Don’t get me wrong. I still think that SEO is the best way to get free targeted traffic to your website. The problem is, it is not very reliable. SE algorithms change all the time and it is very difficult for a layman to keep up with their working. In fact, even SEO companies find it difficult to do this. So although you can optimize your website regularly, there are times when a sudden surge in targeted traffic can certainly help give a boost to sales. The best way to do this is – piggybacking on others' efforts.
The idea is to tie up with people and / or businesses that can refer your products / services to their existing clients. They may be compensated by a one time upfront commission, or a recurring commission, or a reciprocal promotion of their products / services to your customers, or something else.
Now, this strategy is known by various names, like integration marketing, joint venture, fusion marketing, collaborative marketing, strategic alliances, endorsement marketing, reciprocal marketing, hidden asset marketing, and many more. However, the core concept remains the same. And it is one of the most powerful concepts that can lead to a surge in traffic and sales. In fact, it is the cheapest way to double, triple or even quadruple your revenue and customer base, almost overnight. While this sounds very easy (and it is), it requires careful planning, handling, research, and most importantly, thinking out of the box.
First of all, let me explain what a JV (Joint Venture) is: It is a way for a business to cooperate with another non competing (more often than not) business that operates in a similar “universe” for mutual benefit. “Universe” essentially means, has the same group of customers.
How do we find “such businesses”? There are several things that we need to “think about, out of the box” and the most effective one is – What does a normal customer buy just before, during, and after purchasing the products / services that you supply? This one will serve a good starting point. For example, let’s say you’re planning to buy a car. So what else are you planning to buy? Or better still, for the contextual sake of this article, with whom can a car dealer form a joint venture with?
As a car purchaser, you may be interested in auto loans, auto insurance, car accessories, special extended warranties, etc. So the best people / businesses that a car dealer can form a joint venture with are, with insurance folks, banks who offer auto loans and car accessories suppliers.
Similarly, the best way to get huge targeted prospects to buy from you is to tie up with non competing business owners and get them to endorse your products / services to their existing customers. A word of warning – the offer should be really special. The customer should certainly get a better deal than he normally would. This could mean a special discounted price, or a special freebie only available through the endorser. It could also include a free consultation, or free installation, free shipping, extended support, extended warrantee, etc. As I said before, think “out of the box”.
Another important thing to remember is to make very clear “what’s in it for the endorser”. It could mean a higher commission, life time commissions for all future purchases, or an extremely high upfront commission. Put yourself in his place and try to think what offer would be irresistible for him.
How much can you afford to part with? This is a tricky question. You may have to forego a major part of your earnings. You’re getting these customers for free, so you shouldn’t crib with keeping the smallest cut. In fact, if you know that most of these customers will come back to you for more purchases, upgrades, etc, you may even want to consider giving up 100% of your profits, or even make a loss on the first sale. Your interest should be to make the endorser and the client get the maximum advantage.
Another very important thing you need to keep in mind before you jump into this strategy is – you need to know your metrics very well. You must have already measured the conversions that your offer will create before you approach your JV partner. Don’t say that the offer should convert at 1%-10%. Say with confidence that it has converted between 2.3% for normal promotions, 4% for niche targeted promotions, and 6.3% during the season. Don’t make up the figures; give true statistics (I’m only giving examples here). This is because if you say 5% and the endorser only gets 1%, he will never again promote you. And don’t think you will get away with it; he may probably inform your other prospect JV partners about the incidence, reducing your chances with them. Good news spread fast, bad news spread faster.
Another important thing you need to remember is, try to make this as easy as you can for the JV partner. Offer a readymade email that he can send to his list that includes his affiliate link. If he promotes on his website, offer ready banners, HTML code that he can directly embed into his website, etc. You can even offer to do the dirty work for him if he has enough trust on you. Remember, the idea is to create a win-win-win situation. The client gets a better deal, you get more clients and the JV partner gets a good commission (or whatever he stands to gain).
Last but certainly not the least; be very honest, both, in your approach, as well as in crediting with the commission. Pay all the commissions due on time, as committed. Don’t cheat your partner. If he finds out, you’ve dug your own grave.
|About Author Nirjara Rustom :|
Nirjara Rustom moderates the <a href="http://www.bharatbhasha.com/site-promotion.php" target="_blank">website promotion</a> section of <a href="http://www.bharatbhasha.com" target="_blank">http://www.bharatbhasha.com</a> at <a href="http://www.bharatbhasha.com/site-promotion.php" target="_blank">http://www.bharatbhasha.com/site-promotion.php</a>. The content here is free to read, so do check it out.
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Article Added on Sunday, October 12, 2008
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