Want to double…triple… or even quadruple your paid subscriber base practically overnight…
Without spending a dime on advertising?
It might sound impossible… but I’ve seen it happen. Multiple times.
It has nothing to do with social media or SEO or getting on a popular podcast.
Let’s start here: if you make money online publishing content, sending newsletters, or selling training… then acquiring new subscribers is the lifeblood of your business.
But acquiring new subscribers is also expensive… time-consuming… and can feel daunting.
There’s one way to leapfrog all these problems that worked well for me:
What are Strategic Partnerships?
A strategic partnership is an agreement to work with another business to help each other.
Your main goals are to:
- Acquire new subscribers
- Generate revenue
You might have secondary goals like building relationships and boosting brand awareness. But ultimately, everything you do as a business owner should move the needle on the two metrics above.
First, let’s look at how to find the perfect partner. The perfect strategic partner will have an audience likely to love your content.
Then, we’ll look at how to structure the partnership.
How do you find the right strategic partners?
There’s no shortcut here…
Finding the right strategic partners can take time. Usually it comes from relationships you’ve built over months or years.
In a perfect world, affiliates find you through attraction. In other words, they see your great content and seek you out. This puts you in a perfect position to negotiate a great deal.
But that’s a longer-term play that can take years to come to fruition. And there’s not a whole lot you can do to make it happen other than make sure as many people see your content as possible.
Let’s look at what you can do right now to find them:
Go to Events
There are probably online or offline events your target market attends. Go to them. You’ll connect with speakers, sponsors, and attendees. All are potential strategic partners.
Are there online communities where your target market hangs out? Like on Facebook, Reddit, or Twitter? You’ll find potential partners hanging out in there as well. Look for people contributing valuable content to these communities and follow the breadcrumbs.
Sometimes a simple Google search can uncover potential partners worth talking to. For example, if your audience is agency owners, then searching for terms like ‘agency owner coaching’ or ‘agency owner training’ will help you to discover other businesses targeting the same niche. From there, you can email, call, or message them.
But DO NOT make this common mistake…
When you first meet or reach out to a potential partner, don’t make it about you.
Make it about them.
Compliment their work… ask if they need help with anything… offer a valuable piece of advice… give them something for free… or simply give a good reason why you’d like to chat with them.
Don’t ask for anything the first or second time you contact them. That will scare off 95% of people.
Also… when it comes to partners, quality trumps quantity.
One deep and meaningful partnership is better than 50 superficial ones.
What’s a great partnership? They should have a highly engaged audience that’s likely to be interested in your work. They should have similar values to you. Ideally, you want to be comfortable enough with them, and them with you, that you’ll give a warm endorsement to each others’ readers.
You won’t necessarily know all this about a potential partner before you get to know them. So, cast your net wide initially… but be quick to say “no thanks” if a partnership looks less than idea.
Now let’s look at how to structure the partnership…
How to structure the partnership to acquire subscribers profitably?
Here are 2 ways I recommend:
1. Guest posting
You share content with their audience.
Include a link in this content to your site – ideally to a page that offers something of value in exchange for a reader’s email. Make sure you have tracking set up properly so you can measure which efforts are successful.
This is a basic partnership but can be a good way to get started and learn more about your partner’s audience and their interest in your content.
Be ready to reciprocate by sharing their content with your audience.
2. Affiliate agreements
This is my favorite type of strategic partnership (and the one that I’ve seen transform businesses overnight.)
You find a partner that is willing to give you a warm endorsement to their audience. The endorsement is key. If it’s positioned as an advertisement, it won’t work 1/100th as well as it could if you get a warm endorsement that gives their readers a reason to trust you.
In return, you pay them. Don’t be stingy. If you can make it work financially, give them 50% of the money generated by those readers. You keep the other 50%.
You can offer the 50% just on the initial sale. Or, if you have the ability to track, you can pay 50% of however much revenue that subscriber generates from renewals and buying other products.
This is a huge incentive for them to work with you.
Yes, 50% is a lot to share.
But remember the #1 best thing about selling online content: most of your costs are fixed.
It costs you the same amount of money to send your newsletter to 10 people as to 1,000. So when you acquire lots of new subscribers for free… its pure profit. So you should be able to share a good chunk of it with your partner.
That’s why this approach doesn’t cost a dime. You only pay when you’ve made a sale.
Here’s are the rough steps to execute on this idea:
- Find a partner with an email audience that is closely aligned to your ideal audience
- They send an email to their subscribers introducing you. This warm introduction is crucial.
- Within this email is a link to a page where their reader can sign up to get your content. (ensure tracking is set up correctly)
- If people subscribe and/or buy – you pay an agreed % of revenue back to the partner
- This agreement can run for several months after the initial email was sent. I’ve paid out on strategic partners for as long as 2 years. You must have great tracking for this.
My newsletter business has generated over $5 million using these exact methods.
We once made over $1 million in one week from one strategic partnership.
BUT… I have tried to form partnerships with probably 100 other businesses over the years.
Only 3 of them generated any real money.
Remember… quality over quantity!