How to Send Cold E-mails to Land Partnerships and Collaborations

It can be really hard to land partnerships and collaborations, but it doesn’t have to be. In this article, I’m going to be sharing the exact method that I’ve used to form partnerships and collaborations with both blogs and YouTube creators.

First, we’re going to dig into why we should even be using cold email to form these sorts of opportunities, then we’re going to dig into the five steps you can take before we wrap things up with five bonus tips that you can start using as you deploy this method.

Why even cold e-mail to get partnerships and collabs?

Before we dig into the actual steps of using cold email to form partnerships and collaborations, I think it’s important to understand the why behind why we’re doing this. There are a lot of reasons why somebody might do this. For one reason they want to monetize their channel or their audience, or maybe they want to leverage another audience in the case where they’re forming a partnership with another channel.

It’s also possible they want to try out some products for free, or even to just be on the other side of the equation and be promoting their own products or assets. Whatever the case may be when you’re smaller creator or just starting out when it comes to these sorts of collaborations, you need to go knocking on doors first.

The reason why is because when you are smaller or you’re just starting out with partnerships and collaborations, nobody’s going to be knocking at your door. Instead, you need to be knocking on the door and finding opportunities for yourself. Now that we understand that let’s dig into step number one when it comes to using cold email for partnerships and collaborations.

Step #1: Identify your end goal.

The first step to using cold emails super effectively for collaboration and partnerships is to figure out what your end goal is. What exactly do you want out of this partnership or collaboration with another person or company? Here you’re going to need to ask questions like, are you willing to spend money for a partnership? Or are you looking to get paid if you’re on the other side of that partnership?

You also want to be able to confidently answer questions like if you actually believe in the product that you are trying to form a collaboration or partnership with, or if you’d actually use the product, if they were to say yes to you in terms of an opportunity.

When it comes to identifying your end goal, I recommend that you set a clear SMART goal. In other words, it’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time sensitive. For example, you might say that you want to form three new partnerships by the end of this quarter. Without setting a goal, you’re going to find it super hard to hold yourself accountable and move the needle when it comes to forming new partnerships or collaborations.

Step #2: Zero in on your outreach.

The second thing to figure out is zeroing in on your outreach. Who exactly are you going to be emailing? And have you hit that like button yet? At this stage, this is where you need to figure out if you’re going to be reaching out to other YouTube creators, brand managers, social media managers, or some other contact.

The important thing here is that you figure out the best point of contact for partnerships and collaborations. In the case where you can’t find this contact information on the company website, you might find it helpful to check out career sites like LinkedIn, where other people have profiles that then list out their emails.

If you’re on YouTube, the best way to figure out a creator’s contact information is to go to the about section of their channel, and then to solve the captcha and get their business inquiry email.

Step #3: Do your research and personalize.

The third step is to do your research and start personalizing your emails. If you haven’t already watched my prior emails on cold email, check those out after you watch this video to learn more about the template that I typically use for these sorts of outreaches.

Here’s an example on screen though, of the core template that I would use. From here, I would show the line of, “Hey [name], [personalized first line]. [introduction to yourself], and then your reason for outreach, then a call-to-action and then finally wrap things up with your name.”

So real quick, let’s go over three examples of first lines that we might send to different brands or channels. In this first example, I’m imagining that we are a rock climbing site and we’re trying to form a partnership with this company that creates ballet classes.

In this situation, we might reach out with a personalized first-line along the lines of, “Just watched your video on how to put belay glasses on with prescription glasses. I’m so glad you made this. This was so frustrating the first time I ever wore belay classes”. Or in the case where we are reaching out to a massage gun company, we might use a personalized line like this, “I’ve done a lot of research on massage guns and I’m super impressed by how the NoCry lasts 40% longer compared to peers and comes with “Quiet Glide” tech.”

In this last example, we’re going to reach out to a fellow creator, Pat Flynn on YouTube. So this is how we might personalize our first line, “Just watched your video on how to create a sales page fast and I’ve got to agree — that Team Flynn shirt really is the best t-shirt ever.” From these three examples, I hope you can notice that the key here is that it’s super clear that we are personalizing our email and that the email we’re sending to the other side is clearly sent just to them.

Step #4: Make a clear intro and ask to connect

The fourth step from here is to make your intro really clear and then ask to connect. At this point, you’ve got their attention with the personalized first line. So it’s now time to tie everything together as to why you’re reaching out to them. Building on those prior three examples, let’s see how we might introduce ourselves and make it clear why we’re reaching out to the other side.

