Using Joint Ventures to Build Your Audience Fast
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Kyle Gray: (00:37)
Hey friends. Can I tell you a little bit of a secret just between you and me? I don’t really like social media that much, I don’t like being on it. I have loved the idea of being a big Instagram influencer. I think I do cool stuff and can take some fresh pictures and I’ve met some people that have cool visions. My friend, Celine de Costa, wants to make her Instagram as a photo book for her future child and as a gift for them to show her future child her life. I think that’s awesome.
Kyle Gray: (01:11)
I’ve had friends who use Twitter to say that Facebook is the place where you go to meet people from your past, and Twitter is the place where you meet people from your future. I’d love to have a little bit more of a presence on Twitter and connect with people there. I’ve seen a lot of people with wildly successful and highly engaged Facebook groups, but I just got invited to too many Facebook groups at a time. Then it just overwhelmed me, and I wasn’t that interested in any of them anymore.
Kyle Gray: (01:41)
Here’s the thing, a lot of people that I’ve worked with, collaborated with, and coached feel that you need to have a massive social media following to be able to succeed in this digital marketing business, online kind of world that we’re in. I’m here to tell you that that just might not be the case. I don’t think that having a big social media following is the only or even the best way to reach more customers and drive growth for your business.
Kyle Gray: (02:11)
There are, of course, other significant options like having a great blog that drives a lot of SEO traffic. I used to have a lot of success with this. I used to work in this all the time and was writing high traffic. A lot of the articles that I wrote on my site months or years ago still drive a lot of good traffic. There’s a lot of value there. SEO does take a lot of time to build up, and you’ve got to target just the right keywords if you want to get people to buy from you.
Kyle Gray: (02:37)
Paid traffic is fantastic because you can turn on and off clients like you can turn on your faucet and fill up your business with clients like you’d fill up a glass of water. That is awesome, but you need to know your numbers, you need to have an excellent system in place if you want to succeed and scale in the long run. Now, I believe that you should be developing at least one of these strategies, social media, SEO, paid traffic. Still, the one that I would like to talk about today works well with both new business owners or new products and more developed business and experienced entrepreneurs alike; it’s called a joint venture.
Kyle Gray: (03:16)
In the purest sense, a joint venture is usually two or more people teaming up. One has a product to sell, and the other has developed the audience of potential buyers. The person with the product offers its products to the audience, and they split the earnings from the offer. This may sound simple and obvious, but there is lots of magic happening here. Someone with a great offer but not much of an audience has a chance to grow their business quickly. While somebody with a following can serve their audience and make a high profit without having to develop a product themselves, which can take months and years or having to fulfill on that product. That could be excellent news for some people.
Kyle Gray: (03:59)
I encourage many of the clients going through my agency to consider joint ventures as a way to get their message out. We work on putting together an excellent presentation and high converting sales funnels with great pages and email automations. All they need to do is find the right partner, which we’re going to talk about later on the show, and share their fantastic message with that audience, and they’ve got themselves one clear path to sales set up. Good stuff.
Kyle Gray: (04:24)
Today I want to break down the basics of a joint venture and tell you what you need to know to get started in this world. First, we’re going to talk about what you’re going to offer and how that looks. Number two, we’re going to talk about what tools you need to do a joint venture successfully. Number three, we’re going to talk about finding ideal partners to work with on a joint venture. Then number four, we’re going to talk about building relationships and trust with those perfect partners so that you can have a successful joint venture together. Let’s get into it.
Kyle Gray: (04:56)
Number one, what am I going to offer? If you’re going to do joint ventures and you’re not the one with the big audience already, then you need something to sell. I’m not going to go into the weeds on product development today, but what you have to offer should be awesome, but an excellent product is not all you need to think about, you need to think about profit margins. What you should offer should have enough margins that you can give away a right and compelling amount to your promotional partner. But still have enough for you that it makes sense to run the promotion and to fulfill on the business, sell whatever product it is.
Kyle Gray: (05:31)
That brings me to the next point. You need to have a compelling offer. You don’t just need to have a compelling proposition for the audience that they’re going to want to buy, but you’re going to need to have a compelling offer for the partner. What are they going to walk away with that excites them? A pure information product like a course can be a 50/50 or maybe even sometimes 60/40 split in favor of the one with the audience. If it’s just an information product or a course, those are easy to fulfill on, and so it’s not such a big deal to give away such a large amount of your profit because anything you sell is pure profit.
