Growth is key to any partnership marketing campaign. A fast-paced, evolving digital landscape and new emerging partner types mean it is more important than ever for advertisers to have a clear strategy when activating partners. Below, we share five key steps to activating an effective and mutually beneficial digital partnership.
Be Transparent with Your Partners
Transparency from both sides is critical and minimizes the chance of surprises further down the line. Areas to focus on include:
- Commission rates – do they match expectations, and are they competitive?
- Cookie window – is this fair, and does it give the partner a chance to have the conversion attributed to them? Cookie windows span from one user session to 30 days. Higher cookie windows should be in place for more considered purchases like holidays or high-end jewelry.
- Resources for technology integration – does the partner require any integration? Both sides should outline the expectations, resources, and estimated turnaround time.
- Goals for the partnership – clearly outline strategic objectives and KPIs with program partners. Goals could include brand awareness or conversions for a particular product range. Once a partner knows your specific goals; they can tailor their promotions accordingly.
Treat it as a Partnership
You should incorporate the partner into your overall strategy, sharing promotional plans, updates and communicating as much as possible. For top partners, both parties should make introductions to key stakeholders around the business, in departments such as technology, finance and creative. Advantages include:
- A better understanding of how each business operates. This leads to a strengthened and more efficient collaboration process.
- Increased internal awareness for the partner, on the advertiser side. Decision-makers familiar with a partner's proposition and reputation are more likely to provide funds for activities.
- Both parties can go directly to the team member best suited to answer their query, significantly reducing turnaround time.
- Less pressure on the partner manager. With fewer emails and queries to action, there is more time for more practical tasks such as optimisation and planning, only benefiting the partnership.
Make it Interesting for the Partner
Offering partners an incentive for their first conversion and rewarding them for contributing toward strategic goals is a great tool for activation. Examples of this include:
- Make the partner sale active. Offer $X bonus for a partner's first conversion or offer increased CPA rates for their first month on the program.
- Set launch goals. Offer partners $X bonus for achieving specific, pre-agreed goals; for example, "launch a content piece in the first two weeks of a partnership" or "integrate within four weeks."
- Provide partners with an exclusive offer. Limit this to more significant partners who have good synergy with the advertiser's proposition.
Walk Before you Run
It can be tempting for advertisers to invest heavily in a new partner upon launch, particularly if a lengthy integration process has taken place. We recommend gauging the success of organic activity with the partner during the first month of launching.
Organic activity is classed as an 'always on' campaign without additional paid placements or tenancy to bolster performance. The benefits of this mean:
- You have a set of organic data to compare promotional activity data to, which provides a more accurate reflection of performance and uplift.
- More realistic budget allocation. A set of organic data at the beginning of the partnership will help make informed decisions when allocating budgets and agreeing to paid placements. It also helps to manage expectations on campaign performance.
Over-Communicate and Share the Love
As cliché as it sounds, communication is essential. For key partners, set up a re-occurring call and regularly contact top stakeholders from launch. This will lay the foundations for a structured and open partnership. Avenues to consider are:
- Hosting partner days once per quarter. These events allow you to meet partners face to face to discuss performance, ongoing projects and strategic goals for the next quarter.
- Regular newsletters from the advertiser containing information on upcoming promotions and critical business updates. The more personalized, the better!
- 'Friends and partner' discounts. Create an added incentive to work on the account and the possible chance to engage with your brand. Partners will also gain an authentic understanding of your product/ service and be able to experience the user journey first-hand.
These steps lay the foundations of a transparent, mutually beneficial, and successful partnership, sure to stand the test of time.
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