20 things you need to do to prepare for the 2010 Christmas Season


Now that the kids are back in school, and I’m spending Thursday nights watching my son play center for his high school freshman football team, it’s time to make sure that we have everything in order for the coming Christmas and Q4 shopping season.

Preparation is key and  I tend to be a preparer.  I like to plan and get things in line before we engage in an activity, and boy is Q4 an activity.  And if you aren’t prepared, you are going to miss major opportunities for increased exposure, sales and growth for your program.

Usually July and August are great times to prepare for Q4.  It’s the time when our team prepares our Quarterly Plan for our clients’ programs and when we really encourage our My Affiliate Coach students to start putting things in place.

“Don’t get caught with your program’s pants down this Christmas season.  Start planning today, you may already be missing opportunities that you can’t get back.”

In order for you to get a jump on things, we’ve put together a short list of 15 things you should get together as soon as possible to position yourself as best you can to hit your mark in Q4.

  1. Promotion schedule:  Work with your team internally to determine what offers, promotions, and sales are going to be offered to your customers through the end of the year.  They should have preliminary schedule at this point.
  2. Merchandise Calendar:  You’ll need to know what products are going to be new to the site and which products should be featured each month.  This is vital information you’ll need to get to your affiliates with as much lead time as possible.
  3. Last Ship Dates:  By the end of September, if not sooner, you should know when the last ship dates are for regular ground, express, next day etc.  Affiliates will want to know this, it will also help you build your forecast.
  4. Top Ten Lists: We’ve seen these types of lists do really well for affiliate programs.  Things such as; Top Ten Gifts for Dad, Top Ten Gifts for Sis etc.
  5. Budget:  One of the most important things you need :).  Many affiliate sites offer placement during this season at a charge.  It can be anywhere from $80 to $20,000 depending on the affiliate.  You’ll need to find out how much money you have to play with so you can maximize your placements.  Don’t discount this area, I’ve seen well placed purchases generate 6 figures in three days.
  6. Increased rev-share for top performing partners:  Do you have some room to offer a VIP rate for the rest of the year?  Make sure you negotiate placement for each point you give up.
  7. Affiliate Incentives:  What types of promotions and incentives will you be offering your affiliates to feature your product?
  8. Develop seasonal landing pages that coincide with your top ten lists or other special categories like last minute gift ideas, etc.
  9. Christmas and Holiday Creative
  10. Increased rev-share for top performing partners
  11. Landing pages by prices – gift ideas under $10, gifts under $25, gifts under $50
  12. Christmas/Holiday products data feed
  13. Gift certficates, do you offer them? If yes, do you offer commission to affiliates for them?
  14. Communication Strategy – When will you be communicating with your affiliates and in what manner?  Lay out a calendar so you know, now, when those items will be sent out.
  15. Contact your top performing affiliates and ask for their marketing calendar and any opportunities they have that you can participate in.

Why should you care?  Well, your program’s performance, and ultimately, your job as an affiliate manager is on the line.  It really doesn’t matter what job you have, it’s performance related.  If you don’t perform, you join the masses looking for work.

If you’re an affiliate, send this along to your affiliate manager.  Having more affiliate managers prepared will make your life a bit easier.

By no means is this a comprehensive list.  I’d say there are 15 more items you should be grabbing.  What say you?  Affiliates – what things do you need that I didn’t include?  Affiliate managers – What things do you gather and prepare that I left out?

If you’d like to learn more about this process and how to be a top notch affiliate manager, check out our My Affiliate Coach affiliate manager training program.


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