Cost Effectively Grow Your Business Through Marketing Partnerships
I’ve built an online community of about 150 000 mums. There is no way this would have been possible without creating marketing partnerships.
Thinking back, I must have run with over fifty marketing partnerships since I first went into business five years ago. Whilst most were short-term arrangements, many were longer term. Partnerships can be incredibly rewarding both financially and personally, many of my partners who I approached ‘cold’ are now people I think of as my friends.
If you are looking to build your community, I encourage you to find and secure the perfect marketing partnership.
Here is my simple five-step process:
Step 1: Understand your assets.
Most businesses fail to do this first essential step. Before you know who you would like to partner, you need to understand what you have to offer. Whilst most people reel off their database and social media statistics as their assets, I think it is equally important to look at your skills, however, unrelated they may appear. Some of my most successful partnerships have come from having an awareness and understanding that I am resourceful and can make things happen.
In one partnership, I was able to attract and work with two businesses much larger and more influential than mine because I offered to do all the legwork. I located a highly desired prize, found another third party to fund it, and handled all the behind the scenes administration. The bigger businesses only had to worry about some promotional posts to their communities. I gained a huge number of new members to my community who all matched my ideal customer profile purely because I understood that my organisation and negotiating skills would be valued by potential partners.
Step 2: Identify potential partners.
For a marketing partnership to be seen to be successful it needs to have mutual benefit, so you need to partner with the right type of business. I advise my coaching clients to look for businesses that share the same target market as them but are not in direct competition to them. Create a list of potential partners based on this advice, then refine it. Look at the values of each of these businesses and see if they are aligned with your business. Check their website, Facebook communications and reviews to ensure they are people you would feel comfortable working alongside. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to make an approach.
Step 3: Make your approach.
My best partnerships have always been by going in ‘cold’ and not knowing anyone in the organisation. Many people will tell you that you need to establish a relationship long before approaching potential partners, but I don’t subscribe to this view. If you are able to demonstrate your authority and knowledge around their target market, getting a meeting, whether it be in person or on the phone, shouldn’t be too difficult.
Step 4: Meet and brainstorm.
Having an introductory meeting to explore potential ways to work together allows you to understand more about the business, their values but, more importantly, what they are trying to achieve. I will say, however, if you have done a thorough job of identifying your potential partners you might be able to bypass this step and submit a partnership proposal when you make your first approach. I have done this many times. Success depends on a professional short proposal which clearly identifies the assets of each business, the proposal, and bullet points noting what each party would do in the partnership.
Step 5: Formalise.
I am not one to get in a legal team to draw up an agreement around a simple marketing partnership; however, I do like to formalise the arrangement. Typically, this can involve writing up the partnership proposal and asking each party to sign at the end of the agreement. Sometimes, I have simply confirmed the partnership with an email detailing what each party is obliged to do. Either way clearly laid out expectations and timings around delivery can avoid any unpleasantness later.
Collaboration is no longer just an option. It is essential for any Small Business. A successful marketing partnership is the most cost-effective way to grow your business.
I challenge you to implement the five steps I have outlined to secure a Marketing Partnership over the next two months.
Challenge yourself. Step outside your comfort zone. Amazing things can happen.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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