The term “joint venture” (or JV) has different contexts depending on the type of business or interaction. Most people think of them as being longer-term relationships, and the process of building things together, but in the internet world, joint venture marketing is the process of coordinating specific promotions.
To learn more about joint ventures I went to the best in the business: Charles Byrd (also known as “The Chaos Killer”) – A Silicon Valley veteran. He has a deep background in online education, productivity, & joint venture webinars.
So what exactly does a joint venture look like in the digital marketing sphere?
In general, one party has a list or audience of a certain market that they provide quality content to, and the other party has a product that complements the message from the first party. They will email their audience, inviting access to free training and, at the end, offer a deeper dive product or path to go further… The two parties then share revenue from the promotion together.
This setup can be a compelling idea for businesses. A company that has an online product or service needs a traffic source so people actually come buy that product or service. There are several options for that traffic search, including cold advertisements (through Facebook or other services) and content marketing that people natively find on the web.
The real benefit of joint venture webinars, however, is that they are the fastest way to grow your list with no upfront cost. You can add people by the hundreds or thousands. You only pay commissions on products when they’re sold. This differs from advertising platforms like Facebook, where you pay for ads whether they result in sales or not. This means there is essentially no financial risk for companies as they look to build their audiences.
In addition, when you mail your own list, you can only offer a product a few times a year to that same list before your audience begins to get burned out. Joint venture marketing provides you with brand new audiences and lists, so you can promote your product more often without having to worry about extra costs. Plus, you can offer your own growing audience new things that compliment your primary product – without spending days or weeks creating a new product yourself.
Finding Ideal Partners And Establishing A Joint Venture
In general, a company that has a product or service that is complemented by another service can benefit from a joint venture.
Let’s say, for example, that you have an app that syncs well with other apps (like how many of today’s apps sync with Google Docs or Evernote). If you don’t have training or expertise in that other app, it can be beneficial to form a joint venture with a person or company that does have that expertise.
This means business owners should have a clear understanding of their business’ capabilities and benefits before they search for the ideal complementary partner. As such, you should already have a product or service up and converting, or at least have a thorough idea of what it is you’ll be making or providing.
If you know who your ideal customer is, then you should also look for people who are serving those audiences to be your partner. Look at people who have courses or training or are mentoring others in your specific area of operation, and go where they go to start building those relationships. That could be online, in classes or at events.
Planting the seeds of a relationship early on, even before you develop your product, can make it easier to form a joint partnership later. Having these relationships can also help you develop a better product from the get-go that is better served for a complementary partnership, and a product that is something your audience is actually looking for. In this sense, building early relationships with a potential partner in a joint venture acts just as much as a means to test out product concepts as it does to create built-in joint venture marketing opportunities.
So where, specifically, can you find potential partners?
There are plenty of digital platforms on which you can build relationships with experienced people in your field. Look in Facebook or LinkedIn groups, and find people who are sharing valuable content. Look for people who are traveling around and being movers and shakers in your industry.
Building these relationships can start off with something as simple as commenting on a shared blog post or participating in an online discussion. Keep in mind that while these people might be considered leaders or experts in their domain, that doesn’t mean they are experts in every aspect of it. You can start making suggestions of your own based on your own expertise, and demonstrate to them that you have valuable knowledge and experience that is complementary to their own, especially if it falls outside their realm of expertise.
You can provide value to people no matter who you are and who they are—it’s just a matter of knowing how your skills and knowledge complement each other. Demonstrating your ability to add value to another person or business is key to forming these relationships.
Once you have built up a level of familiarity through online interactions, you can ask to “meet up” over Skype or another platform to talk business. Ask them about what they’re working on and what they’re excited about. If they mention something you believe you could help with, you could either offer your services or names of other people who can also be of assistance. This gets the spirit of partnership established at an early phase in your relationship.
Keep in mind that every person and every partnership is different. Some form quickly and naturally, while others take a bit more time to develop. If you are able to meet people in person at live events, you will likely find it easier to form natural partnerships with people. It might even take no more than a single conversation to get a partnership going.
But in general, you will find yourself more successful at forming these partnerships if you are able to leverage your wins, giving examples and numbers associated with past partnerships and how they benefited your partners.
For more on collaborating and building relationships with content marketing, check out: The Harvest Method – How To Grow Relationships With Content Marketing.
