5 Unique Ways to Create, Monetize and Distribute Gift Guides

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One of the most popular ways to generate sales during holiday season is with a gift guide.  The typical gift guide that Bloggers, Social Media Marketers and Ecommerce stores use is starting to die off in terms of how effective they are compared to past holiday shopping seasons.  One of the main reasons could be that everyone uses the same type of holiday gift guide an distribution as everyone else.  Many Bloggers use the same advertisers and also the same promotional methods.  By thinking creatively you can push them in new ways to drive new traffic and hopefully make more sales.  If you don’t know what a gift guide is, here is my post on how to create a gift guide.  The post should be able to help you to think about how to create niche gift guides that can be more targeted and get more shares, backlinks and sales if people find, trust and like them.  After you’ve created your gift guides, here are 5 more ways that you can create and promote a unique gift guide, while using the products from a few of my client’s affiliate programs, whether you are a blogger, social media strategist or even how to do it if you are an ecommerce store or just someone who does this for fun.

1.  Theme it to a popular niche – Instead of worrying about boys pajamas or womens slippers, why not try a funny bunny themed one for women and girls.  You could include bunny slippers, pajamas with rabbits on it or even tie in recipes like carrot cakes and other rabbit related things.  Next go out and find presents that have some sort of tie in to bunnies like faux fur blankets and coats or even 24 “karat” earrings or jewelry.  You could even do novelty products like Looney Tunes characters, famous movies starring rabbits or even cotton bedding and make a joke about cotton tails.  By choosing a name like The Funny Bunny Gift Guide for Women you might be able to stand out above the other sites with boring gift guides and gain all of the attention you would have missed.   Find these products inside this program to do a funny bunny or even a green, grouchy and grinchy christmas featuring Oscar and the Grinch.

Here’s another example that you can create with this client’s affiliate program.  Instead of worrying about including fruit gifts or floral gifts, why not try a gluten free, international or Champagne themed one for adults.  If you go for an international theme, you could include foods, oils and flavors that are unique to specific regions or countries.  Once you have those, you can cross promote recipe books that tie in those flavors or products.  You can also tie in gift baskets from our store that feature these unique culturally appropriate gifts.

Next go out and find presents that have some sort of tie into the theme like photo books of France or elephant statues from Africa.  You could even do novelty products like Russian nested dolls and take your gift guide even further by having a continent as a theme and start with a large box and a gift from each country in each box until you get to the bottom.  By creating a fun way to theme a gift guide and deliver it to the people who read and would be buying the presents, you may inspire them and they could shop for your entire catalog, not to mention might come back because you gave them something creative to work with.

One other unique idea for a niche gift guide is to break it out by life stages.  Do a couples first holiday gift guide and include some of the more romantic products from this program.  You can then include a section for lingerie, bedroom supplies, etc…, first Christmas couples ornaments, gifts and other presents to give to them and a ton of other things specifically geared towards couples on their first holiday season together.   One really fun one could be a guide on how to survive the inlaws as a married couple for the first time.

2.  Pinterest – Once you have your gift guide set up and ready to launch, don’t forget to include the proper images for each product and other things you’ll need for your Pinterest marketing strategy with your gift guide.  Pinterest can play a huge role in your Q4 traffic and revenue.  If you aren’t using it, then I highly recommend you start.  I’ve even started to find ways to drive traffic that is relevant in a B2B market and that can convert into sales.  Pinterest isn’t just posting pictures or sharing recipes, it is now a full fledged traffic and shopping engine for the B2B and B2c markets.

What you may want to do is to create a board for each of your gift guides and name them the same name as your gift guide.  Now you can gain attention to your guide by pinning other people’s related gifts to your pinboard and you can also incorporate your own gift guide in, and then pin each gift from the post to your board.  If you can get the right people to find and repin, pin or share, and follow your gift guide pinboards you can start to drive more traffic and hopefully make more sales.  Just make sure you don’t pin anything with a store’s brand, logo or url on them because the Pinner may go directly to the store and skip over you.  Having a fun name for your gift guide can also get the attention of other Pinners and bring in more traffic and sales.

3.  Twitter and Facebook – Don’t forget to push your unique guides out across Twitter, Facebook and other channels.  One thing that is important to remember is that not everyone on your social channels are on your newsletter lists and vice versa.  There are numerous ways to distribute your gift guide on social channels, and here are a few of mine.

One guide a week – Create numerous guides that are all relevant to your readers and followers but different in theme.  Use something unique that would target a different interest or person that these people would be shopping for.  Then you create the guides and dedicate one day of the week and post it to your feeds and channels.  You could do a gift guide day on Monday or Friday and post a few of the products from the guide with your links back to the guide, then post the entire guide when you normally get the most responses and click throughs from your shares.   Just make sure you don’t over do it with the products or even try pushing all of your gift guides out one a day so that you don’t overwhelm your readers, followers and fans.  You want to give them time to shop through the guide and give them a new one the following week when they are ready for new products and recommendations.

One product a day – By taking one product a day from your gift guide and dropping it out to the world on social media you can run a contest where the person who can guess the theme of the guide before you post it at the end of the week can win a prize.  You will have to talk to a licensed attorney or certified lawyer to make sure your contests are legal, but this could be a great way to get exposure and also help build interest across your networks.  One other option if you have a larger guide is to drop two or three products each day from the guide to help people guess the theme easier.

4.  Make an impulse buy guide just before the holidays are over.  Think about walking through some of the large bed and bath, houseware and large electronic stores and the products they place right as you are waiting in line to pay for your products.  You’ll normally see beverages and candy which are great after you’ve been shopping, but cold drinks and candy aren’t always relevant to your online visitor.  Instead look at the other products which are novelty candies shaped like Sci Fi movie figures or As Seen on TV Products.  By finding these impulse buys and stocking stuffer gag gifts, you can do an entire last minute gift guide for your readers based off of impulse buy products while they are in shopping mode so they can find really cool, but useless, gifts that they still need to buy.

5.  Last minute gift guides and shipping guides. One thing I haven’t seen done is a last minute gift guide or still time for shipping guide.  Everyone rushes to finish their shopping at the last minute.  There is someone you didn’t expect that is coming to your house or a party, you get in a relationship or someone in your family does, etc..  By going through your regular gift guide, including the last day to ship, a coupon code and a great description that would get the person to want to buy the products, you may be able to generate extra income by helping them find those last minute items and creating a sense of urgency with the last day to ship.   One other thing you may want to do is include two or three stores with the products, the prices and last day to ship on each.  This will help your readers, followers, etc… know where they can buy the perfect last gift, what it may cost and when they can have it by.  This can add trust, a great customer experience and help you to get them to come back to you for more ideas next year.  Having multiple store options can also be helpful if one or two of the stores are sold out so your users can find the products and you can still get the sale.

Gift Guides are an amazing way to drive sales during the holiday season.  If you get creative and can make one that really stands out, then find a unique way to distribute it, you may be able to grow your audience, increase your sales and have a much better holiday season revenue wise.  Try to look at what and who your readers are following (you could try a survey to see what other sites they read) and then see what you can do compared to their efforts that is unique, that they haven’t thought of and really drive more sales.  If you have any other gift guide ideas I didn’t mention here, please feel free to share them below.

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