9 effective outreach strategies for partnerships

Publication date
Imogen Beech
Reading time
9 minute read

Hoping to level up your partnership game? Whether you’re on the hunt for affiliates, referral partners, product partners or any other kind of strategic partner to help you grow your business, there’s one thing you can’t avoid: outreach!

We get it, outreach can be daunting. Not only can it feel uncomfortable reaching out to total strangers, but it’s super demoralising when you don’t get the responses you want. Here, we’ll break down 9 key ingredients of successful outreach strategies so you can get confident you’re doing the right thing, and increase your response rate exponentially. But first…

What is a partnership outreach strategy?

Partnership outreach is when you contact potential partners to see if they’d be interested in working with you (and try to convince them they should be!).

Your partnership outreach strategy is how you plan on doing that. What kind of prospects will you contact? What channels will you use? What kind of collaboration will you propose?

With that in mind, let’s look at some outreach strategy examples.

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Outreach strategies examples

Here are some examples that will help you to understand the options available to you when you’re putting together an outreach strategy.


First things first, you’ll need to decide who you want to approach. For example, this could be: 

  • Affiliates. Affiliate outreach will help you to find partners who are willing to promote your brand or products on a performance basis. They might be bloggers, social media influencers or even other businesses.
  • Influencers. The term 'influencer' includes anyone with enough influence to encourage other people to buy your products. Some will work on an affiliate basis and they’ll often use social media.
  • B2B. B2B partnerships are ones between your business and another. You can work with one another in lots of different ways, for instance through product integrations, referral partnerships or co-selling.

When you’re considering what kinds of prospects to approach, it’s important to think about your goals, and what role you want a strategic partner to play in helping you reach them. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Boost sales? Improve your product offering?

We’ve counted 23 types of strategic partnerships (and there may well be more) – each of them can help to boost your business in different ways, so working out what you want to achieve and then considering who can help you to achieve that is crucial.


There are two main types of outreach that you can utilise to your advantage:

  • Cold outreach
  • Warm outreach

Essentially, cold outreach is when you contact someone without having had any prior contact or relationship with them. On the other hand, warm outreach is when you contact someone with an ‘in’ – perhaps you’ve already built a relationship with them, or perhaps a mutual contact can provide you with a ‘warm introduction,’ where they link the two of you up.

While most outreach is cold, warm outreach can increase your success rate. So, it’s always worth considering whether there are opportunities to conduct warm outreach before you widen your pool of contacts.


Consider what channels you want to include in your partnership outreach strategy. For example:

  • Email
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Telephone

When you’re deciding on a channel, make sure to consider the types of partners you’re going to be contacting, and where they’re likely to be active. For instance, the most appropriate place to contact B2B partners will probably be email, LinkedIn, or a phone call to their office direct dial.

On the other hand, the best place to contact an Instagram influencer who may be looking to secure brand partnerships will probably be Instagram!

Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to restrict yourself to just one channel. Instead, multi-channel outreach strategies can be very effective. For example, you could send a potential partner an initial email and then follow up by InMail on LinkedIn.

Outreach strategies examples

Key ingredients of effective outreach strategies

Now that you have a better understanding of what your outreach strategy is all about, it’s time to look at how to nail it. Here are some ingredients that effective outreach strategies will contain.

1. Find the right fit

So much of your outreach success will depend on you contacting the right prospects. You could have the most effective outreach strategy in the world but if this key ingredient is missing, your success rate will be zero. Even if you do get a partnership off the ground, the collaboration won’t be a success unless your partner shares your niche and audience.

When it comes to finding the right fit, you’ll need to think about:

  • Niche. If your niches don’t overlap, you’re unlikely to be relevant to one another.
  • Audience. You’ll need to share similar audiences in order to be able to help one another.
  • Values. You could land yourself in hot water if you collaborate with someone who goes against what you believe in.
  • Reputation. Only contact brands you would be proud to be associated with and who would enhance your reputation rather than damage it.
  • Reach. Make sure they have enough of a reach to make a collaboration worthwhile – but not so big that you’d struggle to make an impact for them.
  • Incentive. Consider whether you could provide enough value to a prospect – just as you need a partner who can help you grow your brand, so do they!

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2. Contact the right person

If you’re planning on reaching out to influencers, it’ll be pretty obvious who you need to contact. But if you’re reaching out to brands, it can be much less clear.

Don’t send out a message without first making sure you’re approaching the right contact within an organisation, and verifying their contact details. No matter how beautifully crafted your outreach email might be, you’ll immediately hit a dead-end if you send it to an irrelevant job role.

Similarly, avoid sending partnership proposals to a generic ‘info@’ or ‘contact@’ email address if possible – they may never find their way to the right team!

Instead, search for the contact details of relevant job titles – such as a brand’s Head of Partnerships. 

Just watch out if you’re using an online email-finder tool as you might get out-of-date contact information. The last thing you want is to wing off an email that never gets to where it’s meant to be! So, always check the contact details you’ve got before you send off your email.

Top tip: Request a lead’s contact details on Breezy and we’ll dig out relevant job titles, contact names, email addresses and LinkedIn profiles for you. We carry out thorough checks on all the info we find to ensure that it’s fully up-to-date and accurate. Book a demo to learn more.

3. Leverage warm outreach

We’ve touched on warm outreach already, but we thought it deserved its own special mention.

