In Business? Here’s Why You Need To Start Thinking About Joint Ventures
Everyone who is at any level of success with their internet marketing business (and many “real world” businesses too!) uses joint ventures to further their success as part of their toolkit. Everyone I know who uses them, also wishes they had started doing them sooner! Here are three reasons why, and an idea of how to go about it.
Joint ventures are a great way to build your list even if that list is quite small. Let’s say, for example, you have 250 people on your mailing list. You need to go out and find someone with a complementary (but not competing) product and each mail an endorsement for each other to your mailing list.
You could also put an ad for each others product in your ezines, on the “recommended resources” page of your blog or website, on your thank you page, so that when someone has bought your product, they immediately get offered an upsell of yours OR if you don’t have one, the joint venture partners product.
Offering Complementary Products
Now you wouldn’t want to do this with someone whose product is very similar to yours, a competing product or service, but by choosing someone who has a complementary product, you are both enhancing the value to your prospects or customers, by letting them know about something cool, and ensuring that you don’t lose sales.
Get To Know The Players
Apart from the list building element, or the possibility of making sales, you want to start doing Joint Ventures to enable you to get to know the players. When I first started in business (this time around anyway!) I lived in a sleepy Sussex town and had two small children. I did manage to get to a weekly local breakfast networking meeting, but going to seminars and workshops based in London or further afield was difficult for me.
However, as soon as I made the effort to get childcare and go to a few, I got to know some people who have not only become friends, but who regularly help me in my business, not only by Joint Venture-ing with me, but with advice, support and ideas.
Being an entrepreneur and being in businesss can be a lonely place. By reaching out and striking joint ventures and going to events, not only will you build community with your fellow business people, you will build community with your customers, any one of which could become Joint Venture partners one day. Many of our Money Gym clients have gone on to do great things with niche markets, female business owners and wealth creation. Stephanie J. Hale springs to mind immediately, as I’ve just finished her book “Millionaire Women, Millionaire You” as she will have a database of people interested in Wealth Creation – I must get in touch when I’ve finished this article!
Claire “Happy Nurses” Westwood is another Money Gym client with whom I should be looking at doing a joint venture with. Not only are many nurses interested in making a part time extra income, but Claire is now branching out into teaching that splinter group of nurses how to do that, and I’m sure some of them would be interested in internet marketing.
Getting to know the players, the speakers and even the other business people in the audience, will lead to further opportunities for you. Invitations to Joint Venture, invitations to speak (if you want to do that, and really, you should be thinking about that as it’s a brilliant way to build your business!).
Referrals to Other Players
Your existing JV partners will introduce you to their JV partners if they see you at events and so your circle will expand. It will also make it more likely that they will remember you if they see you regularly, although Facebook makes it easier to keep in touch with people you don’t see very often.
The Law Of Reciprocity
I regularly help people I like, by mentioning them and linking to them on my blog and on in my ezine although I think I’m going to have to pull back a bit from this, as it’s building someone’s list without any return for me. I like to do it though as it gives value to my readers and it’s a nice way to do business. There is always enough business out there for everyone.
However, in the beginning, when you are just getting started, it’s a great way to get noticed by the bigger players. Most of them will have a Google Alert on their name so will know within about an hour if you mention them. I was talking about Rich Schefren the other day, and he actually came and commented on my blog, coaching me with what I was trying to achieve – how cool is that?
I can’t say enough about the benefits of mutual endorsement.
In a world of overwhelm and confusion, your subscribers are looking to you to tell them what is good, who they can trust to buy from.
If your subscribers and clients know that anyone you recommend is likely to be a “good guy” you become what is called a “Maven”. A Maven is someone who collects and disseminates good information to their circle of influence.
I’ve had some great results with The World Internet Summit, Neil Asher, Martin Avis, Triumphant Events and Mark Anastasi’s lists. Interestingly the list that converted best for me was Martin Avis’s and I know that is because he writes a GREAT ezine every week. Neil was close second on great conversion figures for me, as again, he keeps in touch with his list regularly, giving great info as well as recommending stuff.
A Word Of Warning
Now, obviously, we can’t all control the actions of our JV Partners and some of mine have been known to screw up, and obviously this has an impact on your own reputation.
I often get emails from my subscribers questioning the fact that I am endorsing someone, because perhaps they have bought something from them in the past and had a less than satisfactory result or perhaps the customer service didn’t live up to expectations.
In that case, I always forward the email onto the person they are complaining about, because
a) It gives them another chance to put things right and win that customer over
b) There is always two sides to any story
I try and minimise the times that happens, by trying to ONLY recommend people I know, like and trust or have bought from, if not this product but maybe a previous product.
Offering A Free Gift Versus Selling Low Cost Products
Most JV’s start by each of you mailing for each other, offering a free or even a low cost introductory product.
