How to Strategically Lay the Foundation for Successful Partnerships
When it comes to forming partnerships between brands and affiliate partners, it’s important to approach the process strategically. Simply casting a wide net in an effort to get as many partners into the program as quickly as possible may lead to misalignment of values and, ultimately, disappointing results. This is why selecting the right partners and strategic affiliates is crucial in laying the foundation for successful partnerships.
Consider these strategies to help recruit and activate successful partnerships that drive growth and results for your brand.
Finding the Right Partnership Opportunities
The first step in the process of forming a successful partnership is finding the right opportunities. To do this, it’s important to start by understanding your goals and the type of partners that would be a good fit for your brand.
Ask yourself questions such as:
- What are my goals for this partnership?
- What type of partners align with my brand values?
- What are the growth opportunities for my brand?
Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, your in-house team or affiliate agency partner can start researching potential partners. It’s important to consider various partnership types, and not discount others based on any existing biases.
For example: A large mattress retailer seeking to drive affiliate incrementality had historically not considered coupon, deal, and loyalty partners – citing their internal perception that such partners would cost the brand money and would not drive incremental orders by attracting potentially already converted customers.
At Acceleration Partners (AP), our extensive experience managing affiliate programs for top brands has shown that coupon affiliates can be valuable partners that enhance a brand’s performance and contribute to its success.
In the case of the mattress retailer, the AP team worked with the brand to define incrementality within the program and recommended a mix of partners that included coupon, deal, and loyalty partners. This strategy paid off – the brand realized a 40% YoY revenue increase.
Asking the Right Questions
Once you’ve identified potential partners, it’s time to start evaluating their fit. Asking the right questions will help you determine if a partnership is the right fit for your brand.
Some questions to consider include:
- What is the affiliate’s history of working with other brands?
- How do they plan to promote my brand?
- What is their track record of delivering results?
By asking these questions, you’ll be able to determine if the affiliate is a good fit for your brand and if they can help you reach your goals.
For example: AP’s client Noom, the global health and fitness company providing an award-winning weight-loss program, had established a strong foothold in the U.S. but sought to expand their brand awareness and presence in the UK market.
The AP team leveraged an existing relationship with The Independent, whose substantial online following precisely matched Noom’s target audience. Based on prior performance, the AP team was certain this this partnership would deliver the results that Noom desired.
And it did.
The Independent leveraged a multifaceted promotional approach to incorporate Noom content into newsletters and social media promotions and routed native traffic to on-site materials. As a result, content promoted by The Independent drove more than 2,600 Noom registrations – a year-over-year increase of 267%!
Testing New Affiliate Partners
When it comes to testing new affiliate partners, it’s important to start small and test their performance before making a larger commitment. You can start by running a small test campaign with a new affiliate and evaluate their performance over a specific period of time. This will give you a good understanding of the affiliate’s ability to drive results and help you make an informed decision about whether to continue working with them.
For example: This strategy proved beneficial to one business-to-business (B2B) service provider, who was skeptical of the affiliate channel’s efficacy within the B2B sector. The AP team proposed a pilot program which would enable the brand to experience the value of the affiliate model while testing a targeted group of top-tier B2B-focused affiliates.
The AP team developed an attractive $20 to $40 cost-per-acquisition (CPA) commission structure that paid affiliates on specific outcomes including initial sign-up, additional hardware or software purchase at registration, and active-seller rate (use product after purchase). These targeted affiliates received a newsletter campaign educating them on the client brand, products and services, and the value to the affiliates’ readers.
The test proved successful, with these affiliates driving new customers who demonstrated strong lifetime value and exceeded goals.
Consider an Agency Partner
Affiliate and partnership marketing agencies have a deep understanding of the industry, as well as the relationships and connections needed to recruit, activate, and optimize high-quality – and high-performing – partners. Agencies often have a large network of potential affiliate partners, which can increase the chances of finding a good match for the company; and they have the resources needed to efficiently manage the recruitment process.
The AP approach to partner recruitment is unique in the industry. We recognize that partner recruitment and activation is vital to any program’s success and maintain our own in-house Partner Development Team dedicated to finding and onboarding new, creative partnerships.
Laying the foundation for successful partnerships is crucial for driving growth and results for your brand. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to expand your brand presence, increase your audience, and boost your revenue.