Teaming up with another company to reach new audiences is a great way to grow your small business. But what exactly does that mean and how do you set up a successful marketing collaboration?
Attracting new clients and increasing brand awareness can be a hard job as a small business owner. So easy and cost-efficient ways to grow your small business are always welcome. And collaborating with other businesses is definitely one of them.
In 2020, more businesses than ever have been utilising online platforms. The pandemic has forced many small businesses to step up their content, or move online where they weren’t before. This shift has made an already competitive market even more saturated. Wondering how to navigate this? In many cases, joining forces is a more pleasant and successful strategy than fighting it out.
Let’s see why you should set up a successful marketing collaboration for your small business, how to go about it and make sure you benefit from it!
What is collaborative marketing
For collaborative marketing to be successful, you need to team up with businesses that cater to the same target group as your business without being a direct competitor. The goal is then to work together on marketing campaigns and share resources.
This way you can all get in front of a new audience and offer a complementary service to your existing clients. Additionally, by working together on both long- or short-term projects, you can exchange experiences and best practices.
The benefits of a successful marketing collaboration are simple:
- Being introduced to potential new clients
- Save money by sharing the costs
- Share the workload and save time
- Enter new markets
- Develop new products
- Add value to your small business
Ultimately, working with another business increases your brand awareness. And the more people know about your business, the more clients you’ll generate.
Find out more about how to create a successful marketing campaign for your small business.
How to choose a collaboration partner
To set up a successful marketing collaboration, look for companies that offer complementary services or products to yours.
This could be, for example, a painter and decorator working together with a builder. Or a graphic designer teaming up with a copywriter, a wedding organiser with a florist.
Above all, make sure any new partner shares your values and fits in with your brand: If you’re advertising yourself as a sustainable business, avoid anyone who doesn’t care about the environment. You want to generate new customers, not lose existing ones.
To set up a successful marketing collaboration you also have to consider your goals. If you want to get more clients in a certain region or country, find a partner with a large customer base in that area. If you’re just getting started, team up with an established company.
Just make sure your new collaboration partner provides what you need. And you need to be able to offer them something in return.
What to watch out for
It’s not all sunshine and roses when working with a fellow business owner, so take care to avoid problems. For example, don’t be drowned out in your marketing by the partner company.
Also, make sure to always track your spending and monitor the resulting revenue as closely, and transparently to one another, as possible. This will help avoid conflict and misunderstandings.
Another typical challenge with marketing collaborations is when one party invests more than the other. You don’t want to end up doing all the work while your collaboration partner just sits back.
Finally, never ever give your customer database away. Or at least make sure your clients have given their explicit consent for you to do so (see GDPR).
Collaborative marketing ideas
There’s a wide range of campaigns and marketing activities you can collaborate on to grow your small business.
An example of a marketing collaboration campaign could be an event you’re organising together and invite your respective clients to.
Or maybe you want to run a string of marketing campaigns together where you offer a special discount or product bundle to each other’s contacts.
Here are some more ideas to get your marketing collaboration started:
- Advertise together and share the cost
- Team up for a PR campaign
- Advertise in each other’s newsletters
- Offer discounts for each other’s products
- Start a referral scheme for new customers
- Share each other’s social media posts
- Establish a commission scheme
Another common way of collaborating is by running a joint giveaway or competition. This is a great way of dipping your toe in the collaborative pool before committing to a longer term project.
Create a bundle of products or services and encourage people to enter by following both of your accounts. This can be a great way of boosting your digital presence.
If you go ahead with this, make sure you agree on the terms of the giveaway in detail. Both of you must also agree to adhere to the rules of the platform. Instagram, for example, requires that you include a statement fully releasing Instagram from any liability or association with your giveaway. Just ensure you read up and are both happy with this. Also, ensure that you are both transparent when it comes to choosing your winner at random.
If a competition like this was a roaring success, you’ve hit the collaborative jackpot. Knowing you work well together, step it up next time! Share a referral scheme or even release a joint service or product.
Before I go, I thought I’d leave you with an example of a collaborative giveaway, for inspiration!
Wild & Flower is a UK jewellery artist. In November 2020, she ran this giveaway with soy candle company Moonshine Candle Co. Both companies are vegan, UK-based, have a feminine aesthetic, and use pressed flowers in their designs. Therefore, they have a similar target audience.
This giveaway allowed them to cross-promote their brands and products, and gain new followers in the lead up to Christmas. It’s a win-win situation for both. Each screenshot shows their T&Cs, their cross-promotion and use of relevant hashtags.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought when you come to set up a successful marketing collaboration! Take some time to research other brands and reach out. Remember, when you do it right, it can be of huge benefit to both of your small businesses!
To read more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Identify a Target Market for Your Small Business
My Favourite Small Business and Marketing Tools
5 Top Tips to get Your Press Release noticed
The Pros and Cons of Marketing Channels for Small Businesses