Partner marketing – what is it and how do I do it?
Partnering with other complementary businesses from a marketing or sales perspective can be a tremendous way for you both to achieve what neither of you could achieve alone. Successful partnering can help generate referrals, grow your databases (with each client’s consent of course), and provide a means to share business solutions to similar issues you both may have.
There are three key factors that underpin successful partner marketing or partnerships, and they are as follows:
- The first is equity. Make sure you are both on an equal footing, with equal rights and equal validation. It’s not just about who is bigger, who has a larger database or who has been around longer. Partners come in all shapes and sizes and can fulfil a number of roles. Consideration must be given for partners in champion roles, broker roles, manager roles (including things such as event management), facilitator roles, and promoter roles.
- And just as importantly, the second mandatory is transparency. Both parties must remain open and honest at all times
- And lastly, mutual benefit. If both parties are expected to contribute, then both should be entitled to gain.
How do you go about finding a good company to partner with?
Firstly scope the sorts of industries you may want to get involved with, if you’re in finance — which real estate company would you love to work with, which law firm, which renovation or building company? No matter which industry you’re in, try and identify who best to partner with, who has clients similar to the clients you’d like on your books.
Identify who would add value, and explore options given the contacts you already have. Make sure you research prospective companies before you sit down with them and see what you can dig up to confirm that they are a good operator. A bit of background research will also give you enough information about them to start a decent business discussion.
Plan out your approach together. Talk about shared goals, objectives, a calendar of activity, and how you both want to report back, measure and resource. Talk through how you plan to implement your combined marketing approach and your preferred ways to communicate with each other and your client bases. Ensure you’re not breaching privacy laws and avoid mass communications that may annoy your clients. Try to segment your database as much as you can to ensure the business partner you’re helping promote is actually of relevance to that particular client group.
Make sure you keep a close eye on the measurement of any cross-promotional initiatives to see what value the partnership is achieving. Is it effective? Is it bringing sales through the door? Has it increased your database or referral sources – look at what you set out to do and tweak the mechanics if it isn’t working as well as it should be.