulous tools for inviting everyone you know to get connected to you on LinkedIn. Once you have a decent amount of connections you can use LinkedIn to share your postings from your site, including your affiliate deals. In my opinion, LinkedIn is a valuable place to spend those precious online marketing hours, I would suggest an hour or so per day to really work LinkedIn and get some value out of it. Also, you never know who you can meet on LinkedIn professionally via the groups you may join, so always keep your eyes open and be proactive. However, don’t use it as just a place to post links to your affiliate deals or pages, or you run the risk of being seen as too self-promotional and obnoxious. You should attempted to deliver value to your connections by sharing valuable articles, contributing to discussions, liking and commenting on your contact’s posts, and overall being a great social networker.

11. Commission Junction (CJ) Product Widgets – CJ has recently rolled out their product widgets ad unit for blogs and websites. A widget is a slideshow, collage or grid that allows a publisher to enhance the display of products from joined advertisers on their site. Collages and grids are excellent for grouping complementary products. Slideshows will allow several different products to be displayed in one IAB unit. Here some videos of the 3 types of Widgets you can use:

Slideshow Widget Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxFiWFVT2Hk#action=share

Collage Widget Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmosyD8Y77E

Grid Widget Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZoHUlukIJw

12. Instagram – Instagram is the hottest social network bar none. You should have an Instagram account for your website, so people can follow your website on Instagram. In your Instagram profile you can have a description and a url to your website or blog. However, you cannot use hyperlinks in your Instagram posts, however you can use hashtags, which bring in more followers and views to your posts. So you can make Instagram posts about products and deals and then say click the url above to find the deal on my site. Make sure to use hashtags prolifically so your images and videos can as many views as possible and it will also boost followers. Follow some company Instagram accounts with your own Instagram account so you can see how they go about it. Follow companies in your niche so it has some relevance to what you are doing.

13. Retargeting – Retargeting refers to using a service to cookie all of your website visitors so you can advertise to them when they leave your website, on the web and on Facebook. It’s a very common advertising method for ecommerce merchants, however not a lot of affiliate marketers are using it. Using visitor retargeting has cost, it’s charged on a CPM (cost-per-thousand ad impressions) model, so I don’t recommend it unless you are already earning revenue with your website or blog. The cost of retargeting correlates to your overall website traffic, so if you aren’t getting much traffic it won’t have much cost. Retargeting services don’t allow affiliate links to be used in the retargeting ads, so you have to simply advertise your website in general through the service. It’s basically like reminding your visitors about your site after they have left. You can exclude certain urls that people visited on your website from the retargeting network, which allows you to not waste money if you know the visitor visited a page that was “action-oriented.” I recommend using Adroll.com for visitor retargeting.

14. Top Tools for Maximizing Your Online Marketing Productivity:

  • Google Alerts – stay informed and emailed instantly whenever anything you are interested in hits the web.

  • Google Think Insights – amazing information and data!

  • Hootsuite – post across all of your social networks and pages at once. Invaluable!

  • Google Analytics – make sure you have this on all your sites and blogs to gain valuable insight into your visitors and their behavior.

  • Evernote – helps you remember everything and stay organized.

  • Bing Ads Keyword Research Tool – learn what people are searching for so you can optimize your website, blog, posts, and pages for SEO. Looks like they are giving a $50 credit right now!

These are some affiliate marketing strategies you can use to maximize your traffic and commissions during the holiday season! I hope it was helpful and let me know if there is anything you want to discuss more in-depth with me. I can provide a complimentary website analysis and feedback for you. I would love to hear from you either by phone or email!

Thanks and have a wonderful holiday season!

Evan Weber, CEO

Experience Advertising, Inc.

evan@experienceadvertising.com

Phone: 954-662-8010

Read More

Bluum.com Launches Baby Box Subscription Affiliate Program on the CJ Network with Experience Advertising Managing

bluumbox

Hey all! Great news…we have just launched the Bluum.com affiliate program on the CJ.com affiliate network. Bluum has a team of expert m.o.m.’s (managers of merchandising) who spend their days trying new products, meeting and getting to know brands. It’s their mission to evaluate whether a brand is a good fit to join the lineup of bluum’s products. Doing that, the team applies hard criteria to make sure we only send responsibly sourced, free of dangerous chemicals and in most cases organically manufactured products that are healthy for baby and mom. Bluum currently works with more than 350 brands and over 1,000 different products.