Kyle Gray: (06:08)
If you’re selling software or maybe a recurring revenue product like a community, this can be very compelling for joint ventures. You may not need quite as generous of a split if your offer provides a part of the recurring fee each month. If somebody signs up, they continuously get a check each month or usually not a check anymore but a payment each month from you. If you’re offering a service or coaching, this is where it gets a little tricky. You’re going to need to determine what you’re able to give away.
Kyle Gray: (06:38)
If you give away too much of your profits, then you’re going to end up with lots of work, but no money, and that’s no fun. Another part of what makes a compelling offer is your track record selling this product. You may want to offer more at first if you’re pretty new with this product or new to the world. Take a short term loss in your profits to get some functional case studies, testimonials, and experience selling this product because the person you’re partnering with is taking a more significant risk if you have an unproven commodity.
Kyle Gray: (07:08)
If something doesn’t sell or it turns out to be a bad fit with their audience, it damages their trust with their audience, which is something we’re going to talk about a little more in-depth. If you already have a good track record with this product, you’ve gotten lots of success, and lots of people are buying it and interested in it, you may not need to be as generous in your offer to the host because you know this can perform. Again, this is kind of a case-by-case basis that you’re going to need to figure out.
Kyle Gray: (07:34)
Okay, onto point number two. Let’s talk about some of the tools you are going to need to have a successful joint venture. Tool number one is a killer presentation. The fastest way to build trust with a listener is an excellent presentation where you share inspiring teaching, a connecting story, and a compelling offer. An excellent presentation is useful for much more than just joint ventures too. It is used in a variety of ways that include: from the stage at events, podcast interviews, or even be repurposed for social media and excellent blog content so that you can build those other strategies that we were talking about earlier.
Kyle Gray: (08:13)
I’ll need to make an episode on some of how I help people develop an excellent presentation soon, but for now, we’ll have to move on. It can be argued by some, but probably not by me that this one is a little bit optional. If you have a low ticket item to sell, I’ve seen plenty of people successfully promote those with just some email send instead of going through a whole presentation. The next tool that you’re going to want is some outreach templates. You want to have some template emails that allow you to reach out and connect with your potential JV partner.
Kyle Gray: (08:45)
You’re going to want the details of your offer, your presentation, and how they and their audience are going to benefit, but be sure to leave plenty of room for personalization and a real human connection in here. Okay, so a little tangent here. Speaking of personalization and outrage, I just need to do a little bit of a rant. Does anyone else here get this super annoying LinkedIn connection invites that say, “Hello Kyle, I noticed you have a business. Do you need more leads? I also noticed we’re both humans, so we have a lot in common, so let’s connect.”
Kyle Gray: (09:20)
Just a warning. If you add somebody like this, then they get your email address from your LinkedIn profile and will continue to send you this nonsense via email. Does anyone fall for this? Is this how you plan to get me more leads for my business by sending blather out across LinkedIn to people? I suppose if you send something like this to 10,000 people who fall in the category of business owner/lives in a specific location, then a few are going to convert.
Kyle Gray: (09:48)
I am not into this. This is the opposite of the strategy I’m going to be talking about here. We’ll talk more about relationship building later in this episode, but you don’t want to be going on LinkedIn with some boilerplate template and just saying, “Hey, Hey, do you want to work with me? Do you want more leads? Blah, blah, blah?” Terrible. Okay, okay, rant over, thanks for listening. Next, you’re going to need some swipe files for your partner to help promote you. Now think about this carefully. Your promotion partner has some work to do as well to make this happen, and you want to make their job as easy as possible for them so that you become more successful in the long run.
Kyle Gray: (10:29)
Create some swipe files, email templates that they can work with to invite people to your presentation, to remind people about the product that you’re offering, and to create some good content for their audience. Make it easy for them to promote who you are clearly. You don’t want to leave them the work to come up with what this is on their own because they might get your message wrong, and then you’re going to miss out on customers.
Kyle Gray: (10:57)
Next, you need a high converting sales page. Whether you’re doing a presentation or just an email promotion with your partner, your audience ultimately needs to get to a page with a buy now button on it. Having an excellent sales page that speaks to the desires of the audience and answers the questions and objections they have before they pop up in their head is crucial. This is another essential tool that I work on with my clients all the time. Having an excellent sales page, again, is going to serve you way beyond just joint ventures. Super valuable thing to have a great sales page for your product if you can get traffic to it.
