Nearly every day someone approaches me about doing a collaboration because as you know, collaborations are a marvelous way to get your product in front of a lot of people quickly.
Better yet, getting your collaboration partner’s recommendation can significantly increase both sales and sign-ups onto your own list. But that’s the good news – the bad news is anyone with a list gets approached day in and day out by numerous collaboration seekers and most of those requests are either ignored or rejected.
There are many things to cover here. First, what are these collaborations?
Collaboration Ideas for your online business include:
- Bundle Similar Products
- Guest Roundup / Interview Blog Post
- Guest Blog Posts on eachothers website
- Virtual Summits & Workshops/Webinars
- Affiliate Programs
One of the recent collaborations I did was with the Bundle Co, Jenna Kutcher, and 31 other online female business owners. You can see below how I announced it in a pretty casual way on Instagram and the response was overwhelming! By the final day, we had collaboratively sold the bundle to over 16,000 business owners.
Have you ever tried to create one or more of the above-mentioned collaborations and got a big fat “No”? How can you be the one who receives the coveted “yes” answer next time you approach someone for a collaboration?
So how can you be the one who receives the coveted “yes” answer next time you approach someone for a collaboration?
Here are a few techniques that I’ve found work especially well…
1. Make the collaboration about your partners (not you)
First, make your initial contact all about the collaboration partner and NOT about you. Instead of telling them what’s in it for you, tell them what’s in it for them. I don’t know how many times I’ve received emails that go something like this: “I need you to promote my new product to your list because then I can make sales and add people to my own list. Oh yes, and I’ll pay you 50% commission.”
Whoopee. Can you imagine the excitement a list owner feels when receiving an email like this? There’s a reason this type of email doesn’t even get a response. Look, everyone is tuned into that same radio station you’ve heard so much about, WIIFM: What’s In It For Me? A business owner with a significant email list can probably get 50% in commissions anytime and anywhere without having to do a collaboration.
This is why it is imperative that you stand apart from the crowd and offer the potential partner something far more valuable than 50% on sales. Think for a moment – what is it that you’re really good at? Is it writing articles? Building websites and sales pages? Writing sales copy? Social Media Marketing? Whatever it is, offer your potential collaboration partner your service in exchange for promoting your product, along with a good commission.
For example, if you’re good at writing articles, offer to write a dozen or more on the topics of their choice and pay them 50 -70% commission on sales. Now, this is an offer that is likely to get their attention. Sure it’s going to take you some extra time, but so what? You’ll be making sales, building your list, and most importantly, forging a relationship with your new collaboration partner.
2. As the host, you should get the least commission
Second, consider giving away most of your profit and commission on the end collaborative project and product. If your product converts well and sells for a good price, this will get the attention of many contributors. You’ll capture their attention even faster if you also pay immediate commissions or set it up so that commissions are paid straight into their Paypal account.
Why would you give away most of your commissions? You’re not. First of all, you’re building your list with buyers, and buyers are wonderful indeed when it comes to promoting other products in the future. In fact, it’s been estimated that one buyer on your list is worth as many as 35 freebie seekers in terms of future revenue.
Also, don’t forget that you can always place a one time offer in the sales funnel or sales sequence following the checkout process so you can also make additional revenue up front. You can either keep 100% of those commissions on the OTO, or split the commissions with your partners.
Related Post: How to build a passive income sales funnel
3. Combine your products and host more than just an affiliate program.
Third, treat your collaboration partner like someone more important than an affiliate. Set up a deal in which several collaboration partners and yourself contribute products into one big product package, and then launch the package just as you would a product. Divide the commissions accordingly and everyone wins because everyone promotes to their own lists, ensuring there is plenty of exposure to the offer. Plus, each participant grows their own list full of new purchasers of the event.