A lot has changed since the early days when we packaged boxes here in our office. Because personalizing each box for each subscriber is very important to us, we gave the job of packaging our boxes to the experts at a fulfillment center. However, the products that end up in your box run through our own technology that ensures the products are suitable for your child’s age, gender and developmental stage, as well as your lifestyle choices, milestones and needs that your little one encounters. Boxes have a value of $40 or more and contain 5 or more full-size products. The age range begins with our pregnancy line where products are covering the life of a soon-to-be mom and a few items for the growing child. The baby line covers monthly boxes from newborn to 12 months. Toddlers range from 13 to 36 months and are followed by pre-K and pre-school boxes for children all the way up to 5 years. Don’t forget, there are always one or two surprises for mom, too! Each box is individually curated for each subscriber and packed by hand in Connecticut. We source our material in the USA and are proud to do so.

We look forward to working directly with you as our web publisher on CJ.com!

 

Read More

How to Launch an Exciting Holiday Sweepstakes to Grow Facebook Fans, Revenue, and Tweets

I wanted to share with you this quick and effective social media strategy to grow Facebook page likes, email opt-ins, and tweets for your company. As you know, growing Facebook likes isn’t easy unless you are willing to throw a bunch of money at fan advertising. Probably the best way to grow engagement and likes is by running a sweepstakes or contest as a Facebook app. All the biggest companies run sweepstakes on a frequent basis, and the holidays are probably the best time to do so.

At my agency, Experience Advertising, we leverage the Woobox.com platform to run our client’s sweepstakes and photo contests. Here is an inexpensive, effective sweepstakes idea you can run for you company and launch in days:

Step 1: Sign-up for a Woobox.com account and choose to run a sweepstakes.
Step 2: Set-up the parameters of your sweepstakes and upload graphics. (4 graphics are required – example below)
Step 3: Connect Woobox to your Facebook company page.
Step 4: Launch sweepstakes.
Step 5: Announce and promote the sweepstakes on your Facebook page, website, and to email databases.

This sweepstakes strategy will absolutely rocket your Facebook fans, gather emails from your website visitors, and grow your branded tweets. I have put together an example sweepstakes for my agency, giving away the new iPad Air, and it’s already grown our page likes by over 2000 in a week and half, see it here.

Not only will running this type of sweepstakes rocket your Facebook fans, but it will actually increase sales because when you promote it on your website it gathers email opt-ins of your site visitors that you can add to your follow-up email campaigns. So there are multiple benefits to running this type of sweepstakes. It’s a great way to convert your email databases into Facebook fans because they have to like your page to enter the sweepstakes, which is a great way to boost engagement socially.

Let me know if you would like to have a quick discussion about how to implement this same type of sweepstakes for your company. My agency can handle the design and implementation of your sweepstakes and have it done a couple of days. We also handle other digital agency services like SEM, content writing, conversion rate optimization, affiliate programs, and email marketing. Here is a link to our media kit. Let me know if you have any questions, I’m always up for a great conversation!

Thanks and have a great week.

Evan Weber, CEO
Experience Advertising, Inc.
Phone: 954-662-8010
evan@experienceadvertising.com
LinkedIn Profile

810x650

Read More

A/B Testing for Mobile Websites Webinar

Split testing is incredibly important as all good marketers know.

A/B split testing on mobile is extremely important as more marketers are realizing in 2013 and definitely into 2014. I came across this webinar this morning and thought I’d share as it’s always a good idea to hear tactics from others to improve conversions (especially in mobile):

In one hour, you’ll learn:

How the right mobile strategy can accelerate your marketing ROI

Key mobile web design elements that improve conversions

How to use mobile A/B testing to drive conversions through the roof

via A/B Testing for Mobile Websites: A Crash Course Webinar | Mobify.

