How To: Tap into the Holidays (When they’re Not Your Own)
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The holiday market is one of the easiest, most lucrative moments of your affiliate marketing opportunities throughout the year.
Most individuals are expected to buy a heavy amount of electronics, toys, clothes, and gift cards this year (a usual trend); but an interesting observation is the massive reliance on social networks and online comparison before making the purchase – coming in at around 61%.
Here’s the big question: what kind of promotions can you run if you don’t normally participate in the holiday season?
There are holidays very specific to regions of the world, religions, races, and beyond; each presents a unique opportunity to generate sales – even if they’re not your own.
This post will detail the procedure for assimilating into a culture so you can begin offering holiday promotions and marketing campaigns for any holiday.
Most Important: Assimilate with the Culture
Assimilate (as·sim·i·late) – Absorb and integrate (people, ideas, or culture) into a wider society or culture.
To be quite frank: it’s impossible to fully assimilate into a culture.
The reasoning is that there will always be traditions and experiences in which you won’t be able to partake in because of being born outside of the culture.
However, you are able to absorb a large amount of cultural understanding if you take the time to understand the people, their traditions, history, and relevance.
A savvy marketer understands what people want.
There are loads of factors in play when someone is making a buying decision; it becomes very different when you pit your Western marketing campaign against someone from the East (and so forth).
The best course of action is to surround yourself with the culture. Take in as much as you can whether it be their media or through their beloved texts. Make friends with others from a particular culture and, if possible, participate in a holiday event of theirs.
In time, you’ll begin to assimilate with the culture and understand the exact marketing angles to reach these demographics but you have to be willing to except new ideas and values that aren’t your own (with an open mind).
Research the Community and Business Listings
There are many market research tools at your disposal:
- Online search
- Business directories
- Country-specific social media platforms
The list goes on and on.
Remember that the web goes beyond English (and, for the most part, the Western world); there are whole areas of the Internet yet to be discovered and it’s even easier with the aid of automatic translation tools (Google Chrome is more than enough to dig into the deep Web).
To reach the new market, for the holidays; take a gander into the communities that frequently discusses the holiday events. Visit websites focused on these holidays or forums with users from specific demographics (other than the big boards you may usually frequent).
Use your understanding of market research but aim it using specific cultural keywords.
Likewise, browse the business listings and pour over websites in other languages; notice the different use of language, graphics, and other mediums to sell a product or service. Find the big players in the foreign markets – you’ll see a load of products/services that aren’t the “normal” here in the Western world.
Take what you’ve learned by spying on the foreign competition and apply it to your marketing strategy.
Interview the Locals
Cut straight to the chase and interview (and utilize feedback tools) to cull information from people that participate in holidays you’re unfamiliar with.
Setup a simple feedback campaign (which can be done through Facebook or other advertising platforms) and ask the important questions regarding their participation during certain holidays.
Ask questions such as:
- What websites they frequent (and buy from)
- What’s their holiday budget
- Do they buy gifts (and to whom they’re gifting)
- If they are attending special holiday events
Your research will reveal the right answers to the problem of understanding; it gives you the best advice on which products and services to promote – including the key points to touch when marketing them.
Try to use a large base for your feedback versus smaller segments which may skew your results (obviously); ask the hard hitting questions and pull out the real details about why people celebrate particular holidays.
Develop Different Strategies for Market Segments
Segment your list and marketing campaigns to target each type of holiday for specific markets.
Consider the following:
- Setup sub-domains on your website for specific holidays
- Divide your email list based on additional demographic feedback
- Create content specific to a culture using their terms
Yes, this means a lot more work because you’re taking on a whole new project per holiday but knocking the down the work, throughout the year, will have you primed and ready for the holiday season once it rolls through; each passing year will allow you to activate the campaigns and extend your marketing reach well beyond your limits (where others fail to go).
If you’re feeling stumped, consider hiring a virtual assistant that participates in the specific holidays you plan to target for the work that needs to be done; they will understand the right angles to promote.
But, if you can’t hire someone else, than have someone from the culture review your work; social media is excellent for this so it’s a sure thing that you can find someone with a bit of free time to review your marketing campaign.
Consider Dividing your Affiliate Platforms
Break from your traditional platforms and adopt new marketing channels that offer culturally-specific products and services; these platforms, often from other countries, will have a great deal of marketing items to promote that have already been optimized for the specific markets you plan to capture.
These new platforms, especially if they’re foreign, may present an issue in terms of payment and management but it can be done if you put enough time and effort into understanding the platforms.
Alternatively, consider contacting businesses outside of the network in hopes of an in-house affiliate program; you’ll be surprised to see how many businesses cater to your needs.
Divide the affiliate platforms and track each campaign specific to the holiday. Employ all your knowledge and skills to promote these products/services using specific content, copywriting, graphics, and other forms of media so it speaks directly to the individual.
A Note on Culture Focused Marketing
You won’t always get it right – but that’s okay.
Tapping into a larger market always presents hurdles because there is a lot more to understanding people than what you find through market research. However, very few affiliate marketers expand beyond the local (Western) market which means you’re in an open field of play – anything is possible especially if there is very little competition (considering your level of skills and expertise).
The important thing is to never insult another culture or holiday.
Give it a try, ask people, and seek help in areas you don’t fully understand. The holiday market is massive – you don’t need to solely promote Christmas, you know.