The end of November is a perfect time to run affiliate campaigns. Why? Because around Black Weekend people want to spend their time buying online. They’re looking for gift recommendations, exclusive deals, product comparisons, and reviews. They click on multiple Black Friday ads and go through numerous landing pages.
This can be your golden moment as an affiliate. And I’m here today to help you make it! In this post, you’ll find all the hottest ideas, tips, and strategies for a successful “Black November”.
No time to waste, so let’s get to it.
Plan your Black Friday marketing strategy ahead… meaning start ASAP!
Many marketers and retailers begin promoting their sales at least a month or so before Black Friday, it’s so-called “Black November”.
This year, with the pandemic shifting consumer behavior around the globe, we can expect the shopping madness even earlier. All in all, the sooner you start, the better you do.
And the first thing on your list should be competition review.
- Start with Google search. You may already know some of the top affiliates in your niche. If not, simply type in “best Black Friday deals in [your niche]” to see who is ranking high. What kind of offers are in the top results? What are the angles top affiliates use to get people to click on them?
- Create a list of Black Weekend keywords your competitors are ranking for. To do so, you can use tools like SEMrush. Investigate their backlinks. What pages are they linking to & from? See if you can get similar or better links.
- Subscribe to your competitors’ email lists. Analyze how they are promoting their affiliate products during special days. Is there something that could be useful for you? Maybe you can spot what they are doing wrong, and fix it?
Once you know your competitors’ Black Friday affiliate strategies, you can gain better visibility, rankings, and as a result, conversions.
And remember, your competitors are doing the same things. They are also spying on you. If you want to make it a little bit harder for them (and you should), use Voluum’s Lander Protection Script to hide your PHP landing pages from your competitor’s eyes.
Once you know what others are doing, make sure your black Friday strategy considers the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Consider the impact of COVID-19 on Black Friday
2020 has been anything but a typical year. So it makes sense that when it comes to the beginning of the ultimate shopping season, we should also expect some surprises.
The most important, yet predictable, change will deal with the effects the pandemics had on traditional retail. In fact, it’s pretty devastating. According to the recent survey (source), more than half of Americans (52%) don’t plan to participate in Black Friday sales at all this year.
But don’t let these numbers discourage you! Those who aren’t planning on bailing on their shopping spree will be most likely to take their annual holiday shopping online, and Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend might become the catalyst of the season as usual.
What you need to consider for your black Friday strategy in the coronavirus.
- First of all, the Black Friday madness is expected to begin rather sooner than later this year. With people not willing to queue for hours under malls in the midst of pandemics and the Presidential elections scheduled for November, most retailers are free to launch discounts as soon as possible. As such, Amazon has already moved its Prime Day event to October 13-14. The rest are expected to follow the lead.
- Another big change concerns the products sold. COVID-19 has risen the demand for “staycation-friendly” goods, like household appliances, DIY, and sports equipment. Such brands are expected to have the highest payouts during the Black Friday sales as well.
Once you establish what others are doing and what are COVID-19 Black Friday good practices, it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Optimize your landing pages
It’s not the best idea to drive all of your traffic to your store’s homepage or worse, to a non-optimized product page that doesn’t showcase your product correctly.
This is why you need to create special landing pages titled “Best Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals and discounts on [enter your niche]:
- A perfect landing page should speak to the visitor. As Voluum fetches a lot of information about a visitor, such as a device type or brand, you can use this information to direct visitors to different landing pages according to the rules you set in Voluum.
- Furthermore, you can use simple scripts to display this information on your landing page. A landing page designed specifically for iPhone users that displays a custom-tailored message such as “Best cases for your beloved [iPhone]” works better than a generic one.
- Aim at updating your old pages annually, instead of creating new special pages every year. Google loves old content that is refreshed with new data. Plus, you get to leverage your old rankings for that page each year without having to build new backlinks etc.
- Once you have your landing pages in place, you need to determine which ones resonate best with your audience. You can use Voluum to automatically A/B test different flows and paths. This way you will save yourself lots of manual work. Testing is crucial so, don’t be afraid to work on different approaches, following the 80/20 rule.
To capitalize on the shopping craze you need to grab the attention of your audience. Here are our top Black Friday Marketing ideas.
- Write in-depth product reviews – product reviews and case studies about the products you use and recommend are the BEST affiliate marketing strategy for the Black week. Pro tip: Create product reviews with this angle: Don’t buy X before you watch this product review.
