Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast, everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Cristina Conacel is the owner at BootstrapBay.com, a marketplace for premium Bootstrap resources. She has a track record of creating startups in the web development space and is excited to share some of her insights with everyone.
Cristina: Hello. Thank you for having me.
Arlen: Oh, no problem. Thank you. And um, today our topic for the day is actually going to be talking about the focus on partnership marketing and all of that entails and all of the different options when it comes to partnership marketing, which is actually a subject that.
We’ve talked a little bit about some of the aspects of it, but I think you’re going to be honing in on a variety of things that we’ve never really discussed before in the podcast. So I’m, I’m really excited to talk to you about that and pick your brain for our listeners. But before we get into all of that, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?
Cristina: So I began, uh, working as a freelancer, as a web developer while I was studying for my master’s degree in computer software. The first clients I engaged with were very entrepreneurial and working with them made me want to try and build my own projects. That is how I started my first project creative team with a colleague from college and during its course we learned a lot about both development and marketing.
I worked on it for about five years and I handled the backend developer, uh, also creating products that we sold on the platform. And that is when I tried basically every marketing option that I could read about. We had some great results, almost trapped. And we reached the point where you could say, I was success.
We were successful. I felt the need to take things a bit further. And, um, I went on to manage post-Trump Bay, which is a marketplace where, uh, multiple authors post bootstrap themes. That’s what I’m currently doing. I’m managing global Strom Bay. I am constantly trying to attract new authors, bring new themes on the marketplace, and also find new users.
Arlen: Yeah. So it sounds like you definitely have a diverse, some diverse experience starting from the development level and then, so you really, you know, kind of know the ins and outs of the web, web development, web design, and then if kind of parlayed your experience with that to your own business and, um, you know, so that’s awesome.
So I have, I have a similar background myself. They’d go to school for development and kind of transition. Into my own business as a kind of the entrepreneurial spirit was continually kickings and decided to go that route. So, uh, yeah, it’s always good to see. So we’ll make that successful transition. So that’s really awesome.
You know, at the beginning, of course, I mentioned that our topic for today is partnership marketing. So as far as partnership marketing. What exactly is it and what are the various options that are specific for eCommerce companies these days?
Cristina: So as far as I understand it, notion marketing is finding other businesses that have the same target audience as your business.
Are looking for ways to reach the users together. Partnership marketing is great because it’s mutually beneficial. Each party has something to win for from it. And the first thing I would recommend for online business is, is to try and find the affiliates. These are other businesses that offer product different from yours that reach the same target audience and could recommend our product.
In our case, we reach out to blogs and content creators, especially sites that offer free themes and as they mean, they want to link to our product and get the share of the sales that are done this way. It’s great for us because we don’t have to invest in invest something, right. The way we just share the profits and it’s new users.
That’s another option that works great for eCommerce is a exchanging blog post. So if you find the blog or a platform that has similar interests, you can offer to write the guest blog posts that the do follow link back to you, and you can also give them the possibility to do the same on your blog.
Another thing that I have explored a lot and had the good, the impact on the brands I have worked with, or charitable events and sponsorships. So if you find a cause or an event that you are passionate about. It’s great if you can offer your products and as gifts or prizes for the participants. I have been involved in hackathons where I offer product to the participants and they were very well received and we got the picture of the sponsors, so that was little bit of pre promotion and we also engage too with the participants and they usually came back for us over time because they enjoyed using the product.
Another great option that we explored was creating joint products with businesses that we like. That’s great because I’m both creators or market the product, and both would benefits from new set of eyes. In our case, we develop some themes from creators that were using other libraries to build their themes, so we implemented.
No, the bootstrap versions for those themes and it was mutually beneficial.
Arlen: Yeah. That’s awesome. You definitely gave us quite a few options that are available to eCommerce businesses. The first one that you mentioned as far as forming affiliates is something definitely that is a near and dear to my heart as a the cofounder one size cause it’s software we deal with affiliate.
Programs all day for our customers, and it’s definitely an area that I know a lot of, a lot of eCommerce businesses don’t really even realize they have these partnerships already kind of under their noses. I’ll give an example. Let’s say you sell, let’s say, women’s dresses in your current marketing circles, if you were that business owner, you’re probably men speaking with, or you have relationships with people that are in a similar space selling other types of fashions, they may not necessarily be.
Yeah. No, of course. They’re not, may not necessarily be direct competitors of yours, but may sell some type of auxiliary complimentary product. So in the case of let’s say, women’s fashions or women’s dresses, you may know someone that sells women’s accessories, maybe handbags, maybe jewelry, that type of thing, where these are complimentary products, which would make excellent items that you can point people to on your.
