Christmas can be a lucrative time of year for affiliates - if you do it right
  • Save

Both the Purdue Retail Institute and comScore Networks estimate there was $26.5 billion in online sales in the USA alone in Quarter 4 2005. With a massive increase forecast for 2007, Nadeem Azam provides ten top tips to ensure you get your fair share of this year’s humongous holiday season pie.

Now that the Christmas shopping season is upon us it’s time to grab a cup of warm milk and curl up on the sofa in front of the coal fire. Quarter 4 is when affiliates are rewarded for the previous nine months in which they have been assiduously working on their holiday season offerings and laying the groundwork for a ho-ho-holiday season that will generate more dollars, pounds and Euros for them than parcels that are waiting in the North Pole to be delivered to the world’s children.

What, you haven’t even begun to work on your holiday sites?! Ah well, the lecture about planning early for the holiday season will have to wait until some other time. Nadeem Azam provides you with ten essential tips on ensuring your websites are not left out in the cold in the fourth quarter when many websites generate up to 70% of their annual profit:

1. Increase Pay-Per-Click Bids
Many online businesses let rip in the fourth quarter and up their PPC bids because they know the honey is sweeter at this time of year. According to a report SG Cowen & Co. the cost per click increased 9.4% from November to December 2005 for retail-oriented keywords. As the ratio of people who buy and average basket sizes are higher, you should be able to nudge-up your PPC bids slightly. In past holiday seasons, searches, sales and conversions have plummeted around December 18, but people forget to drop their keyword prices. So remember to reduce your bids around that time.

2. Bid on Holiday Season-Related PPC Keywords
Do you sell gifts for teenagers on your website? Don’t just bid on “teenage gift ideas” but “holiday season teenage gift ideas”, “christmas teenage gift ideas”, “xmas teenage gift ideas” and “christmas 2007 teenage gift ideas”. You can use the Search and Replace feature in whichever software you use to do this easily and quickly.

3. Optimize for Organic Listings
Pepper words like “holiday season”, “christmas” and “gift ideas” into your pages’ meta tags, ALT tags and on-page text. Instead of using the name playstation-2.jpg for an image, call it holiday-season-playstation-2.jpg and it should give you more traffic in the holiday season from not only text results but image ones as well.

4. Dump Adsense, YPN and Fastclick
It can be wise to use contextual ad networks like Google Adsense and Yahoo Publisher Network and CPM networks like Fastclick from February to October, but for November, December and January you should consider giving as much inventory as possible to advertisers who pay per sale. Losing a visitor who clicks on an Adsense advert for eight cents may be fair enough in August when nobody is shopping but, even taking the increase in bid amounts over the holiday season into account, sites should be able to make more in the holiday season through Cost Per Sale affiliate links.

Continues in Part II…