Many small businesses are looking for ways to acquire new customers, but find themselves unable to make additional time or money to invest in sales and marketing. While this can prove frustrating, there are a few simple techniques that businesses can use to help extend their reach and attract new customers, and in some cases, without increasing costs.
Find a marketing partner.
A marketing partner is another business that markets to the same customer base, but with a complementary product or service. For example, an accountant may choose to partner with a lawyer or financial advisor, a painter may partner with an interior decorator, or a restaurant may partner with a movie theater. In each case, the marketing partners are appealing to similar prospects and customers, but they are not competing with each other.
A key benefit of a marketing partnership is that by working together, each business is able to communicate with the other’s prospect and customer base. More importantly, each business has the implied endorsement of the other, which should make marketing efforts more effective.
The partnership can be for a single event, such as a joint webinar or presentation, or even for a joint product/service offering, contest, or social media event, or for writing articles for each other’s newsletters – just about any marketing activity could include a partner. Additionally, one of the greatest benefits is that the costs of the program can be shared between both partners, which will increase the return on investment.
If the partnership proves successful, the relationship can grow and extend into different marketing opportunities.
The secret to success is that the partners do not allow the other business to just market and sell to their customer and prospect list. There must be a mutually beneficial relationship between the businesses and each customer base, making the offering better than stand-alone efforts.
Because there is an implied endorsement, marketing partners need to be selected carefully. If things go well, both partners’ reputations can be enhanced. However, if the wrong partner is selected or the promotion is not properly executed, one or both of the business’ reputations could be damaged.
With a bit of planning, marketing partnerships can be a cost-effective way to extend the reach of a small business. They can be mutually beneficial to both businesses, and to the customer and prospect base. And they can be tested as a one-time event, then repeated, extended, or concluded, depending on the results.