In one of our recent blog post, I’ve analyzed the pros and cons of partner marketing and hopefully, it made you want to hop on the bandwagon. After focussing on the ‘why’ of your partnerships, it is time apply the techniques that will help you benefit financially and grow your business in the longer run. Here’s how to set yourself for success.
Focus on research
As always, start with a research. Depending on what your main goal would be with partner marketing, you may be looking for the solutions that you could leverage by adding them to your marketing bundle.
Some of the questions that you should ask yourself before starting your research are:
- What tools are missing in your kit?
- What service would your offering and most importantly, your customers benefit from?
- What tools that you are already using (and what’s important, you can promote with a confidence), could you include?
- Do these tools have any partner programs you could join?
Depending on what would your main goal with partner marketing be, your tactic may be slightly different. Also, keep in mind that partnerships - as a general rule - tend to be more long-term in nature. You also need to have all necessary things in place (more on that below) and the goals are aligned on both sides. Make sure that your potential partners are a close match, but don’t be afraid to venture into unknown industries. The latter type of partnerships can produce surprising results.
You may also rely on your existing clients when it comes to looking for new partners. What tools are they using? Which ones would they benefit from adding on? As your business continues to grow, you should be gaining more and more insights into what your customers truly need.
Make a connection
Once you’ve collected your data and decided on the solutions you’d like to share with your customers, it is time to start testing out different solutions.
SaaS ventures often have dedicated partner program managers or persons responsible for connecting with potential collaborators. Email them with your questions about a potential partnership, ask about benefits for you, and - if possible - request a quick walkthrough for their existing partner dashboard or a presentation on how and what their current partners are doing. This could give you an idea of what you may expect when agreeing on a partnership.
Also, keep in mind that your potential partner will surely want to benefit from your collaboration, too. Prepare a list of your strengths, areas of expertise, and services that you could provide them with.
You can also start by registering for chosen partner networks (we’ve got one at LiveChat!), take a look around on what they’ve got to offer and only then contact a partner manager.
Create a strategy
When you already have an idea of what you can do within each partner network, it’s time to think about your strategy. Again, you need to ask yourself some questions before you will start to act. Here’s are a few I personally try to respond to while I am working on a marketing strategy for my campaigns:
- What will be the main goal of the campaign?
- Which channel would be best for promotion? What websites is the targeted audience already visiting?
- What should the campaign’s time frame be?
- How will you verify whether the campaign is successful?
Please note that some of the results and goals will be measurable in a shorter run while for others you’ll have to wait at least a few weeks or even months.
Once you’ve decided which indicators you’d like to measure, find ways to track them. Some of the partner programs offer detailed in-app analytics that will help you track the quality of your leads and decide which of these should you nurture or hold off with. Take a sneak peek at what this feature is like in our own LiveChat Partner Program:
Time to execute
You’ve sent all necessary emails and make all necessary phone calls. You’ve got your shiny campaign plan at bay. You thoroughly analyzed networks and tools that will help you succeed. Now it’s time to start executing. The means will largely depend on the type of strategy you’ve decided to rely on, channels used, targeted audience, and many more factors.
Regardless which actions you will take as a marketer, some of (potential) pain points stay the same. I can’t stress enough how much time and consistency are important in all marketing activities. As I’ve mentioned before, partnerships, as well as partner marketing, are all long-term strategies and you shouldn’t expect to start benefiting from those right away.
Analyze your results and make necessary changes to your activities
Advanced planning, close collaboration with partner managers and analyzing your results on a regular basis should ensure that you have a steady flow of customers (and yes, of extra income, too) at this point and you can skip to the next section below.
If somehow it doesn’t work for you this way, here are few things you can do:
- Reassess your strategy. Was it aimed at an audience that is not responding to your activities? Was the volume of your outreach actions too low? If so, try adjusting these and check if it helps your performance.
- Take a look at your channels. Which one of these was performing better than the others? What worked in their case? You may try applying these techniques to your other communication areas or consider ditching poorly performing channels in favor of the top ones.
- It may also happen that your KPIs were set too high, without taking impactful factors into account. In this case, you may need to take another look at your competitors and check their progress at the same stages. Where do you stand when compared with them? You may need to create a more realistic benchmark that could be easily applied to your campaign(s).
Repeat the above and nurture your relationships
It is worth remembering that when it comes to partner marketing, your work is never done. As a rule, business partnerships will need nurturing and checking on but can be beneficial for you in the long run as they offer stability and provide you with a steady flow of income. They will also require for you to be determined and zoom in exclusively on things that move the needle for your partners.
What you may be focussing on now won’t work in a few months, so it is also important to regularly go back to your strategy and re-check if it is still valid. You can also read our list of tips and tricks for making the most of the Solution Partner Panel.
Over to you
The most important takeaway is probably the fact that there’s no one way to go about making money from partner marketing. One may benefit from short-term partnerships, but in general, you should plan for the next few months or even years. Advanced strategy and continuous reassessment will be also crucial if you’d like to succeed.
There you have it! A guide to making money by partnering up with other companies that you can apply for your outreach campaigns. Has any of the advice been helpful for you? What other strategies and tactics have you been using in partner marketing? I’d love to discuss it in the comments below and on Twitter!