Warm outreach is a great way to increase your success rate. According to smith.ai, warm calls have a 20-30% conversion rate, and 84% of all B2B decision-makers start their buying journey with referrals. Those are some powerful stats!

Warm leads can be found in all sorts of places, so do some brainstorming to work out whether you have any contacts who could make useful partners – or who could introduce you to some!

Perhaps you’ve met some useful contacts while networking at a conference, or through a previous job role. If you work in B2B, even your customers could become valuable partners in the future!

You don’t need to have a direct relationship with the decision-maker already – rather, it’s all about leveraging relationships that could get you a warm introduction to them. If you can’t get a warm introduction per se, even dropping a prospect an email saying that a mutual contact suggested you get in touch could make all the difference, turning you from a complete stranger into a friend of a friend!

Warm outreach strategies

4. Make it personal

The prospects you’re contacting probably have busy inboxes. And they may well be flooded with partnership requests. So, a generic email that you send to your whole prospect list simply isn’t going to cut it.

Instead, make sure your email stands out by showing that you’ve done your research. 

  • Use their first name (and the name of the company if relevant)
  • Explain why you think the two of you would make relevant partners
  • Put forward a relevant partnership proposal

By showing a prospect that you’ve made the effort to get truly familiar with them and their work, you’re showing them that you really care about collaborating with them – and that it’s worth their time responding to you. Our selection of outreach ideas will also help you to create an outreach email that gives you the best possible chance of getting the response you're after.

Top tip: Breezy offers data snapshots on each of your partner prospects so that you can quickly learn everything you need to know about them without ever leaving the Breezy platform. Book a demo to see it in action.

5. Focus on what’s in it for them

One of the biggest reasons why partnerships fail is because brands focus on what they’re getting out of a relationship and not what’s in it for their partner. You don’t just need the partnership to benefit you. You also need it to benefit your partner so that you can both be equally invested!

When you’re reaching out to a prospect, make sure to put yourself in their shoes and focus on what they could gain from the partnership you’re proposing.

In an ideal world, this would come down to explaining the route to ROI for your partner. After all, that’s the end goal in almost every case!

As part of this, you’ll usually need to sell your brand to them – why should they team up with you rather than one of your competitors? You might mention your reputation, reach or anything else that makes you stand out from the crowd. Just remember that the purpose is to explain what your prospect can gain from partnering with you – not just to blow your own trumpet for the sake of it! 

By clearly showing a prospect what they can hope to get out of a collaboration, you’re giving them the information that they want front and centre. If you make them work too hard to uncover the information they need to make a decision, they may not bother and you may be left waiting for a response indefinitely.

6. Do the heavy lifting

We’d recommend putting forward a clear proposal for how you would like to work with a prospect – rather than just generically suggesting that you work together.

Sure, if you do end up partnering, your collaboration may end up looking very different from what you initially proposed. After all, a partnership is a two-way street and requires input from both sides. However, doing the legwork and coming up with a decent proposal will give you a starting point and help to draw your prospect in.

This is likely to include details about deliverables, compensation and even the duration of the partnership you’re suggesting – as well as the route to ROI.

Outreach strategies proposal

7. Include a call to action

Hopefully, your prospect loves your idea and is excited to learn more. But this will be tricky if you don’t give them the next steps!

That’s why you need to include a call to action in your email. What exactly do you want them to do?

Usually, it’s enough to simply ask your prospect to respond to your email. However, you might prefer to ask them to schedule a call using a Calendly link, to fill in a form or even to join a mailing list. Whatever it is, the important thing is to be really explicit about what you want them to do, so that you give them the best possible chance of doing it!

8. Follow up

As a brand that’s reaching out to potential partners, you’re selling your brand in much the same way as a salesperson is selling a product. So, consider that the best salespeople don’t just send one email – instead, they send many follow-ups to get the result they’re looking for.

In March, our CEO and Founder, Alex Phillips, featured on Silverbean’s podcast ‘Get with the program,’ talking about recruiting affiliate partners. He explained that the average salesperson sends two emails to a lead. But over 50% of sales responses come after the fifth and sixth emails!

The concept is the same for partnership outreach. By sending just one or two emails, you’re missing out on a whole segment of prospects who would respond much further down the line.

The easiest way to prevent valuable prospects from slipping through your fingers is to build out extensive drip campaigns. Just make sure that these are relevant and personalised to your prospect in the same way as your initial outreach email.

9. Track your results

Last but not least, don’t implement your outreach strategy without putting processes in place to measure it!

You’ll want to record things such as your response rate, the average number of emails you have to send to get a positive response, and how many responses turn into actual partners.

By tracking all of this information, you can amend your outreach strategy as you go to make it as successful as possible. You can also better understand what kinds of prospects are most likely to become partners, which can massively help you to prioritise where to put your attention in the future.


As you can see, partner outreach isn’t rocket science – anybody can succeed at it with an effective outreach strategy in place. Above all else, make sure that you’re reaching out to prospects who are a good fit for your brand. Then, put yourself in their shoes and help them to understand what they can hope to get out of a partnership with you.

Ready to give it a go? Book a demo for Breezy to see how our partner intelligence and discovery platform can give you all the ingredients you need to ensure your partner outreach is a success.

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Imogen Beech

Imogen is a copywriter and content writer with over two years’ experience writing about the exciting world of strategic partnerships, as well as running her own business. She loves learning about new topics as she writes, and has enjoyed penning articles on industries ranging from mortgages to events, theatre to home improvements and everything in between.

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