Back in the early days of partnerships when it was all about coupon sites and old school affiliates, outreach was synonymous with recruiting. Once you had a partner signed on, communication was primarily transactional.
But now, with a diverse array of partners in our program networks and many of them human beings, ongoing communication is essential to partnership success.
Unfortunately, too many partnership managers still think of outreach as a one-off activity when recruiting is really just the tip of the iceberg. Sustaining partnerships today requires continually engaging partners throughout the life cycle if you want to build strong relationships and optimize each partner’s unique value.
To motivate, you need to engage
Cultivating relationships with recruited partners via personalized communication will make them feel good about being a part of your program. It also keeps your brand top-of-mind and will make your program participants feel more like, well, partners, rather than afterthoughts that happen to provide incremental revenue. And that communication should include both kudos and constructive criticism, otherwise how will your partners know when they are pointed in the right direction?
Outreach gets an update
Great partnership programs today require outreach at every phase of the relationship. Here are a few key touchpoints you may be overlooking:
- Activation. Once recruited, setting expectations with clear communications will help you onboard your partners properly and convert them from cautious first-timers to confident, productive members of your program.
- Compliance. Businesses all exist within a world of rules. Rules may be regulatory in nature; other rules ensure the integrity of your brand. These rules are often not in the forefront of your partners’ mind, so periodic compliance reminders are warranted.
- Optimization. Leading-edge programs always strive to incentivize their partners to deliver more quality traffic. Some tiered programs send out cheerleading messages such as “You’re only $200 away from the next tier!” to introduce some gamification to your program.
- Targeted campaigns. Programs with dozens of partners can often segment their partner ecosystem to tailor engagement and communications. Personalized messaging resonates.
Automate your outreach to personalize at scale
So, do you have to be on the phone or Zoom or email or [insert your favorite communication method] all day to provide the steady communication today’s partnerships demand? Not if you automate. Partnership automation lets you balance the need for consistent, clear and personalized outreach with the need for efficiency and scale. Those gamified messages we mentioned above can be easily automated. As can compliance reminders for different partner groups. Automate wisely, and you can save occasional 1-to-1 calls or emails for those top-performing partners you really want to romance.
For more ways to fix outdated management habits that can diminish the performance of your programs (and partner satisfaction), get our eBook: 4 misconceptions that fuel bad partner outreach programs. Then talk to an Impact growth technologist about automating outreach. Reach out any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.