Getting your business off the ground is one of the biggest struggles of owning a startup. The truth is, audience building is time consuming, costly and can often deliver very little return. Thankfully, there’s a secret weapon which every business can implement with little difficulty. Partnership Marketing can open the door to thousands of target customers in a relatively short time. These tips from Innovate UK will help you on your way.
Target Established & Relevant Businesses
“Look outside your industry for examples of successful partnerships you can replicate” – Ryan Leighton (CEO, Leightons Group).
Partnership marketing is when a business seeks out a like-minded, complementary (not competitive) company to work with for promotional purposes. Ideally you should target businesses which are established with a direct access to your target consumer. There are numerous reasons why brands use partnership marketing, these include:
* It allows brands to reach a broader audience.
* It adds extra value to consumers.
* It boosts your brand’s reputation.
* It allows you to tap into another company’s values/proposition.
Research the Market
“If you are operating on a limited budget, partnerships should be the first thing on your marketing to-do list” – Xaver Matt (Managing Director, Netleadz & Angel Investor).
Get your partnership right. There’s no point pairing up with a company which won’t actually add any value. To get this spot on, you need to do your research. When you think you’ve found an adequate company, ask these questions:
* Are their products/services relevant to your audience?
* Do their ethics/values align with yours?
* What can your brand offer theirs?
* What can they offer you?
Be tactical with your approach, you’re only going to get one chance at this. Social media is a great way to begin your approach. Try following the brand, sharing their content and commenting on their posts. Get your name on their notification feed. When you’ve done this effectively, it’ll open the gates to discussing a partnership. Try sending a DM/email when you open lines of communication.
“Simple APIs are a great way to hook new partners and gain instant access to their audiences” – Nick Lyons, (CEO, Kaptur software).
When it comes to actually putting your brand behind a joint campaign, social media is a great place to start. Try collaborating on content, a social media competition or other similar strategy. These actions will allow you to build up the relationship and measure performance before investing large amounts of money.
Analyse the Data
“Partnering with Zoopla increased our audiences tenfold overnight, gaining us vital user data to refine our proposition.” – Barry Bridges (CEO, Property Detective).
It’s crucial to analyse the performance of any partnership marketing campaign. The more you understand about the return you’re receiving, the better future strategies will be. First, look towards which metrics are actually important to you. This could be traffic, social media engagement or even conversions. If you’re seeking a more abstract return like brand perception or trust it’s going to be harder to do this effectively. When you understand how you’ll measure success, you can see how a partnership performs in comparison to previous solo actions.
If you’re interested in finding more startup tips like this, you can subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.
Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.