We all want to grow our business, but there are only so many hours in a day, and you can only work so hard.
One of the best ways to grow your business is by finding another business to work with and co-promoting each other to offer more to your clients.
In our last blog, we talked about when it’s a good idea to say no or turn down a client. For
example, the need to pass on a project that doesn’t quite fall in your
wheelhouse. Although saying no potentially has several benefits, e.g.
validates your expertise in the services you do provide, and builds a more
honest and transparent relationship, the downside is you’re also turning down
potentially big money.
Exploring partnerships and co-promotion opportunities provides you the opportunity to not turn down a client completely. Instead of losing money from a service you can’t provide, you can earn money by working together with a partner who is an expert.
Not only are you not biting off more than you can chew by accepting a project that is outside of your reach, by partnering, you can work smarter, rather than harder.
Despite all this, you need to ensure that you are partnering for the right reasons. This is why creating a partnership marketing strategy is important. It allows you to focus on the right companies to partner with for the maximum benefit.
Finding the right strategic partner has the same weight as finding key hires, or even your coworker. You'll be working closely together, so it's important to have a good connection. If your instincts tell you that something isn't right, even when everything looks good, it's smart to be cautious.
Don't be afraid to trust your gut. Take the time to build a strong relationship and you will have a great partnership.
Start by making sure all roles and responsibilities are defined upfront. Make sure your communication channels are wide open. Both partners should contribute as expected, that way you can manage conflict as it arises.
Partnerships have different advantages, and there are so many different types, which we will cover in this blog. A strategic partner can provide you with capital, or let you leverage their brand to give you more exposure. They could help you win business by offering services that you can't, while you build out those competencies on your own team. When it works well, a strategic partnership can be just what you need to speed up the growth of your business.
The result is that both businesses become stronger and can accelerate their growth.
Redbull’s brand is all about high action high-energy sports fuelled by their drink and the best way to capture these intense moments is through GoPro cameras. This works out great for GoPro because they get all this amazing coverage of their cameras in action and it also allows Redbull to expand their brand and ethos.
You also see software companies co-hosting webinars all the time. This is a great example of each company showing that they are a thought leader in the space, putting forward valuable information to two different customer audiences.
Wistia and Hubspot teamed up to host a webinar on how to make “killer video for your social media feeds." This is a great co-promotion because Wistia is a video hosting platform and Hubspot is all about inbound marketing.
If you think about your business and come up with adjacent problems your customers have, find a company that solves these reach out. Talk to them about setting up a co-promotion email blast or a webinar so each company can gain exposure to the respective customer audiences.
Below are four different initiatives you can pursue as you build out your partnership marketing strategy.
A sales partnership occurs when one business allows their products to be sold at another business’s location.
This can happen two ways: the products may be sold independently or with the location owner’s own products. Consider Winners or Marshalls owned by TJX companies which are a chain of off-price Canadian department stores. They sell brand products that are not their own. On the other hand, Sephora, a makeup retail giant sells both other brands and their own line of make up products.
This is a very common partnership as products
typically are complementary to one another. A commission on all product
sales is usually the compensation from the product owner to the location owner.
Strategic distribution channels can do more than just distribute your products. They can also do your promoting – especially when they already have an established audience. Think about it.
Distributors want to get your products into as many hands as possible. So promotion is- it’s a win-win. There are tons of popular distributors that are working this way for their partners already.
Here are some great examples to illustrate this example.
· Udemy sells courses made by other people and serves as a distributing website. It has quickly become the go-to resource to find these classes.
· ProductHunt promotes up and coming products. In fact, we were featured on there!
· AppSumo promotes SaaS products.
So how do you find a distributor that will distribute your product or service to an already existing audience? Look within your niche. Ghostit is currently building out this channel when this blog goes up. We are partnering with key digital agencies that either doesn't have the bandwidth or resources to produce high-quality content marketing but want to add it to their services offering.
The way we find these agencies initially is just a simple Google search: “Directory of digital agencies” or “top digital agencies” which led me to clutch.io
We then filtered by category: “Web design” because once these websites are finished a great up-sell a one-time website build would be a reoccurring content marketing subscription.
I now have a list of 11,156 web design agencies that I can reach out to and offer Ghostit as an up-sell to their existing customers.
You’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing or some form of it. Affiliate marketing is just a name to describe performance-based marketing where a business rewards one or more “Affiliates” for each customer that they bring to the business by their own marketing efforts. When this happens, the business will reward the affiliate through commission or a referral fee. Usually, this is some percentage of the final sale.
Promotional partners are different than distributors. These are the people who send potential customers to your website, webinar, or newsletter list to sign up and eventually buy.
This can be built to be quite extravagant. You can build and program and a whole team of affiliates that best suits you. The best example of this is if you were the manufacturer or supplier and you don’t have the time or means to invest in marketing the product yourself.
Building out an affiliate marketing program takes care of all that. Now distribution and marketing are all up to your affiliates. All you need to do is send out the products once the order is received, and pay out the commission fee.
An easier way of dabbling in affiliate marketing is to build a list of services and business that you can regularly recommend to your clients. This list can be industry related services that might not be part of your expertise. Form partnerships by asking for a “finder’s fee." I had mentioned earlier that instead of turning away clients, you can refer them to your partner and still receive compensation.
Leverage Complimentary Strengths and Customer Bases
This can be accomplished through collaborating on a project. Instead of referring clients or customers to another business, you can bring in the business or someone who’s an expert to supplement supporting your client. This allows you to share in the profits of the sale with another business rather than to just take a small finder’s fee percentage.
Leveraging complementary strengths can also mean co-promoting with a partner to increase sales by sharing unique offers with your partner's customers, and vice versa. This will also help build brand recognition.
This type of partnership comes from the desire to help one another. Although you may have completely unique businesses, you leverage each others' strengths to help both businesses.
can also look like hosting events together, marketing for one another in emails
and newsletters and co-building your networks so both businesses can grow. Your partnerships
don’t have to be directly related to your day-to-day operations.
This type of partnership works very well with charity groups and nonprofits. Not only do customers love seeing companies give back, partnering with nonprofit organizations or causes specific to your core value can also have a tremendous impact on your business growth.
The exposure you get from working with charitable organizations is often difficult to measure but highly worth the expense.
This can also be called True partnership.