Borrowed Marketing:  How to Increase MRR Without SEO, PPC, or Cold Email Spam

Over the past few years, PPC has gotten more and more expensive.  Especially in competitive markets.

SEO, don’t even get me started.  Google’s constantly changing the rules on us.  

I was in SEO for over a decade and every time Google released a new core update, or some new guidelines, I was terrified that our entire business would be wiped off the map.

I’ve seen really good companies with really good brands lose 80% of their traffic overnight.

Having your business reliant on a platform dependent marketing channel will keep you up at night.

And finally, there’s cold email.  Make no mistake, I love cold outreach. It’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make new opportunities.

But, sending out 5,000 impersonal cold emails per month is for the birds.  Yeah you might get a few customers, but at what cost?  Spamming your market?

Instead, there’s a new way for SaaS companies to grow their MRR.

It’s called Borrowed Marketing.

What is Borrowed Marketing?

Borrowed Marketing is where you borrow another SaaS company’s distribution in order to promote your company.

And in return, they borrow yours to promote their company.  

Both companies win by collaborating with each other, not competing with each other.

Here’s a 30,000 foot view of how it worked.

I used to work at a SaaS called Time Doctor.  We did time tracking for remote workers.

We’d approach another company called Trainual, also in the remote work space, but not a competitor.

We’d say:  

“Hey, we’d love to promote Trainual to our users if you promote Time Doctor to your users.”

Then we’d write an email to our list talking about Trainual.  And Trainual would write an email to their list talking about Time Doctor.

And we’d both add dozens of new users - rapidly increasing our MRR.

So, here’s how to execute the Borrowed Marketing strategy

Step 1:  Create a Dream 100

Who are the 100 companies that you’d most like to collaborate on a partnership with?

Based on doing this for a while, these companies should be:

  1. About the same size as you in terms of number of users.  (if you have 20 users, a company with 2,000 users isn’t going to partner with you.)

  2. They should be in a shoulder niche.  At Time Doctor, we worked with other companies in the remote work space, but we didn’t work with other time tracking tools.

You can use tools like, Sales Navigator, and to find companies that are about the same size as yours.

Here, you’ll want to identify the founder/ceo, the head of growth, and the vp of marketing.

These are typically the folks who are in charge of partnerships like this, or can put you in touch with someone who is.

Step 2:  Do Some Research

Once you figured out who you’re going to reach out to, it’s time to do some homework.

You need to do som real, honest to goodness, research.

When you email this person, this is going to be the “thing” that helps you stand out from the rest of the emails that they get on a daily basis.

To do this, you’re going to read a blog post they’ve written, subscribe to their newsletter, listen to a few podcasts.

And then you’re going to incorporate something from that content that shows you were paying attention.

For instance, here’s an email that I sent to get on a podcast to a guy named Corey Haines:

Subject:  Your Podcast Episode with Benji

Hey Corey

I was listening to your podcast episode with Benji Hyam where you guys were talking about creating a bottom of funnel content using Alternative Posts.

LIke you said, they convert like gangbusters!  This is such a great strategy that I’ve seen make a significant impact for other companies.  Thank you for sharing this valuable tactic that more people should be utilizing to get ranked for their competitor’s alternatives.  

Because you do such a great job of teaching your audience how to grow their business through practical marketing strategies,  I thought they would also love to know how to create a huge boost in visitors through an seo strategy that just takes up just 30 minutes each day.  

I’ve also found a really cool keyword strategy that helps me create content “easily” which I could share too!   

Are you interested? 



Pay attention to the top section of the email, which is the research section.

First, I said that I listened to a very specific podcast episode that he did with a guy named Benji Hyam.

I mentioned that they were talking about a particular type of content called “Alternative Posts”.

Then, I went above and beyond.  

I showed him a picture of an Alternative Post that I actually wrote to prove to him that I knew what I was talking about.

This is the type of research that is going to help your email stand out.

Step 3:  Send a VERY Personalized Email

Now, it’s time to send the email.

I’ll share with you the template.

Subject:  Your Piece of content that You researched (You’re going to open the email commenting on their content).

Hey First Name

Add your comment about their content here.

(Bonus points if you can show that you’ve executed or taken to heart what they’ve actually talked about.  Not always possible, but powerful if you can do it.)

Anyway, we have customers that are in the (x) industry.  I think you do as well.

I was wondering if you’d be interested in us promoting (Your app) to our 500 users.  

In exchange, you could promote our app to your user base.  

The whole thing will take about 20 minutes of work, and we’ll both be able to add some new users.

Are you interested?



Step 4:  Follow Up

I usually follow up two times.  I don’t want to be a hassle.

I’ll wait 3-5 days and say:

“Hey first name

Bumping this up just in case you’ve been busy.



3-5 days later,  

“Hey, just bumping this up one last time.

Thank you,


Step 5:  Execute the Partnership

You’re going to have to come up with some simple copy that your partner can send to their list.

Here’s what worked well for us when I worked at Time Doctor.

Hey (first name)

My friend Greg is head of growth and Time Doctor

They’re a time tracking app for remote teams.  You can see how many hours your team members are working, where they’re spending their time, and what hangups they’re having.


I’ve checked it out and it seems like a great product.

Greg is offering a 30 day free trial to all Trainual users (normally, they have a 7 day trial)  to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Just click the link below and check it out.


And that’s it.

That’s how you execute a borrowed marketing strategy.

If you’d like us to implement a borrowed marketing strategy for your company, just use the calendar below to schedule a time for us to chat and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for you.

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