If you’ve been ANYwhere on the internet, you probably are hearing, “You MUST do joint ventures.” When I was new to the Internet, the idea was scary. How could I approach someone to suggest that … um … we could do business together? Especially if that person seemed so busy and successful?
Today I’ve partnered with some of those people I used to be scared of. And I get requests regularly from business owners who want to partner with me.
JVs can be a gold mine. They can turn your business around. Working with rockstar partners will build your brand because some of their credibility (“street cred”) rubs off on you. You can gain access to audiences faster than doing almost anything else.
On the other hand, JVs can be a huge waste of time, leaving you with no money, lost time and a former partner who prints out your home page and throws darts at it.
A JV can be as simple as an affiliate program. You sell someone else’s product in return for a commission. You can learn about my affiliate program here.
If you want other people to sell your program, it’s easy to get started with a jvzoo account. Nanacast also offers comprehensive services when you have multiple affiliate products that are selling well.
You can get more complex, potentially more lucrative joint ventures with people you know well. You can invite them to be on a webinar, podcast, or telesummit. You can even co-create a product and sell it jointly. You can jointly offer a class or event.
But JV’s also have a dark side. A JV can consume time and deliver no results. Here are the three questions you need to address before getting started.
FIRST – Is this JV a strong fit for your brand?
Not every partner will build your business. Some will actually detract from your brand and your goals. If you’re you’re a down-to-earth, left-brained, no-nonsense type, your followers will be puzzled when you partner with an intuitive coach who reads tarot cards to find her destiny.
Tweet: “People are complex but they want their offers simple.” http://ctt.ec/71Dg9+ via @cathygoodwin”
Your choice will be influenced by more than topic. What does your potential partner offer by way of promotion? I won’t partner with anyone who has a weak sales letter or who makes promises that I suspect are not realistic.
If you’re thinking of creating your own telesummit, choose a topic that will appeal to your target market. Choose participants who will support your brand and complement your offers.
One thing I learned the hard way is that you have to choose partners carefully: a “big name” may draw sign-ups, but those people will leave your list quickly unless they relate to you, your own offers and your brand. A mentor or colleague may be easy to recruit to a joint venture, but not always be the best choice for your ultimate success.
SECOND – What do you bring to the table?
A joint venture is just that – joint. That means each partner has something to bring to the table.
If you sign up as an affiliate, you don’t need to bring much — just the assurance that you won’t use illegal or unethical methods to promote the offer.
If you want someone to commit to an interview, you’ll need to demonstrate more credibility. Do you have a big list? A reputation as the go-to person in your niche so your light will shine on your new partner?
And if you want someone else to sell your product, you’ll need to sell possibilities. Do you have a landing page that converts well? A history of successfully selling information products?
Any prospective partner worth seeking has options and choices. If George promotes your product as an affiliate, on his email list, he’s foregoing the opportunity to promote competing products. So he’s aksing himself, “Why should I promote this offer and not that one?”
You communicate the intangibles you bring to the table – credibility, trustworthiness, integrity and common sense – by the way you handle yourself during conversations with your potential JV partner.
For instance, I was very enthused about working with “Norma” until she mentioned that she couldn’t purchase any resources for her share of the program. She didn’t have any credit cards because she’d gotten into major financial problems.
Sure, this could happen to anyone…but until you’re back on your feet, figure out how you’ll take care of your obligations and avoid mentioning them to your potential partner. Stick to business essentials till you become buddies.
“Ken” seemed to offer a terrific opportunity until he asked for review copies of my products. This request seems innocent, but shows he was unaware of marketing realities.
Marketers tend to be careful about sharing review copies. Customers aren’t happy to discover they paid full price when others got free copies for no particular reason.
When I seek product reviews, I go to venues where clients aren’t likely to appear, such as my coworking space or my mastermind group. Copywriting clients, who hire me for big projects, can get any product they want, just for the asking, usually for a lifetime.
Finally, I offer review copies to people I’ve known over the years, who I’m confident will deliver on joint venture opportunities. And if I approached someone about a joint venture program – usually someone I’ve been following who’s got a humongous, responsive list – I’d certainly offer review copies.
But when you’re taking the initiative, and you’re the one who wants the relationship, it’s up to you to make a purchase. If Ken’s never bought from me before, how does he know my products are good? When you sell someone else’s product, your reputation is on the line as much as theirs!
If you can’t afford the purchase, you’re signaling a lack of success that raises questions about your role as a jv partner.
THIRD – Are you completely free from need or greed?
Approach your JV partner in a spirit of abundance.
Every so often, someone will ask me, “Can I invite someone to create a campaign for me in return for a share of the proceeds?” Even if you could, that’s rarely a good idea.
Sometimes clients ask if I can be a jv partner after I’ve created their marketing materials. Often I wish I could say yes – in fact, I could be their client because I’m so pumped about the product or service. As a copywriter I learn the offer inside out so I know it’s good.
But all too often I create successful campaigns for clients who have products that I can’t use. For instance, I created a website for a financial planner who isn’t licensed to work in my state. My former clients include a party entertainer (do I look like I’d ever give a party, let alone one that called for entertainment?) and an inventory management consultant who targets big manufacturing companies. I’ll never be their client – but I helped them channel their passions and skills to get their ideal clients.
Do you need more help?
First, we can probably get most of your campaign mapped out in a single Consultation. If you’ve drafted some materials, you’ll get good feedback and maybe new ideas to extend your campaign.
Second, I can create your materials and find design professionals if you need them. If you’re busy, you can tell me what you need and disappear to do your own thing. Send a query here.
And I’ve got some special ways to generate joint ventures. My own favorite way is to interview and be interviewed, and I’ve got a home study course to help you get started. I’ve gotten some JV partners who would have been totally out of reach … except they liked my interviewing style and wanted to be interviewed.
So I created a program – the 1-hour info product – Learn more here.