Planning for Peak: Five insider tips for small businesses

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If you’re a small business selling online, you don’t need us to tell you how the Golden Quarter can make or break your entire year.


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With Black Friday now fully established alongside Christmas as the first of two massive shopping events stretching across November and December, It's important to know you're using every opportunity and marketing tactic to maximise your sales.

The great news is there are some shortcuts you can take to find your next customer that you might not have thought of, and the even better news is that it’s not too late to put them into practice ahead of peak trading this year.

Our free guide gives you five must-read insider tips to help you attract your next customer, and hit your targets for 2022.

We’ve given you a taster of these essential tips below to get you started, and you can download the full guide  here.

1. Affiliate partnerships are a great way of diversifying your marketing activity 

Have you ever wondered how you get featured on a cashback or coupon site? Or would you love to work with bloggers, influencers or price comparison sites? 

During peak, these are some of the most widely viewed places for people seeking out Black Friday promotions or researching where to buy their Christmas gifts from. 

When they feature you – typically for free - on their websites and they drive you a new customer who buys one of your products, you just pay them a percentage of the sale based on what margin works for you. 

Affiliate marketing platforms like Awin Access setup specifically for small businesses and beginners make it really simple to connect with and promote through these types of  partners. 

Top tip: Even if you’re not interested in discounting, decide what other types of partnerships would be a good fit for you. Influencers? Content sites? Price comparison or cashback sites, for example? 

2. Go early

Ten years ago everyone was focused on December but when Black Friday emerged as a new event it pushed the period when sales were at their highest to the end of November. 

Over the past couple of years however advertisers have been launching sales earlier and earlier. In fact, some of the first Golden Quarter promotions are now launched in October. 

All of this means that consumers are hunting for bargains well before Christmas.    

Top tip: Do your homework about all the peak events across the Golden Quarter. Don’t see Black Friday as a one-day sprint, think of it as a month-long marathon.  If you can, spread your offers across the weeks of Golden Quarter. 

3. Find your next customer 

Loyal customers are worth their weight in gold.  

But how do you find your next new ones? Our numbers show that around 30 to 40% of customers you will attract from affiliate partners will be ones that have never shopped with you before. 

That gives you the opportunity to target first time shoppers with exclusive offers, discount, content and promotions and focus on turning them into your next loyal customer. 

Top tip: Build new relationships with affiliate partners who can help drive new customers for you 

4.  Play to your strengths  

There are new rules and processes to learn with affiliate marketing, but once you’re up and running you can use it to try new marketing tactics you’ve never tried before. 

Small business have a few things going in their favour when working with affiliate partners.

They can be nimble, quick to respond to new opportunies and fast in turning things around. For big brands, these could take months to implement, but for small businesses that don’t have to deal with complicated internal processes, they can be switched on instantly. 

Top tip: If your website conversion isn’t up to scratch, consider using affiliate partner technology to help push up sales: more clicks converting = more revenue for you 

5. Peak shopping isn’t just for retail (or gifting!) 

You may think people are focused on buying presents for their friends and family, but actually, research we did suggests as many people are looking to buy for themselves as they are for others.  

People are looking at all sorts of products, so even if you sell things that you don’t think fit into popular Black Friday categories, don’t forget to take advantage of the big surge in online traffic around the end of November. 

Top tip: Black Friday is about self-gifting as much as for others. Consider this in how you position your products on your website. 


Hear how affiliate marketing over peak season transformed the fortunes of a Scottish Gift retailer >

Get started with Awin Access 

Grow online by reaching new customers and increasing sales with Awin Access. Easily promote your products through thousands of vetted online partners. It’s low cost, risk free and no experience needed.

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