As a social media and marketing professional who has worked with joint venture partners in a variety of ways, I am always asked questions about JV’s. What are they? Why should I use them? How can I be successful with them? Here are some answers to those questions:
What Are Joint Ventures?
A joint venture is when two or more parties (individuals, companies or organizations) who have complimentary strengths or resources join together to work on a project for a set period of time.
Joint ventures or “JV’s” can take-on many different forms. Some are as simple as promoting each other’s blog posts, newsletters or events, while others may be more complex partnerships with cross-promoting of complimentary products. Some JV’s even involve starting entirely new projects from scratch.
Projects can be hosting a teleseminar or an in-person event, writing a book, creating a new product, etc. As a result of working together the parties create something new, better and bigger than what either party could on their own. The mutual benefits often include monetary gain but not always right away. The benefit could be more subscribers to your list, or elevating you to expert status just because the JV partner, who is recognized as an expert, is recommending you or your product.
Why are Joint Ventures so important?
As a solo-entrepreneur, blogger or small business owner, you probably have very limited resources: time, money or access to connections. So collaborating with other people or businesses is essential to the survival and growth of your business. With the right collaborative partners you will think bigger, achieve more, and even have more fun! I have also learned so much from each of my JV partners over the years–knowledge that I have used and brought with me to other projects and made my business more profitable.
Joint Ventures are a powerful tool for expanding business in many areas. So, what is stopping you from using this technique to expand your business?
For many new marketers, starting a JV can be a frightening task, especially when it comes to contacting other marketers. Too often, many marketers appear to be “spamming,” when they are really just seeking other JV partners. Here are some tips that may help you along the way:
1. Get to know your potential JV partners. Give to get!
If you just start emailing, calling or online stalking everyone on your list of potential partners, chances are you will be considered a spammer. You won’t get the partners you want, or even worse, this tactic may destroy your reputation. Before you hit “send” on that email or connection request, do your homework.
You should always do some research to find out all you can about your potential partner and their business prior to reaching out. Join their newsletter, and watch their online interactions. Tell them you think their information is valuable and why. Attend offline events where you are sure to run into them. Offer to assist them at an offline event they are doing or give them some good content or feedback they can use for a project they are working on. You will be surprised at how much attention you receive by being prepared and getting to know them personally and giving first as you proceed to develop relationships with potential JV partners.
2. Make sure it is really a WIN-WIN-WIN
Most people look at partnerships as a win win, what’s in it for me? But with many of us, the end result we are looking for is a win-win-win. A win for us, for our partner AND for our community (or our list). Many online marketers today get massive lists by offering something great of their own and then begin quickly to send out email after email promoting other people’s projects to raise money through affiliate commissions. I believe this is a mistake. Think about approaching partners that are in it for the long haul. You will be much more successful. So when asking someone to partner with you, it should be presented in the win-win-win formula. This is how I can help YOU, how you can help ME and how this will help our respective communities over the long term.
Many people I have collaborated with have developed into long term relationships.
You may ask, how can it be a win-win-win if I have 1000 people on my list and they have 100,000? Simple, it may not be a 50/50 partnership, they may ask for more compensation or for you to mail more or promote more often. In the beginning, prepare to give a lot away to attract a top-tier partner.
3. Your financial estimates should always be realistic.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Be honest with your potential partners. Explain your proposal and benefits in realistic terms, but don’t hype. Don’t say, for example, that you are getting 50% conversions if you are only seeing 15%. Be honest, open and sincere.
4. Set goals and expectations.
You must always set goals and expectations for any joint venture project so you can measure its success and to also avoid negative feelings. One of the fastest ways to sink a relationship is not setting expectations i.e. who is responsible for what and keeping track of the numbers. Even if the JV doesn’t produce as much as you both would have liked, you still want to keep the relationship alive. Sometimes even with the best intentions, things can go wrong but if you are open, honest and deliver on what you promise, you can both at least feel that you did the best you could and learn from the experience.
Getting a Joint Venture off the ground doesn’t have to be scary if you start by following the four simple steps given above. I’ll be offering more tips on finding JV partners and collaborators in future posts. To your success!