Making sure your affiliate program is ready for the holidays is crucial to ensuring everything runs smoothly. Below are all our tips and tactics to maximize your affiliate program during the most important time of the year. Enjoy!

Evaluate Terms and Conditions – Many times a program’s terms and conditions (aka T’s & C’s) are created when the program launches and are never re-visited. However, if your terms and conditions are tailored to your program, there are updates that you should include. For example, if Nexus Tax legislation affects your program you need to modify your terms and conditions when new laws are passed.

Revise “Welcome” Message – Like the Terms and Conditions, the program’s email message is typically created at the launch of a new program when an affiliate is accepted into the program. These messages (“Thanks for Joining the [BRAND] Affiliate Program” or “Welcome to the [BRAND] Affiliate Program”) include information about the brand, which often changes over time.

Consider Your Performance Incentives – Performance Incentives, when executed properly, are an excellent way to motivate affiliates and improve their performance in your program. Before you initiate a performance incentive, segment your program. Typically, before October is the best time to segment your affiliates and test a performance incentive with them.

Review Product Feed – It is common for brands to change their inventory for the Holiday season. For example, some add more accessories or gift-type items. Program Managers should make sure the product feed is up-to-date and error-free. To check your product feed, you can use a free spider or crawler tool to notify you of any errors.

Update Banner Ads – Refreshing your Creative could mean the difference of an affiliate choosing to feature your brand over competitors. Banners should be holiday specific, and feature relevant items for the season. Blue Moon Digital recommends banners in the sizes of 300×250, 160×600, and 728×90.

Communicate Shipping and Gift Card Policies – Reach out to partners and let them know your shipping offer throughout the holiday season. If you are offering Free Shipping, which is recommended, there are opportunities with affiliates that include FreeShipping.org, freeshipping.com, and FreeShippingDay.com (December 16, 2016). Also, reminding your partners of your program’s gift card policies is imperative as you don’t want any confusion regarding whether gift card orders are commissioned or not.

Add Holiday Specific Affiliates – Recruiting holiday specific affiliates is a great way to get in front of shoppers during the holiday season. Some examples of these affiliates include cybermonday.com, BlackFriday.com, and BFAds.net.

Study Competitors – Comparing your program’s commission rate and consumer offers to those of your competitors is important. A brand’s wholesale/resellers should also be considered. Many commission rates will change specifically for Q4.

Audit Links – Going into what is the busiest time of year for a lot of brands, it’s essential to have your tracking links working properly. By using third-party tools, like Google Analytics or Adobe Omniture, you can identify issues with specific affiliates and links. For example, look for high bounce rates from specific affiliates and reach out to them to update.

Explore Partner Sites – Many affiliates update their website in preparation for holiday. For example, many will add gift guide or special holiday pages. It’s a good idea to re-visit affiliate sites and note any changes and what it could mean for your brand, like an opportunity for more exposure.

Use these 10 tips to help you get your affiliate program ready for the Holiday season!