How Alison Marras Doubled Her New Monthly Email Subscribers with Partnership Marketing

Meet Alison Marras.

She recently used one simple partnership marketing strategy to double the number of people who are signing up for her email list on a monthly basis.

In this case study, I want to show you what she did so you can copy the strategy for your business. It’s simple (anyone can do it), repeatable (you can do it again and again), and costs zero dollars (no budget necessary).

But first, let’s remember why doubling your monthly new email subscribers is so impactful. For Alison, who runs a health and wellness blog called Food by Mars, it meant all of the following:

  • Her meal plan sales instantly increased
  • More people starting joining her monthly membership program
  • She gets more engagement whenever she emails a new piece of content to her list

Not because she did anything fancy. Simply because she used partnership marketing to generate 250 new email subscribers in a matter of days.

In the interview below, I had Alison walk me through the process step by step so you can use the same strategy in your business.

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Let’s Break Down the Lead Magnet Swap Partnership That Doubled Alison’s Email List Growth

To understand the success of any partnership, it’s important to first understand the business itself. What does it sell? Who are its customers? So let’s take a closer look at Alison’s business before diving into the partnership itself.

Her Business: Food by Mars — Food by Mars is a health and wellness website that helps people looking to use paleo or autoimmune protocol diets for their health.

Her Revenue Streams: Food by Mars has 3 primary revenue streams…

  • Meal plans — These are one-off purchases ranging from $49-$69:

  • Her membership program, Nourishing You — A $49 per month membership community that offers meal planning, coaching, resources, and more:

  • Website ad revenue — She also displays ads on Food by Mars.

Alison’s email list is a major sales engine for the business. For example, she recently created a simple Welcome Sequence for new subscribers that introduces them to her meal plans. Like she said in the interview, that sequence and offer have been killing it. In its first month, she sold $500 worth of meal plans without having to do any extra work or promotion:

“That was me doing nothing. That was not me on social media talking about it. Because it’s just for people that come onto my list. I know that my list growth has been really helpful for it as well, but for the first time I do feel like my welcome funnel and my series is really dialed in, it’s simplified, and it just flows perfectly and answers their biggest problems.”

In other words, when you combine email list growth with a simple offer + simple email sequence, the results can be game-changing for your business.

That’s where partnership marketing came in for Alison.

How 1 Partnership Led to 2x as Many New Monthly Email Subscribers for Food by Mars

Reminder: partnership marketing is when another business promotes you to their audience.

Now, there are a variety of types and ways that can happen, but in this case Alison did a lead magnet swap with an influential blog in her niche called Phoenix Helix.

Here is how a lead magnet swap works:

  • You give the audience owner your lead magnet and they give you theirs.
  • You both promote the other’s lead magnet to your audiences.
  • You get a big chunk of new subscribers who are likely to be your ideal customers.
  • BONUS: Those new subscribers trust you almost instantly since someone they already like recommended you.

The key to a great lead magnet swap is that your partner needs to serve the same customers you do, but in a different way. Ideally, a significant percentage of their audience will contain your ideal customers.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Phoenix Helix and why they were such a good partnership fit for Food by Mars.

Like Alison, Phoenix Helix has a good deal of focus on autoimmune protocol (AIP). However, Alison has many resources that focus on aspects of AIP and health/wellness that Phoenix Helix doesn’t focus on as much. That means she can fill what we call a content gap for Phoenix Helix.

While Phoenix Helix puts out lots of recipes for AIP, Allison had a free resource called the 5-Day Mindful Eating Challenge that offered something different. As she said:

“That way, it wasn’t more AIP recipes. It wasn’t more of the same thing she’s already doing. It was not just looking at what people eat but how they eat.”

This is why lead magnet swaps can be exciting to potential partners even if your audience is significantly smaller than theirs.

I repeat: you do NOT need to have a massive audience (or, sometimes, any audience at all) to successfully land a lead magnet swap partnership.

Just by giving them quality content that serves their audience in a fresh and interesting way, you can bring massive value to the table!

People with bigger audiences than you have very different needs than your business.

One of those needs is quality content to regularly send to their audience. Making and/or finding that content is a grind. That means it is often a RELIEF when someone approaches them with a piece of content that will genuinely help their audience.

In fact, when Alison floated the idea to Phoenix Helix, they didn’t even ask her to promote their lead magnet in return! In that sense, it technically wasn’t a lead magnet “swap” at all. Phoenix Helix simply included a link to Alison’s lead magnet in their next newsletter:

Alison’s 5-Day Mindful Eating Challenge

When searching for partnership opportunities of your own, keep an eye out for these types of “content gaps.”

What needs does your potential partner’s audience have that they’re not as focused on right now? What content do you have (or could you create) to address those needs?

How Alison Successfully Pitched Her Partner

“OK, Bryan—but how do I actually ask someone to do this with me?”

If you’re wondering that, stop what you’re doing right now and rewatch the part of the interview where Alison described her pitch. You don’t even need to scroll back up and find it. I clipped out the 2-minute segment for you below because that’s how important this part is:

A few things to notice:

1. Alison invested before she asked. 

She took the time to follow Phoenix Helix and really get an understanding for the site’s audience and needs. She contributed her own recipes to the site’s weekly recipe roundups so the site owner didn’t see her as a stranger. You can do the same thing by regularly sharing a potential partner’s content or engaging with conversations they start on social media.

2. She still got great results without getting a dedicated email.

Sometimes you can get your partner to send an entire dedicated email about your lead magnet to their list. But even if that doesn’t happen, just a mention in an email can make a big difference for your business. Alison got over 250 subscribers from just a bullet point in one email!

3. This partnership will likely lead to future (and even bigger) ones.

In the interview, Alison mentioned that she might be a guest on Phoenix Helix’s podcast later this year. If she got 250 email subscribers from one bullet point in an email, imagine what a podcast appearance could lead to.

“It’s baby steps to working toward an even bigger thing, but it was really nice that this baby step happened to be so successful!” she said.

What If You Had a Proven Team Helping You Land Partnerships Like This Week After Week?

This is what we help our clients (like Alison) do every single day. Stack up partnership after partnership so they always have a steady supply of warm, qualified leads that easily convert into customers.

Want to see how YOU could be using partnerships to accelerate your list growth and attract new customers week after week?

Grab a free Strategy Call on our calendar and we will personally show you the types of opportunities your business has (and how we can help you unlock them).

There are limited spots available and they’ll go quickly, so jump on this now if you’re craving fresh growth ideas for your business!

On the call, you’ll talk 1:1 with one of my in-house partnership ninjas who will study your business and show you:

  • Ideal potential partners in your niche who are looking for people like you to feature to their audience
  • The step-by-step process you can use to take advantage of those opportunities
  • What it would look like to have my team coaching you through the entire process and automating the the system for you

Here’s the link to grab your spot while they’re still available.

Talk soon!