Site. And so those are existing relationships that you, you know, that you have. And so just takes a little bit of bigging. But, um, those are great ways to form partnerships and have that affiliate relationships where, you know, they’re mutually beneficial. Of course, you’re giving them a commission for the sale, or they’re giving you a commission for the sale and they’re getting a sale that they wouldn’t have otherwise received.
So, you know, that’s definitely one aspect of the partnership. Marketing and partnerships can really be any way that you defined them. You talked about cross promoting, doing guest blog post exchanges, which is another great way to expose your. Particular niche or your particular brand with a whole nother audience, um, through a blog post.
And not only you’re getting that direct exposure, but it’s also, like you mentioned, via a do follow links that can also give you some search engine benefits. So that’s also a great one. And, uh, we, you know, we’ve been doing that a lot internally, so there’s isn’t really a lot of ways to go at. Partnerships and forming partnerships, and I hear a lot about it.
I’ve listened to a lot of other podcasts, talk about it. There’s a lot of online courses these days where you can find out more about partnership marketing. So from your experience, what do you think are some of the do’s and the don’ts when it comes to forming partnerships?
Cristina: Oh, okay. So some of the news that I have learned over the years.
Are, um, first when you try to propose a partnership to another business is to be very clear with what you are offering and what they might expect. You can even give some numbers in terms of traffic of conversions. So just so they understand better what they are. Are saying for when someone says, no, it might actually be not right now, or not exactly like this.
So my advice would be to try it again in a couple of months, or tried to slightly change the approach. Not be too pushy, but just not take no. Exactly. As a non, because it might mean just the variation of, no. Even if it sounds theoretical, I’m a strong believer that you should try to offer more than you get.
So if it’s possible, always try to give back 51% from the winnings to the other side because winning for you means winning with other people, and it’s better for them to be sure they’re winning by working with you. Then second, guessing it or thinking that you have something more to gain than you let on.
And, uh, I think it’s better to try to think of a partnership as a long collaboration because I mean, there are so many businesses in the space and you should do something that is shaded. People can usually replace you with your competition. So it’s better if you try to think about the longterm and not try to, again, coming back to the 51% over this in the other.
The other part, the 51% and try to be mindful of all the things that might bother you at the beginning because they will really upset you later. So if something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to try and fix it as soon as possible and instead of overlooking it, and then if it serious, maybe it’s a bit, they’re totally under collaboration.
Sonar then before developing hard feelings. And the partnership. Marketing should be fun. So both parties are winning. They’re not competing against each other. It shouldn’t actually feel like work. You should feel more like a play and coming up with ideas should be enthusiastic and joyful. So I will suggest not taking yourself too seriously, just trying to be creative about it.
Arlen: Those are some great do’s and don’ts for sure. That one of the things that I wanted to really point out is the kind of one of the last things that you mentioned, which is making sure you, you offer more than what you’re taking, the 51% versus being uneven because I think you’re totally right and the fact that you don’t want to leave a bad taste in the other partner’s mouth as far as them coming out of it like.
Yeah. No, they didn’t really gain enough or you gained more than they did. Um, cause you know, that’s kind of like. The buyer’s remorse type thing. I think that can also apply to partnerships where they have that remorseful feeling like, wow, you know, was this really worth it for us? It seems like you know, the other company, you know one off a lot more than we did.
So that thing is very important. And to add onto that, I, one of the things that I’ve really learned myself, because I managed the partner relationships here at a, at OSI affiliate software, and. I also do a lot of the business development. One of the things that we kind of tell our team is that we really are always trying to lead, lead with what we’re, what we can provide before even asking for anything.
So that’s kind of what are the things that you want to focus on. If you’re doing your outreach, take a look at these potential partners and. Figure out what do you think would be of interest to them? What’s really going to get them to really consider a partner relationship? So before you start asking for many things, think about what you can offer.
And so even if your approach is you have several attempts at outreach and you’re in, you’re consistently saying, okay, we can give you this. We can do this, we can do that. You know, obviously they know that you’re going to want something out of it, but what you want to make sure that you do is. That, you know, you offer, you know, 51 or more percent of what you can provide them before even asking them for anything.
So I think that’s something key. And I’ve, I’ve kind of learned that the hard way with a lot of my attempts as far as outreach is concerned because it’s so easy to just say, we want this, we want to do this and lead with that. But you really have to change it because. You know, believe it or not, most of these companies and people that are, you’re approaching, I’ve been pitched, you know, nine ways till Sunday.
By the time they get your request or your email. And so they already are a little bit leery about whatever approached for partnership that they have. So I think that’s definitely important. So I do appreciate you pointing that out. The 51%. Now, you know, these days, of course, the landscape with eCommerce businesses has changed quite a bit.
