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How to Create Partnership Marketing to Drive More Sales?

Using partnership marketing is a key strategy to increase online store sales. Let's explore the different types of strategic partnership marketing and how to leverage affiliate marketing to grow sales.

partnership marketing

Last updated on April 9, 2024

The practice of partnership marketing in trade and business dates back centuries. Partnership-based marketing has quickly emerged as one of the most popular marketing approaches for online businesses, particularly those that are into digital products, SaaS and e-commerce.

Although there are many different kinds of partnerships in the digital business world, affiliate marketing is the most popular one that is utilized to boost sales.

In this blog, let’s delve into digital partnership marketing and also learn how to make more affiliate sales with plugins like Affiliate for WooCommerce.

What is partnership marketing all about?

Partnership marketing is all about collaborating with complimentary forces, which can be referred to as co-partners, affiliates, referrers or just partners.

Partnering with other businesses is an essential way for any online store or digital business to gain more views and sales nowadays. The point is that partnerships are a booming trend in the digital space as competition gets tougher.

As per Microsoft, over 90% of its commercial revenue is driven by its partner ecosystem, with over 7,500 partners joining monthly.

Another study shows that over 90% of CEOs/CTOs in the tech sector believe that innovation partnerships are essential. They help to speed up commercialization, provide expertise and balance R&D costs.

As the old saying goes, ‘Together is Better‘ – and it really rings true for partnership marketing.

So, you might be wondering how it works.

Remember the pyramid or chain business? Partnership or affiliate marketing is one such widespread application in chain business. You register as a partner under a major seller and then invite your friends and family to join you, extending the chain and earning additional money.

Your partners or affiliates constantly promote you, resulting in increased interaction, audience and sales. In exchange, they make money through sales commissions for each sale they make. It’s a win-win situation for all businesses.

Is affiliate marketing a type of partnership marketing strategy?

It is, but affiliate marketing is a different kind of collaboration.

Under affiliate marketing agreements, people/affiliates are hired to promote products in return for commissions that are calculated based on sales or leads. The main objective is to increase audience reach and sales by means of rewarded referrals.

But partnerships are more than just affiliate relationships.

Partnerships can entail co-branding with colleagues, attending industry gatherings or working together on event promotions.

Let’s decipher different types of partnership marketing.

8 types of popular partnership marketing with examples

There are many types of partnership marketing that you can use to achieve your goals, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads or boosting sales.

Loyalty marketing programs

A Shopify blog indicates that 84% of customers are happier to maintain a relationship with a brand that offers a loyalty program and 66% say earning rewards influences their spending habits.

These figures say a lot about this sort of loyalty marketing program. They are well-known in the cosmetics, lifestyle and apparel-based ecommerce business.

This is how customer loyalty program works – you simply reward your customers or partners for repeated purchases or referrals. You can collaborate with other businesses or brands to provide complementary products or services to your customers, resulting in a mutually beneficial loyalty program.

Starbucks Rewards is a highly successful loyalty program that allows members to earn ‘stars’ for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for various rewards. The program has over 25 million active members and has been a significant contributor to the company’s revenue.

Influencer partnerships marketing

According to this article, 89% of digital marketers considered Instagram to be the most effective influencer marketing tool. YouTube came in second at 70%, with Facebook in third at 45%.

The primary goal of influencer relationships marketing is to boost your brand’s awareness, credibility and trust among potential customers.

This type involves working with influencers or partnership marketing managers promoting your products to their huge followers base.

Commonly, you can have four types of influencers to work within the market. They are:

  • Macro or top influencers (with more than 100k followers)
  • Micro influencers (with more than 50k followers)
  • Nano influencers (with more than 5k followers)
  • Emerging influencers (with more than 1k followers)

For example, Julia, a top Instagram influencer with over 65,000 followers, is spotted influencing or promoting a few products. She creates a candid reel to show off her Minelli boots and a comfy regular-use lady’s bag from Sandro.

infeluncer partnership marketing example

Affiliate partnership marketing

Affiliate marketing is massive because of the sheer number of participants.

Affiliate marketing is the most famous strategic partnership marketing model because businesses can track their partners more efficiently. E-commerce and SaaS startups make a dedicated system to sell their products using this sort of partnership.

Generally speaking, a business’s affiliate or commission programs allow partners or affiliates to make decent money. Although average commission rate could vary from 20% to 30%, if you stick with a SaaS or tech product, recurring and annual commissions may increase revenues.

Putler, for example, is a multi-channel ecommerce analytics platform that provides recurring commissions. Connect WooCommerce, Shopify, Stripe, PayPal, Google Analytics and other platforms and unlock insights that help you identify business growth opportunities.

Sound very exciting, right? Join the Putler affiliate program today!

Putler affiliate program page

And if you’re a WooCommerce store owner, look no further than the popular Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin. It allows you to set up and run your own affiliate program. And also manage everything from one place – commissions, payouts, marketing campaigns, etc.

Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin dashboard

This plugin has 5000+ paid customers and a rating of 4.2, which indicates how phenomenal it is. More about it later.

Sponsorships partnership marketing strategy

Sponsorships are a form of partnership marketing wherein an individual, group, event or cause is supported in return for engagement, visibility and recognition.

Through sponsorship marketing, one brand (the sponsor) associates itself with a feature of another brand (the sponsee). Sponsorship marketing is a common occurrence in conferences or sporting events, but it can also refer to TV shows, YouTube/Instagram channels, charitable organizations and even famous people.

