email_comarketing_holidays.jpgCo-Marketing Ideas

What happens when brilliant brands collaborate to reach more people via email? Basically, everyone wins—including consumers, who might otherwise have missed out on products and services that fit them to a tee.

It’s called co-marketing, and it can take on different forms, even within the email channel. Co-marketing email is different from co-branded email in that the participating brands aren’t creating a new, hybrid product or resource together. Instead, they join forces to offer discounts and promotions that appeal to a shared audience.

Think of Groupon, for example. The e-commerce giant doesn’t just use co-marketing as a campaign strategy; it built its entire business model around making connections between relevant subscribers and reputable merchants. So far, business is good…

But what if your brand isn’t a social coupon site or a “daily-deal” company? How can you leverage the potential of email co-marketing? Equally important: how can you ensure you’re following best practices, in terms of email compliance and secure list scrubbing?

First, start by choosing the right co-marketing email partner. Then follow some of these holiday-themed co-marketing examples:

  1. Consider a Contest

Not everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas. As a global leader in the vacation rental marketplace, HomeAway/VRBO knows its client base well enough to know their wish list might trend a bit warmer. So instead of preaching “home for the holidays,” they built this inspired campaign around getting away.

They partnered with travel-related companies and organizations (like the Visit Orlando tourism association) to announce a series of vacation prize packages. In this example, Visit Orlando and fellow prize providers get help in their email acquisition efforts (contest entrants opt in to receive future communications), while HomeAway delights its readership with surprise getaway “reveals” throughout the month of December.

As with any co-marketing email campaign, it’s important here for both parties to share opt-out data. In other words, HomeAway likely purged Visit Orlando’s unsubscribes from its campaign mailing list prior to launch. With the right email list-scrubbing tool (or even with white-glove list-scrubbing services, for a one-time scrub) this not-so-minor detail is super easy to accomplish. And no one has to submit plain-text email data, which should never, ever happen.

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2. Delight with a Discount

All throughout December, the only pairing more perfect than cocoa and marshmallows is an easier way to shop and an easier way to pay. Zulily and Visa Checkout teamed up to give consumers both. This festive co-marketing example introduces Zulily subscribers to a new payment method while offering $15 off select purchases.

Again, the trick here is to make sure appropriate recipients are targeted (or anti-targeted, as it were). These brands need to (securely) cross-reference their opt-out lists, so Zulily subscribers who have already unsubscribed from any Visa Checkout offers don’t see more content on the same subject. Additionally, Zulily subscribers who already have Visa Checkout accounts don’t need this extra nudge.

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3. Reach Out with a Roundup

Brands like Groupon and Living Social are well-known for aggregating local deals and offers. You can follow their lead in the form of a seasonal co-marketing campaign or gift guide, “rounding up” quality brands that complement your offerings.

Is there still time to plan and execute an email gift guide for this winter holiday season? Not really. But hey, 2016 is about to usher in the next wave of giving opportunities: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation… Pointing your subscribers toward amazing gifts ideas can be a big win for them and for you. And remember, list scrubbing before email co-marketing is crucial, but it doesn’t have to be complex.

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For more great examples of email co-marketing, subscribe to email alerts/newsletters from brands like Rue La La, Choxi, and Groupon. Meanwhile, if you’re creating a co-marketing campaign please share it with us so we can feature you in an upcoming blog!