Savvy small business owners are always on the lookout for how to take advantage of inexpensive marketing opportunities to promote their brands and expand their market reach. Partnering with a non-competing but like-minded company for an event or campaign can be a mutually beneficial and relatively inexpensive way to combine resources and promote two brands at once. Capitalizing on both business’s loyal client base, strategic partnerships and partner events can promote brand awareness for both participating companies and can benefit their many customers who now have access to more products and services aligned with their interests.
A successful partnership between companies can include an ongoing relationship with another company by which discounts are offered to those who use both services, or it can be in the form of a one-time, co-marketed event that promotes both brands. It can be offered in-person or online depending on the industry you are in and where customers are most apt to find you. If you are looking for an innovative way to increase sales, reach more people, and tap into the client lists of other businesses who have the same target audience, consider the benefits of a strategic partnership.
· Expand its customer base: By partnering with a similar business, you can tap into an audience already predisposed to your products.
· Build brand awareness: Partnerships allow cross-promotion of brands, making you more recognizable in your community and on social media.
· Reduce acquisition and conversion costs: The people most inclined to show up at an event or opt into your campaign are likely to make a purchase.
· Increase brand loyalty: Partner events that offer meaningful discounts double the value for your own clients and enhance their loyalty to your company.
· Get a competitive advantage: The added value your business offers by partnering with another company and combining discounts puts you ahead of competitors who don’t offer as much.
· Generate free advertising: Social media posts and word-of-mouth promotion from your partner company and its customers advertises your business at no additional expense to you.
· Share marketing costs: Businesses on a tight budget can use partnerships to split marketing costs without compromising the benefits.
· Add another revenue source: A strategic partnership may develop a branch of your business or aspect of a service typically untapped in your regular course of business.
While you want to take advantage of all the benefits possible, partnerships are most successful when you start with a list of a few specific goals. Knowing your precise goals will give you guidance on how to design your event or campaign and will give you a basis for later analysis to determine whether or not it was successful and worthwhile. If you goal, for instance, is to access new clients, you will likely want to design an event that collects customer data and contact info that can then be followed up with emails and online marketing. If your goal is to increase brand awareness in your community, you will want to make sure your event is well-advertised in the community and highlighted in all the local media venues and that people are incentivized to post positive reviews afterward.
To make your partner campaign as successful as possible, both partners should set clear goals from the beginning, establish a realistic budget, and create a contract that delineates each party’s responsibilities so that the work is shared fairly and each partner’s strengths are maximized. Collaborating on a partner event or co-marketing opportunity with another business also requires additional attention to budgeting and spending. As with any marketing expenditure, it is important to keep all receipts and records of your share of the paid expenses—this is important for both tax-filing purposes and also for accurate financial assessment of the campaign later. Having a clear overview of funds invested helps you analyze your eventual ROI and make decisions about how to improve upon similar events going forward. Your campaign may also require additional people to pay: vendors, freelancers, part-time workers, marketing specialists, and property managers (if temporary space leasing is involved). Online check printing is perfect for issuing these one-time payments and will also automatically store all records for later retrieval and accurate reconciling.