A partnership with another business is an important step in the evolution of your own business. By combining forces with other businesses, you will be able to reach out to more people in a cost-effective manner. The people who work geographically close to your company are the likeliest candidates to use your business. One local business contact can provide many leads when you consider their coworkers, spouses and, most importantly, clients.
Before approaching a local business for a partnership consider the following:
• Is their clientele the same as mine?
• How popular is this business?
• Are most of the patrons residents of this community or employed in the area?
• Are they already partnering with a similar business as mine?
• What type of marketing or advertising do they use for themselves?
When approaching the manager or owner of a business, be sure to clearly propose a partnership in which you will work together for equal benefits. They might be turned off if your idea is not clearly illustrated or seems as if you want them to simply give you their client list. It is important that you make it clear how this partnership can greatly benefit their business, and that you provide enough information about how this can be done. You will help grow their business just as they will do the same for you.
Consider approaching the local dry cleaner with the idea of hanging a marketing piece for your business on the hanger of each order. In exchange, you might offer a coupon to their shop for each new customer that becomes a patron of your business. Larger marketing pieces, such as publications or catalogs, imprinted with your business location and phone number, also serve as great handouts for local businesses. By working together and marketing to one another’s clients, you are reaching a captive audience that will benefit both of your businesses and the community at large.
Be selective when choosing businesses to partner with, and make sure that each partnership is consistent with your own brand image. For example, a woman who frequents a high-end hair salon such as one that offers spa services is more likely to join a high-end fitness club than someone who goes to a discount salon. If you are careful about the businesses you work with, the legwork will be eliminated because you are reaching people who are already your demographic, which will save you money. You’ll be hitting your target market more accurately and reaching the kind of consumers that will be most likely to use your business.
Any relationship worth having requires effort and attention. It is not enough to simply create the relationship. Be consistent and follow-up with your business partner as you would a prospect. It is up to you to create an exciting, successful partnership. Do not rely on anyone else to bring you leads.
Think about requesting the following from your business partner:
• A dedicated email blast to their clients on your behalf with an attached marketing piece or coupon for your business
• Free advertising in their menu / newsletter
• Signage in their employee lounge
• Certain days for you to be on-site to promote your company
Creating strong business-to-business partnerships is a great opportunity for you to leverage publicity for your business. Maximize it!