Another possibility – work together to create a new product. This doesn’t have to mean the two of you sit down in a room together and hammer out the product. Rather, each of you would complete certain portions of it on your own as a collaboration. For example, you might write the intro, they write the outline, you fill the outline in, you create the video and they write the sales letter (just an example, it will differ wildly for everyone.) You can even do a collaboration with 3 or more collaboration Partners. Just think – the more partners involved, the more lists you can promote your new product to.
I once hosted a collaboration where I contributed the stock photos and an illustrator contributed the graphics. It was a win-win!
4. Become friendly with your partners before you ask to collaborate
Save the weird and awkward conversations for your in-law family reunion – okay? There’s no need to send a cold and awkward email to a stranger. You can easily warm up your potential collaboration partner before you pop the collaboration question. Instead of immediately asking them for a collaboration, ask them for an interview instead. Or ask if you can promote their latest product, or ask if you can write an article about them for your blog, etc. In other words, see what you can do to help them first and open the door for communication. If you are sincere about this, the law of reciprocity will kick in, and sooner or later they’ll want to repay the favor. That’s why when you ask them down the road to promote your high-quality product or contribute to a bundle of products, they probably won’t even hesitate to say yes.
Relate Post: How to get testimonials before and after your launch
5. Okay, But What Do I Write in My collaboration Proposal?
That first email to a potential collaboration partner is scary, isn’t it? What should you say? What shouldn’t you say? Will they reply?
First of all, don’t worry about getting rejected. Everyone gets rejected now and then, and online it’s usually a simple matter of being ignored. If this happens, realize that they may not have seen your email and send it to them again. Be nice, be respectful, and be persistent. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose by asking.
I also put together three proven email templates you can use in your own business here.
But there are ways to greatly increase your chances of getting that collaboration by simply doing the right things in your email. What I recommend…
- Be personal, warm and friendly. Imagine you’re writing to your mom – you go out of your way to be polite.
- Reference something recent they’ve done. Maybe it’s their latest product or blog post – mention something about it so they know you’ve actually read the post or purchased the product.
- Play to their ego. Praise the post, product or whatever it is that you’re mentioning. NOTE: Praise it in a direct, specific and honest way. Don’t just say, “Great post, friend!” Instead, say something like, “Thanks so much for the video creation tips – I’m going to follow your advice because I’ve learned first hand that your methods work.” A general compliment works too if you’ve been reading their content for a while and can say so.
- Get to the point. Don’t write 3 pages on your personal history of your online business. Get to the crux of your communication, which is your proposal.
- Propose your plan. Again, don’t waffle and don’t digress. Get to the point and let them know what you’re suggesting.
- Be an authority. This isn’t the time to brag or boast, but it is the time to let them know that you are experienced. Collaboration Partners aren’t looking to hold your hand, they’re looking to do deals that put new buyers and new money in their pocket.
- If you’ve got proof, use it. For example, if you’re proposing a collaboration on a product that teaches people how to sew and you’re good at sewing, show them a link to a few screenshots of your work and the responses from your current audience. You’re putting their mind at ease that you know what you’re doing.
- Outline the deal without a lot of detail. If you’re proposing they keep 70% commission, say so. Don’t make it complicated.
- Ask. Ask them for feedback, to do the deal, whatever. Close with a call to action so that it’s super clear the next move is theirs and you’re looking for a response. Again, you’re not dictating – you’re simply being professional in a warm, friendly manner.
Send and wait for a response. Don’t expect them to fall all over themselves in gratitude that you wrote. If the answer comes back negative, write back and tell them thank you very much for considering it, and you look forward to an opportunity to perhaps work with them in the future. Don’t rant or rave or get nasty – the last thing you want to do is slam the door on future opportunities.
If the answer comes back as anything other than a no, then odds are it can develop into a definite yes, but only IF you don’t fumble the ball. The typical response you get back is going to be for more information. Provide it and answer any questions they give you.
6. Keep in mind that the things they are likely looking for in a potential collaboration partner are…
- Are you confident and professional? Do you know what you’re doing? Are you capable?
- What’s your experience. What is your experience as related to the topic of this collaboration? What are you bringing to the table?
