— February 4, 2019
Securing partners (and figuring out incentives) for your partner affiliate program are crucial first steps in building a successful partnership. However, maintaining and nurturing relationships as well as delivering the best experience possible can be more important aspects of your partner program. While these elements are sure to be time and resource intensive, they are also closely tied to long-term success.
With marketers adopting more personalized strategies, like nurturing via email workflows or developing segmented campaigns, partners and affiliates are also looking beyond traditional methods of engagement and expecting to build long-term relationships with organizations.
Focusing on the Partner Affiliate Program Experience
But when companies neglect to focus on the partner experience, partners often look elsewhere and satisfaction, engagement, and sales can suffer. The human element of building relationships is a must-have factor of partner marketing. Without having conversations with partners, providing up-to-date marketing materials, and education on your product/service, your partner marketing experience would be null.
Here are a few ways to focus on the partner experience, in order to build healthy, long-term partnerships:
Create an Educational Guide or Video
Send a toolkit with all of the details to new partners in a welcome email and include a link on your program overview landing page. Include information on best practices for promoting your brand, how to utilize their partner portal, recommendations for seeing success, and more.
Host a Dedicated Partner Portal
Customize the experience for each partner in your program with a “home base” in a white-labeled portal. Here is where each partner’s dashboard will live, along with promotional materials, and the ability to submit referral leads. This is a great place to post recorded webinars to share updates and provide ongoing education to communicate at scale.
Send Dedicated Emails
Encourage engagement by providing valuable information via automated email notifications (see above: top of funnel, bottom of funnel, etc.) . These emails can offer suggestions for seeing success or even highlight top performers.
Create a place where your partners can share with one another. A private Facebook group or a Salesforce community is a great place for partners to share with each other and your brand. As your partner community grows, consider in-person events or even certifications (such as, HubSpot’s Agency Partner Certification).
Encourage Employee Promotion
Provide employees that have high touch points with your partners with copy or a graphic that they can use in their email signature to promote the program.
The Value of Building Long-Term Partnerships
Engaging and building positive brand relationships with prospects via partners produces long-term results. In fact, according to a recent report by Aberdeen, the ability to deliver a seamless experience pays off big time for partners and the company. When enabled with technology and processes that support partner marketing efforts, companies see:
When carried out at a strategic level, partnership marketing can be expansive and deliver its full potential. More so, when companies focus on delivering a world-class experience they reap the benefits of building long-term relationships, such as better engagement amongst partners, total transparency and visibility, as well as increased engagement.
And by automating the tedious tasks that go along with creating long-lasting relationships – like form submissions, lead tracking, and payments – your marketing team can start scaling a channel that really drives long-term growth.