Read More

Pinterest Suggestions from Sony

Screenshot_111313_061053_PM

Interestingly enough, Sony has been a great study for how businesses (large and small) can leverage Pinterest to drive traffic and revenue back to a site.

Sony has done a great job of not just community evangelization and using Pinterest as a place to engage current and potential customers, but they have also successfully cross promoted their own account there with promotional emails to existing newsletter subscribers.

The one thing many companies, especially in the performance marketing industry, look over when creating social media campaigns is the need to promote accounts via something like an existing newsletter subscriber base. By combining those two, there’s a great potential left on the table for many companies…

Pinterest Suggestions from Sony

1. Send a dedicated Pinterest email to showcase your boards and encourage following

2. Add the Pin It button next to product shots in emails to get people pinning

3. Create unique boards that appeal to different groups of people

via Sony: Making email more interesting with Pinterest | Pinterest for Business.

Read More

Twitter Rolls Out Great New Analytics Update

Twitter quietly rolled out a huge and needed update to its developing analytics offering for businesses using its ad system to promote tweets and accounts.

Google obviously rules the roost when it comes to advertising on the web, but as Google continues to try and find its own footing with the Hummingbird update to better encompass mobile user experience (which is an important and growing traffic segment, of course), Twitter really has a chance to grab and keep substantial traffic when it comes to mobile users. According to Twitter, there are 230 million users of their services globally, and 76% access Twitter on a mobile device. Unlike Facebook, Twitter has a real chance to be a dagger in Google’s side given its focus on the mobile experience.

If it can better deliver ads and messaging to those users, there’s a real income source for Twitter to be had.

By offering companies the ability to segment down to the mobile OS and device versions along with location, this could be a big deal for Twitter over the long haul.

BTW If you’re not reading the Twitter Advertising Blog, you’re missing out.

Previously, we offered advertisers the ability to reach our highly mobile users by targeting only their operating system. Today we’re announcing greater flexibility to this targeting capability: Now all advertisers can segment audiences on iOS and Android by operating system version, specific device, and WiFi connectivity. And we’re also introducing granular reporting analytics for these targeting types across all campaigns.

via Enhanced mobile targeting by device, OS version, wifi | Twitter Blogs.

Read More

Twitter Learns from Pinterest

While tools like Storify have been doing something similar to this, Twitter’s newly unveiled custom timelines feature could be incredibly popular (and valuable for your business):

Starting today, we are introducing the ability to create custom timelines in TweetDeck. Custom timelines, which were just announced, are a new type of timeline that you control by selecting the Tweets you want to include.

via Twitter Announces Custom Timelines For Hashtags Or Topics On Tweetdeck, Launching API Too.

For instance, here’s a quick curated timeline I just put together:

Why are these important and not just another random Twitter feature that only a few power users will use?

Think of this as the ability to “pin” Tweets into curated lists as you would do with images around certain topics on Pinterest. While you can do something like that by favoriting tweets (something I love to do), being able to assemble tweets in a non-timed based manner and more focused on certain hashtags or topics is exactly what Twitter needed to compete with other social services.

It looks like Twitter learned a great deal from Pinterest here and this is going to be popular with live sports events and reality shows like The Voice (pictured above). Your business could benefit.

Read More

Google's Hummingbird and the Importance of Social Signals

Google’s new Hummingbird engine for search is finally starting to give us some clues as to what Google is prioritizing in its algorithms now (mainly mobile and contextual).

Here are a couple of good sources and videos for you to ponder while you plan out your site’s marketing strategy.

Both links and social signals are forms of social proof, but they have different aspects to how they work and what is involved. For that reason, I expect there will be differences in how they are applied by Google. Regardless, building your reputation across many platforms and getting lots of different types of social proof signals is the heart of online marketing these days.

via What Everybody Missed About Hummingbird: Social Signals.

We can focus on the root of the matter: the major reason that Google has rolled out Hummingbird is because it wants to offer relevant and helpful results to conversational, voice searches. By creating content that is suitable for mobile users, you can optimize it for the Hummingbird algorithm.

via Six Vital Google Hummingbird Questions Answered.