A lot of it has to do with social media, um, and the, these changing marketing channels, which we just, everything is just changing so quick. Why do you think partnerships are really so important now and really important for any type of business?
Cristina: Yeah. I think especially because of this reason, partnership marketing are more important these days because there’s this shift in how people consume content and buy product, and instead of relying on big sources, never monopolize the space like TV or radio.
People send to multiple online creators scattered on many platforms. And all these creators are possible partners. So instead of trying to display our product to a lot of people that may or not be interested in your products, you can go directly to people in the field. We are talking about the influencers to learn logo.
They have specific audiences that might be just the right fit for you, and they also have something to gain by promoting your product. If it’s a quality product. So I would think you shouldn’t disregard these channels or channels that you’re not familiar with. I think that as you grow older, you’ll get new.
You have a mom, you have more of a tendency to stick to the platform that you are used to what they think. This is a trap because you can reach our audience on your platforms like Snapchat or tic talk or whatever. Just try to collaborate with contents over there. Maybe you think, this is not for me. I don’t get how this works, but it might actually work for you.
Your users are there.
Arlen: Yeah, and that that is definitely so true. You have to try some of these different types of platforms because you just never know what response that you’re going to get, you know, in these days. You talked a little bit earlier about. The types of different code marketing types of things that you can do.
One of them of course, is doing, you know, guest blog exchanges and trying to do collaborations on other platforms that you may not be on. Like you said, even maybe there’s a partner that you’re thinking about approaching where they have some. They’ve got a presence on tic-tac and you’ve never gone that route, and you of kind of use their foundation on tick-tock is a, was a way in.
So that’s definitely another thing that you can do. What are some other examples of different types of coal marketing campaigns that you think would be a pluggable for eCommerce companies?
Cristina: Like I said, it’s great if you can make affiliates out of the possible partners, but you can also try to offer some flat fee.
I think, um, there are a lot of campaigns that are a great fit for eCommerce because they are easily trackable. So it really can be product that you place, you can track and can see the performance. I mean, people view that, the conversion rate, so there are a ton of things you can do. You can picture your product on the site or on a blog.
You can put it on in a newsletter campaign, different social media. So everywhere that someone can see it or cricket that’s trackable and that can lead back to a profit share or.
Arlen: Yes, that’s true. Yeah, and like you said, the bottom line is what is trackable, and that’s the one thing that you want to keep in mind because.
It’s all fine and dandy to come up with a collaborative effort and marketing effort. But if you’re not able to track the results of it, then it’s almost not worth either partners while, because you know, you won’t really know the results of it. You won’t really know, you know, kind of where people are coming from and then that type of thing.
So, um, yeah, tracking is something you definitely want to get established up front, whether it’s through, you know, an affiliate campaign where you’re using an affiliate link. Or unique promo code, or you have some other type of analytics that you’re using that’s kind of tied into maybe your Google analytics or whatever platform that you’re using.
You definitely want to make sure you have some way of tracking these campaigns, but nowadays I’m, we’re in luck because there’s a lot of ways to do it. There’s a ton of different tools that are out there that would allow you to track campaigns, marketing campaigns, and the whole nine. So. It’s a, yeah, everything is there now, you know, as we get ready to wrap things up, I’m always
A huge advocate of looking at what some of the big guys were doing, the big brands, because there’s always a ton of money behind their marketing efforts. You know, there’s millions and billions of dollars, but behind the brands, the big noticeable brands that are out there that make any types of decisions and these brands out there.
Of course there. Just like the small guys, they’re forming partnerships as well because they want to diversify their exposure to larger audiences. So in your experience and from what you do, what are some major brands that you could highlight that we can all maybe learn from and what are some of the things that they’ve done with regards to partnerships that they formed?
Cristina: Okay, so one on the partnerships that, um. I looked at and I thought it’s pretty interesting. It’s between Kanye West and Adidas for the easiest sneakers. I’ve seen them becoming more and more popular, and I think they both have something to gain because Connie increased his personal brand and also created the connection with this fan.
So, Oh, people that listen to his music and now show it in a way that is more personal and, but it does mean a lot of sales for sure. Through this. Something. The I also look at is a Nike and NAFTA. I think that’s a great example. And they’ve been partners for 20 years, maybe since the release of the first iPod.
When I first saw it, I thought of it a bit unlikely or out of the box, but really working great. So people that are working out are encouraged to track their performance and also listen to music. So the Apple products, and. Apple markets, Nikes from products for their images of this active workout and lifestyle.
So that’s some of my favorite examples. Uber does a lot of partnership marketing and very specific for each country. So for example, in Romania when it launched, it had a lot of promo codes for all the festivals and events. If you bought the ticket, you got the promo code, then you could go to that event.
