Partnership Marketing For Brand Growth: What Small Businesses Need to Know

Marketing trends come and go, but one that looks set to stay is partnership marketing. Presented in a variety of formats, with different types of partnerships and aiming at multiple goals, partnership marketing can be as unique as the small businesses partaking in it.

Using new strategies and creative ways to promote your business and engage with customers, partnership marketing prompts brand growth and product awareness with new target markets.

What Is Partnership Marketing?

As the name suggests, partnership marketing is a strategy used to reach more customers by working together with another business. Typically, your partner’s business is in some way related to your industry, product, or your target market. 

By partnering, both businesses pool their marketing resources to advertise and promote specific products, ranges, or events. One business may have multiple partnerships with others for different purposes within its marketing strategy.

How your partnership works will vary on certain factors. This includes your separate goals and the resources each business can bring to the campaign. 

Starting new partnership marketing campaigns requires some knowledge of what is affiliate marketing, collaborations, and sponsorships, and what each requires. Some entail hosting joint events or promoting each other on your channels. This depends on the needs and abilities of the businesses involved. 

Benefits of Partnership Marketing

There’s a reason partnership marketing has become so popular – it has measurable benefits for all those involved. When optimized, this gives your small business a larger platform and customer base to appeal to whilst developing your brand image. These benefits can create brand growth, and the ability to invest your resources into a strategy that effectively engages your customers. 

Some of the top benefits include:

  • Generates new leads – As your partners share your content or feature your products in videos or images, their existing customer base is being exposed to your brand. This creates new leads for your sales teams.
  • Shares resources – By pooling your marketing resources with another business, more options are available to you without your expenses increasing. These additional resources amplify your marketing campaigns. 
  • Builds Brand Reputation – Working with specialists in a particular field shows the quality and professionalism of your products. Similarly, partnering with businesses that hold similar values helps to consolidate these as a part of your brand.

Types of Partnership

No two businesses are the same, so when it comes to partnership marketing, there’s a wide variety of ways to go about it. Largely, the type of partnership you opt for depends on your aims for the partnership, as well as what both businesses have to offer. However, all partnership marketing is used to help brand growth and reach new customers. Some of the main types of partnerships are listed below:

Influencer Marketing

Partnering with an influencer gives your small business access to their social media following for your marketing. Often, influencer marketing involves creating content for their channels or your own, promoting your products through videos and posts. This can include hosting live interviews with people in your business, trialing out new products, and giving their reviews.

Some businesses also offer discounts to customers who use a link or code provided by the influencer.

Start by looking for influencers who cover interests that link to your products. Consider the size of their existing following as well as the engagement they get, as this is what you’re hoping to gain with your marketing. Better-known influencers with larger followings may have higher fees, although micro-influencers can still provide valuable customer interactions and exposure. 

Content Sharing

Partnerships can benefit both businesses and content sharing is an easy way of doing this. Experts from both businesses create content covering anything that might be valuable to your customers. This could be blog post definitions of “what is a fulfillment center?” or video demos of how to use software features to be shared on the other’s website and social media. 

Ensure your content is on a topic that your business specializes in, giving you the chance to show your authority in that area. This builds up potential customers’ impression of you, presenting your business as knowledgeable in that field. This content also directs customers to the other company alongside adding to the information on offer for both businesses. 

Affiliate Marketing

By using links, displaying adverts, and targeting their customer base, affiliate marketing uses another business to promote your products for a commission. The more clicks or engagement affiliate links and adverts get, the more your partner is paid. When you set up an affiliate program, you expand the reach of your marketing campaigns and find new markets. 

Affiliate marketing works best on websites and search engines that relate to your products and services, directing the traffic towards your business. The benefit is that your business only pays where this is successful. However, clicks alone do not sell your products and your ecommerce website needs to be adapted to provide a smooth customer journey through to the checkout.

Sponsorship

If your small business and products align well with events, teams, or causes, sponsorship might be a partnership marketing option for you. Often, these promote your products and show your adverts on a larger scale, exposing attendees and participants to your brand. For viewers, this also creates a link between the event or team and your business.

Sponsorship is ideal for raising awareness of your brand. However, it doesn’t guarantee that those who see it will become customers. This means that using it in combination with other types of marketing may be necessary to provide more interactions with potential customers on other platforms and lead them toward your ecommerce website.

Collaborations

Some of the best-remembered partnership marketing examples are collaborations between multiple brands. These create new products that use the design and development of both businesses, successfully reaching their customer bases. Collaborations can lead to creative new ideas and innovations that find new niches and respond to multiple customer needs.

The simplest collaborations reimagine existing products with new designs or integration features. These reflect the brand image of both businesses, interesting existing customers in new products. Collaborations help to expand the range of products on offer from your business. It creates brand growth based on resolving more customer issues. 

Getting Started

Choose Your Partners

The partners you pick have the potential to shape your partnership marketing. Selecting a business that isn’t in your field can waste your time attempting to attract the wrong customer base. However, a business with similar aims and interested customers can boost your brand growth with ease. 

Also, consider what tools and resources your partners can contribute to your marketing to promote your business. 

Create a Plan

Decide on the aim and the type of partnership marketing for you, identifying the steps needed to get there. From this, you can research more into how to build affiliate networks, or discover suitable influencers. 

Your plan should also mark out key dates and deadlines in your campaigns. In addition, what marketing methods and tools you plan to use and the KPIs you intend to track. Doing this keeps everyone organized and on the same page about the responsibilities of each partner.

Find Your Platforms

Knowing where your partnership marketing is going to be targeting customers can influence the style of your campaigns and the elements included in them. 

Marketing on social media? Using videos and live chats across your brand profiles can grab attention and direct new customers to your business through links. On the other hand, how you present your advertising and products through images and copy will look different when marketing on a partner agency website. 

Improve

As you develop more partnerships and learn more from your marketing campaigns, your business will be able to see what works well and leads to the most brand growth. Investing more into these elements, using affiliate marketing software, and working on areas that aren’t as successful can improve your partnership marketing. 

Also, look at your social media and ecommerce metrics to track the progress being made through your partnerships.

Start Partnership Marketing With Your Small Business

Every small business wants brand growth. Partnership marketing is a simple way to get that additional exposure and support in your marketing. Working with partner enterprises or a lifestyle business that shares your values and has useful resources. It has access to a larger platform can amplify your marketing and attract the interest of new customers in your products.

Create a partnership marketing strategy unique to your business, seeking out your target market with content that engages them on the platforms they use. This won’t happen overnight, and it takes some learning to discover the best ways of using your partner marketing. However, by continually adapting and improving your strategy, it won’t be long before you see brand growth.

Sam O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer for Affise, a Global SaaS Partner Marketing Solution. He is a growth marketing expert, with a product management and design background. Sam has a passion for innovation, growth, affiliate fraud detection and marketing technology. 

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