No matter how good you are at what you do and how amazing your product or service is, you need a good marketing strategy to actually be able to sell them. And while many of us, small business owners, roll our eyes just by the sound of the word marketing, we can’t deny its importance. I am here to tell you about my absolute favorite kind. In fact, I love it so much, I’ve been doing it long before I realized how much it can increase sales. There are a couple of things to watch for when starting partnerships.
What is partnership marketing?
Partnership marketing is a collaboration between businesses/and or individuals that not only promote one another but also give each other’s clients with benefits. These benefits can be discounts on products and services, additional special offers, subscriptions, you name it.
Here are a couple of things we do within our partner marketing strategy – promoting each other on social media whether by sharing posts, tags, doing videos together, guest blog posting, sending each other clients, exchanging services/products, sharing resources, providing clients with benefits.
Why should you use it?
As I mentioned above, this is my preferred type of marketing. It doesn’t feel pushy and more importantly, it is based on a relationship with other like-minded individuals and businesses. You are not only helping other brands grow, you are building a community. And your clients will love you for it!
Recommending another professional or a business is something we at The Collaboratory take very personally. Over the years, we’ve been approached by numerous individuals who wanted to gain access to our network. While (almost) every one of them seemed nice enough, we always did our due diligence before saying yes to a partnership proposal.
How to know if this is the right partner for your business?
If you have never started a partnership, here is what you should look for:
#1 Quality of their services/products
Unless you are an influencer who gets paid to promote products, you should make sure first-hand what the quality of the service/product is. Or if you hadn’t had the chance to use it yourself, look for the testimonials of other trusted businesses and individuals. Nowadays, everyone can have awesome reviews online. So, make sure the one you’re basing your response on, is true.
For partnership marketing to work best, you should have the same target audience. While nearly any type of exposure is good for you, you will see actual increases in sales if you and your partner speak to the same crowd. Take into consideration the demographics, nationality, occupation, and interests of your clients. what percentage of the followers of a nutrition specialist would care to learn about their recommendation for a car repair shop?
#3 Client relationship management
I’ve put this in 3rd position but its importance is higher. Your clients and followers trust you and will expect a recommendation that not only satisfies their immediate need for a service/product but is also provided in a way that is acceptable to them. Simply put, they will want someone who does business the way you do. Otherwise, they could’ve just gone with the first result in Google. So when you are partnering up with someone, make sure they are nice and decent and have similar values to yours. Your clients are counting on it.
If another business is approaching YOU, pay attention to what their reach is. Once, we received this preposterous partnership proposal. We were supposed to let them use our entire space for free on a weekly basis AND pay them for promoting the location through their social media channels. A quick check showed 98 followers on Instagram and about 300 on Facebook. And on top of that, their word-to-mouth reach was even smaller. That one was an easy NO, THANK YOU (AND HOW DARE YOU??). However, if you like the business, the idea, and the people behind it, this point is something you can overlook. Especially if they are just starting out and you know their growth is just starting.
#5 Reciprocity and work attitude
The only reason I’ve put this one last is that we need to get out of our comfort zone and make a profit. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen when every little thing is to our liking. If you are just starting out and are you approaching the other side, you will most likely have to offer more to get their attention. Even so, there has to be reciprocity in your relationship. If you are the one doing more, their partnership should lead to sales or the very least, to generating warm leads. And it should be easy (and fun!) to work with them. Don’t forget one of the best things having your own business gives you – the freedom to choose who you work with. Don’t compromise that.
And remember, it is ok to change your mind. If the partnership is not working for you, end it. You are your own boss 🙂
Scroll down to the partners‘ section on our website. We love working with every single one of them!