Kyle Gray: (11:34)
Next, we need software to track your conversions or sales. If you’re doing a lot of joint venture promotions like this, you want to be able to keep close track of where your buyers came from so you can make sure you’re rewarding your partners appropriately. This often looks like having your email automation set up to tag people to track them as they go through your funnel, from registering for your presentation to buying the product. Let’s say you ran two joint ventures with person A and person B, and you gave a presentation on Monday with person A and on Tuesday with person B, and you got a hundred sales.
Kyle Gray: (12:09)
If you’re not tracking that and you don’t know how to split up your profits, and person A and person B might both think that they got all of those hundred sales and want that much money from you. You need to be able to back up your results with numbers. This is a lot of different tools, and to help out the clients that I’ve been working with and coaching, I’ve put together a joint venture starter kit with a lot of these items and templates.
Kyle Gray: (12:34)
If that sounds like something that could be useful for you and your business, please reach out to me and leave a comment in the show notes or over email, I’d love to hear from you, and we can talk about this more. For now, onto part three, finding ideal partners for your joint venture. First, let’s talk about if you’re the person that has the product to sell, what makes for a perfect partner? Number one, you should share values and vision with this person. This is going to make everything else in the process easier. Their values are going to reflect on their audience as well.
Kyle Gray: (13:08)
Next, they should have a similar audience and solve a parallel problem to what you’re addressing. Now, what do I mean by a parallel problem? A parallel problem is something that serves the same audience but is not the same thing as what you do. Hopefully, it’s obvious why somebody who serves the same audience and solves the same problem would probably not be willing to promote your stuff. Some examples. If you help people build excellent funnels or websites, look for some of the people who are offering the software that you use to develop those sites and promote to their audience.
Kyle Gray: (13:44)
If you teach yoga for athletes, look for people who are doing strength or endurance training for those same athletes. If you teach men how to improve their wardrobe style, then look for people who are teaching beard grooming or something like that. You two can bond with each other by talking about how crappy my style and how weak my beard is. It’s okay, I get it. All right. Next, they should have a list size and quality that will lead to success. They need to have a large enough following that you’ll be able to reach out to enough people to have a successful joint venture.
Kyle Gray: (14:22)
Think about it, most webinars, presentations, and email promotions only convert a small percentage of who they are promoted to. You want to have large enough that this makes a significant enough impact that it becomes a win for you and your business and a win for them as well. You want to make sure that they are earning enough by you selling enough.
Kyle Gray: (14:49)
They need to have a list quality that fits your product. If they have a huge list, but all of these people are buying $10 eBooks, they may not be willing to invest in your $3,000 high-end coaching. It’s not the right audience with the proper spending power you want to cultivate; that might be better to speak to a much smaller but much higher qualified list. The size and quality are things that you’re going to need to find a balance for and find that sweet spot that works well for you.
Kyle Gray: (15:21)
Let’s talk about ideal partners if you have an audience that you want to monetize. It’s worth mentioning here because I’ve been speaking from the seller or promoter’s point of view from pretty much this whole time and not the host. It may be worth soon having a different episode that goes in-depth into how to host joint ventures with your audience, but for now, here are a few quick tips. You want to make sure that the people you partner with share your values and treat your audience with the same respect you do, repetitive from the last one, but it’s so important.
Kyle Gray: (15:54)
Values and vision are what drive businesses and what drives human connections. If you value making a significant impact, creating real relationships with your audience, and then invite somebody on who’s a sleazy salesperson like what I talked about a few episodes back, you’re going to damage your trust with your audience. Which is hard to build up. You also want to work with somebody who solves a parallel problem to what I mentioned above. You don’t want to bring your direct competitors on and have them steal your audience.
Kyle Gray: (16:26)
You also want to think about the timing. You want the timing to work with what you are doing and what you’re promoting. If you’re doing a product launch for one of your products or services, its important to not overlap that timing with your partner. Okay, now on to point number four, building trust with your ideal partner. There’s much more to it than just finding the right partner because developing relationships with that partner is probably the most crucial aspect of a successful joint venture.
Kyle Gray: (17:04)
Though it will only take a small portion of the time that it takes to record this podcast, it’ll probably be the majority of where you are spending your time in joint venture land. The reality is, no matter how fantastic of an offer you have, people need to trust you. Building an audience is hard, and one wrong move can evaporate the trust that took years to cultivate with your audience. If you’re a seller, you’ve got to see your ideal partners like a mama bear protecting her cubs and the cubs being the audience. You probably won’t get mauled if she doesn’t trust you, so don’t worry about bringing bear spray.