This does two great things, it introduces the JV partner to your list, giving your endorsement, which makes it easier later, when your JV partner does a product launch for example. When you introduce your JV Partner in the middle of their launch, your list will have actually heard of them.
The other benefit of making a low cost offer to your JV Partner’s list is that you only attract buyer s onto your list, not freebie seekers.
Of course, whether you are offering a Free Gift or a low cost product you both should be using an affiliate Link and that is easy if you use a shopping cart to manage your list and products because many shopping carts will have an affiliate scheme built in.
This is just one of the many reasons we recommend Total Business Cart, the UK version of 1ShoppingCart it has a very easy to use affiliate system built in.
Other People’s Audiences.
When I started going to events, I realised that I wanted to be one of the people on the stage and it was only a year after attending the first World Internet Summit in 2005 I think it was (and saying at the end of it, I want to be on that stage next year) that I was invited to speak the following year in 2006.
Now I did an ok job at the speaking part but I did a horrible job when it came to making an offer, and make no mistake, if you can’t make an effective offer, you don’t get invited back as the seminar organiser takes a percentage of your income generated – that’s how they pay the huge costs of the venue, the crew, the camera people etc..
I knew I should make an offer, but when it came time to do so and then get off the stage, I was surrounded by people asking questions and there was no-one to take the orders! All my team were in the bar as they had heard me speak many times before!! Schoolboy mistake that one!
But you stand much more chance of being asked to speak if you go an meet the other speakers. Don’t be shy about telling them if you have a new presentation, a new product you are launching or what your previous success rates have been, when making an offer from the stage. This is now called Platinum Speaking and not only can it propel your business to the stars, it can be great for creating new fans in the audience and also for attracting new future customers or JV Partners – you have NO IDEA who is sitting in that audience.
Always offer some sort of free giveaway if the seminar organiser allows it – the powerpoint presentation of your slides is a good gift as it allows the audience to just sit and listen if that is their learning style, as they won’t feel compelled to take furious notes throughout your presentation.
Testimonials For Product
There is nothing so powerful as another player endorsing your product and you should try and get testimonials as often as you can. Video testimonials are very powerful as the viewer connects more immediately with the person giving the testimonial.
It’s great for your profile to give testimonials for great products and events too, as it gets you on high traffic sales pages.
When I’m thinking of buying, I always look to see who has given a testimonial for a new product and if I see a bunch of industry players using that product it makes me feel better about purchasing it.
While you are unlikely to get any outward bound link on a sales page, if you are going to endorse or give a testimonial for a product or service on your site or in your ezine, I would recommend contacting the creator of the product to get an affiliate link.
I tweeted Michael Dunlop the other day, as I was having an issue with his PopUp Domination and I wanted to recommend it but felt I couldn’t yet. He immediately tweeted me back and send me a link to a free upgrade, which had fixed my issue and so, of course, I feel much more able to get behind his forthcoming launch of PopUp Domination 2, because I’m now using it happily.
When all my subscribers see my recommendation and that I’m using the product myself on my own site, how much more comfortable do you think they are going to be, making that purchase?
Becoming The Featured Expert
Often you will get asked to appear on an online radio show, do an email interview or submit a chapter to a forthcoming book. Always say yes to this kind of inviaation – half an hour of your time can spread word of you far and wide.
This is how I became featured expert for both Pampers and Visa International Plc. Their PR companies went looking for a wealth coach online, found me and interviewed me, and asked me to become one of their panel of experts, Visa International for their “love Every Day” PR campaign and Pampers , I’m still on retainer to be on their iVillage panel of experts.
Not only do I earn a consultancy rate for the time it takes, I have my name and link on very high traffic websites, and the benefit of being associated with a household name.
3 Ways To Joint Venture
If You Have A Product…
If you have a product, you can go to a website like HiliteDMS.co.uk and find someone with a large mailing list whose customers might be interested in your product. You can either rent their mailing list via Hilite DMS or contact the company direct to see if you can do a JV.
Or think about someone who has sold a LOT of products that would be complementary to yours. Sohail Khan, an expert Joint Venture broker (more about him in a moment) always tells the story of finding an ad for a little “teach yourself to use your computer at home” book, that said “over 500,000 copies sold”.
He realised immediately that this meant that this company had a database of over half a million customers!
Sohail created another, complementary product, and went to see the list owner with a Joint Venture Proposal.
If You Have A List…
If you have a list of more than 250 customers or subscribers you really should be doing Joint Ventures now, either with other list owners or people with complementary products.
If you have a customer base on Excel, you can import up to 500 people to MailChimp for free and mail them immediately. You don’t need them to double opt-in at this stage which is an advantage Mailchimp has in the early days.
