How to Optimize Your B2B Affiliate Program in Q4
As we near the end of 2021, you’re probably already starting to see all those Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions flooding your inbox. While most consumer-facing brands are gearing up for their biggest sales of the year, it’s generally a different story for those in the B2B space.
Hold the turkey and presents, though, it’s not quite time to turn on that OOO auto-responder. There is still so much that can be done this quarter for your business-facing brand, even if you aren’t participating in any promotions or deals during this holiday season.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you manage your B2B affiliate program this Q4:
1. Promotional Positioning
Instead of offering a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal, many B2B/SaaS brands will be looking to ramp up promotions around planning for the new year instead. Determine if your brand will be launching any new products, initiatives, or re-brands, and start planning those campaigns now. This is the time to give your customers and partners a sneak peek of what’s to come in 2022 and why your product is the solution.
2. Focus on Targeted Optimization and Activation of Existing Partners
Similar to the B2C space, publisher recruitment won’t be as strong of a focus since many publishers have an onboarding freeze during Q4. Instead, this time can be spent on reviewing individual partners’ historical performance and understanding if there have been any trends or major drops in performance. Is it because they are taking some time off and not actively promoting your brand as much? Do they need an extra incentive to remain active throughout November to early January?
If you’re feeling generous, you can even give your partners a little holiday gift (small bonus amount or limited time commission increase) for when they continue to refer new customers during what is normally a slower time of year.
In B2B, we face the dreaded drop in performance starting sometime in Q3 and continuing through the end of Q4. No need to panic though, as this is a common occurrence and something we continue to see year over year. With business-facing products, we find that the typical customer, a decision-maker of a company, is out of the office, not making new software purchases from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. This leads to an overall decrease in revenue and performance across the board. Generally speaking, Q1 tends to hit the ground running though, as those decision-makers get back into the swing of things and companies look to roll out new operational changes, such as switching to new software (hopefully yours).
4. Booking Paid Placements
Where a lot of B2C brands start booking paid placements for Q4 way back in the summer, this isn’t really on a B2B brand’s radar at that point in time since B2B doesn’t typically run discounts or promos around Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Some publications that work with both B2C and B2B advertisers will reserve placements and bandwidth on those consumer-facing accounts/products since that is typically what will gain the most traction with their audience. If you’re overseeing a B2B account, you should consider using this time to research and formulate a robust action plan for Q1 so all you need to do is book the ad placements and execute everything you planned during Q4.
If your B2B brand does still offer deals around the holidays, consider investing your budget into placements with those niche publishing partners that are:
- Not reserving exposure exclusively for B2C brands, such as your coupon and cashback sites.
- Targeting a highly relevant audience (ex. Software review sites and industry blogs/magazines).
This way you can be saving money while also increasing your chance of conversion since your ads will be reaching the right audience.
The key thing to remember here is that while B2B companies may not be promoting their products or running discounts as heavily during this time, Q4 is still a crucial time. Businesses are solidifying their plans for the following year and gearing up to have an even more successful year than the last. So, use your time wisely these last couple months of 2021 and make 2022 your company’s best year yet!
Extra Tip: Even though some partners will be checked out, set up some automated emails wishing them Happy Holidays. This nice little gesture will go a long way and keep up the rapport you’ve built with your partner base.
If you’re looking for other ways to optimize your B2B affiliate program this quarter and beyond, please contact us today to talk to an expert.