The Core Elements Of Joint Ventures
At the most basic level, joint ventures begin when one party has a product and the other has an audience, with both parties standing to gain something through joint promotion.
Sometimes your partner will want you to promote their product as well as them promoting yours. It is important to carefully consider this type of cross promotion before you actually engage in it. You must, for example, be able to recognize if their product is a good fit for your audience as it currently exists.
You don’t have to do total cross promotion. It can be a one-way street with regard to promotion. As long as you have certain standards about what you are excited to promote and what your audience is interested in, you don’t have to worry about alienating your audience.
Once you have agreed on what your partnership will look like, you will pick a date for the promotion and create a promotion schedule. When will the emails be going out? What will the character of the campaign be?
Based on your discussions with your partner, you can begin building the backend of the promotion. This means scheduling a webinar, building a landing page that has functionality to get visitor emails and building a JV kit. This kit should contain email swipes, a summary of your promotion and affiliate links.
Make the process as simple as possible for them. This will make it more likely that they will continue to partner with you in the future if you have promotions that would benefit from a joint venture.
As part of your promotion, you should develop both a main offer and a downsell offer for those who do not purchase the main one. Determine how long each of these offers will run. The downsell can essentially be a discount version of the main offer, just missing some of the bells and whistles that are included in that main promotion.
Driving Traffic To Your Joint Venture Landing Page
Once you have built the relationship with your partner and established the backend elements of your promotion, it’s time to start driving traffic. But where do you get that traffic from?
There are two main types of traffic strategies: cold and warm traffic.
In a cold traffic example, you could run Facebook ads to attempt to drive people to your webinar. However, this usually isn’t the best investment for most joint ventures, as these are people who have never heard of you and don’t know what you’re about.
Warm traffic comes in from trusted sources. These are blogs or websites that have authority and audiences of their own, who are more likely to be interested in your promotion. If you have a trusted blogger who is an authority in his or her field referring readership to your upcoming webinar or promotion, it is far more likely you’ll get people actually biting on your promotion than you would get simply from relying on cold traffic sources. After all, these are people who have already been “primed” for your offering, so to speak, and who are coming into your promotion with some level of trust already established in you.
Ensuring Success Through Follow-Up Messages
There is a phrase in the business world: “The fortune is in the follow-up.” When no one follows up with potential partners, nothing will happen. When you have a good conversation with someone and they give you their card, you should follow up. Most people never actually follow up, even when they spend a lot of money to travel and visit an event.
If you get someone’s information, set reminders for yourself to follow up with them and keep touching base. You will completely stand out by being the person who actually followed through on the conversation you had with them at an event.
It’s just as important after you have run a promotion together to do a follow-up debrief. You can find out what the partner did and did not like, so you can set yourself up for success in potential future partnerships.
By being proactive about following up with your partner after a promotion, not only do you keep the relationship open for another potential partnership down the road, but you also open up possibilities for your partner to make new introductions to other potential partners. In this way, a successful joint venture can lead to new business opportunities down the road.
Tools For Joint Ventures
- Asana – Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work.
- Active Campaign – Active Campaign is a email marketing automation tool and sales CRM.
- EverWebinar – EverWebinar is a tool that automates your webinars turning them evergreen.
- Evernote – Evernote is an app designed for note taking, organizing, tasks lists, and archiving.
- Cloze – Cloze is a smart mobile app to track customers, clients, prospects and leads without the hassle of CRM.
- ClickFunnels – ClickFunnels is a tool that helps you easily build sales funnels to sell your products.
- Slack – Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services
- Newton – Newton is a email app with read receipts, send later, snooze & more for modern-day business communication
- GoToWebinar– GoToWebinar is a platform for businesses and sole proprietors with which they can create and deliver online and video conferences with their customers
Make Joint Ventures A Priority
In summary, if you have an online product and want to scale up without having to put your business into a tight financial situation, you need to be doing joint ventures.
Be proactive about putting yourself out there, both online and in person, and finding situations in which you can create new relationships and find ideal partners. If you’re serious about making JV’s part of your growth strategy, check out the Pure JV events, one of the best places to learn the skills and build a network to collaborate with.
Listen first, then begin adding value. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish just by engaging in genuine discussions and putting in the effort to build a relationship.