“We may eventually add more marketing methods but for now it’s all we are doing.”
When Ian Bower said that about using partnerships as a growth strategy, I knew I had to talk to him.
And once I did, it quickly became clear why he was laser focused on one strategy. He recently generated…
- 1,000+ email subscribers
- 180+ new customers
- $50,000+ in revenue for a done-for-you graphic design service his company, Graphic Rhythm, offers…
…all thanks to ONE partnership—a Guest Training for a company that serves a segment of Ian’s ideal customers.
The best part? It’s a 100% repeatable strategy he can run again and again to keep driving warm leads and customers to his business.
In this interview, I had Ian walk me step by step through the process of discovering the opportunity for this partnership, booking it, and executing it.
- 6:40 – How Ian established the initial connection with his partner
- 8:00 – Why the partnership was a win for Ian’s partner
- 10:00 – The high-converting “Inner Circle” offer Ian created with a 1-time fee + discounted service
- 14:30 – The “co-branded lead magnet” partnership that’s already generated 50-100 new leads for Graphic Rhythm
- 17:00 – Why it’s easier to succeed with partnerships than Facebook ads
- Want my team to audit your business and pinpoint your 2-3 best growth opportunities? Book a free Strategy Call and we’ll walk you through a step-by-step plan for scaling to $10k per month (and beyond).
- Have graphic design needs? Ian’s company serves more than just Amazon sellers. Check out Graphic Rhythm here.
- Ian also put together a special guide for listeners of this episode called “How I Grew My Business by 8X in 12 Months.” I highly recommend it—particularly pages 24-27, where he talks about his biggest takeaway from his experience in our coaching program, Growth University. 🙂
- If you want to study the webinar Ian did with The Wholesale Formula, you can view an evergreen version of the presentation here.
- Check out the infographic and lead magnet Ian created for his partnership with SocialBee here.
Want to Implement a Partnership Like Ian’s? Here’s Everything You Need to Know…
First, let’s look at the high-level mechanics of the partnership to understand how it worked.
Type of Partnership: Guest Training – Ian hosted a live webinar for a business called The Wholesale Formula.
During the live training, Ian taught The Wholesale Formula’s audience his method for optimizing images on Amazon listings.
At the end, he offered a product called The Inner Circle for $67. It included:
- A package of resources and tools to help them implement what they learned during the training
- An exclusive discount on a specific Amazon image design service from Ian’s company, Graphic Rhythm
- 1,000+ people signed up for the training
- This means Ian added 1,000+ new leads to his email list
- $12,000 in sales from the product offered during the webinar
- The leads from the webinar have purchased an additional $38,000+ in design services since then
If you want to study the webinar itself to see what made it effective, you can view an evergreen version of the presentation here.
Alright, that’s the high level.
Now, let’s look at the factors that made the partnership work so well, how it came together, and how you could pursue something similar for your business.
Why Was This Partnership Such a Good Fit?
First, we need to understand what Ian’s partner, The Wholesale Formula, does. They teach people how to sell wholesale products on Amazon via educational products and services like workshops and courses.
Since one of Ian’s products is a design service for optimizing Amazon images, this was a perfect partnership.
The Wholesale Formula’s audience is full of people who are selling products on Amazon (or want to)—the same people who are likely to be ideal customers for Ian’s service.
At the same time, Ian isn’t competing with The Wholesale Formula since design services are beyond the scope of their company.
Why It Was a Win for the Partner:
The win for Ian is obvious. He got exposure to The Wholesale Formula’s audience, added 1,000+ email subscribers to his list, and generated over $50,000 in new business.
But what made this partnership a win for The Wholesale Formula?
It’s simple—Ian filled a content gap for them.
Think about it this way…
The Wholesale Formula teaches people how to sell on Amazon. But there are TONS of topics that fall underneath that.
While they might focus on some of those topics (for example, identifying high-potential products, sourcing products profitably, etc.) there will also be some topics that they don’t cover as deeply. Like optimizing the images on your Amazon listings.
Ian is an EXPERT in that specific topic. While TWF might touch on its importance from time to time, they know Ian can give their audience/customers insights into optimizing Amazon images that they can’t.
By letting Ian teach their audience how to effectively optimize their Amazon images, they are delivering massive value. The training will help their audience, and The Wholesale Formula will look like heroes for making it happen.
Putting out helpful content for your audience/customers is important, but it takes a ton of time and energy. If you can make it easy for them by filling a content gap, they will view it as a win.
Additionally, Ian offered The Wholesale Formula an affiliate relationship for the product he sold during the webinar. This is common if there is a direct sales pitch during the presentation. However, it’s not required for every type of Guest Training partnership.
For example, many of our clients have done Guest Trainings that focus purely on teaching the partner’s audience, without pitching anything during the presentation. This allows them to generate leads which they can eventually convert into customers via email after the training is over.
