Visitor Source #7: Business Partnerships
With all the emphasis we place on the Internet and online marketing, it’s easy to forget there’s a real world out there full of people who can help market your business in one of the best ways possible – by bringing the human element and the personal touch to bear on marketing your business.
Instead of relying only on the virtual world you see on your computer screen, it’s well worth seeking out mutually-beneficial real-world partnerships with other business owners.
There’s a lot of potential in this because there will always be other businesses who serve the same target market you do, run by people just like you who want to reach more of the right clients.
Finding these like-minded business owners isn’t difficult.
You can meet and connect with them through physical networking opportunities in groups and associations, or through online groups (although there’s no real substitute for pressing the flesh, as they say).
When looking for ideal business partners to work with, here are some things to look for:
- Shared values and belief systems around business, life, and providing a stellar customer experience…
- A proactive approach to business and marketing, and people who like to take action…
- People who are socially active (online and offline)…
- Folks who are fun to work with and appreciate the importance of a team effort…
- Creative thinkers who aren’t necessarily bound by normal business stereotypes…
- Businesses who complement what you do, rather than work in direct competition…
For your part, you don’t need to wait for opportunities to come knocking on your door – create your own opportunities to network by holding your own events or meet-ups.
Remember, too, that most cities have a thriving chamber of commerce, so make the most of it and become actively involved with them and their members.
To get the best out of your future business partnerships, begin by building quality relationships with them, and practice a “give first, ask later” approach. Nothing is more of a turn-off than asking for a favor from someone you only just met.
One way to get to know them better is to interview them and then feature them and their business on your blog – you can even photograph their business, or create portraits of them and their staff, as a way to help promote what they do.
Another idea might be to set up a mutual preferred referral program with them. This can work well with wedding planners, florists, cake-makers, and even other professional photographers who need someone whose work they respect to refer their prospects to when their own calendar is full.
For other allied businesses, you can exchange co-promotional articles for your respective blogs, and engage in mutually-beneficial co-marketing campaigns.
With the online aspect of these relationships, where another business owner might place a link to your website on their website or blog, it’s well worth avoiding the default of giving them your home page to link to.
Instead, create a vendor-specific landing page to which they can send people, where you can welcome them personally because you know it’s 99% likely they came from that particular vendor.
Of course, all of these ideas and strategies can work well with local charities and other non-profit organizations, so don’t overlook those!
It’s time to start building some relationships in the real world with other business owners.
Find 3 other businesses who serve the same target market you do, and reach out to them to start a business relationship. Remember, this is all about helping them first before getting them to help you, and the relationship must be mutually-beneficial in order to make it work in the long term.
That’s why it’s important to start this now, and not later on when you realize at the last minute that you need their help!