Tuesday January 24, 2017
A couple weeks ago, I recommended to one of my clients that she should seek out other businesses that serve the same audience as she does, and ask them if they'd be willing to tell their audience about her program.
In response, she asked me, "But won't they feel that that conflicts with their interests? If we both serve the same audience, won't they be worried that they'll lose customers by offering my program?"
Today, I'd like to give you the same answers I gave her, plus some additional information that will help you to find potential referral partners and get them to promote you.
So if you want to spread your message to more of your ideal clients, but you're concerned that people won't want to tell their audience about you for fear of supporting their competition, today's blog post is for you.
Why should you try to get referral partners and affiliates?
Getting someone who serves your target audience to tell that audience about you is one of the most powerful marketing tactics in the world, for three reasons:
1. People are more likely to act on recommendations from people they trust.
Here's a quick question for you: which would you trust more? An advertisement in the sidebar of Facebook, or a personal endorsement from an expert you've been learning from for weeks, months or years?
The answer is probably the latter.
With a few exceptions, people subscribe to newsletters and follow social media channels because they trust the judgment of the person who runs them.
So if that person recommends that they check out your program, product or free offering, they'll have more incentive to act on that advice than they'd have to act on an advertisement they randomly stumbled upon.
2. You're reaching a highly targeted audience.
If people are subscribed to a newsletter or following a social media channel, it's probably because they want advice and information on the subject that that newsletter or channel talks about.
In other words, they're already showing that they're interested in that field, and that they're motivated enough by that interest to take action by signing up.
By targeting your marketing toward people who are that motivated, you'll get a higher conversion rate than you would if you were marketing to people who hadn't shown such interest.
3. You reap the benefits of someone else's marketing efforts.
Building a big social following or newsletter list takes a lot of time and work. By having someone who already has such an audience tell that audience about you, you reap the benefits of all that marketing without having to do it yourself.
Why would other businesses want to promote your products?
Now that you know why you want people to promote you, it's time to address the question my client asked: why would they want to promote you?
Here are three reasons why other business owners might want to promote you:
1. It makes them look more valuable to their audience.
By sharing the news about your discounts, freebies, and other special promotions to their audience, they're giving that audience access to deals that they might not have known about otherwise.
If you give a special offer to the audiences of the people who promote you, such as a coupon code or special sales page that enables them to buy your product for less than the usual price, or a free offer that's only available to your affiliates' and referral partners' communities, you make your partners look better.
Now, they aren't just selling their audience something. Instead, they have an inside track to valuable offerings that their subscribers would never know about or have access to without them.
2. It's a source of revenue for them.
If your offering is something that you can deliver without a lot of hands-on work, like a downloadable program, you should offer a 50% commission for every person your referral partners send to you who makes a purchase.
If you have a money-back period, I recommend that you pay your affiliates after it expires, so you don't send out payments to affiliates and then end up paying for a refund out of your own pocket. Make sure to tell your affiliates about this up front, so they know when the payment is coming and why.
If you're offering a commission for each purchase, then not only can your referral partners benefit financially from sending people to you, but you now have a form of marketing that you only pay for when you get paid.
3. The relationship can be mutual.
If you have a list or social following of your own, you may be able to return the favor by promoting their products, services or special offers to your audience.
When that happens, you have the ability to gain the same benefits I outlined above: increased value in the eyes of your audience, and revenue from products you don't have to deliver or support yourself.
How do you get other businesses to promote you?
Here are a few steps you can take to start finding referral partners today:
1. Find people who serve the same audience in a different way.
For example, a baker who makes wedding cakes, a dress shop that sells bridal gowns, and a wedding planner could all refer clients to each other.
Not only does this benefit the three business owners, but it also makes things easier for the client, since the referral partners are saving that client time and effort by directing them to providers of the services and goods that they're going to be looking for anyway.
It's important to note that even people who serve the same niche in highly similar ways can promote each other's offerings. Quite often, one teacher can explain something in a way that the other can't, and some people in the audience will click with one referral partner in a way they didn't with the other.
That being the case, there may be people in your partner's email list who were enjoying the information in their newsletter somewhat, but who didn't resonate with it enough to make a purchase.
If those subscribers never buy anything from the referral partner, the partner never makes any revenue from them - unless that partner refers them to someone from whom they DO make a purchase, and receives a commission from it.
So don't be afraid to ask people to partner with you, even if their products are very similar to yours or they serve the same group of people. The worst they're likely to do is say "no".
You have nothing but a few minutes of your time to lose, and a valuable relationship and client source to gain.
2. Start with service.
Don't just approach people and ask them to promote you. Instead, explore whether there are ways in which you can support them.
What's their most immediate and important need? What can you do to meet that need?
If you're already aware of a need on their part before you speak to them, offer something to help them meet that need when you first make contact. Also, be willing to promote them in return, either now or whenever you encounter someone who needs their help.
3. Put the relationship first.
If you make getting referrals more important than your relationship with your referral partner, they're likely to feel used, and you'll encounter some well-deserved resistance.
So focus on creating a mutually beneficial relationship, and keep your mind on that whenever you interact with them.
4. Help them see how your offering is valuable to their audience.
An ethical business owner will not offer your product or freebie to their audience unless they believe it will be valuable to them.
That being the case, be prepared to tell them what benefits your offering will give their audience, what problems you'll help them overcome, and how it's different from the other products in your field.
5. Make it easy for them.
Your referral partners are probably busy, and they don't know your product as well as you do. So don't ask them to figure out how to sell your offering.
Instead, create pre-written emails and social media posts that they can take, tweak slightly, and send to their audience, and give them clear instructions on how to use your affiliate system and/or links.
The easier you make it for them to get started, the more likely it is that they'll be able to fit your promotion into their busy schedule.
Need someone to help you get affiliates, or write your affiliate materials for you?
If you need an introductory email or phone call script with which to contact potential affiliates and referral partners, or some emails or social posts for your affiliates to send to their audience, I'd love to help!
Just send me an email at [email protected], and we'll arrange a time to discuss your needs.
Or, if you'd like to discover a powerful system for bringing a steady stream of referrals to your business, enter your information on this page to get the details!