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Channel e-mail programs are built to expand your sales by identifying opportunities for your distributors, partners and resellers. When properly developed and managed, channel e-mail programs can also be a great resource for enhancing your brand recognition, launching new products and strengthening your bond with customers as well as  resellers. To achieve these benefits though, you must first design and build a program that appeals to not only your channel, but also to your mutual target customers.

There are three major factors that will determine your program’s long-term sustainability and success. The first of these is ease-of-use. While this is true for basically all channel programs, the ease-of-use factor is heightened for channel e-mail programs because of the familiarity of the technology and the number of alternate solutions. For less than $80 your distributor can send tens of thousands of e-mails without your help, so making it easy-to-use must be a priority.

The second factor is your ability to add extra value. This starts with providing quality, relevant content; and must build from there. Content alone is not enough. Incorporating promotional campaigns, incentives and special programs exclusive to your channel will encourage their use of the program, and also help maintain the interest of your target audience.

The third factor is follow-up. Sending an e-mail, regardless of how professionally well-written or enticing the offer, is not enough. You need to incorporate a well-planned process that turns impressions and clicks into actionable leads. This could be as little as producing a detailed report on individual e-mail respondents to provide to regional distributors or as complex as implementing an automated lead nurturing program that incorporates telemarketing to further qualify leads before they are shared with your resellers.

These are only the basic elements of a successful channel e-mail program. For a more robust solution, you’ll need to incorporate other features such as the ability for the distributors to add their own content, personalize information to specific users, and enhance stories with branded online media of their own.  Also consider expanding your tracking of the individual recipients beyond the newsletter to include robust online analytics and web activity tracking.

Building a channel program from the ground up takes understanding, persistence and above all, patience. It also requires constant evolution to stay relevant. Focusing on the fundamentals will help you create a program that is widely accepted. Adding additional functionality over time will encourage further adoption and keep your distributors happy and engaged.  All of which will result in higher sales for you and them.