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How eCommerce sellers can use DTC brand partnerships to boost reach and sales

We’ve all witnessed the power of a successful brand partnership. Case in point: Red Bull and GoPro, or Nike and Michael Jordan. All of these brands seem to make sense together, and over the years, both partnerships have proved extraordinarily fruitful.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a Red Bull or a Michael Jordan to take advantage of brand partnerships. Simply follow the steps below to get started and reap the benefits.

4 Benefits of brand partnerships

First and foremost, you should understand why partnerships are worth pursuing. Here are several proven perks of this popular acquisition channel.

1) Scale your reach

When you collaborate with another brand, you’ll naturally pool your resources and contact lists. This presents an opportunity for you to engage new audiences (with a known interest in a product like yours), as well as tap into your partner’s email or ad network to expand your reach.

2) Lean on another party’s expertise

The right partner can fill knowledge gaps in your content or products. For example, many fashion brands collaborate with high-end designers to rejuvenate their product lines and add a creative spin to their designs. Similarly, a partner can provide a new perspective on topics that interest your online audience and further engage them.

3) Create an irresistible offer

Whether you choose to bundle items or offer discount codes for each other’s products, a co-branded campaign can incentivize consumers to buy products from both eCommerce names. Alternatively, you can create a limited-edition item to be sold at a premium. Either way, you’ll delight consumers by offering the best of both worlds in one unbeatable offer.

4) Boost your brand authority

Another brand’s support is a vote of confidence for your own, and consumers will often view your brand as more trustworthy by association. From an SEO perspective, the backlinks from a high-authority site can boost your credibility with Google so your pages are more likely to rank higher on search result pages.

Different ways to collaborate with other brands

There are plenty of ways complementary brands can work together on an eCommerce partnership. For example, they might do email swaps, guest post exchanges, or joint-webinars.

I suggest starting out a partnership with a test run, like a guest post exchange or newsletter swap. Then, pending the results and how well you collaborate together, moving on to efforts like webinars and adding them to your partner page.

1) Guest post exchanges

Another thing brand partners can do is write guest posts for each others’ blog. This serves multiple purposes; you gain a backlink that provides an SEO boost for your website, and you share your message on another platform to widen your reach.

2) Newsletter feature swaps

In a newsletter swap, you work with partners to feature each other on your newsletters. That could be offering a special promotion or discount, highlighting a new ebook that your partner published, or linking to one of their recent blog posts.

You can choose a key piece of content from your brand and then double its reach this way. For example, if you just published an extensive industry whitepaper, you could ask another brand to add a CTA to download it in their footer.

Or, if you’re having a giveaway or contest, you can ask your brand partner to highlight it in their newsletter and include mechanics.

3) Joint webinars

Having joint webinars means you double the value and benefit of that webinar. You can rely on their expertise to enhance the webinar content, providing more value for attendees, and you amplify your marketing by adding their efforts on top of yours.

Co-marketing an event takes plenty of planning and guidance, so be sure to lay out all the details and requests beforehand, and agree on a marketing schedule.

4) Partner page inclusion

Being added to a partner page is a great way to get in front of another brand’s audience. Unlike a guest post, which can be promoted at first then goes through a quiet period before it starts ranking for SEO, a partner page is an evergreen area to showcase your brand.

Adding a brand to your list of partners helps keep them visible when someone visits your website and checks out your partners, and can even serve as a cheatsheet for your internal marketers when looking for a company to feature for something.

How to get started with a DTC brand partnership

1) Find the perfect match

When initiating a partnership, half the battle is finding the right brand to approach. Don’t just focus on how large a company’s following is. Instead, prioritize companies that offer a complementary product and share an audience with you.

For example, Red Bull and GoPro both target adrenaline junkies. HDX Hydration and Clean Bottle, meanwhile, share an audience that’s environmentally conscious.

When your products and audiences align closely, it’s easier to agree on the tone, message, and overall theme of your joint offerings. However, you have to provide value in return. A partnership is a two-way street, and you need to demonstrate the benefits you bring to the table as well.

2) Get to know each other

Once you’ve found a match, it’s easy to get over-excited and rush into working together. But to ensure long-term success, set aside time to get acquainted on a deeper level first.

Bring your teams together and introduce your core members. Check that your teams are compatible, both from a brand perspective (do your goals align?) and a personal one (are your work styles compatible?).

Pitch projects only after you’ve gained confidence in your ability to work well with each other. Like our advice on influencer marketing, get to know the team you’re committing to.

3) Assign roles, deadlines, and expectations

Leave nothing to interpretation when planning an actual campaign together. Be very clear about who takes care of what, where, when, and why, and how each team will review deliverables.

For instance, if you’re collaborating on a social media campaign, establish the exact number of posts you’ll publish. Decide who will own each part of the process, including asset creation, content writing, posting, and ad management.

By being as detailed as possible, you can prevent frustration from misaligned expectations, missed deadlines, and general miscommunication.

4) Track your progress

Whether you’re targeting a certain number of sign-ups, leads, or reshares, you should be able to quantify the value of your co-branded initiatives.

This will help keep your teams on the right path, and serve as an insightful reference point when you re-evaluate your partnerships (or expand any existing ones) later on.

We recommend you keep track of progress on a shared doc, or establish another method for daily communication. No party should be left in the dark when it comes to your progress, both in terms of your shared tasks and the impact they make.

Wrapping up — Use DTC brand partnerships to boost your reach and sales

The beauty of a brand partnership is the chance to work hand-in-hand with another expert in your space. The best partners have mutual respect for one another and can work closely throughout a project, bouncing ideas off each other and entrusting various tasks to one another.

Always keep an eye out for potential brand partners. Seize opportunities when they arise and follow the best practices listed here to set the foundation for a strong, long-term partnership.

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