Almost 74% of companies believe that affiliate marketing and partnership marketing are top priorities for their businesses. Since they are not part of the companies they work with, the partners in this latter category effectively act as their trusted voice. 


In short, they help boost brand awareness, generate new leads, grow customer bases, and assist in reaching new audiences.


What exactly is partnership marketing?


Partnership marketing refers to all the strategic collaborations between two companies or between a brand and an individual with a powerful personal brand. In partner marketing, both parties work together to achieve mutual goals. 


The goals can be any of the following or more:


  • Generating leads


  • Increasing sales through new channels


  • Building brand awareness


  • And increasing visibility


There are different types of partnership marketing. Here is a list of some of the most common varieties.


  1. Affiliates
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Charitable partnerships
  4. Channel partner marketing
  5. Content
  6. Distribution
  7. Consequence marketing
  8. Joint product development
  9. Licensing
  10. Loyalty programs
  11. Shared outlets
  12. Sponsorships
  13. Product placement
  14. Referral partnerships


Affiliate marketing


In affiliate marketing, companies partner with affiliates such as social media influencers, bloggers in a particular niche, and/or other content creators that people trust as authorities. 


Companies have a better chance of reaching their target audiences using this type of marketing. Affiliates place affiliate links in their content to convert website visitors to customers for the brands they promote. 


Companies should be able to sustain the affiliate marketing program.


Brands or businesses that have high customer lifetime values or customer retention rates should plan on launching affiliate marketing. Only then will they be able to cover their costs. 


partnership marketing

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Channel partner marketing


Third-party businesses or individuals, also known as channel partners, assist companies in marketing. They help sell your products and services by taking them to new geographical areas, letting you reach a wider audience. Some of the different types of channel partners include wholesalers, distributors, resellers, and retailers


You can also consider agents or brokers who assist in establishing partnerships as channel partners too. Even affiliates are also known as channel partners.


Channel partner programs are more appropriate for well-established businesses with firm sales cycles looking to enter new markets to reach new target audiences. 


Here are some of the partner marketing strategies that you should adopt in order to achieve the best results:


1. Choose the correct partners for your brand


Handpick the partners that you want to work with if you want to get the best results. The partnership should help both parties achieve common goals. Most importantly, your association should make sense to your target audiences.  


Here are some of the things you must keep in mind when choosing a channel partner:


  • Pick one that has an audience that is identical to yours while also ensuring that they are not your direct competitor. 


  • Partner with an individual or brand your target audience will love engaging with or benefit from. When choosing an individual or an affiliate, ensure that they are creating interesting, engaging, and valuable content.


  • Also, find out what you can uniquely offer your partner’s target audience – and vice-versa.


  • Only enter into a partnership after you have an assurance that the brand or individual can help you reach at least one goal. 


  • Choose partners with brand identities and values similar to yours. That way, you can complement each other. 


Some questions that you should ask yourself when picking a partner:


  1. How can this partner help increase our brand awareness and visibility?


  1. What can they do to increase our social media followers?


  1. What can this brand or individual do to help me reach a new target audience?


What benefits will my partners get by associating with me?


  • If you are associating with an affiliate, the benefit they will get is the commission you will give them for getting you a lead or sale. 


  • If you partner with a retailer or distributor, they will get access to the product or service you are producing as they cannot find it anywhere else. 


2. Set SMART goals

partnership marketing

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If you want your brand or company to grow, you need to set realistic and achievable goals. SMART goals are what you should be embracing. 


SMART is an acronym. It stands for: “Specific,” “Measurable, “Achievable,” “Relevant,” and  “Time-bound.” SMART goals will not only help you set appropriate goals for your partners but will help you measure how they are performing periodically. 


Connect key metrics you want to reach with SMART goals to stay on track. 


For optimal results, here are some things you should draft with your partners: 


  • The number of sales you expect from a particular demographic.


  • A specific number of leads from the audience(s) you are targeting.


  • Increase website traffic within a particular time frame.


  • Agree upon the number of social media followers or engagement rates you want to achieve within a specific period. 


3. Have a contract in place


Once you identify the right partner, it is vital to enter into a contract so both parties know what to expect from each other. Before taking the next steps, carefully draft an agreement and let your prospective partners review it. 


An agreement in writing is appropriate, as you can use it to check progress and evaluate if your channel partner is – or is not –meeting your expectations. Ensure that you sign and seal the contract to make it valid once it is in place.


4. Motivate your partners with rewards


If you want to scale your business quickly, you should reward your partners, so they stay motivated and loyal. The rewards you offer will differ depending on the partner programs you select. 


For example, the commission rate you set for affiliate marketing should be lucrative. You want your affiliate partners to put in their best efforts. If you’re going to get the best out of your channel partners, ensure they have the provision to make more rewards when they sell more. 


Your partners will work hard when they see value in your partnership. You will get the best results when you reward your partners appropriately for all the excellent work they do or will do.


5. Provide them with sufficient support 

partnership marketing

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Companies put in a lot of effort when recruiting partners. But the same kind of support is often not given once the onboarding is complete. These are some actions that you must take to avoid making that mistake:


  • Give your partners clear information about the brand, products, and services when they join you. They need sufficient knowledge to make proper decisions on your behalf and know how to promote your company. 


  • Continuously provide them with the knowledge they will need, such as information on new features you are adding to your products, updates on business, and so on. 


  • Use partner relationship management (PRM) software, a partner portal such as Swaarm, to help partners know how they are doing. You can also use this platform to learn how they are progressing. Based on the stats, you can plan to support them as necessary. 


6. Optimize the process


You need to improve your partnership marketing process constantly.  It is not something you can set up once and then forget about. If you want to get better results and scale up your business, you must optimize this process. 


In order to begin doing so, ask yourself these questions:


  1. What’s working for your company? Which aspects of your partnerships are generating new leads and/or increasing profits?


  1. What are some underlying issues that are acting as a stumbling block to your company’s growth?


In conclusion


Partnership marketing is one of the best ways for companies to scale up their business and acquire new customers. Today, there are many types of partnership marketing on offer, so when choosing a partnership program that suits your needs, it’s best to be selective. The strategies outlined in this article can help you make that decision and get the best results from your partners and affiliates.