New year, new goals! Check out these 5 tips on how you can make the most of your channel marketing program in 2018:
1. Prioritize To-Partner Marketing While providing the right content and tools allow partners is key to program success, making resources available in a portal simply won’t cut it. Without proper to-partner marketing initiatives that dive into program awareness, adoption and continued engagement, channel programs can fall wayside to the busy minds of partners. Insufficient to-partner is a common reason why too many programs recognize low adoption and engagement rates.
Here are 5 key tactics for a successful to-partner marketing campaign:
- Dedicated Program Microsite (or at least web page) Learn more about program features and benefits, request more information and sign up for the program.
- Email Nurtures Create email nurture series for different stages of the “partner life cycle” through partner engagement, adoption and awareness.
- Social Media Utilize your social media networks to create buzz around new program launches, updates and campaigns.
- Webinars Host webinars to provide an interactive, accessible way to educate partners on program, features and content.
- Online Advertising Leverage tactics like re-targeting to [re-]engage new and existing partners to interacting with your brand by driving new partner recruitment.
This year, budget your time (and money) for initiatives supporting partner-end customer and to-partner marketing. Keep the door of dialogue open is key to effectively communicate the value of your program to partners. We assure you – your ROI will thank you!
2. Simplify Partner On-boarding Processes Once you’ve hooked partners on the benefit of your channel program and are keen to join, the next step is on-boarding and training partners on how to best leverage the resources you’re providing. When it comes to partner adoption, we generally hit a bottleneck. Why’s that, you ask? Either a) brands have not yet dedicated resources to training/on-boarding or b) [and] even if they have, processes, processes are drawn-out and tedious for partners. The key to adoption and continued engagement: streamline and simplify. Here’s how:
- Offer Concierge Services Provide partners with local, dedicated resources for training and onboarding assistance.
- Embed Appointment Schedulers Utilize meeting booking softwares like Calendly in your to-partner communication strategy, making it effortless for partners to request and schedule meetings.
- Automation Based on Partner Stage Create email nurtures for the onboarding process based on partner stages and/or length of time in the program.
3. Segment Programs and Content Sharing unrelated content can make marketing a lot more intricate and time-consuming for your partners. Divide content for each partner profile so partners can only see what they need. This significantly simplifies their responsibilities, boosting partner engagement while accelerating time to market.
Segment partner content by:
- Product Line
- Asset Type
- Partner Type
4. Incentivize Partner Engagement Incentives work – that’s no secret. With the potpourri of vendors partners manage, prioritizing your brand with a little push can go a long way. We’ve seen partner engagement increase more than quadruple when running partner incentives. Though an incentive program usually isn’t sustainable enough to run all year, the initial influx and residual gains in partner engagement, leads and revenue are usually well worth the investment.
PRO TIP: Tie the incentive to a SMART goal, like executing a particular campaign in the next 30 days. Choose an incentive value that will motivate partners, while at the same time ensuring you can provide this prize to a reasonable portion of your partner base, if you have to cap that number.
Depending on how your organization is structured, it may make sense to incentivize partners directly,internal partner account managers, or both. Get strategic here! Test out different approaches and incentives work best to meet your partner marketing goals.
5. Give Room for Feedback Keeping up with partner attitudes and experiences are critical elements in driving successful channel programs. Just like customers, partners are more likely to be committed and engaged when they know you value their opinion. In fact, partners tend to have deeper insight to customer needs and emerging market trends (so give them ample opportunity to share this valuable information!). Keeping communication with partners not only continually supports engagement, but also is the best way to determine what works and what improvements can be made to further expand your partner channel.