One of the most common problems of small businesses or start-ups is customer acquisition. A great way to boost your marketing efforts is to join forces with other businesses or in other words, try partnership marketing.
It is a critical task and you shouldn’t take it lightly; otherwise, you will end up losing time and getting zero results. Finding a good partner takes time and you shouldn’t just rely on your current business contacts. It is a strategic decision and there are numerous things you should take into consideration. I created a list to help you build a collaboration that leads to mutual growth:
  1. Build a list of your goals. Before you start searching for a collaboration actively, it is imperative that you know what you want to achieve. Is it customer retention or acquisition that you are after? Do you need more industry content and resources to drive traffic to your website? Is your ultimate goal to create brand awareness?
  2. They should have the same target audience. To make it more specific I will give you an example; a company like Sprout Social that is a social media management tool, has an audience that is trying to grow its traffic through social media, so they decided to partner with Moz, a search engine optimization tool. This was a very smart move since the buyer persona for both companies is the same, marketing professionals or business owners that need to find new leads and leverage the power of keywords, seo, and promotion.
  3. Share Common Values and Goals: It is hard to collaborate with someone that you don’t see eye to eye. It will bring a lot of conflicts and delays to the overall process. If you don’t already have a personal relationship with a brand, you should read their mission and values carefully, cross-reference everything and of course conduct thorough research on their past campaigns and collaborations.
  4. Check the value-added from the partner-company: Why should you choose them instead of another company? It is important that they have a customer basis that reflects the number of new leads that you want to reach. Also, the brainpower and size of the company might be very beneficial to you because of the new ideas that they will offer you.
After you follow these steps and assuming that you found someone you can trust and rely on you need to plan and divide tasks.
  1. The co-Marketing Plan: You may already have a marketing plan as a business but a partnership isn’t just a one-time email campaign to announce to everyone that you are working together, you ought to create something for the long term. Define your strategic goals and then move forward to build a 12-month actionable plan.
  2. Types of shared campaigns: There is a variety of different campaigns you can try depending on your ultimate goal. The most common ones include:
  • Social Media Promotion: Graphic design, good copy, and a good number of followers can be the key to success. Social media is a great tool to build brand awareness and distribute content.
  • Guest Blogging: Leverage your partner’s outreach to showcase your brand a thought leader.
  • Co-hosting webinars or speaking at events: Whether you do it digitally or at a big commercial industry live event it is an opportunity to get more leads by upskilling or teaching your audience.
  • Affiliate up-sells: Promote an offer no one can refuse. When selling your products as a combination give a discount to the buyer/ end-customer and make everyone happy.
  • Build a new and improved product or service together: You could create a new product for a very targeted audience and leverage both your customer databases. For example, H&M and Instagram poet, Yrsa Daley-Ward, teamed up on a new collection, with the quality of H&M and great copy from Yrsa, they produced a collection of loungewear that speaks to you.
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