In the first example, we might say something along on the lines of, “I’m a climber who runs a YouTube channel, reviewing different gear with 3000 subscribers, and I’d love to review the Y&Y Belay Glasses on my channel.” or in the second example, I might say, “I’m an amateur soccer player with 10,000 Instagram followers who love to showcase your massage gun to my audience.” And then my last example to Pat Flynn, I might say something like, “I’m a fellow digital marketer, teaching first-time entrepreneurs how to sell digital products and I’d love to collaborate with you.”

Once we’ve introduced ourselves as well as made the connection as to why we’re asking to connect, we want to actually have our call-to-action to connect. So a building on those prior three examples, we might use lines like this. For example one, does it make sense for us to connect about partnering together? Or in example two, do you partner with smaller influencers for your sales campaigns? Or finally in example three, I have a few video collab ideas, does it make sense to send them over?

Something to notice here is I’m making my ask super simple. In other words, I’m focusing on getting the other person just say yes or no in response to my email.

Step #5: Connect and close.

The fifth step is to connect and close with the person or company that you’ve reached out to. In my experiences, I found that this stage has a lot of optionality. In one situation, you might just jump on a 15 minute call to hash things out. And in other situations you might have to jump on a few calls to settle on specifically, what sort of collaboration or partnership is feasible.

In the case where it is taking a ton of time to hash things out, I would recommend that you reconsider things there to make sure that the alignment is really there. Just because there are tons of other opportunities that you can always find. Whatever the case may be, though, there are three things you want to figure out at this stage in the process.

The first thing to figure out is your guys’s timeline. And then the second thing to figure out is comp, who is paying for what and is there a comp involved? And then the last thing to figure out is delegation. Who exactly is going to be doing what, and again, on what timeline with relation to the overall campaign.

To give you an example of how I’ve used this five step method in the past, I partnered with some educators to talk about the different ways that they use an online learning platform in their classroom. To do this, I had a virtual assistant first do some research as to these sorts of influencers that might be good to reach out to. From there, I personalized my outreach to each of these influencers by watching a video of theirs and commenting on some specific to their video. And then I jumped on a call with each of these influencers, painted out my vision for the collaboration, and then worked with them to get those collaborations and make them into a reality.

5 Bonus Tips

Because you made it so far into this video, I want to include five extra bonus tips to help you out as you start using cold email to form collaborations and partnerships.

  1. The first tip I can give you is to put together a media kit. In the case where you’re looking for sponsors, you might find it helpful to do so. Because this will help give the sponsoring companies a better understanding of the demographics of your audience, as well as your overall reach and what impact they might stand to benefit from engaging with you in some sort of sponsorship.
  2. The second tip I can give you is to find creators that are comparable in size. In the case where you’re looking to form some YouTube collaborations, you will have a much higher success rate if you are reaching out to influencers that have around the same audience size as you than reaching out to a big name YouTuber.
  3. The third tip I can give to you is to make sure that you keep an active email trail. And what I mean by that is even if you jump on a phone conversation or a Zoom conference, you want to make sure that you’re summarizing what was discussed in those meetings via email. This way, both sides can fully understand exactly what has been discussed and how that discussion has progressed over time. The fourth tip I can give to you is to make things as low-lift as possible for the person that you are asking for something from.
  4. The fourth tip I can give to you is to make things as low-lift as possible for the person that you are asking for something from. For example, if you’re looking to book some podcast guests, you want to figure out how to make it as simple as possible for your podcast guests, just to show up for the recording. This means you might create a one-pager for your guests to check out with the commonly asked questions on your podcast, as well as some general audio tips and tricks to make sure that their audio quality is pristine.
  5. And the last tip I can give you is to be selective in your partnerships. Don’t just partner for the sake of partnering, because somebody is interested in you. In this situation, you want to make sure that you are vetting everybody in terms of who wants to work with you and see if it aligns to your brand, as well as your values.

Big takeaways

There are two things I want you to remember from this article:

  1. The first one is create your own opportunities with cold email. Even if you’re just reaching out to three or five brands every single week, eventually one of them is going to hit for you. And you’re going to have an opportunity that you didn’t otherwise have. If you’re a creator, this could be a great way for you to monetize your channel before you actually hit a thousand subscribers.
  2. The second thing to remember is that win-wins for the best partnerships and collaborations. If you ever feel like something isn’t right about a collaboration or partnership, then just move on. The long term effects of a bad collaboration or partnership will far outweigh the upside that you might experience in the short-term from a financial sense.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might also benefit from learning how to send cold emails to find partnerships or collaborations.