A secret which top brands have known for years is that it pays to partner up. Your brand gets exposed to a new group of customers, and this can have long term benefits. In this article, we will be taking a look at the most effective types of e-commerce partnerships and how to execute them.
People love one of a kind items. It creates a buzz which can go viral on social media. For this to work, you will need to find a brand which has a similar target audience to yourself. However, don’t partner up with a competitor. For example, an exercise brand might partner up with an eco-friendly food brand to launch a limited edition water bottle. Both sides benefit because there are overlaps with their audiences.
For partnerships to work, both sides must actively promote the product through social media, email newsletters, etc. In an ideal world, both sides would be committed; however, a proposal document ensures that there is no doubt as to what is expected. In any partnership, you need to look professional. There are numerous business proposal templates available online.
After your limited edition campaign is over, review what went well, and points for improvement. Use this to improve your next collaboration.
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than advertising. And that makes sense because friends and family tend to have our best interests at heart. Influencer marketing is word-of-mouth advertising at scale. The aim is to build an army of influencers to build profitable campaigns with.
A big mistake is to only focus on the follower numbers and ‘likes’ when deciding on an influencer to partner with. Here are 3 things to focus on:
1) Does the influencer’s audience match that of your target audience? The closer the match, the more effective your campaign is likely to be.
2) Does the influencer have a deep bond with their audience? Some influencers have ‘drive-by’ followers. They just like how the influencer looks or how much money they show off. However, they wouldn’t take action on their recommendations. The type of comments left on posts should give you an excellent idea.
3) Can the influencer create attractive, natural looking content? Ideally, you want your partnership to look as natural as possible. If it seems like an ad, it will be less effective. I strongly suggest that you let the influencer create the content, so it weaves in naturally.
A challenging aspect of influencer campaigns is ensuring that all the content is scheduled ahead of time. In order to create a viral campaign, key content needs to be posted at the same time. Social media marketing has its’ own challenges. Plan well ahead of time so that there is no disruption to your campaign.
Tracking campaign performance is essential. This makes it easy to compare influencers and decide on which one is giving you the best ROI. The easiest way to do this is to offer each influencer a unique voucher code to share with followers. This can be shared in articles, Youtube videos, on Instagram etc. The ultimate aim is to have a group of influencers you work closely with on seasonal campaigns.
Generally speaking, people develop an affinity for brands which give back. Charitable giving is especially effective if it is a cause your audience cares about. It also helps to humanise your brand. Charity work can gain you life long brand ambassadors. You can increase the effectiveness of your charity campaign by partnering up with other brands in your niche. This enables you to put your brand in front of more people without having to foot all the costs yourself.
Charity work also enables you to create shareable content and get your customers involved. Big brands give away millions of dollars because it increases sales and brand image.
Affiliate marketing appropriately done creates a win-win situation. It also enables you to partner up with more prominent influencers than your budget would usually allow for. You also don’t lose any money upfront. For instance, you could offer a 20% commission for every sale they bring. Instead of spending a lot of money on paid ads which might not work, you instead focus more time on getting new affiliates. Affiliate marketing also has SEO benefits.
A downside to affiliate marketing is that you aren’t in full control of how your products are promoted. Some affiliates exaggerate or lie. And this can hurt the customer experience. Therefore, you need to be careful about the people you sign up as affiliates. Furthermore, your affiliates should have the content required to promote your brand. Make it easy for them. Here are some examples of content:
- Social media banners
- Email blasts
I work with a small group of influencers on affiliate marketing campaigns. I create unique content for each one because it makes a difference to the sales figures. Plus, the influencers appreciate this. We have been able to build a highly profitable relationship.
It is becoming increasingly common for e-commerce brands to sell physically. A pop-up shop enables you to generate a buzz and user-created content. With permission, you can take videos of people trying out your products. You can also encourage them to share it on social media with a hashtag. This method is much more effective when you partner up with other brands. You can cross promote the pop-up shop experience and also create a vibe which fits your brands. Plus, partnering up works out cheaper because you can share costs.
As you partner up with other businesses, you need a record of any payments made by either party. The best way is to send invoices. Attractive branding on your invoices makes you appear more professional. Plus, it reduces the chance of disagreements down the line.
Partnerships can be an effective growth driver. This is why the likes of Louis Vuitton and Supreme continue to collaborate with other brands. When done right, they are a low-cost way to acquire more customers. The only downside is that a partner’s actions can harm your brand; therefore, choose wisely.
Aaron Beashel is Head of Marketing at Qwilr. Qwilr is reimagining the way you communicate with your clients, helping you make beautiful, intuitive sales and marketing documents that look impressive and integrate seamlessly with your business.