Posted By: Mike Moore, Averetek /
In my work with our brands who go to market through channel partners, I spend a good amount of time examining the performance of their channel partners’ marketing campaigns.
When I dig into what partners are doing, I see a lot of random acts of marketing with little to no segmentation or targeting.
How can I tell? They have one list loaded and use the same list no matter what email they're sending out.
Yes, the old spray and pray method of marketing is alive and well...unfortunately. Why does this happen?
I believe it's because channel partners don't really know who they are talking to. Their marketing database is a big unknown, and I don't see enough consistency in the development of the channel partners' marketing databases.
To be successful in sales and marketing, your partners need to focus on two things:
- Building their marketing database
- Working their marketing database.
The health, wellness, and growth of their database needs to be the top priority of their organization.
- When cared for, the database will deliver new customers who are educated and interested in what your channel partners offer.
- When cared for, the database will keep your existing customers engaged and loyal.
If the database isn’t cared for, there will be no new customers and existing customers will eventually leave.
Build the Database
Partners must build their database by sharing content that is authentic, helpful, and not promotional. This kind of marketing is what attracts new people to the database, but this requires work.
Content must be created and partners must put effort into sharing it so that it appears in the right place as prospects search for information. You have to be super social, posting and reposting to earn new contacts for your database every day.
Your role as their brand partner it to provide partners with content that they can customize and share, as well as teaching them about the best ways to promote the content to acquire new contacts.
Work the Database
Working the database comes down to three key activities:
- Help people learn.
- Help people shop.
- Help people buy.
In order to do these three things, the channel partner must offer the right content to the right contacts at the right time in order to lead them through this progression.
Segmentation is the key to this, and knowing how to read the digital body language of a contact is critical to segmentation.
What is digital body language? It’s the interaction of a contact with content. Since content can be targeted at learning, shopping or buying, the digital body language of the contact will give you a sense of when the contact is ready to move along to the next type of content (and next stage in the progression).
Your role as the brand partner is to provide content that speaks to each of these three behaviors (learning, shopping, and buying) and to help your partners understand how to segment and serve content for the next stage.
So Where Do You Start?
For your partners, there are simple things they can do to get the ball rolling.
- Understand the health of their existing marketing database by getting a data health scan. The output of the scan is a report that helps them understand what’s good and what’s not, and how the health of their database can be improved. Averetek offers this service for free, whether you or your channel partners are Averetek customers or not. You can learn more here.
- Start building the database by acquiring new contacts in the database by using inbound marketing best practices. When partners share helpful content, promote it and engage socially, they are rewarded.
- Consider juicing these efforts with a list acquisition. It takes time to build and nurture the database the right way. Acquiring a list of people who are likely to be interested in what the channel partner has to offer can be an effective way to kickstart the database growth. The key is to resist the urge to send a bunch of product or service content to this newly acquired list. You have to start with learning content that doesn’t talk at all about the brand or the channel partner’s products or solutions. We help channel partners with list acquisition, whether you or your channel partners are Averetek customers or not. Our fees are very reasonable and our list vendor is among the best in the industry. You can learn more here.
And what about you, the brand? Where should you start?
Your work should be focused on content and teaching.
Most brands offer shopping content only. This is a mistake.
- Learning content needs to be high-level stories about the problems people have and how they solve them (in general terms). No product mentions. I know it’s hard, but you can do it!
- Buying content is focused on why customers should choose your channel partners and the solution from your brand that the channel partner is offering. Among all the choices in the market, why should the customer choose your channel partner and your solution? Give them information that helps them feel confident making their selection.
As for teaching your channel partners about content, the stages of the buyer’s journey (the name for this learning, shopping, buying premise), digital body language, inbound marketing, etc. you either have the experience in-house to teach them or you hire a great agency who understands your needs and your channel partners. We help with these opportunities all the time and we’d love to help you.