Partnership marketing is increasing at a rapid rate, with 81% of brands leveraging this powerful marketing strategy. Follow these guidelines to help you gain the confidence to approach and plan your next partnership for a successful cross-promotional launch.
DO position yourself as you would with a potential investor
When you’re approaching a new potential partner, it’s important to position your brand as one that’s trustworthy and professional. Your partners are going to endorse you as an expert — someone with whom they can confidently do business. Approach this as if you’re selling your business to an investor because, in a sense, you are. Here are some ideas to help build rapport:
- Allow partners or their team members to test your product so they know exactly what they are promoting to their lists.
- Transparency is always appreciated. Let your partners know you’ll send reports and metrics to them during the launch.
- Give your partners your direct line, and let them know you are available during the launch for last-minute issues or questions.
DON’T have an unprepared delivery
With any pitch, you want to have a polished delivery and stellar marketing plan to present to your partners. This starts with preparation and aligning their vision with yours. Approaching a potential partner when you have not done your homework will come off as unprofessional. You want to show that you’re an authority in your industry and have the wherewithal to back up what you’re pitching. Spend the time to fine-tune your delivery so it exudes confidence and they are excited to jump on board with you.
2. YOUR OFFER
DO provide concrete numbers and show your track record
When you reach out to a potential partner to garner their interest in working with you, it’s important to provide clear information about your plans and anticipated results. You’re asking the partner to put a lot at stake by pitching your product or service to their audience, so instill them with confidence in your offer by sharing concrete sales and engagement metrics from previous cross-promotional efforts. These metrics include conversion rate, CTR (click-thru rate), CPC (cost per click), customer lifetime value, and even commissions. It’s always a good idea to run a test audience or a control segment of your list through your offer funnel prior to pitching it to a partner. With hard evidence to back your product, your odds of striking a deal are exponentially higher.
DON’T offer partners a blank guarantee
Your partners put their credibility on the line by vouching for your product, so be sure you’ve tested your promotional funnel and product prior to asking for cross-promotional backing. Know what you bring to the table and proudly share your offer with your partner.
3. AN EMPTY ARMORY
DO equip your partners with more than enough marketing collateral
The more material you give your partners to promote your launch, the more likely your partner will be to promote you and, therefore, the higher your sales are likely to be. You want to make it as easy as possible for someone to promote you. This could include providing your logos, pre-written email templates, ready-to-go digital ads, and referral links that they can use to send people to your sales page.
DON’T show up empty-handed
Initiating a partnership and not providing even the bare necessities will most likely halt any future partnerships. It’s okay and welcome when you go above and beyond what is expected of you. Delivering a polished package of marketing materials in the hectic world of product launches will ensure your partners will want to continue doing business with you time and time again.
4. ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL COPY
DO tailor your content to your partner’s audience
Although you should provide partners with materials, be sure to discourage them from directly copying and pasting your emails. Encourage them to tailor the emails to their own voice and audience. Or, instead of providing emails to use, you can provide your partners with a framework and guidelines with bullet points regarding your offer so they can reference it to write something for their audience. Offering zero content does a disservice to your partners and ultimately you, but offering email copy that they simply copy and paste is bad for your reputation and email delivery rates.
DON’T use the exact same copy for each launch
Using generic copy for each product launch might seem like a time saver but, when content has been copied and pasted without customization and then mailed to an entire list, it presents a number of problems, such as:
- It is seen as untargeted and characteristic of spam by email inbox spam filters, causing a low email open rate and ultimately affecting your launch.
- A quick copy and paste can leave room for error with details such as dates and links.
- Opting to channel inauthenticity with cookie-cutter messaging may lose you rapport and the trust you’ve built with your audience.
5. A SPARSE WINDOW FOR PLANNING
DO give yourself an ample window to schedule and plan your launch
Successful affiliate marketer Jeff Walker lives by the mantra, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty.” His launch calendar books 90 days in advance. Allow time to prepare and test your offer before you present your marketing package with all of the details.
Most partners and marketers limit how frequently they email their list with cross-promotional offers. They do this for a handful of reasons, some of which include ensuring they promote only high-quality products or not wanting to come off as too salesy. If you want to get on your potential partner’s calendar, make sure to reach out with enough time in advance.
DON’T procrastinate and wait until the last minute
Most businesses you partner with aren’t going to immediately promote your business or product. It’s a calculated process, and they need time to plan it into their promotional calendar. Keeping a pulse on both your schedule and a partner’s schedule far in advance can seem daunting; however, planning three to six months out does pay off. Knowing up front that each phase of this launch requires your time and energy allows you to give yourself plenty of time for research, preparation, the pitch and creating marketing materials.