These may not be the top 5 reasons, nor in any particular order of importance … but identifying, understanding, and reacting to them effectively can make the difference between a successful JV fueled campaign … and one that could have been a success. Should the lessons they teach be disregarded if your last JV powered launch was adequate? No way. I honestly think that many merchants ‘roll the dice’ way too often during product launches, from Newbie to Guru, and that whether the launch was a total dud … or actually did reasonably well, the following 5 mistakes probably cost you money … possibly a LOT of money. Please read on … (Digg This!)
1) You didn’t have your complete Marketing plan ready … and tested, before bringing on JV partners.
That means using either PPC, a rented list, an in house list, Warrior WSO, or some other preliminary testing of your complete system to troubleshoot and fine tune before bringing on partners. Official pre launch is no time to see if things are working right or not (you may even want to get together with your ‘core’ to brainstorm … your chosen 10, 25, 50, or whatever group of inner circle partners that you’ve pre qualified either previously or recently … almost assured they’ll promote hard for you. See ’3′ to get a better idea of what I’m talking about).
2) You didn’t give your potential partners enough advance notice of pre launch.
I’ve honestly been contacted the day of pre launch by merchants trying to recruit me as a partner … are they kidding? I have JV clients with lists of up to a million, and more … and they often tell me they’re booked 6 weeks in advance. Why are you diluting your efforts by waiting till a week before launch to bring folks on board? How do you expect to carve out your spot in an effort to not get stepped on with such short notice?
Give them a month … at the very least, set up a place holder site and start driving traffic to it to let your peers … and prospects, know you have something special coming up.
3) You chose quantity over quality when recruiting … and treated them like affiliates instead of JV partners.
How many times have I seen this … ‘I used 5 JV Brokers, pushed the 2nd tier to my lists, and now have 500 JV partners! We’re gonna KILL IT!’ Uh … yeah. Right.
Usually winds up … ‘I don’t understand it … I had 500 JV partners, and only 50 of them made a single sale or more … and 10 of them were responsible for 90 percent of the JV sales. The launch was a flop! I sent a JV broadcast every other day … what happened?!?!’
My twist to a famous quote by Wayne Gretzky …
’100 percent of the JV Partners that don’t hit the ‘send’ button won’t make any sales for you …’ – Mike Merz
Before you get funny and nit picky, I’m talking JV partners that use email marketing, exclusively … so
Does that last quote sound familiar to you? Try this …
As soon as you start to notice names you recognize as solid performers on either your own or other past launches (hopefully you’ve maintained continuous interaction with strong performers from your own past launches, but that’s yet another issue), begin contacting them individually … and personally. Tell them you’re glad to have them on board, and that anything you can do to help them make the most of this launch will be provided … just ask.
Custom ad copy? … creatives? A live/recorded call to their individual lists? Rough product and sales copy preview? Sure … all of the above, in addition to maintaining regular interaction. Perhaps even a brainstorming session via Skype if time allows … the point is to jack up the what’s in it for them and their list to create and nurture the relationship, furthering the likelihood of obligation to follow through as they begin to respect and trust you more.
When done right, every new launch will generate a new group of JV relationships that can be carried over to successive launches … as long as both parties nurture the relationship.
Don’t leave the rest of the partners high and dry, either …
* Send JV notifications regularly during pre launch and launch … at timed intervals (I like 12PM,EST), every day (though I always take Sunday off .. ).
* Include positive numbers (conversion percent, leads, sales, traffic, rankings, etc.), new phases/ad copy/creatives/ PDFs/reports, teasers (what’s coming in the next mailing). Anything and everything to keep them interested and focused from mailing to mailing.
* As things progress … add leads/sales leaders (remember the ‘horse race’ tactic?), social proof. Rinse. Repeat.
* Make sure to include log in details and JV blog links (if you’ve chosen to use a JV blog as an all access point, which is a great way for partners to be one URL away from everything they need) in every JV mailing, and append their links into the ad copy whenever possible. I also advise adding login details to sales notifications (don’t you feel good when you see a sales notification? Maybe you’ll want to see how well you’re doing, eh? Perhaps it will even push you to send another mailing while you have it all in front of you, right? )
The idea is to qualify the partners that both will, and have the ability to, support your launch … and spend less time focusing on the tire kickers, freebie seekers, and otherwise disinterested folks that will be of no help at all. Make sure the former is kept on track and informed on a regular basis, and everything they need is within hands reach at all times … and I’ve no doubt you will start seeing improvements.
4) You failed to follow up with those who DIDN’T promote.
Think of that top group of partners we initially identified earlier … did a few folks you thought were going to do well for you disappear? … fail to generate any clicks, leads, or sales? We just say it’s their loss, and move on … right?
Wrong. Any number of reasons could have stopped them from mailing … could have been a clash in schedules, something might have turned them off during the promotion, illness … didn’t get the JV emails … simply forgot.
Don’t waste opportunities when you have a foot in the door.
After 24 hours, send them a personal email of concern …
* Perhaps they didn’t get the JV notifications? Follow up …
* Are they OK? … is there something wrong with them, personally? Ask …
* Are they so busy with all the launches going on that they forgot to put you in queue? Remind them …
* Is there a problem that caused them to be disinterested? Offer them solutions …
* They simply can’t promote at this time? Tell them that’s fine … you’d be willing to set up a special launch for their list when their schedule is open, and keep in touch.
You make your web site ‘sticky’, right? Same applies here. Do all you can to hold on to them for the long haul.
5) You treat your JV relationships like 1 shot deals.
Joint Venture relationships can be nurtured into long term strategic alliances that can benefit it’s partners for years to come with ongoing reciprocal brainstorming, co- promotions, and group projects …
Why do so many merchants lose touch with their Top 25 to 50 partners … until they need them again?
JV relationships are a 2 way street. Take advantage of them long enough without reciprocation, and you’ll soon not have them.
Keep in constant contact with them in between promotions, help them with their launches when you can, make it easy as possible for them to promote for you by having everything at hands reach, let them know when they will be paid … and make commission payments on time.
Well … that’s all for now.
Learn from these 5 mistakes, and follow the aforementioned tips to help assure your launches will go off with a bang … rather than fizzle out.
Mike ‘The JV Broker Guy’ Merz
Mike Merz is a well known Joint Venture Broker, Affiliate & Product Launch Management Consultant, and the owner of Internet Marketing For Newbies LLC. Featured sites include http://www.jvnotifypro.com and http://www.jvlistpro.com