May and June were a bit of a shift in focus for me and our partnership program.
I had spent the last few months doing heavy outreach, but outreach is only effective if we’re building long-term relationships as a result. So over May and June, I decided to focus on how we can create long-term value and engagement with our partners.
The downside of all this was that we saw a drop in our referrals per month, which I anticipate will be short-term as we look at some of the exciting plans we have coming in the near future.
For instance, Mikael, Steph, and I took a week and travelled to New York and Boston to meet with some of our partners, members and investors. These in-person meetings proved to be incredibly valuable for us.
We knew meeting people in person leaves a different impression than just meeting online, but this experience inspired us to make face-to-face meetings a more consistent priority. We’re now aiming to meet with our partners every 2-3 months in-person. At the same time, we’re sending out a monthly email detailing product developments specific to each partner. We just started sending out this update email this week and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
This also means more partnerships with companies we love.
We recently launched partnership pages for Creative Market, Eventbrite and Marvel. Each of their customers have a unique need, from setting up WordPress hosting to custom application development, so we’re incredibly excited they’ve entrusted us to help fulfill it. We also started a lot of exciting talks in May and June that I’ll update you on in the next dispatch.
In an effort to find new ways to provide value through our content, we’ve been working on a new series focused on the makers, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs that inspire us everyday. I really can’t wait to get it in your hands and ears (!!).
Here’s a short and sweet look at our referral metrics, what’s working well already, and where we think we can improve.
May / June 2015 Partnership Metrics:
Number projects referred:
151 May (-25% from 202) / 103 June (-31.8% down from 151)
All-time # projects referred:
1218 (+23.9% from 927)
All-time approved projects (meet vetting requirements) from referrals:
All-time filled projects (transactions) from referrals:
$558,765.60 (+37.7% from $348,104.67 in April)
All-time fill rate:
Referral partner earnings:
$2,481.27 May / $4,986.79 June
Crew revenue from referrals:
$4,962.54 May / $9,973.58 June
Total number of active referral partners / Total number of referral partners:
42/123 (34% active) May / 44/145 (30% active) June
What’s going well
Inbound interest. We have a growing amount of inbound interest in our partnership program since we opened up the form in late April. There are multiple inquiries a day coming in from our crew.co/referrals page which has helped to shift my strategy from 100% outbound to a more evenly distributed outbound and inbound strategy. We’re currently averaging 3 signups a day, or 101 inquiries a month. In June we dipped 37% (down 19 from 52 signups in May), but we’re already up to 48 signups (a 45% increase) in July with 5 days remaining (at the time of writing). While it isn’t immediately apparent what has caused this spike in referral inquiries, I’m excited by some of our recent projects How Much Does a Website Cost and the latest installment of our Beginners Guide To Building An Online Business.
More company partnerships. We’ve been building relationships with a number of companies (Creative Market, Eventbrite, and Marvel) and you will see a lot more in the next couple months. These take time and care to put together but we’re incredibly excited to announce them soon.
Making friends and taking names. As I spend more time developing relationships with our partners, I’m happy to see the difference we can make together. With each new conversation we’re learning more about the real problems that we have an opportunity to solve. Our goal is to build lasting, long-term relationships with each of our partners and it feels like we’re on the right track for that. On average, our active referral partners have been active for 3.5 months, with a number of partners actively working with us for over 12 months. Agencies (teams of more than 2) have also been referring an average of 19.13 projects per month for this calendar year.
What can be improved
Churn. It’s a lot of work finding and getting in touch with the right partners. I’ve learned though it doesn’t stop at the handshake. Only 37.7% of our referral partners are currently repeat referrers. When I’ve inquired why, one of the common responses is simply “I forgot.” Staying top of mind is something I’ve been working hard at and something that we need to continually improve. On average, when partners stop referring work it’s after 2.5 months. Digging into the why of this is a priority moving forward.
Better visibility and clearer communication. I mentioned this last update, but it’s still relevant. I’ve been emailing most of our potential partners which has been effective, but I’m excited to hopefully try some new ways of getting in contact with them. Our referral landing page is also slim and in need of an overhaul. This leads to many confusing meetings from people signing up through that page. I’m looking forward to working on a new version of this page in the near future.
More in-person meetings. I’m inspired and ready to pound the literal pavement. Looking forward to lining up more face-to-face meetings and getting to know our partners even better so we can make sure we’re building the right things for them.
We’re still actively looking for referral partners. If that’s you, or you know an agency or professional that we should be talking to don’t hesitate to send me an intro at email@example.com.
Until next time!