There is strength in numbers and that’s true of all walks of life… including marketing! Why market your business on your own and spend huge amounts to reach a small audience when you could collaborate with another brand and have many times that success? Let’s take a closer look at how you can benefit from a smart collaboration to create some mutually beneficial partnerships!
Companies are always thinking about how they can 'beat' the competition. When it comes to SEO, companies want to be higher on Google than the competition. When it comes to prices, they want to charge less than the competition. And when it comes to products, everyone wants to have the superior quality offering.
It's obvious to see why so many companies think this way but that doesn't necessarily make it the smartest approach or the best way to make money.
You see in many cases it actually makes more sense to team up with your competition and to take advantage of the fact that there is strength in numbers. This is the entire concept behind partnership marketing. Read on and we'll take a look at why this is the case and at how you can start approaching the right businesses to work with.
Keep Your Enemies Close…
If there's a company in your area marketing a similar product or service to the same market as you, then you might assume that naturally you will be competitors. But it doesn't have to be that way if you're willing to slightly change your business model, or if they are.
This is particularly true if you are delivering a service in which case there will be a limit to the number of new clients you can take on. If you're forced to turn some business away, why not help your competition out by sending them the customers you aren't best suited to work with… and get the same in return? For instance, if you both offer web design services but you charge more than the competition, then you could send your clients to them if they have a smaller budget and they could send the clients they hear from when they have requirements they can't meet.
Likewise, if one company is selling winter coats in a certain size, you could maybe make children's sizes, or you could make XXL coats and again you could refer customers to each other.
Alternatively, you could pool your resources and create an entirely joint venture with your potential competition. This way you can take advantage of the skills that you and they have and you could offer a service or product that is better quality as a result. Plus, you'll be able to reach a much larger audience and thereby increase your turnover.
There is strength in numbers and any company that appears to make a natural opponent might just also make a natural ally!
If you’ve done any reading into the world of online marketing whatsoever, then you will likely have come across the term affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing means selling a product that isn’t yours – or having someone else sell a product that is yours and then splitting the profit via commission. In this case, let’s imagine that someone has a huge website in your niche that is doing incredibly well. Why wouldn’t you want to get them to sell your products too?
Influencer marketing is a form of marketing that involves working with people who have a huge audience and a lot of sway with said audience.
An example of this might be to find someone who runs a blog on technology that has millions of viewers each month. Or perhaps it means finding a fitness vlogger on YouTube with over a million subscribers. Either way, you then only need them to promote your product or your website once and you can direct millions of people to it without having to go through the lengthy process of creating an audience from scratch. It basically lets you leapfrog the entire process and get straight to the bit where you have the ear of a massive audience. Or alternatively, you can combine influencer marketing with other strategies in order to accelerate your growth even more. This is why it’s known as a ‘growth hack’.
There’s just one small problem: getting the influencers to want to work with you. Why would someone with millions of followers even answer your e-mail? Here are some tricks you can use to work with those big players…
Start Small and Build Up
The number one tip for effective influencer marketing is to avoid going straight for the big fish. If you email Bill Gates today, then you can probably expect him not to look at your message.
Instead, look for people who are at or just above your level. This way, they still have something to gain from the interaction and they might agree to link to you if you do the same. Each time you do this though, you’ll climb the ladder and be able to go for someone slightly bigger. What’s more, is that you can cite the people you’ve already worked with when pitching to the bigger names.
Even a small influencer is very valuable to you!
Think About Who You Already Know
With that in mind, think about who you already know. Most of us know a few people in positions of authority who owe us a favour or two. Maybe you know someone who is a writer? Or perhaps a business owner with a big website? Maybe a friend has a very successful Twitter account? This would be a great place to start!
Meet in Person
If you want to make a lasting impression on someone – especially an influencer – then it is much smarter to meet in person than to harass them with lots of e-mails. This is why networking events are so incredibly valuable and every blog owner should go to them.
Some Tips for Better Networking
To do all this though, you’re going to need to learn to network and to start rubbing shoulders with others in your niche in an influential and positive way. Networking is something you hear a lot about in business and that many people promote as an important way to promote a company and to find good colleagues and business partners. The idea is that you go to meetings, take your business card, and then speak to people until you find someone who can help you.
However, this is something that is largely overlooked and forgotten about in the world of SEO and other online business. It seems that people who work from home forget that there is a benefit still to meeting and working with other people, and as such will often miss out on what could be a highly effective way to promote their business and their website. Here we will look at how to make the most of the opportunity to promote your website and how to get a team of people working with you.
Talent Sourcing: There are lots of people out there who are building a great following online and who are making a name for themselves on Twitter, on YouTube or on their own blogs. If you are in a fairly strong position online, then you can use this to your advantage by offering them more exposure through your site in exchange for some unique content. This way you are helping each other out and you're getting something new and different to your site that has been a proven success. Spend some time on YouTube and browsing the blogs online (as anyone in SEO should be doing anyway) and try contacting the people you think hold promise.
Forums: Forums are fantastic places to make friends and to meet people that are all interested in a particular subject. Note here though the difference between networking and marketing – come in here and try to promote your site or your product and you will likely be met with animosity and indifference – and possibly even booted off of the forum. Instead then spend some time on the forum, getting to know people and discussing the topics that interest you. As you do this you can start to drop your website into conversation and link without getting banned to boost your SEO. More importantly though you can also share articles you've designed to specifically be of interest to the people of the forum giving you a guaranteed hit, and the perfect place to promote it.
Keep All Your Contacts: It's also important to simply understand the value of your contacts. In other words, if someone e-mails you because they want to exchange links – even if you don't want to swap links it's still a good idea to message them back and say that you'd like to work with them in future and to ask if they have any other suggestions.
Do Them Favors: You can also gain brownie points as it were by doing things for sites you admire and aspire to without expecting anything in return. Link to a website you admire and that your visitors will find useful and give it some good write up, and then when you eventually come to them wanting something they'll of course be far more inclined to help.