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Insane Affiliate B2B Marketing 'Hold-Up' on LinkedIn by Clay

Romain Baron
Co-founder of Bond-agency
min read

We couldn't help but notice the recent "hold-up" on LinkedIn by Clay. This is probably the best "Affiliate activation" campaign we've seen in years. So, we investigated to learn more about how they did it!

It all started with our LinkedIn feed being flooded with posts about Clay's recent amazing news: “Clay raises $62M at a $500M valuation” Clay raises $62M to turn any growth idea into reality.

And we wondered, how did this happen? Naturally? Oh no, dear! This is a particularly well-articulated campaign executed by some communication geniuses.

Keep in mind, posts about raising money are the number one type of post that creates engagement. People are happy for you. It generates tons of traffic, from haters to lovers but mostly potential interested users.

So it’s no surprise to see it used as an awareness campaign pushed by “creator” partners.

Let's see about the campaign sent to Creators: Clay Series B LinkedIn Post Contest.

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The Creator Program by Clay

We, at Bond, have been huge fans of Clay since May 2022 according to our first “welcome” email sign-up. It was still called back then. But there is something else amazing at Clay recently: the Clay "Creator" program Clay Creators.

We discovered it just like you, by having many people on LinkedIn sharing how they use or help their clients use Clay. "Creator" programs are quite recent in the B2B world, maybe 2-3 years old. Here are some examples: Creator Programs Are the New Hot Trend. To us, “Creator” programs are basically affiliate marketing on steroids in the partnerships world.

You probably know what affiliate marketing is by now as a marketer. It’s about having a unique URL to share your product in their articles, blog, or website so they get a reward for promoting it if a visitor signs up. It's somehow lucrative if you are an influencer.

Here's some of our favorite tools, with our affiliate links of course: Top Affiliate Tracking Platforms.

However, Clay’s creator program is something else. They have mastered the "Activation" part of their affiliate program.

First of all, Clay’s marketing and partnership team, whoever is leading this, has understood so well who their perfect partner profiles are. Basically, they are not your typical 50-year-old ex-McKinsey or Deloitte type of growth consultants or IT and data guys.

There two type of partners they have targeted.

1. Growth marketers influencers & GTM gurus.

You’ve seen them for sure. They share and sell Airtable files, ebooks, and illustrations to help you get 200x more leads and generate $3M revenue in 30 days, with videos of their screens going fast over the docs so you get curious and give your email or buy their ebook or consulting calls. Sorry, I don’t mean to say anything against them but sometimes some of them are a bit too much…

Overall, we love these people. We used tricks they have shared, sometimes it really world. They help the startup community a lot by sharing all these resources. And most of the time, we are a bit inspired by them.

Here are some good examples in Clay's case.

Maja Voje.

Marco Stubrin

Mohan Muthoo

And there are many more out there. There are also some hilarious people…taking the piss out of marketers like Obaid Durrani LinkedIn profile.

2. VC Partners

I don’t know much about VCs but I know they love writing content on LinkedIn and Substack about how startups grow. They get tons of likes usually (probably because people are after their money). But nonetheless, that makes them the best creators! They have a massive audience of startups looking to grow fast and Clay has the perfect product to prospect super fast. Couldn’t write a better love story.

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Love the partnerships structure

It’s direct, friendly, concise, and no B.S. Just perfect.

Partnership Structure

  • Revenue Share: Your largest incentive for creating Clay content, in addition to it being an awesome tool that demonstrates thought leadership to your network 😉, is our 20% carry. When your audience uses Clay, you’ll get 20% of their subscription revenue for the first year. This will be tracked through your custom affiliate link.
  • Clay’s Network:
    • Clay Newsletter: Clay will cite your most exciting workflows and thought leadership in the Clay Creators newsletter (over 100,000 subscribers) through dedicated sections like ‘This Week's Creators’ and ‘Featured Resources’.
    • Clay Blog: Showcase your tactics and workflows on the Clay Blog (over 10,000 monthly visits) and co-author blog posts with industry experts and Clay employees.
    • Clay Socials: We’ll engage with or repurpose your top content for Clay’s LinkedIn (over 21,000 followers) and YouTube channel (1,000 subscribers).
    • Free Clay Credits: As you continue to create Clay content, we’ll load your account up with free Clay credits that you can use to continue building great workflows.
  • Expectations: Our growth team will work with you to edit content, build workflows, and develop a posting schedule that fits. But we don’t want the program to ever feel like a burden, rather a partnership that helps you deliver premium resources in outbound, sales prospecting, and data enrichment (stuff your audience will love!). Here's the link: Clay Creators.

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Activation & Awareness

Something that most partnerships teams tend to forget is to give back to partners. Or more specifically, give FIRST. To activate partners, you need to give them awareness. Simply saying you have a good product and a lovely commission isn't enough. They don’t care about that, honestly. They do, but referral fees are not going to help them make a living, right?

And Clay did exactly that. If you check their LinkedIn feed, it’s about "reposted" creators' posts, which is a huge opportunity to bring awareness to their service. Think about the feeling it creates for them. They work really hard prospecting, creating content, and executing their service and boom, a huge brand like Clay reposts on LinkedIn about them to their audience. It's an amazing feeling. We had Typeform, Airtable, and others do that for us. We know the feeling; it's amazing. Period.

Plus, content is the number one source of lead generation for these partners and consultants. They would rather be on 10 podcasts a month than spend $1M in ads. That tells you a lot about the importance of being seen on social media for them. Here's a video of Adam Robinson explaining it so well: LinkedIn post by Maja Voje.

We also think on how effective these campaigns have been to make partners currently using a competitors switch to Clay because of the awareness Clay gives them.

They also know how to treat them as human. How cute is this!!!

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The Slack Community is Huge!

That’s already a big win. I mean, when you have 12,000 Slack members, you can make any kind of announcement and you will get massive clicks. But when you have 300 creators ready to jump on some fun competition around your product, that’s even better.

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Some Pretty Cool Events for Creators Too!

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The LinkedIn “Work” Certification is Not Dead

Tons of Clay’s creators (partners) have them. It’s amazing. If you go to LinkedIn People, you will see tons of people working for Clay, maybe as consultants, agency partners, or... creators. Clay LinkedIn People.

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Clay Experts

Having an expert directory nowadays is a must. Your customer support cannot handle all the requests. Neither can your account manager or onboarding team

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We posted this article, and Clay's team did an amazing job. Comment on our post by Peter Kang (160K on TikTok) and a Creator Program invitation! We understand why they are excelling!

We understand why they are killing it!

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Hope you enjoyed this example today.

Feel free to reach out to us if you want to pull off a campaign like this.

And don't forget to join our Nearbound Community to meet ecosystems, affiliate and partner experts like us.

Have a great week

The Bond Team.

Need help using Bond Agency?
Yes please!

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