One growth strategy implemented in the earliest days of The Newsletter Pro still continues over 9 years later: strategic partnerships.
Strategic partnerships have always been an important part of how we operate and how we’ve grown as a company.
Too often, small-business owners and entrepreneurs overlook the value of partnerships. They want to go it alone. They have a plan to bring in customers all by themselves. It might work; it might not. Or, it might work for a limited time. These entrepreneurs aren’t interested in reaching out to other businesses that are within or adjacent to their industry.
In fact, incorporating partnerships into their growth strategy might not even be on their radar.
But it should be — now more than ever.
There are other businesses out there that have similar goals as you and your business. Beyond that, there are businesses that share a similar customer base. You can leverage partnerships to put yourself in a place to get those customers and so much more.
On the flip side, you likely have customers that other businesses would love to have. With partnerships, you’re in a prime position to refer those customers to partners and vice versa. It’s an exceptional way to grow your business. Plus, it often costs less than other referral channels.
This creates a win/win/win situation. You send customers to your partners, your partners send customers to you, and the customers get their needs taken care of.
And, there’s an added bonus in this particular situation: Because of these partnerships, referrals are primed to buy from you. There’s a level of trust that’s implied between partners. Telling your customers that this other business is your partner and go-to for their specialty strengthens this trust. In fact, it makes it explicit. This is a type of trust money can’t buy.
Added Value For You
There’s another major benefit of partnering with other businesses: shared resources. This goes far beyond shared customers or leads. These are resources you might not otherwise have access to or that would cost you big to get on your own.
Resources come in all forms. Some partnerships may get you access to the names and addresses of a ton of new leads, which is fairly common. Others may network you with other professionals or industry thought-leaders. You may end up with connections you’d never considered prior to the partnership. That alone can have serious value.
Going further, some partnerships give you access to products, services, and opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. They can help bolster areas of your business where you fall short, such as marketing.
For example, The Newsletter Pro specializes in printing newsletters, postcards, and other mailers, along with being a marketing company. We do all of our printing in house. Our partners can take advantage of that. Some partners may get discounts or get their content printed in exchange for access to whatever they specialize in. This resource-sharing in partnerships can happen in many different ways.
Added Value For Everyone
Partnerships are mutually beneficial. We give something; we get something. Let’s say you’re an HVAC company and you want more leads. So, you partner with a plumbing company, another service provider who is regularly in the homes of your potential customers.
You pay the plumber to get your name in front of his customers. How? In this scenario, you, the HVAC company, pay the plumber to highlight you on his thank-you cards. (The Newsletter Pro then prints and mails the cards out.) For example, the plumber’s thank-you card might include an offer for a free air conditioner tuneup from your HVAC company.
The customer calls you, you do the tuneup, AND you slap your service sticker on the unit. This gets you in the door and gets your name in front of a potential new customer. Plus you get to advertise in their home. The next time they need an HVAC specialist, they’ll see your number on their unit and give you a call.
Sure, it can be a long game, but get the ball rolling early (and often), and it builds on itself. The HVAC company is generating leads at a lower cost than many other sources. This remains true for as long as the partnership with the plumber continues.
Other Types of Partnerships
This is just one of many examples of how one business can partner with another. Other opportunities include:
- Exchanges: You send your partner customers, and they send you customers. These strategic partnerships are pretty straightforward and common.
- Endorsements: Your partner actively endorses you to their customers, and you do the same. You do it through any and all channels that make sense. These partnerships are a great way to build brand awareness.
- Transactional: You simply buy leads from your partners. When they get a new client, you pay an agreed-upon amount for their information so you can market to them.
Connecting with other businesses to form strategic partnerships isn’t always easy. In some cases, you may already know a business owner you can partner with, and it’s just a matter of making a call. Other times, it takes more time and effort.
Finding the right partnerships is something you need to spend serious time thinking about. Who would be a good fit? What kind of partnerships are you looking for? What kind of partnerships can you offer?
Partnering with a company that serves an adjacent customer base can make getting referrals a breeze. This is the case, for example, with dentists and oral surgeons. Or maybe you’re interested in what a business has to offer rather than their customers. You have to analyze your specific goals and reach out accordingly.
As the country works to get back on track in the coming months, strategic partnerships are going to be critical. Make a list of potential partnerships and start reaching out. Keep in mind that you might not get a hit from every single contact. You will, however, be taking the steps to form relationships that can positively transform your business — and partner businesses. Embracing partnerships will help you end 2020 stronger than you started.