With half of September done, it’s amazing to think of how fast this year has gone. Before we know it, Christmas will be upon us and we will be wondering how it’s already time to celebrate 2020.

If you’re a marketer, you know that this is crunch time. Q4 is one of the busiest times of the year for any business, and marketing is the driving force to Q4 success. That means traditional marketing, performance marketing, and any other type of marketing you might be involved with.

While a lot of what I’m about to go over has a good foundation that covers all types of business, this focus will be on performance marketing and the affiliate space. This area tends to be something that some brands leave to their agency to cover or they let the program ride along with no extra involvement. However, getting more involved with the program during this time and adding your program to the company’s overall strategy can prove to be essential to a more successful end of the year.  

By now, I’m sure as a company you’ve started your Q4 strategy and if you haven’t, I suggest getting on that as soon as possible, especially when it comes to your affiliate program. Things move fast and if you’re looking for end of year success, now’s the time to get going.

Now, where do you start? With the below five tips being your strategy focus, you can have a very effective plan implemented with very little stress added to the Q4 frenzy. 

1. Start planning yesterday

As I mentioned, if you haven’t already, you should start getting your mindset into Q4 mode and get your strategy underway. Plan some meetings with your program manager(s) to discuss placements, budget, and goals. Have your priorities changed? What does the budget allow for? Having everyone on the same page at the start is always a good idea. This also alleviates some work and stress on your end if your program manager is confident with their approach to the quarter. 

2. Get your partners engaged

Offering Q4 bonuses and/or commission increases are a great way to get your partners ready to promote during this busy buying time. If this is a route you would like to take, I would suggest sending out an announcement of the opportunity as soon as possible. This will make sure to get your brand in your partners’ minds while they’re planning their own Q4 schedule. 

The same thing goes for placements. Put out “feeler emails” now to your program’s top partners and see if there are any Q4 placements you want to get in on before they all get booked. A lot of top partners start scheduling their Q4 placements early, therefore, you’ll want to beat other brands to the punch. Having top placements set is the best course for affiliate success, especially in this quarter.

3. Q4 assets: ready and available

Affiliates are just as busy during the end of the year, so try to make things as enticing and easy as possible for them. Create new seasonal banners and text links to add to the network and let your partners know they’re available (include a few ad codes for them to easily grab as well). Another thing that your partners would appreciate is seasonal landing pages to promote. With such themes as Fall Style, Thanksgiving Recipes, Holiday Travel Tips, and other specific focuses popular this time of year, having landing pages dedicated to specific themes can intrigue affiliates and aid them in promoting.

This mindset works for your upcoming sale schedule as well. For example, when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals, create a newsletter schedule leading up to the big event so affiliates can better prepare. The sooner your partners know what’s available to promote, the more opportunities you have to be promoted.

4. Stay ahead of the game

Speaking of promotions, as hectic as things can get, try to have promotional details confirmed ahead of time. Last-minute sales aren’t always picked up and promoted this time of year. An affiliate or influencer has probably been planning and scheduling as much as you have, consequently ending up not having the time or space available if they are unaware of what’s being offered.

This is also a good thing to note throughout the year too. If you tend to offer deals and promotions at the last minute, then your partners are going to assume that Q4 isn’t going to change this. Therefore, you run the risk of not being considered for big placements and opportunities. Build that trust and relationship throughout the year and you’ll be one of the first brands your partners think of for the big holiday season.

5. Don’t forget to breathe

Yes, this is an important point to focus on during Q4. If you stress out, panic, or lose focus, you can forget something important, let things fall through the cracks, overcompensate, the list goes on. Keep you and your team calm, organised, and healthy. And, remember to always set realistic goals.

If you’re still wondering how you can have a relaxed Q4 with limited time available to hit your goals, I get it. Customers are saving for Christmas gifts, people are taking time off to travel for the holidays (employees and affiliates), so you’re feeling like you have to hurry and grab every opportunity you can at every possible moment you can. However, that’s not what good marketing strategies are made of. 

If you take the above tips and include your affiliate program as a true extension of your marketing efforts, you’ll hit the goals that matter. Worrying about every little opportunity can actually cause you to put effort into goals that aren’t that important; leaving you scrambling to get back on track.

Don’t let this Q4 get the best of you and your company. Start planning with your partner program in mind and you’ll be sure to see big wins. Just don’t forget about Q1 during it all.