Marketing mistake 9: Not investing in marketing partnerships

Welcome back to another blog of your digital marketing journey where I'm talking about the mistakes that entrepreneurs make. And we've come to the last mistake that I'm going to talk about in this season. This one is not partnering or collaborating with other businesses for your marketing. Marketing partnerships are the act of partnering with another business to tap into their audience or reach to a common audience with a compelling offer.


Getting started with marketing partnerships

When you're starting out as a small business, you're obviously short on funds and time and you're most likely doing everything by yourself or have a very small team. You're constantly thinking about how to reach out to new people who may become your customer. One of the ways that I have found very effective is to actually partner with other businesses in multiple ways.


First of all, let me explain to you what a partnership or a collaboration is. A partnership with another business could be that you are providing an offer that is in collaboration with someone else, or maybe you're co-hosting an event with another business. Another way I define a partnership is where there isn't a financial implication of partnering with a particular business, as in you're not actually paying another business to have them publicize you. If you're paying another business to feature you, that would come under advertising. Partnership is normally for mutual benefit. If there are finances involved in the partnership, then there will be a revenue sharing model. I'll talk about revenue sharing model a little later in this blog.


Before you decide to partner with someone, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind about selecting the right partner for you.


The first thing to check when you're partnering with the business is to make sure that they align with your vision and your core values. Ideally, you should have the same ethics and the same approach towards your audience. This is important because your audience is used to seeing a particular way that you approach them. If you were to change that radically by partnering with another business, it would confuse your audience. While checking the alignment, it's also important to check whether the other business has a similar target audience to you. If your business is only targeting the age group of 55 and above, then either you should partner with a business who also has the same target audience or who has a target audience which influences this age group.


Second thing to look at is that the partnership should be mutually beneficial. It's perfectly okay to negotiate the terms of the partnership such that it benefits you and that it benefits the other business. The benefit could be an increase reach or an increase of revenue or anything else that you think you require at that moment. You can negotiate those terms with the business that you are partnering with. If you are partnering to give an offer to the audience, then you could also go in for a revenue sharing model where the sales generated from the offer are shared between the two businesses. The split of the revenue sharing depends on which businesses putting in what kind of effort, so you'll have to negotiate that as well. The advantage of the revenue sharing model is that none of the businesses have to put in an investment upfront, and also both the businesses will have motivation to market whatever the offer is so that they get enough sales.


Another thing to look at when you're partnering with someone is that your marketing collateral and the process of marketing should be agreed upfront. How will the partnership be publicized? Where all will it be publicized? Will it be included in your newsletter? Will it be posted on social media? How will the poster look like? Whose logo will appear where?


Be very clear about how the partnership is represented to the larger audience, because if you are partnering with someone, you obviously want as much visibility as you can get. As I said before, there's a lot of negotiation that happens when you are partnering with someone. So do keep an open mind and discuss the partnership in great detail. Ask a lot of questions. Be sure to document everything that the partners have agreed to. It is always a good idea to sign an agreement or at least document it on email so that everyone knows what was agreed.


Finding the right partner for your marketing

Now that you know what to look at when you're partnering with someone, how do you go about finding the right partner? As I said, it needs to be with a business that aligns with your business. You can usually find partners through networking opportunities, whether it's in person or it's a virtual networking opportunity. But equally so, you can also do keyword research on social media to find the right kind of partners. If you know already which industry you're looking for, which kind of business you're looking for to partner with, you can just search for them on social media using keywords.


Like I said before, you really don't have to go through the marketing process alone. Partnering with other businesses is an easy way to increase your reach. It requires low effort, it has zero to minimal cost and it will also help you to engage with other entrepreneurs who are in the same boat as you. So you can learn from their experiences outside of the partnership as well.


That's it for season five. I have talked about 9 marketing mistakes that first time entrepreneurs make and as I said before, I have made all of them and have learned from them. In the next season, I'm going to talk about some tactics that my clients have used to grow their business. So, do come back for season six!

 

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