You're not too late for the Christmas sales rush

Associate Programs Newsletter #399

Are you going to cash in on the Christmas rush this year?

If you're quick, you still can.


CONTENTS:

1. You're not too late for the Christmas rush
2. Sites where shoppers feel comfortable
3. Thought for today: Worries


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1. You're not too late for the Christmas rush
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According to eMarketer.com, online sales in the November-December holiday season will rise to $32 billion this year. Forrester Research thinks they'll go much higher, to $44 billion.

(That's billion with "b".)

I hope you're getting your share.

Flowers, jewelry, games, toys, gadgets, electronics, clothing, perfume, books, Christmas decorations... the list goes on. In all sorts of niches, even in these troubled times, there will be BIG sales in the run-up to Christmas.

For example, hundreds of millions are usually spent just on Christmas tree decorations. The U.S. Census Bureau says $393.8 million worth of Christmas tree ornaments were imported from China between January and August.

I hope you're anticipating extra sales and extra affiliate commissions for the holiday season.

If you wanted to cash in on the Christmas holiday season, you really should have started planning, researching and building pages and sites several months ago - or maybe even a year ago.

If you haven't done anything yet to push Christmas sales, it wouldn't hurt to spend a couple of hours creating one or two quick pages of holiday gift ideas, and then drop a few links around your site in prominent places to lure traffic to your holiday gift ideas pages.

Your job as an affiliate is to help your visitor decide what to buy. At this time of the year, you can have a bit of fun recommending your favorite products or some unusual gift ideas. USB rocket launchers, anyone? How stupid is that! Or you could blog about your Christmas wish list or your girlfriend's impossible wish dreams, or your wife's crazy Christmas wish list, or good ideas for really memorable gifts, or where to get cheap gifts...

I was about to say that you're limited only by your imagination. But actually, you're not limited by your imagination. If you do a few Google searches, you'll find heaps of good ideas for things to write about on your Christmas gift pages.

For a couple of weeks I've been experimenting with a way to create not just one or two Christmas gift pages, but dozens or hundreds of store pages - very quickly.

If you already have a WordPress blog and know how to get traffic to it, then this system will interest you. If you don't already own a blog, I don't think this is the best place to start.

WordPress blog owners, read on...

Perhaps you CAN participate in this year's Christmas sales rush.

The system I've been experimenting with is a datafeed service created by Stefan Everaet and Eric Busch.

It's a way of turning a WordPress blog into an affiliate store - or a way of adding a store to an existing blog.

Don't be put off by the mention of "datafeed". If you use this Datafeedr, you never have to touch raw datafeeds.

Stefan's and Eric's system crunches the techie stuff out of sight, so if you know your way around a WordPress blog, you'll be able to handle this. (The Datafeedr system is actually a WordPress plugin.)

You may be wondering if this datafeed thing is so automated that you'll end up with sites that look like everyone else's. No, definitely not. Or, if you do, it's your own fault, because you don't need to.

You can customize your store in all sorts of different ways.

You can choose products to display from hundreds of merchants and millions of products, and mix and match as you create the various categories.

For example, you could create a page displaying lovely diamond bracelets, and to do so you could pluck photos and product descriptions from a variety of merchants tracked by CJ, LinkShare, Shareasale and Pepperjam. (There are U.K. affiliate networks included, too.)

Or you could have a selection of geeky gadgets, or perfume, or cookies, or coupons... or whatever would best match the theme of your WordPress blog.

You tick little boxes to choose the merchants you want and the items you want in your store.

How will Google react to these new pages? That may depend on how much you customize them. For example, here are some ways you can do that, using this new system...

With a click of one button, you can hide all the affiliate URLs.

You can write the title of a page, the introduction, the keywords for the meta tags, and you can even write your own product category names. So while a merchant might have a category called "Bracelets" you can create one called "Beautiful Bracelets" - all helping to make your pages unique.

Even better, if you don't like the product descriptions, it's easy to dive in and change them, too - without going into the raw datafeed.

So although you're using datafeeds which enable you to build dozens or hundreds of pages quickly, you can mix and match and be original, creating highly individual pages, designed the way you want them.

If you do this, NO ONE else should ever have a page that looks like yours.

All these new pages on your blog can be targeting longtail keywords for the search engines to find.

As well, can create extra pages containing different modules that you choose, all helping you attract traffic to the keywords you choose.

You can also create highly targeted pages for PPC.

Support is excellent. I made a few mistakes setting up my first store and each time when I asked a question on the Support forum, Eric very promptly solved the problem for me.

If you do a little keyword research and put in two or three late nights, you could very quickly add an attractive, original affiliate store to your blog - still in time for the Christmas rush.

When the Datafeedr service was in beta mode, it initially was available for $97 a month. However, some users wanted a cheaper option, just to try it out. So Stefan and Eric added several lower subscription plans.

You can now try the whole system, build a store containing hundreds of pages and up to 100,000 products (if you want to go that large) for only $27. If you decide to keep going, there are monthly fees. You choose the level you want, ranging from one store to an unlimited number of stores. Power users will appreciate the "unlimited" stores option.

If you already own a WordPress blog which is getting traffic, I strongly recommend you spend a few nights building a new store. I think you'll be impressed.

If you're anything like me, having a brand new project to work on will energize you.

Stefan and Eric can build one of these stores in 10 minutes. I'm not claiming you'll be as fast. In fact, I strongly recommend you take your time and customize each store and make it unique.

If you're willing to make a start now on planning for Christmas 2009, you just might have a fantastic year.

Watch a store being built in the video here


IN-DEPTH REVIEW

I've written a more detailed review here...
Datafeedr review


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2. Sites where shoppers feel comfortable
========================================

If you own an old-fashioned website that doesn't allow your visitors to have their say and exchange ideas, here's something to think about...

Time Magazine reports that people like shopping at sites like Kaboodle, where they can give each other shopping advice and receive feedback, such as offering an opinion on which item makes a better gift.

"In October 2007, Kaboodle had nearly 3 million unique monthly visitors," Time says. "By October 2008, it tripled that number to 10.8 million and also logged its highest numbers for revenue, traffic and registered users."

Full report:

http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1858082-1,00.html


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3. Thought for today: Worries
=============================

"When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened." - Winston Churchill.


All the best

Allan Gardyne

December 4, 2008

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