The way we communicate with our consumers online is continuously evolving. And while it’s important to include channels such as social media, SEO, and video in your strategic alliance marketing plan, email is still a top choice for generating conversions. On average, email has an ROI of $38 for each $1 spent, and now that you have the power of two you can combine resources and even prospect lists for a highly qualified marketing audience!
Starting with an email nurture campaign will allow you to focus your efforts on a strategic, behavior-based campaign that is designed to continuously nudge these prospects toward your desired action. For example, did a user click the CTA in the first email? If so then you can send them the next email in the series, if not, you can try a different version of them same email to try to get them to act.
1. Set your goals and objectives
Start with what your strategic alliance brings to the table. Typically, this will be a complimentary product or service to one that already exists between your two companies, such as a security service for a cloud platform.
2. Define your audience
We already know the advantage of having access to two companies’ prospect lists, but it’s still important to segment this list into a smaller, more qualified audience. In the case of the example from the first step, you and your partner would use a list of existing cloud platform customers since they are low-hanging fruit to upsell them on your new complimentary service.
3. Decide which partner will manage and execute the emails
An important step before building out the content is to decide which partner will project manage and send the emails upon completion. There are many considerations here such as marketing platforms, project management software, third-party agencies, and more.
There are also cloud-based software platforms such as Workspan which allows you and your partner to meet in the middle and collaborate throughout each step of the process.
4. Co-brand your design and copy
It’s most likely that you and your partner have different branding, and that’s ok! If one brand has better recognition or reputation it may be an easy decision to make. You and your partner should work together to decide if one brand will carry the main voice and visuals but be sure that it is obvious this is a partnership initiative. Use logo-lockups, include both brand names in the copy, and so on.
You may also find a benefit in creating an alliance landing page that matches your campaign creative theme that uses a co-branded vanity URL. These are all considerations that should be agreed upon by both partners.
5. Don’t forget to A/B test!
As is important in all marketing campaigns, don’t forget to A/B test. It’s even expected in a nurture series – if someone doesn’t click on an email the first time, try a different version with the same CTA the next time. This can be done seamlessly with a marketing automation platform.
Test using each brand name in the same subject line to see if one generates more engagement. Test your hero images, CTAs, and everything else you can think of! You can even make it a friendly challenge by having the marketing teams from both companies come up with different things to test and see how they compare.
Citrix and Microsoft have one of the largest alliances in the world, partnering to create cloud-based workspace services for business of any size and industry. Our team at Merit Mile created an eight-part email nurture series to promote Citrix Workspace on Microsoft Azure, a powerful combination of technology, to business and IT decision makers.
When it came to creation of the emails Citrix was determined as the main voice and branding but supported the alliance by utilizing Microsoft logo lockups and co-branded case studies and assets. To create a bit more visual interest we also animated the hero banners which is something that should be explored by your marketing teams as an option to generate higher engagement.
Even with this guidance, the reality is that pulling it off is easier said than done. Recent research shows that 80% of alliance marketing professionals are facing challenges such as time constraints and content creation. The research also showed that those professionals who worked with marketing agencies saw up to a 33% in marketing leads! Reach out to our team of experts today to learn how we can help you with your strategic alliance marketing needs.