Do you ever feel like, as a business owner, you’re speaking to no one? Like you’re writing blog posts, and posting on social media, and recording videos, but you aren’t actually reaching anyone? While that’s probably not entirely the case, I completely understand how you feel. Building a following is hard work and it’s especially difficult to reach new audiences. I struggled forever and used to get really frustrated because I was creating great content, but it wasn’t getting to the right people. To this day, my mom is usually the first person to like all of my tweets.
Then, I figured out a cheat code, short cut, and honestly a more fulfilling way to do business. PARTNERSHIPS! There are other businesses out there that align with yours who you can join forces with to promote each other. There are other bloggers and influencers who target your audience that you can partner with to provide more value than you could on your own. There are other products and services that complement yours that you can refer to your audience (and they can refer to theirs).
When I first started researching who I might reach out to to form a partnership, I was super nervous. I didn’t know what to say and what value I might bring to the table. I tried a million different emails until I found the one that works. Now, I use partners in all of my launches and I have a few that I work with on an ongoing basis.
Not sure what a partnership might look like in your business? Check out these 8 ways that I’ve used promotional partners to grow my following:
Does your expertise align well with a potential partner’s? A joint webinar is a great way to showcase your knowledge and authority while also reaching an entirely new audience. Start by brainstorming topics that would appeal to your following. What new perspective or advice could you provide to complement your partner’s content. For example, I recently co-hosted a webinar titled “4 Steps to Starting Your Side Hustle” with a personal profitability blogger. He covered the financial details while I focused on business development and marketing. Depending on your partner’s preference, offer to host a webinar for their audience or brainstorm ways that you can align to co-host the online event.
If they are feasible for your business and audience, in-person events are a great way to gain exposure and build relationships with potential clients and prospects. Bonus points if you or your partner have a brick and mortar store to host the event! Consider what types of events your audience will get excited about and how to tie your products and services in. For example, if you’re an artist, consider partnering with a women’s boutique to host an art show that drives traffic and sales for both of you. Co-hosting an event will help ease the stress of pulling one off on your own while also introducing you to an entirely new audience.
An easy way to reach a partner’s audience is to submit a guest post for their blog or website. It can be tough to manage a full content calendar, so many small business owners are looking for new and interesting posts to share with their followers and are glad to receive a pitch from a credible guest poster. Start by doing some research and identifying their most popular post topics, then create the outline of a post that would add to those ideas.
Content Upgrade Swap:
When reaching out to potential partners, it’s important to lead with the benefits of the partnership to them. A great way to begin a mutually beneficial partnership is to swap content upgrades! If you’re not familiar, content upgrades are just goodies that your audience can download for free in exchange for their email addresses. (Like this sample partner pitch email) Offering to share their content with your audience is an easy win for your partner and can lead to some of the larger scale partnerships in this list. Not to mention, they share your content with their list as well!
You have probably seen the Instagram giveaways where you have to follow 1 million accounts and go in a loop to enter? Think a little bit smaller when it comes to creating a joint giveaway with your partner. While those loops mean that you gain a good number of followers, they aren’t really following you for YOU. So, consider who creates a complimentary product or service that would pair well with yours? For example, a vineyard provides a bottle of wine and you offer custom wine glasses (It’s getting to be the end of the day and I have wine on the mind). Host a giveaway and share the promotion responsibilities between the two of you to gain engaged followers and buzz around your business.
If all of this sounds nice, but you’re thinking that the partners that you want to work with are WAY bigger than you and may not want to do a joint promotion, there’s still a way to get them involved. Ask if you can interview them for your blog, social accounts, or podcast. Not only will this create compelling content for you to share with your audience, but they are likely to promote it as well since they’re being featured on another site. Many of my clients have used this as a way to gain an introduction to a potential client that eventually grew into a more robust alliance.
Are you launching a new product or service? This is a great time to lean on partnerships to expand your reach as far as possible. Identify several bloggers in your space to offer your product and service for free in exchange for a review on their site. Some bloggers are more open to this than others and may list opportunities to sponsor a review on their “contact” page, so check that out first.
For those looking for long-term partnerships, consider creating affiliate relationships with relevant businesses in your industry. These work well if your partner consistently or regularly has the opportunity to refer clients to you. If we take our artist example from earlier, an interior designer or realtor might be perfect partners to offer a percentage of sales from any client that they refer to you. Also consider the reverse. Who can you refer your clients to in exchange for a referral fee or percentage as a way to generate extra income?
As you consider who might be a perfect partner for you, start with your audience and ask yourself the following: Who do they already buy from? Who do they work with? Who do they seek advice from? Then, consider your options: Who else is targeting the same group of people? What else does my product or service require to be effective? Think outside the box and you’ll discover that there are businesses, bloggers, and influencers that are more than willing to join forces.
Who can you partner with to grow your email list?