While the Panda and Penguin updates were more punitive in nature, Google is giving out prescriptions for webmasters now. Namely, make sure your content is relevant to mobile users and more easily found in a “conversational” context.

Read More

Experience Advertising Releases Their Complimentary 2013 Multi-Channel Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Strategies Guide

Experience Advertising, Inc., a leading digital marketing agency, has released their complimentary guide for ecommerce companies interested in maximizing website traffic, sales revenue, and social engagement during the 2013 holiday shopping season. The guide is titled: 2013 Multi-Channel Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Strategies Guide. The guide is designed to benefit all sizes of ecommerce companies by providing actionable ideas and strategies any company can implement into their marketing strategies for the holidays.

The 2013 Multi-Channel Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Strategies Guide was authored by Evan Weber, CEO and founder of Experience Advertising, Inc. Weber has more than 15 years of ecommerce experience, having been in the online marketing space since the late 1990’s. Weber stated, “Each year I put together a list of strategies, ideas, resources, and companies that the vast majority of ecommerce companies can use to ensure that they have a cutting-edge digital marketing strategy in place during the holiday shopping season. The beauty of online marketing is that you can market your website across channels whether you have a small budget or deep pockets. Online marketing allows you to track and measure your ROI on every dollar spent, which other more traditional forms of media do not. Therefore, companies can generate as much traffic as they possibly can right up to their allowable cost-per-customer threshold. One of the things that makes our agency stand apart from the rest, is that we put a strong emphasis on increasing our clients’ website conversion rates with our proprietary strategies. The better our clients’ websites perform, the more targeted traffic can be driven and therefore revenue and profit.”

The 2013 Multi-Channel Ecommerce Holiday Marketing Strategies Guide covers subjects including:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Pay-per-click Search – Google Adwords and BingAds
  • Social Media Marketing – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks
  • Website Conversion Rate Optimization
  • Sweepstakes and Contests
  • Customer Referral Programs
  • Email Marketing
  • Promotions and Deals
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing

Experience Advertising provides cutting-edge digital marketing services for their clients. They provide an array of essential ecommerce management in channels like: SEO, SEM (Google Adwords and Bing Ads), Affiliate Marketing, Social Media (Facebook and Twitter), Facebook Advertising, Retargeting, Shopping Engines, Email Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimization, Mobile, Web Design, and Programming. If you are looking for a digital agency with an ROI-focus visit Experience Advertising, Inc.

Read More

Holiday Prep Guide for Affiliate Marketers – Black Friday and Cyber Monday Publisher Tips

Hey all my affiliate marketing friends and colleagues! I wanted to put an article together about the upcoming 2013 holiday shopping season which will be the biggest ever according to all indications. “Black Friday,” which falls on November 29th this year and is the day after Thanksgiving, and the following “Cyber Monday” are when online retailers are rolling out their best deals of the 2013 holiday shopping season. Not to mention this time kicks off the holiday shopping season for consumers, so demand for deals at all types of ecommerce retailers will be strong with online shoppers. Every year, millions of Americans flock all over the Internet looking for deals and promotions to maximize their holiday gift shopping budget. Here are some strategies to maximize your affiliate marketing activities leading up to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday time-frame so you can maximize your affiliate traffic and commissions:

The Important Holiday Dates to Focus Promotions Around:

November Shopping Dates 2013

11 November – Veterans Day (US)

27 November – Hanukkah

28 November – Thanksgiving (US)

29 November – Black Friday (US)

 