- How trustworthy and reliable are you. Will you do what you say? Can they trust you?
7. As to what a collaboration Partner is looking for in the collaboration itself…
- Not a huge time commitment. Big commitments are scary and stressful, small ones are much less so. Don’t ask them to write a 300-page ebook for your collaboration – it isn’t going to happen.
- Enhancement for their reputation. Is this a quality product that provides lots of value? Or are you looking for the quick buck?
- Increase in buyers for their own email list. If you can bring buyers to the table, you’ve got a powerful motivation for them to participate.
- Money and Revenue. Of course, this is often (but not always) a motivator – how much money might they make in relation to the time invested? However, don’t assume this is their primary motivation. A good marketer knows that growing their list of buyers provides far more income on a long term basis than making quick money today. And no decent marketer wants to make a quick buck if it risks their reputation with their email list.
8. Follow Through with Your Potential Partners
Make sure that all of your collaborative partnerships have a timeline. That means, a start and an end date. Anything beyond a short time frame becomes an affiliate program that runs for a longer period of time, and that is something we are not covering here. It’s a whole different animal.
For the purposes of selling a collaborative product, you want to do the following:
- Send a teaser email for your list, announcing or hinting at the joint product
- Make sure your partner is doing the same with their list
- Double check all forms, buttons, links, automation, and pages are in working order
- Send a FAQ’s email to your list letting them know more details about the joint product and your new “partner”
- LAUNCH: Send a launch day email to your list letting them know the product is available for sale and the cart is open
- Make sure your partner is doing the same and has the links and resources they need
- Send an email to your list showing social proof that your products make customers happy. Show the product in use… etc.
- Send a follow-up email to your partner letting them know how sales are looking. Share stats and figures! They’ll love seeing the sales come in.
- Send a Last Day / Doors Closing email
- Send a REMINDER email that doors close in 12 hours
- Send a REMINDER email that doors close in 1-5 hour
- Send your partners a final email of all sales and let them know when they will receive commission
9. Do the best you can right through the end
Next, you will iron out the details, go above and beyond the expectation of your partner every chance you get and run the best collaboration you possibly can. Hopefully, it is a great success. And no matter the outcome, there is still one more step to take before you’re done, and that is to thank your collaboration Partner in a memorable manner. Why? Because a lot of business owners and marketers do many collaboration’s a month, and if you’re not memorable, they may not say yes the next time you ask. Do a little research, find out what they like, and then send it to them. Does he like cigars? Is she partial to good coffee? It doesn’t have to be expensive because it’s not about the money, it’s about saying THANK YOU!!!
Believe me, I still remember a collaboration Partner who sent me a very nice gift in the mail. And even though we’ve since lost touch, were he to contact me today for another collaboration, I would almost certainly say yes. And for him (and for you), that’s like money in the bank.
10. How can you do a collaboration, technically?
First, grab my 3 template emails for breaking the ice and getting in the door with someone new.
There are multiple platforms I’ve used during the process of collaborating and I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences. I once waited a whole year to receive all of $400! I won’t name names but I’ll never collaborate with any brand who uses that affiliate platform. But, I’ve personally used and stood by the use of SendOwl for selling and distributing affiliate earnings. The Brand Co used SendOwl in our latest collaboration and it was a seamless and transparent process.
SendOwl isn’t just for running collaborations and affiliate programs. You can sell and deliver digital products with them as well. It’s quite honestly a fantastic tool that is super affordable.
Plus, did I mention it talks to your ConvertKit and other email marketing tools too? Click here to check out SendOwl.
Here’s a video from my Self Made Together course where we review SendOwl and go over its features:
Additionally, here’s a video made by SendOwl on how to add a Digital Product.
Here’s a video on how to create a checkout Button using SendOwl.
Ready to get started monetizing and making more sales of your digital products? One of the best places to start is with this free downloadable ebook showing you exactly the steps for creating a digital product business.
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