How to Build an Affiliate Strategy for Holiday Shopping Season

Saga Jakupcak

The holidays are fast approaching, and if you are a blog, publisher, or marketing fiend, you need a holiday marketing plan–specifically an affiliate strategy for the season. Marketing specialists are quickly booked, making things difficult. However, you have to find a way to promote yourself and your business, as well as other businesses (if you enjoy a good commission around the holiday season–which we all do!) 

What’s an Affiliate Strategy? 

Caption Image Courtesy of freestocks.

The strict Oxford Dictionary definition of Affiliate Marketing Strategy is: “a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.” However, to put it into simpler terms: you can market other people's products, and earn a commission by doing just that. It’s a great way to get a bit of marketing practice while earning  money and can even go on your resume, too. It shows responsibility, diligence, as well as a business mindset. Essentially, this is a sales job–Do not go into this if you do not enjoy marketing or sales. While it may seem like a “lazy person job,” it is not and requires a surprising amount of knowhow (unless you already have a massive audience). 

The things you’re selling can be a physical object, service, or subscription. Their sellers can be entrepreneurs, large businesses, or anything in between, really. You are their hired help, via your affiliate site, and your job is to market their product. 

Cost per Click and other Payment Methods 

Caption Image Courtesy of micheile henderson.

Cost per Click is a method in which you publish articles which promote products with the knowledge that you will be monetarily compensated based on views. This is beneficial, as consumers don’t necessarily have to purchase the product in order for you to be paid. However, there are cases in which you may be paid based on sale, lead (subscription) or by other means (for example, installation). 

What to Look Out For 

Caption Image Courtesy of Campaign Creators. 

There are, of course, downsides to affiliate strategy marketing, as well as hurdles to overcome as an affiliate yourself. For example, it’s been predicted that there will be a dip in holiday spending due to the economy having tanked recently. In order to overcome this, you should market things as “must haves,” in order to get more traffic/purchases. 

Additionally, be sure to find a niche group that you can market to, otherwise you will not have very much success. Finally, don’t forget to disclose the fact that you are working with the seller of the product (according to the Federal Trade Commission) so that the consumer can give appropriate weight to your opinion–You’re not just the average person buying a product and recommending it, you have another incentive (money, marketing success). 

What do I do if I don’t believe in the product? 

Caption Image Courtesy of Lauren Mancke.

Some affiliates don’t trust the products they’re given enough to actually use them before promoting them. These may include: dieting products, skincare products, haircare products, and anything else that may have a lasting impact on a person’s health. It is important to keep in mind the various ways in which a person can promote a product, as outlined in 2998 by Pat Flynn. 

  • Unattached: No connection to the brand/product whatsoever 
  • Related: You don’t necessarily use the product, but you know its audience. (Risk marketing a bad product) 
  • Involved: You’ve tried and trust the product 

Where to Learn More about Affiliate Marketing 

The art of affiliate marketing can take quite a while to master, especially if you are approaching it as a total beginner–in terms of content, marketing, or both.  Here are a few resources, as well as tips and tricks to help you get started.  

If you have the time, Here are some Book Recs.

To begin, here is a list of books to check out regarding the relatively new art of affiliate marketing.  I’ve highlighted the top two for convenience: 

  1. “Affiliate Marketing Crash Course: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners to Generate Passive Income by Selling Other People's Products | Includes Most Profitable Niches”

If it is not already, it may need to be a rule that the marketing books with the longest titles often garner the most good reviews and acclaim.  This book has a solid five star rating on Amazon, and packs a relative heft at 173 pages.  

Buy Here

  1. AFFILIATE MARKETING FOR BEGINNERS 2023: A New step-by-step Guide to Creating a Passive Income Stream and Mastering the World of Affiliate Marketing

Don’t let the semi-psychadellic cover scare you away, this book is another five-star rated hard-hitter.  Written by Albert Irvin, the book seeks to break down affiliate marketing into simple terms (also note: it is recent! 2023).  As a bonus, this book is free with a KindleUnlimited subscription.  

Buy Here

YouTube can also be a learning tool, and a timesaver! 

YouTube is a phenomenal resources for creators or marketers of any kind.  With approx 2.5 billion active members, you certainly won’t be lacking for the right piece of advice.  Here is a comprehensive video (NOTE: 48 Mins long!) that is both up to date (2023 listed in the title) and generally great reviews.  The comment section is a place where you can ask questions and find support, too, which can be rare when it comes to business-venture oriented videos.  (But, for once, we’re not alone out there!)  …Bonus points for them including separate sources in description. 

Finally, Here are some Websites with Helpful Pointers 

Here are a few websites to get you started on your Affiliate Strategy journey.  Some contain helpful hints and tricks, while others have the tools to get you started.  

  1. Refersion.  Refersion is a site that has, essentially, every tool and feature that you will need going forward with your affiliate strategy–if you are a brand looking to hire out, that is.   Here, you can find some of Upfluence’s influence (the site had originally been exclusively for those looking to hire out affiliates only).  Now, influencers can connect with brands via this site.  However, this site is still more useful to brands/ companies than it is to those who are actually looking to do affiliate marketing.  
  2. Which brings me to my next highlight: Upfluence.  Upfluence is, again, a site that caters largely to brands that are looking to hire out content creators.  However, if you are a creator yourself, it may be worthwhile to peruse Upfluence, as it may give you a few ideas of your own.  

In Conclusion, Affiliate Marketing takes time to Master, but can be very rewarding! 

There’s nothing quite like on-the-job learning experience, and marketing is no exception to this rule.  If you are struggling to utilize your marketing skills in a way that 1) endorses what you believe in and 2) brings in a little extra income, then affiliate marketing might just be the ticket for you!  Additionally, small and large content creators can benefit in general from having more of their work/ recommendations out there in the world.  While it may take some time to wrap your head around (the idea that simply endorsing a product can get you money IS a bit strange to grasp, after all), Affiliate Marketing, once mastered, will quickly become a valuable tool in your business savvy arsenal.  

With that, Happy Holidays! 

Initial Image Courtesy of Sam Carter.