Of all the business building strategies I’ve seen my clients use, there’s one that’s nearly universally used by the most successful, and not so much by the less successful. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s played a significant role in the successful businesses getting so successful.
What is it? Developing relationships with partners that support each other’s businesses.
Notice I didn’t say “recruiting affiliates”. This isn’t about getting email addresses on a list and hoping they’ll promote your programs, products, and services. This is about finding individuals who market to the same audience as you do – but not with the same products and services – and are open to a mutually beneficial marketing relationship.
Again, notice that I said “mutually beneficial”. These will be relationships. They need to provide value to both people.
These are people who you will be thrilled to support and promote to your list when they have something going on. And you’ll feel comfortable asking them to share what you’re doing with their lists.
You’ll eagerly promote your partners with an enthusiastic tone on the schedule they give you. And for your part, you need to be as helpful as possible when asking them to promote for you. You’ll want to provide promotional emails and social media posts as well as a schedule of when to release them. Include each individual’s affiliate link in their materials. And do pay your partner affiliates promptly!
So what holds people back from developing this circle of partners? Business owners often feel they aren’t successful enough yet – they don’t have a big enough list – to ask people to partner with them. What they don’t realize is that there are plenty of other business owners that would be happy to work with them. Granted, a small business probably won’t be able to partner with a leader in the industry, but there are many other businesses available to work with. And the way your business can become more successful is by starting to create this circle of people who will put you forward to their lists.
How Do You Do It?
Now that you want to build these relationships, how do you start, especially is you have a smaller business?
Begin by researching and making a list of people who serve the same audience as you do, but are not competitors. Go ahead and add everyone you can find and think of to the list.
Divide this list into three groups. The first group is people with businesses and lists about the same size as yours. The second is people with businesses and lists a little bigger than yours. And the third is people with much bigger businesses and lists.
For now, you’re going to just hold onto the third list of much bigger businesses and not do anything with it.
The first list of people will have smaller lists and so, each will smaller possible marketing returns. But there will still be value.
The second list has some people on it who will consider you too small to partner with, but others who see the potential and will agree.
Now, write personal emails to the people on the first and second lists asking them if they’re interested in forming a partnership. Don’t ask them to promote anything for you at this point. You’re just trying to start a relationship, not proposing marriage! Make sure your initial email stresses that this would be a mutual arrangement – that you’re interested in promoting them to your list as well as having them share your business with their people. You could also propose guest posting on each other’s blogs as a way of getting started and introducing each other to your peopler
You may want to share the size of your list in this email. Yes, if it’s small, it may cause some to say no to your offer. But that’s OK. As long as you aren’t aiming too high to start with, enough will say yes.
This will get you started. It may seem like a lot of effort to get small-ish partners. What you’ll find though is that as your list grows, you can start approaching some of the larger businesses on your list – maybe even ones from the third list. Also, as time goes by, some of the other smaller businesses you initially partner with will also grow their lists and become even more valuable partners.
Having a good circle of enthusiastic partners with lists full of your ideal clients will help your business explode. Just ask any highly successful person in your industry. So don’t wait until you’re “successful enough” to start building these relationships because they’re what will make you successful!