- Record video reviews – Video reviews are even better. It’s like taking things to the next level. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, you can leverage this channel to generate more Black Friday & Cyber Monday conversions. Pro tip: Create video reviews. Take the risk of putting yourself out there. Most affiliates won’t take this step.
- Prepare holiday packages – During this time, people are looking for deals and themed gifts. If possible, bundle your products or services for a limited-time holiday offer.
- Create cheat sheets – A lot of people can feel overwhelmed by the amount of deals they see. To help them make the right choice, put out a list of the products that are hot in your niche. Add your links to the cheatsheet to make sure that they will use your link to make the purchase.
- Write gift recommendations – Did you know that searches for “gifts for dad” have grown +80% in the past two years (Google)? Getting recommendations and endorsements from influencers is definitely a great Black Friday Marketing Strategy.
- Offer free gifts – Offering a free gift is a fun Black Friday deal for shoppers. Items that work best for this have free or cheap shipping. You’ll want to feature the free gift on your homepage banner to ensure visibility. You can set minimums such as ‘with every $50 purchase get a free gift’ or you can provide it to every customer who orders if you have high margins.
Create a sense of urgency with black friday headlines and catchy slogans
To increase your conversions, find a HOOK and create a sense of urgency in your Black Friday ads with temporary sales and shopping codes:
- One-Day Deals – This is the ultimate touchdown. Launch offers with an expiration at midnight without stating it’s a one day deal. Leave it open for a day or two. Once it comes to an end, use Voluum to direct people to a different landing page with a different one-day deal.
- 1 hour deals – You can have one main offer that is active through all of the Black Friday sale, like 20 % off everything. But then offer 50 % off for a certain product or a service, that is valid only for an hour. After that, you select another product or a different deal.
- Consider adding a Countdown for when your offers ends.
Optimize your checkout
As Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers are picky, to score a touchdown, you need to make your checkout process as smooth as possible. Once you make sure that your server can put up with increased traffic, go through the purchasing funnel yourself.
Try to get in their shoes and ask yourself my top 10 questions to find out if your checkout process is ready for the Holiday Sales:
- Does your website look credible? You can show security badges and help info next to the checkout buttons.
- Is it clear that the product is or isn’t available? Show your stock availability. When something is in demand, people tend to be more interested.
- Do you show discounts in your cart view? Make sure your visitors know you applied the discounts.
- Are you offering your guest a checkout option? Make the checkout process smooth and painless. Don’t require creating an account to make a purchase.
- Is the shipment information clear? Don’t leave your visitors guessing or searching for delivery costs or time frames.
- Is there customer support at their hand? They need to know that they can count on you if they need help.
- Are you offering standard payment methods? Many shoppers will simply not shop at a site without the option to pay by PayPal.
- Are there any tax surprises? Show shipping costs and taxes as soon as possible, so the user knows what to expect.
- Do you offer a fair warranty and return policy? Build trust by clearly showing return and charge-back policies.
- Last, but not least, are you rewarding customer loyalty? Give them something extra to make it clear that a purchase also earns them rewards.
Take special care of Black Friday mobile users
According to statistics, 53% of mobile shoppers will abandon a website if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds (Google marketing Platform). Site speed is even more important in countries from tier 2 and tier 3. If your CDN is not optimized, you will lose many clicks due to page loading.
This is why you need to make sure your landing page is responsive, so your layouts and content will adapt based on the size of the screen they are presented on.
“Mobile devices accounted for 67% of all digital traffic on Black Friday 2018, that’s 61% more than the previous year”.
Make sure that your page can handle the additional traffic that’s bound to come your way. Performance tests are the best way to know whether your system will or will not be able to support your expected load. You can run tests using different tools like: Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom or Dareboost.
Mobile users are impatient and demanding, so give them what they want. No muss no fuss:
- Simplify your mobile form interactions by minimizing the number of fields requesting information from the user.
- Eliminate unnecessary words from your page.
- Serve only the most relevant information to the user, based on his current stage in the buying cycle.
This is a very important task. The worst thing can happen is doing everything right and then finding out that your affiliate links didn’t work properly… No one wants to end up like this:
Check each of the affiliate links on your website manually to make sure they’re working as expected.
Pay special attention to these:
- Typos in one of the URLs.
- A blank space inside a tracking token.
- A wrong domain name in a click URL.
- A postback not passing a click ID value back.
- A landing page not displaying correctly on mobile devices.
- HTTP protocol instead of HTTPS that will be seen as a threat by browsers
We’re human, we make mistakes. How to prevent your Black Friday marketing campaigns from these? You can set up alerts in Voluum. Create the first custom alert to be launched when the number of conversions exceeds 1. Once you get the first notification you can rest easy knowing that your setup works fine.
