If it seems like we talk a lot about inbound marketing on this blog, it's simply because it's that important. The days where vendors can sit back and let their channel partners handle all the heavy lifting are long gone. Or, at least, those who continue to use the old tactics are greatly disadvantaged in a new world of changing buyer behavior.
Further, being able to effectively contribute to channel partner marketing is a great way to boost partner engagement. Just about anything you can do to help them boost sales will make them more enthusiastic about working with you. It's also a great recruitment argument when looking to differentiate yourself from other vendors in your field.
So let's look at a few more ways you can get involved in channel partner marketing and help ensure better sales across the board.Four Great Ways To Participate In Channel Partner Marketing
1 - Do your own long-tail keyword research
One of the most common mistakes among businesses looking to embrace inbound marketing is to only focus on the short, obvious keywords. The problem here is simply that most of the obvious keywords are already in use by dominant players and can be extremely expensive.
Instead, do research and look for "long-tail" keywords, which are several words long and much more specific. Think about the challenges and problems your customers are having and look for ways to tap into these. Such long-tail keywords are less competitive, and yield better-qualified leads by precisely targeting people's needs.
Doing this research and passing it on to your partners can improve their SEO substantially.
2 - Create website templates and landing page content
In the same way it used to be common for vendors to create brochures, posters, and other printed materials which partners could customize for their marketing, the same principle can be applied to inbound marketing. Making templates for customer-facing elements such as landing pages takes away some of the marketing and creative burden for your partners.
Additionally, try to supply them with content and downloadable offers to go with these pages. A lot of your own marketing materials could be easily repurposed as buyer-level promotional materials with minor rewrites and localization. This takes the burden off vendors who may have limited resources, and ensures there's plenty of quality material available for interested buyers.
3 - Emphasize selling a system/solution, not a product.
Buyers today, especially B2B buyers, don't want products. They want solutions which will be able to cover more of their needs, and provide more customized answers to their business challenges.
When creating channel partner marketing materials, try to emphasize how your products can tie into their services to create more value to the end customer. This is easiest if you're actually selling a software platform, but can be applied to physical objects as well. As an easy example, just look at how many power tool brands now describe their products as a "system" specifically to leverage this effect.
4 - Distribute high quality leads to your partners
It has become increasingly important for manufacturers to have an effective strategy for distributing leads down to their channel partners. Most will utilize a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or Marketo to collect end-user information. What is often missing from there, is the ability to deliver these leads to the right partner - in a timely manner - and have a system in place to keep track of these leads.
If you're delivering well-qualified leads to your vendors, with the sales support they need to close more business, they will love you for it.
With Collaborative Channel Partner Marketing, Everybody Wins
This is truly a win-win proposition. By taking much of the marketing burden off your vendors, you're allowing them to focus on making more sales, while strengthening your brand in the process.
For those looking for a software solution to help implement these strategies, we invite you to read more about our new Version 10 Partner Relationship Management technology.