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3 Reasons Why Partnership Marketing Works for SMBs

July 15, 2022

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Partnership marketing is a catch-all term for a mutually-beneficial relationship between two brands — where a company partners with other brands, influencers, or online publishers. The goal is to tap into new markets, attract more customers, and pay the partners for their share. 

But how exactly do SMBs leverage this type of marketing? 

To find out, we invited Matt Wool, CEO of Acceleration Partners, to the “Organize Chaos” podcast. Matt helps big brands like Adidas, LinkedIn, and StubHub build profitable partnerships. And in this episode, he shares three reasons why SMBs should add partnerships to their marketing mix:

1. You set the price for your marketing partners.

When you use paid search or Meta (née Facebook) marketing, you have to pay whatever the price per impression is that day. But when you use partnership marketing, you set your partners' prices. “In partnership marketing, you’re working with people, building relationships, and trying to scale [partnerships] the best you can,” Matt explained. 

In other words, you generally decide how much you pay each partner. But that’s not to say there won’t be any negotiations. “A partner might say, ‘I'm only working with you if you pay me [so much],’” he told us. But at least you can still work with these partners to compromise on a budget that works for your business — unlike the set price on Google or Facebook.

“[Partnership marketing] lets you figure out what works for your business and partners in a win-win way.” – Matt Wool, CEO of Acceleration Partners

In addition to setting prices, Matt says you can pay partners based on the value they bring. That means you can set different rates or revenue shares based on what your partners bring to the table (i.e., their following, website traffic, or conversion rates). “You can pay a less-incremental publisher 2% [revenue] share and a super-incremental publisher 15% [revenue] share,” he said.

2. You can choose the right model for your business.

There are various ways to implement partnership marketing and plenty of partners to choose from — you get to decide which method works best for your business and which partners align best with your brand. “[Partners] range from influencers on TikTok to old school bloggers to huge businesses like Rakuten or RetailMeNot,” Matt explained. And who you choose to partner with will largely depend on your industry, values, and budget. 

“You can pick and choose based on all the different models [to find] what works for your business and brand.”

Here are just a few of the most popular partnership marketing models:

  • Pay brand advocates a commission for every conversion or sale. 
  • Partner with an influencer to place or plug your product or service. 
  • Team up with a relevant (but non-competitive) brand to cross-market services. 
  • Pay a niche blogger to review or mention your offerings. 
  • Sponsor a cause that aligns with your company's mission.

There are so many ways to use partnerships as a way to expand brand awareness and increase sales. But it all comes down to cultivating relationships that benefit both sides. 

3. You can track the partnership outcomes.

According to Matt, proper partnership marketing only happens when brands can track the outcomes of their partnerships. And that takes two critical components: 1) the technology to track results and pay partners, and 2) actually finding and building relationships. 

Matt says the technical side is similar to running a paid search on Google or Facebook. “You set up a technology that underpins everything,” he told us. And while there aren’t as many options for SMBs, there is Refersion, Everflow, and a small business option from Impact.

These platforms make it easy to engage, track, and pay your partners all from one dashboard. “But that's only half of it, because that's just the nuts and bolts,” Matt added. You still have to find partners and manage those relationships — whether you do it yourself or hire an agency.

Matt suggests starting with a few deep relationships and scaling those partnerships over time. “Focus on quality over quantity,” he shared. That way, you have the bandwidth to cultivate leads and convince the best partners to work with you. Then, once you’ve found the right partners, take the time to engage them regularly. “[Brands should talk to fruitful] partnerships every week or even multiple times a week,” he shared — whether it’s checking in or sending a new campaign. 

Partnership marketing is about cultivating and scaling mutually-beneficial relationships. And for SMBs, it starts with discovering a few key partners, finding the best budget and model for your business, and scaling those relationships over time.

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3 Reasons Why Partnership Marketing Works for SMBs

July 15, 2022

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You're all signed up! Look out for the next edition of The Manual Weekly coming Wednesday am!
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Partnership marketing is a catch-all term for a mutually-beneficial relationship between two brands — where a company partners with other brands, influencers, or online publishers. The goal is to tap into new markets, attract more customers, and pay the partners for their share. 

But how exactly do SMBs leverage this type of marketing? 

To find out, we invited Matt Wool, CEO of Acceleration Partners, to the “Organize Chaos” podcast. Matt helps big brands like Adidas, LinkedIn, and StubHub build profitable partnerships. And in this episode, he shares three reasons why SMBs should add partnerships to their marketing mix:

1. You set the price for your marketing partners.

When you use paid search or Meta (née Facebook) marketing, you have to pay whatever the price per impression is that day. But when you use partnership marketing, you set your partners' prices. “In partnership marketing, you’re working with people, building relationships, and trying to scale [partnerships] the best you can,” Matt explained. 

In other words, you generally decide how much you pay each partner. But that’s not to say there won’t be any negotiations. “A partner might say, ‘I'm only working with you if you pay me [so much],’” he told us. But at least you can still work with these partners to compromise on a budget that works for your business — unlike the set price on Google or Facebook.

“[Partnership marketing] lets you figure out what works for your business and partners in a win-win way.” – Matt Wool, CEO of Acceleration Partners

In addition to setting prices, Matt says you can pay partners based on the value they bring. That means you can set different rates or revenue shares based on what your partners bring to the table (i.e., their following, website traffic, or conversion rates). “You can pay a less-incremental publisher 2% [revenue] share and a super-incremental publisher 15% [revenue] share,” he said.

2. You can choose the right model for your business.

There are various ways to implement partnership marketing and plenty of partners to choose from — you get to decide which method works best for your business and which partners align best with your brand. “[Partners] range from influencers on TikTok to old school bloggers to huge businesses like Rakuten or RetailMeNot,” Matt explained. And who you choose to partner with will largely depend on your industry, values, and budget. 

“You can pick and choose based on all the different models [to find] what works for your business and brand.”

Here are just a few of the most popular partnership marketing models:

  • Pay brand advocates a commission for every conversion or sale. 
  • Partner with an influencer to place or plug your product or service. 
  • Team up with a relevant (but non-competitive) brand to cross-market services. 
  • Pay a niche blogger to review or mention your offerings. 
  • Sponsor a cause that aligns with your company's mission.

There are so many ways to use partnerships as a way to expand brand awareness and increase sales. But it all comes down to cultivating relationships that benefit both sides. 

3. You can track the partnership outcomes.

According to Matt, proper partnership marketing only happens when brands can track the outcomes of their partnerships. And that takes two critical components: 1) the technology to track results and pay partners, and 2) actually finding and building relationships. 

Matt says the technical side is similar to running a paid search on Google or Facebook. “You set up a technology that underpins everything,” he told us. And while there aren’t as many options for SMBs, there is Refersion, Everflow, and a small business option from Impact.

These platforms make it easy to engage, track, and pay your partners all from one dashboard. “But that's only half of it, because that's just the nuts and bolts,” Matt added. You still have to find partners and manage those relationships — whether you do it yourself or hire an agency.

Matt suggests starting with a few deep relationships and scaling those partnerships over time. “Focus on quality over quantity,” he shared. That way, you have the bandwidth to cultivate leads and convince the best partners to work with you. Then, once you’ve found the right partners, take the time to engage them regularly. “[Brands should talk to fruitful] partnerships every week or even multiple times a week,” he shared — whether it’s checking in or sending a new campaign. 

Partnership marketing is about cultivating and scaling mutually-beneficial relationships. And for SMBs, it starts with discovering a few key partners, finding the best budget and model for your business, and scaling those relationships over time.

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3 Reasons Why Partnership Marketing Works for SMBs

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