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Holiday Optimization Checklist for Publishers

Here is a quick checklist for your use.

  • Review your site analytics and affiliate marketing reports to identify peak periods, top sellers, top content
    • Identify what worked well and do more of that
    • Identify what did not work well and change or stop doing it
    • Segment customers, best customers, what they bought last year
  • Create and use a marketing, promotions, and planning calendar to stay organized
    • Include key holiday and retail sales dates
    • Look for shopping to start earlier than the previous year
    • Increase in online shopping trends; more people are shopping online than ever
    • Make note of advertisers’ special offer deadlines
    • Check your private offers communications from advertisers frequently and respond
    • Identify shipping deadlines – last day for standard shipping, priority shipping, overnight shipping, gift cards online
  • Update and complete 100% of your account information in your publisher dashboard so advertisers can find you easily for effective partnerships – this is how they find you!
  • Gain more visibility with advertisers
    • Create or update a one-pager sell sheet and rate card or media kit
    • Track your conversions by advertiser, and request a co-branded landing page if your data is persuasive
  • Find and apply to more advertiser programs early in the season
    • Keep in mind that advertisers are very busy and stressed, too, and have vacation time in this period
    • Check the advertisers with automatic approval for good matches for your site
  • Communicate early and clearly with advertisers
    • Inform partners of upcoming events with timely communications
    • Set reasonable creative and copy deadlines for newsletter and ad placements
    • Read Terms and Conditions set by advertisers to ensure you are working within their set guidelines
    • Secure solo and newsletter placements for top advertisers early in Q4
  • Get fresh holiday-related links
    • Use link tools in the dashboard to find and create links quickly and easily
    • Grab banner and dynamic links that get attention
    • Use text links for deep links in product pages that convert well
  • Update and optimize your website for the holidays
    • Make sure content (image, video, text) is fresh and seasonal
    • Market your own brand; differentiate your site from the others in the space
    • Consider added-value with curated content or groupings or more personalized shopping assistance for top categories or customer needs, such as:
      • Gifts by Price: Under $10, $25, $50, $100
      • Gifts/Products by Event: Office party gifts, holiday party outfits, Christmas Entertaining
      • Gifts for Recipient: Dad, mom, boys, girls, spouse, boss, co-worker
      • Staff Picks/Most Popular Products
    • Make mobile and tablet site optimization a priority, check advertisers’ mobile status
    • Consider flash sales, countdown promotions (e.g., 12 Days of Gift Giving, daily deals, progressive deals, and discounts)
    • Make sure your call-to-action is clear
    • Gift card usage and purchases will increase; re-read gift card policies for advertisers
    • Email will likely yield high conversions, so firm up your list opt-in form
    • Verify coding and traffic load handling stability
    • Get winter holiday pages up early, consumers start searching for ideas well ahead of Thanksgiving
    • Update your SEO keyword research for top searches and optimize pages accordingly, for example:
      • Halloween: Halloween costume ideas
      • Christmas or Hanukkah: Gifts for Dad or secret Santa gifts
      • New Year’s Eve: New Year’s champagne flutes
      • Black Friday: Black Friday promotions
      • Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday flash sales
      • Green Monday: Christmas shopping deadline
      • Post-Holiday sales: After-holiday sales

Key holiday dates, note when they occur:

  • Canadian Thanksgiving: 2nd Monday of October
  • Halloween: October 31st
  • Pre-Black Friday sales start happening in early-mid November (some advertisers will “leak” their Black Friday deals)
  • Hanukkah: Dates vary
  • US Thanksgiving: 4th Thursday in November
  • Black Friday: Day after US Thanksgiving
  • Small Business Saturday: Saturday after US Thanksgiving
  • Cyber Monday: Monday after US Thanksgiving
  • Cyber Week: The week after US Thanksgiving
  • Green Monday: A top retail sales day, usually the second Monday of December
  • Free Shipping Day: Usually a week before Christmas so retailers can deliver the product before Christmas
  • Christmas Eve: December 24th
  • Christmas Day: December 25th
  • Boxing Day (UK, Canada and Australia): December 26th
  • New Year’s Eve: December 31st
  • Advance planning for Q1 next year:
    • After holiday sales
    • Back to school (Australia)
    • New Year’s resolutions
    • Super Bowl Sunday
    • Valentine’s Day: February 14th
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