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3 Helpful Tips on Inbound Channel Marketing that Will Help your Channel Partners
The influence of inbound channel marketing in today’s digitally-driven world can be hard to fathom.
With one in every three people in the world on social media and nearly 4 billion Google searches per day—you’d think marketers that fail to adopt inbound marketing have lost their minds.
But, the truth is, outbound marketing tactics (e.g., cold-calls, direct sales, direct email, podcast ads, paid ads, etc.), represent a large percentage of the advertising we see today. Although outbound strategies still hold relevance in today’s marketplace, inbound marketing remains the more economical, consistent and transparent philosophy in business advertising.
Now, as a vendor, not only are you probably well aware of inbound channel marketing, you’re probably frustrated with it—and that’s because your channel partners don’t have a clue about how to use it.
In fact, just imagining what your business would look like if your partners did know how to implement inbound channel marketing is probably not something you want to think about.
But all of that can change—and you have the key to doing so.
Okay, that was a little bit cheesy (my apologies), however, the point remains the same. There are literally dozens of ways you can utilize your business expertise and inspire your channel partners—and once your partners harness inbound marketing—your business will never look the same.
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But before you can help your partners succeed with inbound marketing, you must first realize your own strategy; in other words, how will your content be applied?
- Content that is equally produced between vendor and partner; with a partner, content marketing is mostly used to attract the attention of end-users.
- Content that is produced internally and provided to channel partners with the purpose that it will be shared with their audience and/or consumer base; through-partner content is not usually edited nor combined with added value, however, it is often times co-branded between vendor and channel partner.
- Content that is specifically designed to persuade a potential channel partner into doing business; to partner content usually elaborates the benefits of partnering with the vendor as well as its value proposition.
- Content that is created internally by the vendor and distributed exclusively to channel partners; internal partner content is mainly used as educational resources partners can use and implement into their own business.
Whether or not you chose to work collaboratively, independently or simply provide sound advice, here are:
3 Helpful Tips on Inbound Channel Marketing that Will Help your Channel Partners:
- Accelerate the opportunity-to-conversion process
- Enter new marketplaces
- Increase “opt in” rates
- Become social media marketing influencers
- Save money (versus outbound strategies)
- Increase brand awareness
- Build contacts
- Strengthen brand transparency, trust, and credibility
- Educate audiences
- Generate quality web traffic and leads
1.) Exploit Backlinks to their Highest Potential
A well-defined backlink strategy can ignite serious benefits for your company and your channel partners.
In layman’s terms, backlinks are strategically hyperlinked text on high-quality websites that link back to your website. But in the channel industry, this strategy works both ways, and the more creative you are with backlinks, the more opportunities you will find:
- Offer Digital Testimonials to Partners—Provide well-performing partners with honest, high praising testimonials. If they feature it on their website, request to attach a link back to your company.
- Include them in Blog Posts—By featuring a backlink to your partner’s website, you introduce their audience to you, and your audience to them.
- Write Guest Posts for Partners—Write exclusive content for channel partners with a byline back to your company’s homepage.
- Post Comments—Engage with your partner’s audience by getting involved in post-blog discussions with links back to your website.
- Press Releases—Whether your partner signed a major new deal, teamed up with a new partner, launched a new product, etc., include backlinks on press releases to partners’ owned media.
2.) Social Media
Obvious, right? Everyone knows that social media is vital for generating leads and establishing brand awareness/influence.
The truth is, however, channel partners struggle with social media. Be it their lack of digital marketing experience, time, money, strategy, objectives or confidence—social media continues to plague partners’ marketing success.
Here is how you can help…
a.) Help Partners Define Their Audience—Understanding the buyer’s persona is imperative to efficiently and effectively use social media. What’s their age, gender, location, socioeconomic status, profession, interests, and of course, main social platform?
Help partners step into the mind of their target audience and realize the things that bother them, and why the product would eliminate pain points.
b.) Create Original Content—Content is king for good reason, and social media is the perfect ecosystem to ignite its influence and visibility.
If your channel partners aren’t blogging or sharing eBooks, whitepapers, podcasts, surveys, infographics, etc., they’re missing out on one of the most effective and cost-friendly tactics in inbound channel marketing.
Today’s digital audience is surfing the waves of company’s profiles to discover value while attaining something entertaining, fresh and uniquely informative. When partners publish exclusive content on various social media platforms, they provide their current and/or potential clientele with access to a value that is quickly and easily available.
c.) Avoid an Egotistic Social Identity—One of the worst, yet easily avoidable mistake of social media marketing is a digital voice. The context of communicating via screens versus face-to-face is completely different.
To some partners, this is an ambiguous challenge that is hard to identify; however, it’s imperative that you alert partners who feature social content that:
- Has strong, controversial opinions on religion, politics, and ethics
- Solely focuses on self-promotion instead of sharing value
- Is too aggressive or partisan with user comments
- Publicly identifies companies/individuals in negative light
- Shares possibly offensive humor
3.) Creating High-Conversion Landing Page
Capturing emails and game-changing leads is best done thru an effective landing page.
That’s because landing pages represent the “middleman” between consumer and the content they want.
Whether it’s an engaging eBook, promotional opportunity, contest application, sales program, newsletter, etc.—partners can leverage landing pages a means to request personal information, and thus, capture a lead/contact. But channel partners are going to need a convincing, well-designed landing page if they plan on doing so.
Not only should it be aesthetically pleasing and mobile responsive, but also contain persuasive copy to ensure that it’s a form worth filling.
Here are some great ideas on what a high-conversion landing page could look like:
- Title—think creative, simple and big; a subtitle can be helpful but is not mandatory
- Visuals—at least one image or video should be included
- Logo—if the content is With-Partner, it could be co-branded
- Testimonials—third-party (positive) opinions encourage opt-in rates dramatically
- A place for people to enter their:
- First and last name
- Phone number
- Company name
- Content is relevant to the previous link—landing pages should align content consistently to the previous source
- Simple and coherent—a landing page that isn’t overstuffed with copy, but instead, has plenty of white space and a clear objective usually performs better
- Only requests to what it’s trying to accomplish—landing pages should mandate information that is irrelevant to the end goal
- Sharable landing pages—Word-to-mouth—or in this case—finger-to-mouse, is fantastic for getting your landing page in front of more eyeballs.
*If the product is a SaaS or solution that can be featured via a demo, provide a checkbox (if they would like to see one).
Ultimately, your influence to share inbound channel marketing strategies with channel partners will prove to be monumental. Not only for improving partner loyalty or accelerating productivity, but also helping you to discover new and lucrative opportunities. Remember, you’re competing with other vendors to maintain the interest of current partners, which means any unique advantage you provide will most likely determine the future of your business rapport.