Everything You Need to Know About Partnerships

03/03/2017 | by Ben Alisuag
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  • You can use strategic partnerships to grow your customer base without spending cash.
  • Start by creating a wishlist of potential partners–think about your shared values, location, and whether or not you have complementary products.
  • Cross-promotional marketing is an easy form of partnership. You basically advertise a partner’s product, and in return, they advertise one of your products.

Strategic business partnerships allow small businesses the opportunity to grow their customer base and improve their business often in creative ways that don’t require a lot of cash (we’ll talk a little more about how to find the perfect partner in this blog post).

While gaining new customers is extremely important, there are other, often neglected, benefits to strategic partners. A partnership could mean your business will have access to new products, reach a new market, block a competitor, or increase customer loyalty.

In addition, you could utilize partners to fix customer pain points. For example, imagine a bakery that sells the best homemade cookies in your neighborhood. Your customers are looking for a great coffee to wash it down, but your business does not specialize in coffee. You could partner with a local coffee shop to exclusively offer each other’s products and your respective stores. It’s a win-win for both of you!

We don’t recommend jumping into just any partnership and the best ones start off simply. Make sure that you have alignment and that there are complementary benefits to both sides before making your decision.

Where Do I Start?

You basically need to come up with your wish list of potential partners. How do you decide? You should think about things like brand alignment–do they share similar brand values? Are the cultures of your companies similar? You should also think about location–is this potential partner in close proximity to your business? Will time zones and long distance travel strain the partnership

Types of Partnerships
  1. Cross Promotion: this is a fairly simple strategy. If two companies share very similar target audiences, then you do a cross-promotional marketing campaign. This means you would advertise one of their products with your audience, and they would do the same with their audience.
  2. Co-Branding: this is one level up from your standard cross promotion, and probably not the first place to start if you’re new to partnerships. Co-branding involves positioning your products as a package with another partner. For example, you might host an event together, such as a concert, dinner, or even a webinar (which is something we often do at BusinessBlocks).
  3. Complementary products: There are very obvious benefits to working together. A bakery that exclusively sells coffee of a nearby cafe. Think about a product or service that would work hand-in-hand with your own. For example, if you’re an interior designer, you might have a referral program for customers interested in purchasing handcrafted furniture.
  4. Out-of-the-Box: Don’t be scared to think outside of the box! Spotify, the successful music-subscription service, partnered with social media giant Facebook and discovered the alliance boosted revenue. Spotify users who link their account to their Facebook account are three times more likely to become paying subscribers than those who don’t.

If you’re not benefiting from strategic partnerships, take some time to think about how you can develop ones that enable new ways to build and run your business. Developing strategic partnerships can take your business up a notch and allow you to compete with other, even bigger companies.

Hide Summary
Show Summary
  • You can use strategic partnerships to grow your customer base without spending cash.
  • Start by creating a wishlist of potential partners–think about your shared values, location, and whether or not you have complementary products.
  • Cross-promotional marketing is an easy form of partnership. You basically advertise a partner’s product, and in return, they advertise one of your products.