December Shopping Dates 2013

2 December – Cyber Monday

24 December – Christmas Eve

25 December – Christmas Day

26 December – Boxing day (Canada, UK)

31 December – New Years Eve

1. Posting About Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals – this may sound obvious, but the more pages of unique content you create on your site about various online merchant’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (that you are affiliated with), the more search engine rankings and free traffic you can get to those pages, and therefore possible referral commissions. Make sure to maximize your page titles and post titles to be relevant to what people are searching for, i.e. “Black Friday – Cyber Monday Deals on Electronics from TheNerds.net – Save up to 60%” or “The 10 Best Black Friday Gift Ideas for 12 Year Olds for 2013.” These would be examples of website page or post titles. You can let your imagination run wild with all the product types and niches you can post about. Also, your “on-page content” is really important to getting the organic search rankings for the exact search phrases or related searches going on, so include good, original, thorough content on all your pages about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal info to maximize the number of search results each page of your site can get from Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The more pages of original content you post to your site or blog, the more potential search rankings you can gain, and therefore traffic you can get to your site. I would suggest posting as the affiliate deals are sent to you via email, including an original write-up describing the merchant, the deal, photo, and how great of a deal it appears to be. Then, once you have created the page/post on your site, you can share it on your Facebook profile, Facebook fan page, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and any other social network you participate with. I encourage you to use images in all of your posts so you can pin the images to Pinterest after you post, which can create click-through traffic to your site from Pinterest. Use the images that the companies you are affiliate with provide on their website or product catalog. Similarly, you can post product images and links to your site or blog on Instagram, which is a little trickier because its mobile phone based, but can still be done. Make sure to use plenty of #hastags! (here’s a hashtag guide)

2. Socially Sharing With Your Friends/Followers/Community – once you create your post or page, you should spread it around through your own social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Fan Page, Pinterest) and also post it to “bookmarking” sites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, and StumbleUpon. This can help syndicate your posts onto more sites where you have connections, and if the articles get popular on those social sites they can bring in good traffic. Also, submitting your content to well-ranking 3rd party sites like these can get you extra organic search listings for the article’s title and content. Definitely encourage your social friends to Like, Comment, Share, and Retweet your posts on Facebook and Twitter by asking for it and also doing the same to their status updates (so they reciprocate). By interacting socially with friends on Facebook and Twitter they will do the same for you and it will help your content go viral to their friends, thereby increasing traffic to your affiliate pages with offers and promotions. Try to avoid posting the exact same content in multiple places because it won’t really work for you to get rankings, rather post different variations of the same title and content in multiple places and then link back to the page on your site (such as on article directories or friend’s blogs). Make sure to have the social sharing buttons on every page of your site, see ShareThis.com to install the social sharing buttons to your site. Also, the Facebook fan page widget is a must in your website/blog layout. Get really familiar with page sharing onto social networks and make it a part of your posting routine. I recommend using Hootsuite.com to post to multuiple places at once. I also recommend using a pop-up email capture tool like aweber.com on your sites to build your email list over time.

3. Messaging Your Base – If you are accumulating a database of email addresses through your website, you should most definitely be sending email newsletter blasts to promote Black Friday – Cyber Monday deals from your favorite affiliate Advertisers on a weekly if not daily basis. There are many email sending tools that are easy to use and very cheap including: iContact, Constant Contact, and MailChimp (which is free for up to 2000 contacts via Google). Make sure you are posting Fan Page and personal Facebook status updates daily and sharing your new site posts through your fan page to encourage fans to check it out and click-through. Really try to interact with your Facebook Fans and actively try to build more fans at every turn. If you are writing post after post, promoting a bunch of Advertiser’s deals you don’t have to be worried about bothering anyone because you are exposing them to new offers every time. Try not to post the same thing repetitively unless it’s a tremendous deal or one that has gotten great responses and uptake. Otherwise, keep posting more and more Advertiser’s deals to your base and you will gain more dropped cookies and traffic from it. Keep it varied and frequent. Don’t worry about posting too much because you never know which deal will resonate with your fan base. I recommend several posts per day through your fan page and other social networks. I have a lot of experience with newsletter sending, so let me know if you want to know how that can be done in your situation.