As an affiliate, you should always be vigilant for sudden drops in your campaigns’ performance that can indicate that your landing page is down. Create more notifications that will alert you if the number of visits or CTR drops below a certain level within an hour.
Once you’ve got that right, it’s time to…
Put your Black Friday CPC campaigns in place
Black Friday weekend is a special time period for PPC. The wrong ad, the wrong bid, the wrong settings, just a tiny mistake can really ruin it all for you.
To make sure you do well, follow these 10 Black Friday CPC Marketing tips:
- Review Last Year’s Performance. What did you learn from the Black Friday ads you ran? What kind of messaging performed best? Did ads that described the product features bring you more than priced ads, shipping, and other specific info? Dig into your campaigns from last year and you’ll be able to do better this time.
- Come up with a clear strategy and set a budget based on your campaign goals.
- Set target goals for the important metrics to help your business reach its goals, like Revenue, ROAS, CPA, and conversion rate.
- Set up your product catalog so you can run dynamic product ads for multiple products
- Make sure your supplier can keep up with the demand. In case you decide to offer popular sales like a sitewide discount anywhere from 10-20% off.
- Create a special high ticket offer to help you increase your average order value. This can include your most popular items or a massive bundle of all of your digital products.
- Come up with a bidding strategy. If you run any type of automated bidding, you’ll have to run bids manually for at least 1-2 weeks after Black Friday due to the influx of data. And of course, increase your budget accordingly.
- Start building your retargeting audiences at least 2 weeks ahead of time. Start a Black Friday campaign that targets your cold traffic ahead of time. This will allow you to take advantage of lower ad costs.
- Set up at least 1 backup ad account in case your main account goes down.
- Have your ads ready for review a few days before your campaign goes live so that they are approved in time.
Heavily promote your black friday deals
There are literally thousands of new deals added to Amazon and other merchants during the sales season. This is why you need to be an active curator. Ideally, you should dedicate 2-3 hours each day updating your posts with the latest deals.
Here are our top Black Friday marketing tips:
- Use your email list – To drive more attention to your landing page, create exclusive Black Friday and Cyber Monday newsletters and email blasts. Many Holiday shoppers will gladly sign up for one in exchange for a deal, which you would offer them anyway.
- Post to Facebook groups, forums & online communities – Be social, make some buzz. Go to relevant Facebook groups, ask the owners if you can do a live review or watch party. Remember to be genuine about your promotion methods; focus on explaining how the product will be helpful for the user. You can also incentivize the audience with some special discounts.
- Place banners on your pages with the most traffic – This is very easy to do. Hire a designer to create some graphics and use AdInserter to display on your site.
Track & optimize your results on the go
You only have one shot with Black Friday this year. So make sure you do everything you can to score the best performance.
Between landing pages, your ads, and offers, in the midst of various links, there should be Voluum. Your command center, your eye into everything that is going on with your Black Friday campaigns.
Voluum records each click, associates it with additional information that hides behind it and presents this data in real-time.
Use it to assess the performance of your ads, offers, and landing pages, learn about your audience, drive traffic to specific destinations according to rules and conditions, track your costs and revenue down to a single cent and react instantly when something bad happens.
With Voluum you’ll be able to optimize your campaigns with ease by adjusting bids, cutting non-performing targets, split testing LP’s and offers.
To make the optimization process more effective try auto-optimization. It’s pretty easy to end up with a negative ROI when you have a lot of campaigns running simultaneously and you have to keep an eye on each one of them individually. That’s exactly why using auto-optimization features can be both life- and money-saving solution.
Last, but not least: run Black Friday remarketing campaigns
There’s no denying that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge for affiliate marketers, but there is an actual life afterwards. There will be a big chunk of latecomers, who missed out on the biggest promotions and will be looking for gifts and presents at the last moment. Use the “afterparty” angle and go for them.
Extend your promotions by a few days to maximize your conversions. This is a good way to market any leftover stock and reach shoppers who missed your initial offers. And for God’s sake, don’t forget the abandoned carts.
And once the black Friday madness ends…
…you’ll see a drop in traffic and clicks after November 31. But hey, don’t worry! As December approaches, it’s time to put on “Last Christmas”, wear your dandy reindeer sweater, and just give yourself a break before the sales pick up again before Christmas.
I hope the strategies we shared will skyrocket your profits. If you have some other tactics you would like to share, let me know! Good luck!!