MailChimp will keep track of who changes their email or unsubscribes, and next time you upload your latest spreadsheet, you can tick the option to remember any updates in MailChimp. so you don’t annoy your customers. Anyone who has unsubscribed won’t be mailed, even though they are still on your customer database.
Or, if you have a written list of your customers, you could use a cheap postcard printing service (look for someone who prints lots of club flyers) and get a full colour postcard made for around £250 per 10,000, and pay someone to type up the addresses, then mail merge labels and use labels to print the message on the “Dear…..” side of the postcard.
We did this when I bought “The Acacia”, my hotel in Worthing and we wanted to turn two old guestbooks into an email mailing list. We offered the chance to win a free weekend for two at the newly refurbishes Acacia and all they had to do was visit this webpage and put their name and email in. Even if the postcard was delivered to a new occupant, they often came and added their details too! No envelope to open you see!
Over 500 contacts and you will be paying Mailchimp and I would be looking, at this point, to be uploading them all, then mailing regularly and offering a free “zero price product” gift to move your Mailchimp subscribers over to your Total Business Cart account.
If You Have A Following…
If you have more than 500 friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter, you can start to do joint ventures with product or list owners. The kind of people who hang around on Facebook or Twitter are usually a completely different crowd to those who subscribe to blogs or ezines.
Your following could be very valuable, especially if you can use an affiliate link to send someone to your JV Partners Facebook page, which is proven to work better in that environment.
Many of us have subscription boxes on our Facebook pages now, and if someone subscribes and later buys through your affiliate link, even though you have not sent them to a sales page, you will still earn the commission.
*** Breaking News ***
Clickbank, which is one of the biggest affiliate management operations in the world, now offer Social Media referral options. I only just noticed this the other day so it’s pretty new (at the time of writing this article in early September 2010).
Essentially, you can go and find a product or service you are happy to recommend (look out for the high gravity or very popular options in the drop down box) and then you can simple click the promote button to get your affiliate link, or you can click the “LIKE” button to send your recommendation to your Facebook profile.
Now, go easy with this, but if you are very active on Facebook, slipping a recommendation in every few hours or so is bound to make you some money.
I hope this article is getting you fired up about creating some Joint Ventures with your product, list or following.
Here are three ways to get started.
3 Ways To Learn More About Successful Joint Ventures
Whenever I want to know how to do something, I always go looking for a book!
So I went looking for some good books for you on successful Joint Venturing and top of the searches were these two. These are NOT affiliate links because I haven’t read either of them but they have great reviews.
The Joint Venture by Gilbert Visconti [Hardback]
Strategic Partnerships: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Joint Ventures and Alliances by Robert Wallace [Paperback]
And I know that the UK’s foremost Joint Venture broker, Sohail Khan, swears by a Joint Venture book by Jay Abrahams which may be “Optimal Marketing Strategies” but I’m not sure.
At the time of writing this article Sohail was recovering from his first big event in London but I will ask him which Jay Abrahams book he recommends and update this article for you. Here’s Jay’s website URL if you are too impatient! http://www.abraham.com/
Nope! just heard from Sohail and it’s ‘Getting Everything You Can Out Of Everything You’ve Got’ – Jay Abraham
Talking of Sohail, he’s launching his JV Club shortly and I was first in the queue to sign up. He’s only allowing 100 members and we have to commit to meet monthly in London, as well as get access to a private online area.
That’s perfect for me because while I really want to do more JV’s, I need some sort of structure to work to or I simply won’t get around to it.
You can find out more about The JV Club here
(And yes, that will be an affiliate link as soon as I can get one. I’m putting my own money where my mouth is by joining and so should you!)
If you can’t get to London regularly, and want to learn by distance learning, there is a great new product coming out soon called “JV Attraction Formula”
I haven’t got a link for you yet, but get onto my mailing list by signing up for one of the THREE free gifts in the sidebar there and you will be able to get some EXCLUSIVE bonuses from me (including the opportunity for an advertisement in my ezine and possibly a mailing to my list if your product or service would add value to my subscribers)
There is no doubt about it, Joint Ventures are among the most exciting, fast and cost-effective ways to grow your business, no matter what stage your business is at.
I hope this article has really given you something to think about and I’d love to hear your questions, thoughts, challenges or stories about Joint Venturing.
And do feel free to get in touch if your list would like one of my many free gifts (or we can create one just for your audience) or if you think they would enjoy one of my “lead products” which are:-
- My Money Gym book bundle set
- A private video Marketing MOT – I review their website covering 10 points and send them a link to the private video
- The videos from the “Really Useful Internet Day” with Brett McFall and Martin Avis.
Just “Share Your Thoughts” by clicking the link below there!
Looking forward to discussing this further…