4. Facebook Promoted Posts – Make sure to check out Facebook Promoted Posts (aka Boosted Posts), which ensures that a large percentage of your Facebook fans see your fan page postings. This has a flat-fee cost based on the amount of exposure you want for the post, but is very effective from my experience. Not to mention you can choose to expose your wall post to the friends of your fans which can be really powerful and allows your post to go viral beyond your fans. You can even ask some of your affiliate merchants to pay for the cost of the promoted posts, or even mark up the cost of the promoted posts to generate profit. Of course, the more engaged fans you have the better it will work, so you have to experiment with it and see what works best. But don’t be afraid of promoted posts, they are amazing! Also, make sure to try out sponsored posts on your Facebook personal profile for $7 per post. Also, make sure to check out Facebook fan advertising, which allows you to build your Facebook fans for a per fan fee. This is a very good way to boost your fan count and therefore have more people to expose your holiday deals to. You can really target to your ideal demographic which is great. You can NEVER have too many targeted fans on Facebook to market to, just be prepared to spend $X amount per day to create a steady stream of new fans.

5. Online Press Releases – Online press releases are a great tool to increase your website’s exposure as well as building inbound links to your website. I recommend either PRWeb or eReleases.com. You can send a press release such as: Black Friday Deals are Launching on Evan’s Shopping Mall, or 2013 Holiday Deals Have Launched at Mom’s Saving Mall (or whatever your website is called). Make sure to embed a couple of hyperlinks to your website in your press release to maximize inbound links and clicks to your site. Online press releases have cost, so make sure to have a really great titles and great content to make sure it gets good search rankings based on your content and niche. Typically, online press releases get distributed to 100′s of well-ranking websites, so over time this strategy can gain increased saturation in the search engines and bring traffic and exposure to your website. I recommend doing online press releases on a monthly basis, if not weekly. They work great!

6. Word of Mouth Marketing – verbally telling people to check out your website or blog for some great deals shouldn’t be under-estimated. Having a website url that can be emailed, told by phone, posted socially, or otherwise communicated to your friends and family is great strategy because why wouldn’t someone shopping online buy through your site when they can get great deals from all the top merchants online? They save money shopping through your site if you are posting coupons and promotions. So make sure to tell people to check out your site or blog for some great shopping deals whenever you can. Make sure to list deals and coupon from all the advertisers you are affiliated with so your friends and family will actually get a great deal and get excited about it, which will cause them to return later for more deals, or tell their friends. You can even ask your affiliate advertisers to provide you with a dedicated coupon code (vanity coupons) to match your site url, which adds a little “site branding” to the experience and can increase the conversion rate of the sale, not to mention build loyalty. Social networking has stepped in to facilitate word of mouth, so make sure to be a very active social networker, which can help expose more people to your website’s pages/posts and therefore the offers you are promoting.

7. Running Sweepstakes and Contests – Running sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways through inexpensive tools like WooBox.com is a great way to maximize your outreach, build fans, gain tweets, and gather email data for your newsletter list. The nice thing about Woobox is that it gives you the ability to capture more email opt-ins and Facebook fans from your site visitors, fans, and email subscribers. You can even convince some of your affiliate advertisers to sponsor your sweepstakes and donate the prize so it costs you very little to run the promotion. Then, you can promote the sweepstakes on your site, newsletter, fan page, tweets, and other ways you can get the word out about your holiday sweepstakes. This is a really powerful way to maximize your exposure, grow your Facebook Fans, and build your email subscriber list. And, it’s extremely affordable to run a basic sweepstakes on your site with Woobox.com. Let me know if you have any questions about how to do this effectively. I’ve run many sweepstakes and contests. Woobox now supports even more types of contests, so make sure to check them out.

8. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising – “paid search engine advertising”, on Google Adwords and Bing Ads, isn’t for everyone, and most definitely has cost associated with it, so you have to tread lightly and really pick and choose what keyword phrases you want to advertise to get more traffic to your site. Google Adwords is definitely more expensive per click due to how many companies are advertising under various keyword phrases. Look to set up keyword campaigns for the affiliate advertisers that allow keyword bidding on their company name or company name + coupon code, utilizing the deals they have provided for you in your ad copy and page content you are sending the traffic to, to “presell” the visitors. With some companies, you can link directly to their website through your affiliate link, which is known as direct linking. Buying traffic on general or popular keyword phrases in most niches can be difficult for affiliates due to their low margins relative to the advertisers themselves, but there are sweet spots that can be exploited, i.e. inexpensive keyword phrases with good conversions. This is definitely an advanced technique and should be conducted very conservatively until you see success with it. Spend wisely, until you know what keyword phrases are performing well, then you can look to add more phrases and up the bids. In general, Bing Ads (which runs on Yahoo and Bing search results as Sponsored Ads) will be a more affordable way to go with your pay-per-click advertising campaigns, due to less competition and cost per click, however there is less search volume than on Google. But, it can definitely be a great way to compliment your site traffic with targeted search traffic that should perform well with good ad copy and dedicated landing pages for each Advertiser you are promoting in this way. Not to mention lead to more Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and email opt-ins from your increased website traffic, when those aspects are including in the website layout.

9. Getting Higher Commission Rates – one thing is for sure in affiliate marketing, most companies don’t pay their affiliate marketers what they possibly can for a sale, especially for a new customer sale. Look to ask your Advertisers for higher payouts during the holiday season, they can only refuse, however most won’t just offer it to their affiliate base, so you have to be proactive and ask. Having a long cookie duration is also highly desirable to affiliate marketers, so make sure to promote companies that offer longer cookie lengths than their competitors, this gives you more of a chance of converting a click into a sale. Some advertisers may offer a performance incentive structure, meaning you will earn more commissions the more sales you produce. This can be effective, however doesn’t really help smaller affiliates earn more since you need a good amount of sales to hit the marks. So I would suggest asking your affiliate Advertisers for higher commission rates across the board, if they say no you can tell them you will promote their competitor and they will likely give in to your request.

10. Beyond Black Friday and Cyber Monday – Black Friday / Cyber Monday is just the start of great deals from online merchants lasting all through December and into the New Year, so make sure to ask your affiliate advertisers for deals on a frequent basis of they aren’t messaging you often. Posting holiday deals to your sites and blogs on a frequent basis can really build your site’s page count and can get you more organic traffic, so make sure to post fresh content and deals as frequently as possible, the more frequently the better, and then share. Not to mention you can gain additional fans and followers from the new pages of content when you position the Facebook Fan widget prominently in your site’s layout. The goal should be to have 100s if not 1000s of pages of original content on your website over time to increase traffic. You can always go back and edit the page to refresh it or press on adding new pages all the time.

I hope you like these tips on how to maximize your Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Holiday Season affiliate promotions. If you would like to discuss any of these strategies please let me know. I have been managing affiliate marketers for over 10 years, and have 15+ years of ecommerce experience. Thanks and have a great 2013 Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Holiday Season!

Let me know if you would like to have a phone call to discuss your web projects. I can provide valuable feedback and I never charge any kind of fee. Have a nice week! – Evan

Article by:
Evan Weber, CEO of Experience Advertising, Inc. – Digital Marketing Agency
954-662-8010 (cell)
954-742-0345 (office)
Evan@experienceadvertising.com

Additional Articles by Evan Weber

Read More

Instagram Gives a Preview of Its Sponsored Ads

Instagram is rolling out a preview of its coming ads with an example from Levi…

Now, Instagram, in a blog post today, revealed what ads will look like on the platform. It turns out, they look like any other Instagram photo with a “sponsored” tag and the ability to like and comment.

via Facebook’s Instagram Reveals What Sponsored Ads Will Look Like | Adweek.

With Instagram’s popularity still rising, it will be interesting to see the public reaction (particularly among its younger users who have moved away from Facebook partly because of its monetization attempts).

Read More

Advertise to Website Visitors via Facebook

Facebook is rolling out an interesting new way to advertise to its members who have visited your website…

Today we’re announcing new custom audience features that can help marketers reach people who have visited them on desktop or mobile. Website and mobile app custom audiences will soon be available to a limited number of test partners and will roll out globally in the coming months.

via Coming Soon: New Ways to Reach People Who've Visited Your Website or Mobile App | Facebook for Business.

Facebook continues to open up its userbase to advertising and with its tentacles in all parts of the web, this is definitely an interesting aspect to what you can do with their ad platform.

Read More