How Ian Identified & Pitched the Partner:
Identifying ideal potential partners is an important part of the partnership equation.
I’ve yet to see a business—even ones that are brand new—that didn’t have at least a handful of no-brainer partnership opportunities.
And one of the most overlooked types of partners is often right in front of their face…
Companies they’ve bought from.
If you are (or were) someone’s customer, you have an existing connection that automatically opens the door to a conversation with them.
Of course, there are exceptions. Being an Amazon Prime customer doesn’t mean Jeff Bezos is going to take your phone calls. 🙂
But what small- to medium-sized company wouldn’t want to showcase something cool one of their customers is doing? It’s just more social proof that successful people buy from them.
For example, I’ve executed partnerships with several companies I was a customer of first, including Infusionsoft, Leadpages, and ConvertKit, to name a few.
That’s exactly what Ian did. Before he partnered with The Wholesale Formula, he was their customer. This gave him a natural way to start the conversation and pitch them on the idea of partnering on a Guest Training for their audience.
If you’re trying to come up with potential companies/people to partner with, make a list of the ones you’ve purchased products from that have your customers in their audience. These 3 categories are good places to start:
- Books: Many authors have podcasts, blogs, newsletters, YouTube channels, etc. These are prime areas where you could pitch them on an interview, guest post, guest training (like Ian did), etc.
- Software: Do you customers use any of the apps and software tools that you use? If so, they should be prime partnership targets. For example, let’s say you sell an online course about managing projects with remote teams. You’ve used Asana as your project management tool of choice for years. Why not reach out to Asana, show them how their software has helped you, and then ask if you could teach their audience your top strategies on project management for remote teams?
- Online Courses / Coaching: If you sell courses, coaching, or consulting services, it’s common to have purchased a course or coaching product in the past that serves your same customers in a slightly different way (just like Ian’s example with The Wholesale Formula). List out the courses/coaching products you’ve bought in the past, and circle the ones that likely have your customers in their audience.
What Your Pitch Should Look Like:
When you write a pitch to a potential partner, you should be aiming for 2 things:
- Proving you’re not a weirdo
- Getting a simple “yes, I’m interested” or “no, I’m not interested” response
Notice that I didn’t say the goal of your pitch should be to get an ironclad commitment with all of the details mapped out. You want to make your idea known, and get them to advance the conversation. Even if that means them telling you no! Because then you can move on to other pitches.
If that sounds intimidating, I get it. But there’s one simple reason why you shouldn’t be scared of writing a pitch:
Most of the pitches your potential partner already receives are terrible.
For example, check out this one I received a while back:
95% of email pitches look like this one.
Vague. Generic. Demanding.
Pro Tip: Nobody wants to “hop on a call” with someone they don’t know to discuss collaborating on a mystery idea.
Here is a version I rewrote to help our coaching clients (like Ian) understand what a good pitch looks like. You can use this as a model for pitching someone whose product you’ve bought.
Notice the key differences between this version and the original:
- Difference #1: It explains how he knows me with specific references and examples.
The original email just made a vague reference to coming across some of my products. It’s the kind of thing that ANYONE could write, whether they’ve actually used those products at all.The rewrite not only mentions a specific product (Attract.io), it also mentions how they discovered it (with a screenshot—more evidence that this isn’t just a generic mass-email pitch) and a result it helped them achieve.
They’ve basically given me a case study for one of my products, which every business owner loves to see.
This is called a relational anchor—something that builds trust and shows you’re not just another random internet weirdo doing a drive-by pitch through their inbox.
If you have used someone’s product or service, you can instantly establish a connection with them by showing them how it helped you. Doing so will increase the chance that they will continue reading and consider your pitch.
- Difference #2: It presents a clear idea.
While you don’t have to have your partnership 100% figured out before you pitch it, you at least need to have a more specific idea than “it would be cool to collaborate together.”In the rewritten pitch, the idea is clear: a 30-minute training for the Facebook community built around one of my products.
It also implies how the partnership would be a win for me by mentioning that people in the community have been asking about the topic he wants to teach (legal compliance in email marketing).
- Difference #3: It has a clear ask.
Like I mentioned, your goal with the initial pitch isn’t necessarily to lock in a firm commitment.It’s to get a response.
The easiest way to do that is to ask a simple question: Are you interested?
“Are you interested?” is easy for your potential partner to respond to, one way or the other. If they say yes, awesome! Now you can drill down into the specifics.
If they say no, at least you can move on and start focusing your energy on other potential partners.
Writing a pitch like this can feel awkward at first. But once you master it, there are few skills more valuable to your business.
Want My Team to Personally Help You Identify Partners, Write Your Pitches, and Coach You Through Executing Them?
Click here to book a free Strategy Call. We’ll dig into your business and walk you through a step-by-step plan for scaling it to $10k per month (and beyond).