Kyle Gray: (17:43)
On a side note, I’m not even sure how well bear spray works. I think for big bears, it’s about as deterring as adding sriracha sauce onto a breakfast burrito, but the breakfast burrito is you, in this case. I digress. The point is if she doesn’t trust you, she’s certainly not going to let you into the den with the cubs. As we’re going to go into more depth into, building trust and relationships with your ideal partners takes time and effort. Still, you can leapfrog some of that by starting with the people and contacts that you already know.
Kyle Gray: (18:20)
If you’ve been in your niche or industry for a while, you may have some friends and collaborators that know you and would be excited to work with you on this. Start with people who already trust you and get some experience and some success under your belt before reaching out. At the very least, they may be able to introduce you to somebody. Again, as I’m going to say later, an introduction is a large and powerful accelerator of trust and relationship, so start in your backyard.
Kyle Gray: (18:50)
How do we build trust with people we don’t know yet? Again, this is simply said but patiently done. Here’s a list of a bunch of different things that you can do. First, follow them on their blogs, social media or wherever they spend their time creating content and comment on and share their work. Join their communities and add value. Many people have spent time building up communities and Facebook groups or forums or other places where they digitally gather.
Kyle Gray: (19:20)
They might be free to enter; you might have to pay to get in, but once you’re in, be active and helpful. Answer questions that the people are asking to encourage people to share your wisdom. Avoid being self-promotional and focus on adding real value to everyone in there; your ideal partners are going to notice. Figure out what events your perfect partners are attending and go to them. If they’re a perfect partner, you’re likely going to find other right perfect partners at these same events too.
Kyle Gray: (19:52)
This is crazy, but I sometimes barely feel like a digital marketer these days because most of the connections I make that lead to significant progress in my business are made in person. These events can be expensive to go to, but they always pay off big time for me. Next, invest in your partners. On that note, it’s somewhat obvious and straightforward and may be redundant at this point, but, again, it’s something rarely done. Look for programs, events, communities, coaching, masterminds, whatever else they offer, and invest in it.
Kyle Gray: (20:26)
You’re showing them trust and respect by investing in them and separating yourself from the army of other people trying to get their attention but not offering any real value to them. They’re much more willing to get to know their customers and much more likely to be interested in collaborating with you after you’ve invested in them. Next, be a connector. Like I said earlier on, with the people that already know you and trust you get introductions, and you can do the same thing. This can be more effective once you have some sort of relationship established with them already, they know you a little bit, they trust you. Since you’re spending all the time cultivating all of these different relationships, you’re likely going to meet some people that might be able to help each other.
Kyle Gray: (21:08)
Connecting two people that can help each other and showing them the context of how they can do that creates wins for all three of you and is going to build more trust with your partners. Finally, the inverse of that, get introduced. Like I was saying earlier, look for mutual connections between you and your ideal partners. Having somebody that they know and trust is going to make your job of building trust and rapport much, much more manageable.
Kyle Gray: (21:35)
Let’s wrap this episode up. Those are the basics of what a joint venture looks like. There’s a lot more complexity than I can add or discuss in the future, but what I want to leave you with is to be patient with this process. Developing these relationships is often a long game strategy that could take months or even years for certain people. Again, you might have great joint venture opportunities sitting in your backyard that you can be presenting to and growing your business next week, for all you know.
Kyle Gray: (22:05)
Taking the time to develop these relationships is so worth it, so don’t go spamming anyone you see on LinkedIn like those annoying folks I mentioned earlier. Also, if you’re new at this, recognize that this, like everything else in entrepreneurship, is a process. A forced joint venture won’t be your best, but you need to have your first to get to your second. You’ll get better at presenting, converting, and working with your ideal partners. It will get more comfortable with time as you start to build a reputation and get some successes under your belt. You’ll also be surprised many times on this journey. You never know where that game-changing relationship may come from. Thank you for listening.
Thanks for listening to the Story Engine Podcast. Be sure to check out the show notes and resources mentioned on this episode and every other episode at thestoryengine.co.
If you’re looking to learn more about how to use storytelling to grow your business, then check out my new book, Selling With Story: How to Use Storytelling to Become an Authority, Boost Sales, and Win the Hearts and Minds of Your Audience. This book will equip you with actionable strategies and templates to help you share your unique value and build trust in presentations, sales, and conversations, both online and offline. Learn more at sellingwithstory.co.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time.