A sponsor may provide assistance through other means, such as gifting products or services, so sponsorship marketing is not always a financial transaction.

A few well-known examples of partnership marketing or sponsorship marketing:

Distribution partnerships or collaborations

Distribution-type partnerships are a sort of collaborative marketing in which businesses cooperate to market products or services.

In order to reach a larger audience and boost customer engagement, this kind of partnership may involve co-branding, joint product development and shared advertising campaigns.

For example, GoPro and Red Bull have worked together on a number of projects, such as extreme sports competitions where GoPro uses its cameras to record the action while Red Bull supplies energy drinks.

distribution partnership marketing plan Red Bull and GoPro
Img src – GoPro

Taco Bell and Doritos collaborated to develop the Doritos Locos Tacos, which were a huge hit and helped both companies grow their consumer bases.

Taco Bell and Doritos partnership marketing
Img src – CSP Daily News

Content partnership marketing plan

Content partnerships entail two or more parties working together to develop and share content in order to broaden their reach, establish brand authority and increase engagement via digital marketing channels.

It is a common marketing tactic among bloggers and YouTube video artists.

You can partner with content creators who have a similar niche and tone as yours and offer them co-created content that educates, entertains or inspires their followers.

Have you seen the strategic partnership marketing arrangement between General Motors and Netflix? Leading automaker General Motors partnered with streaming giant Netflix to promote more electric vehicles in movies.

Netflix and General Motors content partnership strategy
Img src – Business Standard

Licensing partnership agreements

Licensing-based partnership marketing involves allowing another company to use elements of your intellectual property, like your brand name, logo, characters, trademarks, proprietary software or designs, in exchange for an upfront fee or ongoing royalty payments.

This marketing is usually important if you want to

  • Generate additional revenue streams
  • Create more exposure
  • Get more engagements and sales

One great example of a license-based partnership is Disney. They’ve mastered the art of licensing over the years. You’ll find Mickey Mouse on everything from t-shirts and mugs to toys, games and home decor. This greatly expands the reach of Disney characters while also bringing in constant licensing income.

In the sports sector, Nike and Adidas have emerged as the strongest licensing champions. They pay huge fees to place things like team logos and jersey designs on shoes, shirts and equipment. Meanwhile, the popularity of these licensed items fuels passionate fandom and generates profits for sports brands and leagues.

Co-branding and Affinity marketing

Co-branding and affinity marketing are exciting collaboration ideas that can be quite rewarding if executed appropriately.

Co-branding occurs when two brands collaborate to develop a new product or experience that incorporates both of their assets. Nike has formed such partnerships with firms such as Apple, Jordan and Hurley.

When Nike and Apple debuted the Apple Watch Nike+ model, they capitalized on each other’s passionate fan bases. Nike supplied their sports technology skills, while Apple contributed their sleek design aesthetic. Together, they increased sales potential.

Apple and Nike partnership marketing to sell smart watches
Img src – Apple Newsroom

Affinity marketing is similar, but it focuses on appealing to certain consumers who already enjoy both partner brands. Starbucks is a master of this with their licensed cafes.

This type of marketing is done to:

  • Increase your product differentiation
  • Boost customer satisfaction
  • Make super loyal customers

Why is partnerships marketing vital to online businesses?

You win with more sales and revenue while your partners with extra earnings, recognition and more clients.

  • The partnership marketing model allows you to tap into entirely new audiences through your partner’s established network.
    Traditional marketing strategies can feel limited, reaching the same pool of potential customers repeatedly.
  • Partnerships are important to build up brands’ reputation and recognition.
  • Partnerships on co-branded products, exclusive offers or joint marketing campaigns can create a super buzz that translates directly to increased sales and revenue.
  • Partnering with famous brands enhances your own reputation. Customers view you as a reliable and well-established competitor, particularly if your partner brand has a solid reputation.

Finally, in comparison to conventional marketing and PR strategies, partnerships or affiliate marketing offer a cost-effective alternative.

How to do affiliate partnership marketing in WooCommerce?

If you want to script a winning partnership marketing approach for your WooCommerce store, start by choosing the right partners and tools.

You can use the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin to capture new affiliates. This plugin can help you create an affiliate registration form, which can be put on your website to invite partners.

The best thing about the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin is that it allows you to establish smart commission rules and reward affiliates for excellent sales performance, encouraging them to bring more sales and loyal customers to you.

But, there’s more to explore with this affiliate partnership marketing plugin. You can do exciting things with it such as –

  • Monitor visitors, conversions, commissions and payouts with detailed analytics.
  • Establish multi-tier affiliate programs to incentivize affiliates and maximize revenue potential.
  • Reward affiliates with lifetime commissions on subsequent purchases made by referred customers.
  • Create personalized campaigns with diverse assets to empower affiliates in promoting your brand effectively.

Check out the demo version, if you want to know how it works.

Picking the right partnership marketing strategy

It’s comprehensible that making those successful partnerships or connections is a challenge and takes effort but eventually pays off big time.

You should do your own research and reach out on social media to find your best partners. You can also look for opportunities at tradeshows and events.

Finally, try different tools and plugins to test their performance and efficiency.

If you’re looking for the best partnership marketing manager or plugin for WooCommerce, get the Affiliate for WooCommerce plugin today.

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