Joint ventures (also known as JVs) are partnerships between two or more people, usually with the purpose of cross-promoting products. There are various types of JVs, and what you offer your JV partners will depend on what you have to bring to the table, and what you’re looking for in return.
Most JVs are really affiliate relationships. You have a product – your JV partner has a forum, website, or email list. Your JV partner sends an email to his list about your product, or puts an ad on their website, blog, forum, etc.
Then you pay that JV partner a commission for the sales she generates. Although this type of relationship probably shouldn’t be called a “JV,” a lot of people do refer to it as such – probably because the product owner approached the JV partner to ask for a promotion instead of the product owner just deciding on his own to become an affiliate.
The most common form of true JV is when two parties with email lists or websites exchange ads. Usually, both parties have lists of comparable sizes in the same general niche, and each person agrees to send a mailing out to their list on the other person’s behalf. You send their message to your list, and they send your ad out to theirs.
Joint ventures are great, because they allow you to go far beyond what you could accomplish by simply promoting to your own list, or on your own site. If you have a list of 1,000 people, and 20 people buy the product you’re advertising, you have a 2% conversion rate.
If you could find ten other people with lists of 1,000 people to send out your ad, and you also experience a 2% conversion, you could make ten times the money you’d have made by sending out a message only to your list of subscribers.
Of course, in the virtual assistant industry, lists will often have duplicates. Have you ever noticed when a major launch goes out from someone like Suzanne Evans, Ali Brown, or Fabienne Fredrickson, you might get five or ten messages about the exact same product on the same day?
But the VA industry is much smaller and no two mailing lists will be exact duplicates. Even in the same niche, people can attract different audiences. JVs are a great way of reaching more people than you’d otherwise be able to reach on your own.
If you’re interested in doing a JV with someone, you should be well prepared before you write to him or her with your proposal. You must bring something to the table that is of value to the other person. A JV can be a cross promotion or a bartering situation, where each of you offers up a service or skill to jointly create and launch a co-branded product.
Don’t expect to write to a well-known marketer with a huge list and get an instant JV when you don’t have a list and aren’t offering anything special. It could happen, just don’t expect it. You can entice a JV partner with a very generous commission.
Be prepared to pay 70% or more in order to get JV partners unless you’re already very well known in the niche or have a very large list of your own (or an amazing, mouth-water product that will blow everything else away).
You’ll also probably have to JV with people who have lists that are similar to yours in size. Most people won’t be willing to JV with you if their list is over 5,000 people and yours is only 200. This is because with every broadcast there’s a chance that people will unsubscribe so the risk is not worth the reward in many cases.
Once you build up a large list of your own, you can start getting bigger JVs. Just don’t forget about what it was like when you were new and your list was smaller. You shouldn’t automatically pass over someone because his or her list is currently small.
If they’re offering you a good commission on a very high-quality product, it might be something you should consider. Plus, you’ll be developing a relationship that might be very valuable in the future!