There are so many ways to market a business. In fact, on my bookshelf I have a book titled 465 Ways To Market Your Business. So clearly there is no shortage of ideas. The key though, is to discover what the best marketing strategy – four or five methods – is for your business. This takes some experimenting, but when you uncover what they are, it’s a wonderful thing.
Having said this, I think there is one marketing strategy that everyone should be using in their business. I consider it the best marketing strategy of all time. This is a strategy called Partnership Marketing, also sometimes referred to as Strategic Alliances or Joint Ventures.
In a nutshell it is where you find other businesses that share the same (or similar) customers to you, but you are not competing. Then you agree to promote their product or service to your customers with an agreement that they will reciprocate.
If you are a hairdresser, complementary businesses might be personal trainers, beauty clinics, massage therapists and fashion boutiques – just to name a few. And if you run a window cleaning business, partners could be real estate agents, interior designers and painters.
Now that you’ve got a better understanding, let me share with you just five of the many reasons why Partnership Marketing is a smarter way to do business:
1. It’s Faster
Let me ask you a question. What do you think is easier, finding 1,000 new customers one at a time or finding one business that is happy to tell their 1,000 customers about you? The first option may take you weeks or even months, however the latter may take just a few hours – a better option if you are into being efficient with your time.
All you need to do is create a list of prospective partners then do some research on their businesses as to how you can add value to them. Once you figure this out, jump on the phone or flick them an email and say, “Over the years a lot of my customers have asked me if I know a good ‘X’. Currently I’ve been referring them to Google. I’d like to change that though, and from the information I found on your website, I think you could be the place to refer customers to. Would you be open to a chat so I can explain how we could help each other and better serve our customers?”
Of course that’s a rough and ready example, but if you follow it, four out of five businesses will agree to meet you and then take it from there.
2. It’s Cheaper
I know some businesses that are currently spending upwards of $100 to generate a new lead. Now of course if you have a rocking business that might be totally fine. But using the example above, you’d need $100,000 to acquire those 1,000 leads. That’s a sizeable chunk of money out of your account with only a hope of getting it back.
Compare that to a successful Partnership Marketing arrangement, where there are no major costs. The only investments would possibly be a few hours to set up a tracking link and write a promotional email or two. Or perhaps a few hundred dollars to print some brochures that will go into your partner’s next direct mail campaign.
3. It’s More Effective
When you spend money on traditional marketing most of the leads coming in are going to be cold. Why? Because even though many of those leads may want and need the product or service you offer, more are going to be skeptical and need a lot of time and convincing as to why they should choose you. When your business is promoted or endorsed by a person or a company that already has trust and credibility however, that power of being a trusted brand is automatically passed to you.
This is sometimes known as Endorsed Marketing and in my experience it’s at least 10 times more powerful than marketing to cold prospects that have never heard of you before.
So not only will you be getting leads, but it’s going to be much easier to convert these leads into sales. This means you’ll be shortening your sales cycle, bringing money into your company faster and leaving you more funds to reinvest into your business sooner.
4. It Helps Your Customers
Sorry to state this point, but I feel I need to, because it’s an important one often forgotten.
The reality is that your customers are going to seek out other complementary products or services with or without your approval (while in the mean time, you’re not getting anything for it). So if you don’t refer them on to people you have a relationship with, they could waste a lot of time finding their own people. If they don’t know anything about this new company and they are not careful, they could very well be taken for a ride by an unscrupulous operator.
If you find a trustworthy business and inform your customers about them, you’ll be providing a value-added service that your customers will love you for. And remember, when your customers are in love, they’ll come back more often and they tell more friends about you too.
5. It’s Good For Your Brand
If you’re a new business and your brand is still largely unknown, partnerships are a great way to make you look bigger than you are. By displaying the logo of your partners on your website, people will feel that you have more clout and at the same time, you are helping them to take the risk out of their decision to use you. They think, “Well if they are associated with this company and that company, then they must be alright.”
So not only will you be benefitting from the new leads off your partners, but you’ll be better positioned to more easily convert your own leads. Plus, existing Partnership Marketing makes it easier to attract new partners and the upward spiral will continue.
So there you have it, five powerful reasons why Partnership Marketing makes total business sense. While I have done my best to simplify the process here, please learn more about it – then do it! If you master this art, you are effectively writing your own ticket to massive and lasting business success.