So using a free ride, and I thought that was a great way to start and get new users. The first things that comes to mind and that stuck with me.
Arlen: Okay, great. We have those. Those are some awesome things, and I think one kind of thing to point out is that when you’re looking at. Yeah. I guess the lesson to learn from some of these brands is the don’t really be afraid.
You shouldn’t really be afraid to try something that’s out of the box. Cause like you said, Nike and Apple at first starts, you’re like, all right, these are shoes, these are technology devices. Where do they, you know. How do you put them together? And so you at first thought, you probably like, yeah, that’s not a good partnership.
But as we’ve seen, they’ve gone on for, like you said, over 20 years with their relationship and it’s been both extremely successful. So that’s one note is to definitely don’t be afraid to do something out of the box. And, uh, you know, as you mentioned with Kanye West and Adidas, that was definitely one that’s more of a natural fit.
Uh, he had his own. Shoe line and then of course with him merging with them as far as the audience that that had like a natural synergy. So that really made sense. But it was really a win win for both sides. And one other one that I actually just thought about why you were, you were mentioning the last piece that has done an incredible job with.
The partnerships that they have formed has been red bull. The energy drink, they are, I think kind of what I would say, probably one of the elite the up and coming leaders at it because they have really formed some incredible partnerships and I can just think of a few they’ve done. A partnership with a lot of music people as far as they do this, I think on an annual basis they have those DJ competitions, um, and they’ve formed alliances with different DJs and music people in the industry.
This is, I think, kind of like a traveling competition. I got a chance to see one that came actually to Orlando, uh, red bull sponsored that. They’ve also done collaboration with up and coming filmmakers where several years back they. I had a kind of like a competition where they were asking up and coming small independent filmmakers to produce content and they would sponsor it for the web and for various other channels.
So those are just two that I could think of. But um, I know there’s a ton of other ones that they formed with other businesses and they, they really have a pretty awesome team. And so I would say all of our listeners, if you want to find out a little bit more about some of the other things they’ve done to maybe get your.
Your wheels spinning and get some other ideas is definitely check out red bull and, and look at some of the other partnerships and alliances that they’ve formed. So, um, yeah, that’s just kinda one, one little bonus one that I was thinking of myself. What Christina, it’s really been awesome speaking with you and I appreciate you coming on to the eCommerce marketing podcast.
You have really enlightened us. About partnership marketing because as you stated earlier, it’s something that it’s really important, especially with the emergence of all of these different social media platforms, because you know, you really can’t be everywhere and there’s going to be other companies and other individuals that have a presence on certain platforms where it’d be a lot easier for you to.
To get in there if you’ve got a partnership relationship. So I would say yes, definitely a great piece of advice there. But one thing that I always like to do at the end here is I switched gears so our audience can get to know you just a little bit better is if there is one closing fun fact that you can let our audience know about yourself that may, maybe they wouldn’t be, they may be surprised to know about you.
Cristina: Well, the first thing that always comes to mind is the fact that I like foxes. I don’t know exactly why I like them since as far as I can remember, I think they are great, beautiful creatures. All my friends know this about me, so I have a lot of Fox shaped objects around the house and I, I gave him a lot more excited when I see them and I liked them more.
So you should send me a fog video or image or, and your thing. You’ll definitely make my day better and you have my attention.
Arlen: Okay. Sounds good. Foxes. Yeah, foxes are definitely very interesting. Yeah. They’re an interesting creature. They’re a little bit mysterious, which is really interesting. Also, you don’t see him everywhere, so yeah, they’re very interesting.
Thank you for sharing that. I’m trying to think of the last time, actually. Firefox. I don’t think they’re down here in the Florida area, but I’m not sure. We have a lot of, we have a lot of wildlife. I’ll have to look that up. I don’t know if they’re, they’re down here. I think it could be a little too, too tropical and humid down here for him, but, uh, we’ll see.
Well, yeah. Thank you for sharing.
Cristina: And they’re adaptable. So maybe you’ll get lucky.
Arlen: Have maybe so. Definitely. Well, great. Well, thank you for sharing that, Christina. I really appreciate that and we thank you for joining us. But, um, you know, if any of our listeners would like to pick your brain anymore about partnership marketing and the various options or anything at all, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?
Cristina: You can get in touch with me by email at contact at dot com or dot com that’s my personal email address, and you can also search my name on Twitter or LinkedIn and I will show up and we can connect. I would be happy to connect and discuss more with you.
Arlen: Great. Well, thank you for sharing that with us.
I’m sure our audience and our listeners will take advantage and get in touch with you and thanks again once again, Christina, for joining us today on the eCommerce marketing podcast.
Cristina: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Founder of BootstrapBay.com