Co-marketing campaigns can be hugely beneficial for you and your partner brand – but it can be tricky knowing where to start. 

We’ve compiled a list of 8 key steps to help you and your partner get started and make sure your campaign runs as smoothly as possible!

Let’s dive in:

1. Find the right partner

Here are the most important things to think about when choosing your partner:

  • Audience size – for your collaboration to be beneficial for the both of you, the ideal partner brand will be one with a similar size audience to yours. Otherwise, the larger brand isn’t going to see the same benefit in terms of reach
  • Demographics – if your partner brand has a similar audience to yours (eg, UK women aged 20-30), it’s likely that they will also be interested in your products and services
  • Expertise – the more that you can learn from your collaboration, the better! Look out for brands that might be more experienced in areas where you aren’t, and vice versa
  • Product – the best partner brand will be someone who doesn’t sell products or services that are in direct competition to yours, but still make sense in the overall context of your brand
  • Values – the most seamless collaborations are between brands who share values. For example, if you’re a sustainable brand, look for other sustainable brands to partner with. If you’re a woman or minority-led business, be sure to look out for like-minded founders too!
    Once you’ve found the right partner brand, you’ll need to decide what kind of campaign you’d both like to run. Here are some examples of different campaigns you could execute:

2. Choose the right campaign

  • Social Media Cross-Promotion – This partnership works best for brands that have a large social following. The idea is that both you and your partner brand will create a social media post that promotes the other. Top tip: Keep in mind when creating your content that the best posts are ones that look organic
  • Email Cross-Promotion – This partnership works best for brands that have large mailing lists. Campaigns can be something as simple as a shoutout to your partner with a joint discount code that works on both of your storefronts
  • Gift with Purchase – This partnership works best for brands that have low-order value products or samples. It’s all about getting your physical product into potential customers’ hands. Simply send over some of your products to your partner brand, so that they can include them as a gift with their customer’s future orders
  • Long-form Content Collaboration – This works well for brands with a strong social media presence. You and your partner can team up for a guest blog, podcast appearance, youtube video, or webinar
  • Giveaway/Contest – This is another partnership that’s great for brands with low order values or samples. You and your brand partner can announce a joint contest on your social media accounts, where your followers can enter to win a prize made up of both of your products
  • Co-Discount – This partnership can work for all brands! You and your partner create a discount offer that can be shared to the other’s social media pages (e.g. 20% off both of your products for the next week)

3. Create your ideal customer persona

For a successful campaign, you’ll need a clear image in your mind of who your ideal customer is. Once you know who you’re trying to reach with your campaign, you can create content specifically tailored to them and their interests. 

For example, if your ideal customer is someone in their teens, you’ll know to use a more informal tone of voice in your posts and to publish on a platform where they’re likely to be (such as Tiktok or Instagram).

4. Define your goals

Once you’ve decided which campaign will work best for you and your target audience, you’ll need to think about exactly what you want to achieve and establish clear goals. Do you both want to boost sales? Increase your social media following? Tap into a new audience? 

It’s important that both teams understand exactly what you’re working towards and what the project is meant to achieve. Both partners should be aware of the other’s targets and objectives so that they know how to meet them

5. Set a budget

One of the best things about partnership marketing is that you can achieve great results whilst saving money. It opens up the opportunity to afford things that you might not have been able to do alone since you’re pooling your resources together! You’ll need to decide what kind of budget you’d like to set aside for the campaign and discuss with your partner brand what theirs is.

Note: One of the coolest things about partnership campaigns is that they can be totally free if you only promote to each brand’s organic audiences. This makes partnerships a fantastic strategy for early-stage brands looking to build their audiences from the ground-up! 

6. Plan, plan, plan

The next step is to create a timeline of events. It’s a good idea to get together to brainstorm ideas, deadlines and expectations so you have a clear understanding of the campaign. 

Decide who will be managing which aspects of the campaign, so you can share the workload, divide tasks evenly and ensure your collaboration runs smoothly. It can be beneficial to discuss what you and your partner each excel at so that you can assign areas of the campaign that play to the strengths of each business.

7. Get creative

It’s time to start creating your campaign! Now that you’ve decided who’s in charge of what, you can start putting the plan into action.

 Your teams will need to work together to create content that is suited to both of your styles (this might require some level of compromise). When you’re both happy and have each given your approval, your campaign is ready to go live.

8. Track and monitor success

Once your campaign is live, you’ll need to keep a close eye on how it’s doing. It’s best to track your progress every step of the way so that you can assess the results and see what’s going well (and perhaps what isn’t). 

You can use data and analytics to see what your campaign’s strengths and weaknesses are, and make adjustments where you see fit. There’ll always be something that you’ll learn from the collaboration that you can use to improve your next one!

Now you’re ready for your first partnership, there’s no better time to get started! Check out ShopSwap and connect with other DTC brands actively seeking co-marketing opportunities. Click here to sign up for free!