I hit a big milestone last month: I officially met my goal of having 5,000 people on my email list by mid-year.

Back in May, I wrote a post about what I did to make this happen, but what it really came down to was this: I reached out to other business owners, and by cooperating and collaborating, we reached mutually beneficial results.

The reason these work is that they are beneficial for both of us: When I present a webinar, I get new people on my email list, and my partner gets to offer valuable content to her audience, and vice versa.

Recently, my friend Breanne was trying to figure out how to promote a series of VERY useful and valuable webinars she’s doing this summer, and I told her:

The best way I know to do this is to borrow someone else’s audience. You can do that with paid traffic (you’re essentially paying to borrow Facebook’s authority) or by asking people to share. […] If I were you, I would seek out a partner (at least one) for each of the weeks who reaches a similar audience to you, but hopefully a different segment of that audience. […]

You could also volunteer to produce content for those partners’ sites, which could be a simple interview Q&A style blog post, or even a rewrite/refresh of some of the content as a blog post that then leads people to get more by signing up for the series.

To which, Breanne replied:

I love the idea of finding a partner for each week! So “obvious” and yet I didn’t even consider it. Now to come up with a hit list … Hey, got a spot on your editorial calendar in a couple of weeks? Lol … Kidding… But not (I’ll email you ;))

And, as you may have noticed, Breanne was the author of last week’s blog post! (Did you LOVE IT?)

Borrowing an audience is the fastest way to grow

Whether you choose Facebook groups, guest posts, podcast interviews, paid advertising, speaking gigs, or webinars, it’s all about using someone else’s stage to promote your message. But not all promotional strategies are created equal. Some will convert better, faster, and easier than others.

Webinars just happen to provide one of the shortest distances between your message and the opt-in — and partner webinars are even better than the ones you do on your own with paid advertising.

When I started doing webinars, I was coming at them with the entirely wrong strategy. I was offering webinars to my own audience to try to promote a product — but I was too scared to actually sell from the webinar. I was just teaching. People still found value in what I was doing, and they’re available now in my free library, but they didn’t achieve the goal I set out with.

Then I figured out the power of a joint venture (JV) webinar.

A joint venture webinar is simply when Business A agrees to “host” Business B and allow B to provide a free training (and, potentially an upsell) for A’s audience. The benefit to Business B is that they get to collect email addresses as people register for the training, and potentially sell product. The benefit to Business A is that they get to provide valuable content to their audience with little effort on their part, and potentially earn an affiliate commission on products sold.

My first JV webinar wasn’t even my idea; a business owner reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a webinar for her audience and selling my course. I said sure — and got 200 new opt-ins to my list from that partnership, which was huge for me at the time!

We didn’t sell much off that first webinar, because I was still extremely bad at pitching (you get better with practice!) but it was great experience.

Fast forward to January 2016, when my business mentor challenged me to grow my list fro 1,800 to 5,000 people in six months. The ONLY way I knew how to get those kinds of numbers was to host more webinars. So I started reaching out to business friends and acquaintances.

Over the first six months of 2016, I conducted six joint venture webinars and added a total of 1,824 people to my list.

Now I easily average 200–300 signups per webinar, and have had as many as nearly 1,000 people sign up for a single free webinar!

The key to JV is consistency

The real key that made this such an easy way to add people to my list was that we were able to systematize the entire process. Once I had done the first JV webinar, I could use that as a template for all the others. I could:

  • Use the same basic training and slide deck, customized slightly for each audience
  • Use the same emails as templates each time
  • Use the same LeadPages to collect emails
  • Make the same offer each time (so I got better fast!).

My goal was just to add people to my email list, but the sales were a nice bonus. By June and July, I was averaging a 5% conversion rate on my webinars, making thousands of dollars from just a few extra hours work — and paying out thousands to my affiliates, making it well worth their time and energy.

That consistency — using the exact same LeadPage, emails, and offer over and over again — also made it easy for me to see what happened when it didn’t work. I did one webinar that had less than 30 people sign up, and only 8 attended live. (And I made zero sales.)

I knew that my collateral had worked before and gotten me hundreds of signups and sales with the same message. I knew my partner was trying on my behalf — she even set up some Facebook ads to promote the webinar to her audience!

What I realized afterward was that her business audience just wasn’t a good fit for my message. I also realized (afterward) that she didn’t have a huge audience to begin with.

This was a major learning opportunity for me, that I might never have realized if I hadn’t been doing the webinars so consistently.

Systems make it work

After doing more than half a dozen of these webinars — more and less successfully — I’ve broken the whole process down into 5 steps:

  1. Choose your partners wisely and pitch them
  2. Set up the infrastructure (your squeeze page, email automation sequences, and webinar platform)
  3. Create the content and collateral — including 3 specific emails your partner should send, 5 you should send before the webinar, and 3 to send after the webinar.
  4. Deliver an incredible experience from start to finish, including especially your training.
  5. Follow up!

I’ll be teaching ALL the nitty-gritty details, plus offering up a framework for the systems, PLUS 11 email swipe files in the Joint Venture Webinars Workshop I’m teaching August 15. You can click here to learn more and save your seat now!

But the main idea is this: Find a promotional strategy that works to leverage your time and effort for the most number of leads, and then create a system to replicate that strategy over and over again.