If Cyber Weekend hasn’t been a key date in your marketing strategy over the last 2 or 3 years, especially in affiliate marketing, well, you probably should be concerned. Last year in particular was huge, with retailers and affiliates alike seeing phenomenal results, with most people predicting that this year will be even bigger.

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Bearing in mind everything that I have mentioned so far, here are 7 things you should have in place, in order to have a successful Cyber Weekend.

#1 – Plan, plan, plan and plan some more

Taking into account that Cyber Weekend is only weeks away, this is the one you might not have time to do if you plan on starting now, but let this be a lesson to you. Planning for something as big as Cyber Weekend is essential for success, especially when it comes to affiliate marketing.

The incentive nature of this weekend makes affiliate the perfect channel for promotion, however, affiliates only have so much promotional space to offer and as you can probably imagine, inventory goes fast! Hopefully, you will have thought about this nice and early and made sure that you are well represented across your premium affiliates.

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#2 – Use your data

As an advertiser, you have access to a mass of data about your audience and what they want, both on your affiliate program and your Google Analytics. Use this data! It allows you to tailor your offers, know what products are in demand and make sure you have the inventory to meet this demand, be aware of which offers have worked the best historically and with which affiliates.

Knowledge is power after all, so by using all of this information, you give yourself the best chance of running the right campaigns, with the right publishers, to maximise your ROI.

#3 – Reward your affiliates

This may sound like a pretty obvious point to make but your publishers are going to be very busy putting a lot of time and effort into ensuring their advertisers are promoted effectively. An increased commission over the weekend, bonus payments based on sales contribution, tenancies, commissions on assisted sales, are all things that should be considered to make sure your affiliates feel rewarded for the effort they make.

Rewarding your affiliates will also help increase your chances of being promoted, with so many advertisers battling for a limited amount of opportunities, it makes sense to offer your affiliates a little extra to put you in a good position.

Also, use your commission groups wisely, on the products you have more margin, offer more to affiliates. Commission increases don’t always have to apply to your whole site.

#4 – Stand out in a crowded market place

Competition for customers is going to be higher than normal over Cyber Weekend, therefore having the right offer to promote using your affiliates is going to be essential. Take a look at what you did last year and how it performed, from this point think about how it is possible to optimise this year’s campaign for further improvement.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be offering more discount; you could offer a free gift with purchase or a percentage off their next order for their repeat business. It is important to try to be as creative as you can, making sure that your brand cuts through the noise.

#5 – Be clever with your offers

You will have your main offer for Cyber Weekend but that does not mean you shouldn’t offer some exclusive extras and be creative with some offers throughout the day. Short term, time sensitive deals can be very successful and give you an edge over your competitors. The importance of being clever with such offers has only been amplified over the past 18 months, with the emergence of social affiliates such as Ashleigh Money Saver.

You may have specific products that have performed well with certain affiliates in the past, think about running side offers for these specific affiliates based on what you know their audience responds well too.

Sneak peaks are a great way to make people feel like they are getting access to something special. Try launching your Black Friday offer a day early via a secret sale, for one chosen affiliate and stir up interest in your brand early.

#6 – Budget wisely

If you operate in retail, your busiest period of the year comes in the lead up to Christmas. Placements will likely involve tenancy payments and these may even be at an inflated cost due to the excess demand. Make sure that you are financially prepared for this, so you can make sure that you are not limiting yourself with having to pick and choose between excellent opportunities.

#7 – Think ‘Cross Device’

Being visible on mobile is more essential than ever, full stop. However, over Cyber Weekend is going to be vital for success and what should be even more essential is that you are tracking sales cross-device.

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With Affiliate Window reporting that 34% of their traffic came from mobile on Black Friday 2014, it has never been more important for your website to be mobile friendly and for you to be tracking sales cross-device, allowing you to see the true value of your publishers.

Last year was huge, this year is almost guaranteed to be even bigger as buying gifts online continues to soar in popularity and the Cyber Weekend buzz shows no sign of waning each year. Make sure you are ready. Hopefully these pointers will be a final checklist for you to ensure your Cyber Weekend affiliate marketing campaigns gain the revenue they deserve. We’d love to hear your thoughts about Cyber Weekend 2015. Get in touch on Twitter @silverbean, or leave us a comment in the box below.

Oh… and Happy Shopping!