Partner Programs: Why You Need Them and How to Do Them Right

Grow your business, increase revenue and build valuable industry relationships

Building your brand’s digital presence should be a key part of your marketing efforts. However, it can be a challenge to grow when you’re first starting out. That’s where partner programs come in. By partnering with another company, you not only tap into a larger subset of your target audience, you also increase the possibility of closing more sales without a massive overhead. Yakkety Yak’s Digital Marketing Manager Andi Summers is covering what goes into a successful partner program and how you can successfully launch one of your own. Read on to learn more!

The Importance of Partner Programs

Third-party referrals are key to bringing in endorsements and testimonials that increase your credibility. “You can talk about how great your company is all day long, but a referral from an influencer will mean a lot more to your customers,” Andi says. “Think of it this way: If someone you trust told you to check out this restaurant or read that book, wouldn’t you be more inclined to do so than if you just saw an ad online?”

How to Launch an Effective Partner Program

1. Determine Your Goals

“Before you can start working with another company, you need to know exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve,” Andi says. Are you looking to grow your followers? Are you trying to increase sales? Setting goals for your partner program will not only help you determine who to partner with, but it can also inform how you partner with them.

2. Research Your Audience and Potential Partner

Consider your target audience’s demographics: Who are they? What are they interested in? Then ask the same of your potential partner. “If you’re a women’s shoe company, your first thought might be to partner with a local shoe store,” says Andi. “But you might have more success partnering with a lipstick line that is also looking to engage young women.” Understanding your target audience can help you identify a partner that will help you reach them.

3. Gauge Interest

Here’s the easy part: Now that you’ve settled on a potential partner, ask them if they’d like to partner. “Try to connect on a deeper level than what cold-calls allow,” Andi suggests. “You need to pitch your company and explain why you’re a good fit. You’ll have better luck engaging them if you can interact on a more personal level.”

4. Determine Program Goals

How will the program look? Will you be creating new content together, writing articles on each others’ websites, hosting a giveaway? Keep your internal goals top of mind as you build the program. “If you’re looking to grow your followers and your partner is simply looking to provide their viewers with new content, consider a sponsored post,” Andi says. Or, if you’re both interested in mutual promotion, suggest guest blog posts that highlight the features of your products.”

5. Track Data

“Your internal goal will determine which data you watch most carefully,” Andi says. “If you went in hoping to increase your followers, track the growth as the partnership progresses.” If your results are not matching your internal goals, there’s likely an aspect of the program that can be fixed.

6. Evaluate the Program

Use the data to determine how well your partnership is doing, and if there is anything that can be improved upon moving forward. “If you think the program might not be successful, ask yourself: How important are those third-party referrals to me?” Andi says. “Even if a partnership isn’t perfect, you’ll still benefit from the genuine recommendations your partner is giving you.” If your is a huge success, it’s likely that you’ll be able to work together in the future—and, perhaps, on an even larger scale that targets new customers and grows your business.

How Yakkety Yak Can Help

“We’ve helped several clients establish successful third-party partnerships, including The American Migraine Foundation and Ashland Women’s Health,” Andi says. While these two organizations differ in size, we identified their specific goals and successfully reached their target audiences. “For AMF, the main goal is to become a thought leader and the most-trusted resource of migraine information. Because of this, their professional affiliations have certain criteria. However, AMF still partners with a variety of businesses, ranging from bloggers to medical and professional societies.”

Ashland’s main priority is to educate and connect with moms and help them get their insurance-covered breast pump. Their goals are more revenue-based than AMF’s, and since they’re still growing, their terms for partnership aren’t as a strict. “Ashland’s ideal partner has somewhere around 40,000 to 50,000 followers,” Andi says. “This allows them to reach a large portion of their target audience, while still being able to connect with individuals on a personal level.”

Interested in starting your first partnership program? We can help. Contact Yakkety Yak today.

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