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As Ecommerce store owners, we have a lot in common. We share a lot of the same tools, and the tasks that fill our days are similar. Put a few Ecommerce store owners together and a room and they have a lot to share with each other.

Even though we share our experiences with each other whenever we can, there’s one thing we don’t do enough. We don’t share our audiences. Every one of us has invested time and money building up audiences of people who are interested in our products.

And yet, we don’t maximize the ROI on this valuable asset.

Most store owners do their marketing in a silo. Do that, and you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

I truly believe that collaboration is one of the most profitable ways you can set yourself up for long term growth. The time you’ll spend on this is an investment in the future health and profitability of your business.

Wondering how you can make it work for you? I asked our Ecommerce Coach, Tina to share her results after she focused on collaboration for a full year.

Listen here, or read on to learn how she organized a whole year of collaborations, and what happened in her tiny business as a result.


e-commerce coach Tina Bar-On shares the strategy that gained her 1610 new leads

If you’ve listened to the podcast with any frequency, you’ve probably heard me talk about the book “The One Thing.” It has been so helpful in my years of business, and I know that it has helped many of our members stay focused so that they can grow their e-commerce stores.

After reading “The One Thing,” our e-commerce coach Tina Bar-On decided that her one thing for the year would be to grow her e-mail list. Like many of you, Tina has a full time job in addition to her online store, so she had neither the time nor the money to rely solely on a paid ads strategy to build her list. So she chose a non-traditional strategy–she committed to collaborating once a month with a different store owner.


Tina knows that using paid ads to gain leads can be a slog. It’s expensive, and the leads are often poor quality. Since Tina belongs to our huge Inner Circle community, she was aware of a few other shop owners whose customer base was similar to her own. And so she reached out to them to collaborate.

Tina sells fair trade home decor and gifts, and she knew that if she wanted a big, engaged list by the holiday season, she would need to start early. And so she slated ten collaborations throughout the year, all organized around events or special holidays, in one of three categories:

1. Blogger Partnership
Tina reached out to a blogger in her niche who had featured her store in the past. She asked if there was a way that they might work together further, and sure enough the blogger was planning to host a group giveaway for her readers that Tina was welcome to join. Tina’s only obligations were to contribute a gift card to be given away, a small participation fee, and to post about the event to her social media following. In exchange the blogger would hand over all email entries at the end of the giveaway.
This was a low lift for Tina. The blogger organized the entire thing, and Tina was exposed to a big audience she wouldn’t have otherwise.
It took some time to receive the e-mail addresses, and many of the leads had gone cold.

2. Partnered Giveaway*
Since Tina is an e-commerce coach in the Inner Circle, she was already familiar with several business owners in the group who had complementary products and  similar audiences to her own. In this type of giveaway, each store contributes an item or gift card to be given away, and each store promotes the event to their own email lists and social followings, in addition to sharing the cost of running a few ads to each store’s best cold audiences. At the end of the giveaway, the list is shared between both stores.
Very high quality leads. Since each participating store is promoting to their existing customers, the leads are pre-vetted and warm.
This method is time-consuming, and requires that both stores be willing to do the work to make it successful.

*Inner Circle members have access to a Partnered Giveaway training in the classroom

3. Gift Guide
As the holidays approached, Tina looped in 3 other stores with items she knew her customers would love, to participate in a Gift Guide. Each participating store uploaded a photo and description of their shop to a shared drive, and each store crafted an email to their own lists and social followings that introduced the other businesses, along with a discount code that could be used at any of the shops.
Like the partnered giveaway, this event exposed Tina’s shop to her collaborators’ best, warmest audiences (including their best customers).
The discount code brought in immediate sales
Leads weren’t directly shared between shops

When Tina first informed me this would be her focus for the year, I had no doubt she would be successful. And yet when I followed up, she was feeling discouraged. She wasn’t sure if the e-mail addresses she had gained were all that interested, or if it had been worth the effort. And so I asked her to go to her dashboard and pull the data into a doc for me.


There is often a disconnect between the stories we tell ourselves and the story the data tells, and sure enough–when Tina looked at the big picture, her results were nothing short of stunning. In just one year she had gained:

  • 1610 new leads
  • 34 new customers with a $3 Cost per Acquisition (!!!) and 42 new orders
  • $1600 in revenue (and counting)

And the best part is that Tina knows that these leads will continue to purchase over time, as she nurtures them further along her sales funnel. In addition, she knows she’ll be able to repeat these successful events with the same partners next year.

Tina says her biggest takeaway was that although this strategy involved a little extra work and a little bit of ad spend, she was gaining something incredibly valuable–her collaborators’ best customers. The high-value, repeat-purchase buyers that each of them had spent countless time and ad spend to find, were now her customers too. Tina made sales from every single one of her collaborations, and a whopping 23% of those new customers came back and made a repeat purchase.


As you can see, this strategy was extremely effective in achieving Tina’s Big Goal. And yet, I hear so many store owners in our community assert that partnerships aren’t right for them. Here are some of the most common objections, and why they’re unfounded:

  • Your niche is too narrow
    I hear this one all the time–that your niche is so small that you couldn’t possibly find a store to partner with. But here’s what most people don’t understand: your customers have more than one interest! Find a partner who sells a product that you know your customer would love, and chances are your audience will be very similar to theirs.
  • Your list is too small
    One of the things I love about this strategy is that it works well for e-commerce stores at all stages of business. Even if your mailing list or social media following is tiny, as long as you have proof of concept and a few sales under your belt, collaboration will work for you.
  • Your price point is too high/low
    Again, your customers are multi-faceted! Don’t count yourself out because your prices are much higher or lower than your partner’s–as long as the giveaway prize is attractive to both audiences, price point is irrelevant.

If your One Thing this year is growing your mailing list, Tina’s collaboration strategy should be high on your list of priorities. And remember–this is a long term strategy. Don’t try it once, glance at the data and assume it isn’t working for you. Even Tina felt discouraged until she reviewed the entire year’s numbers.

If you’re already an Inner Circle member, know that we are working hard on a Collaboration Hub that will allow you to easily find other stores with audiences that complement yours. In the meantime, post to the group that you’re looking for a partner. I guarantee your perfect match is out there.

You can buy “The One Thing” by Gary Keller here:

More organic growth strategies:
The Best Strategy for Organic Growth

Think Out of the Box for Organic Growth

Massive Growth Organically? Yes You Can


Get a Plan to Grow Your Sales Every Month

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SEO for Ecommerce Store Owners Only, Episode 218

SEO for Ecommerce Store Owners Only, Episode 218

No time to listen now? We'll send it to your inbox. No time to listen now? We'll send it to your inbox. or scroll down to get the highlightsReady to get more organic traffic? Get on the waitlist for our new Course, SEO...