When I started my first online business, The Baby Diaries, 6 years ago I literally made every mistake in the book … (plus a few more). One of those mistakes was paying for “pay and pray” marketing such as print advertising. You pay the money and then pray people see it, read it and act. I even paid for the inside cover of a magazine… and guess how many sales that converted to? ZERO. Finally, after lots of trial and error I came up with what I call the “6 ingredients to success”. These business ingredients are essentially the difference between having a business that was going nowhere fast, and a company that is now doing multi 6 figure deals with national retailers and expanding globally.
One of those ingredients is the BEST marketing strategy I’ve used in over 25 years of business. In fact, by using this strategy alone, and spending nothing on advertising, or anything at all except a small amount of my time, this strategy had The Baby Diaries promoted to 1 million of my ideal customers and my sales increased by over 400%.
This strategy WILL work for you … regardless of what type of business you’re in.
The strategy is called Partnership Marketing. There are 10 types of marketing partnership strategies. Today I’m going to outline 4 strategies, including the 3 that I used to get in front of those 1 million customers. Once you’ve finished reading this, you’ll be ready to start getting some simple partnership wins under your business belt as well.
1. CONTENT partnerships –where one partner provides content such as blogs, how-to videos, articles, chapters that would be of value to the other partner’s customer base. An example is my partnership with Babyology. They are now live-streaming content to our Australian app users 24/7 via our app. In return Babyology have a new digital distribution channel. We both share the same customer base. Win Win!
2.BENEFIT partnership – examples include my partnerships with Mum2Be Hospital Bags. I promoted their products to my database via promotions, prizes and discounts, and they promoted my App via social media and by placing my brochure, which is the same size and shape as an iPhone, into every bag sold. Again, we each got exposure to each other’s database which was full of our ideal customers. Win Win!
3. CO-MARKETING – this is simply where each business promotes the other business to their database. I was fortunate to secure Gymbaroo for this type of partnership. They promoted my app to their 500,000 mums and I promoted their Active Baby Smart Kids online program to my database. Win Win!
Each of these marketing partnerships had a few things in common. First, they were all equitable. I didn’t go cap in hand, even to Gymbaroo who are a global company, and Babyology who have 1.2 million followers.
Another commonality was that The Baby Diaries shares the same ideal customer as each of my partners. The App is recommended from pre-birth to 2+ years. So not only could I have the App in front of my ideal customer at the exact time that they need it through partnerships, the App was recommended to my ideal customer from someone else that they already know, like and trust.
Another partnership you may see a lot is the Affiliate Partnership. This model will see one partner promoting or selling the other partners product or service (such as an online course or a product range) to their database, usually in return for a commission. Both parties receive revenue, but, if you’re the partner with the product/service, having your offering promoted by your marketing partner to their well-established database is like a form of testimonial.
There is no other system that I’m aware of that would provide this level of exposure with this level of impact without spending a cent. This is why I get really excited at the potential that marketing partnerships have to double your database and reach overnight.
But how do you get started? First you need to be clear on your ideal customer. It’s also important to understand what stage of growth your business is at. For example, as a start-up you may have a small database and social media following. So perhaps a partner to help you reach a larger audience quickly is valuable. Then once you’re up and running your strategies could become more sophisticated and include things like co-branding or white labelling.
The best place to start is by writing down all the businesses you can think of who are providing products, services and apps to your ideal customer at the same time, or just prior to, the customer needing you. Then circle any of these who you already know, or who you have a connection with. You now have your list of potential partners!
If your business is targeting mums or pet owners, then perhaps we could partner up and test my strategy via The Baby Diaries or The Pet Diaries!
Enjoy your partnership success.
Tara O’Connell is founder and CEO of the globally successful Baby Diaries app, the recently launched Pet Diaries app, and co-founder of Our Care Journal. Each of these apps offer businesses the opportunity to have their own “mini white label” app, thus staying ahead of the curve. More information can be found here