Collaborative Marketing & Partnerships
Collaborative Marketing & Partnerships

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Collaborative Marketing & Partnerships [In 6 Steps]

Collaborative marketing (also known as collaborative promotion and collaborative branding) involves promoting a product or service to the audience of another brand – ideally a brand that has the same target market but is not a competitor.
 
You can grow your business for free by partnering up with another business that has a similar audience to you but does not compete with you and cross-promote your products or services to each others’ audience.
 
So let’s look at how this can work in practice.

Example Of Collaborative Marketing

Let’s say you own a yoga studio and you want to grow your business but you don’t want to spend any money. Let’s say that you have 100 paying customers, 1000 people that subscribe to your newsletter, and 2,000 people that follow you on social media.
 

Step 1: Identify a good candidate for collaborative marketing.

 
The first step is to search for other businesses in your area that have a similar audience to you but do not compete with you. If you don’t have well-defined target audience you can use our guide to do customer research and create a customer persona.
 
A good example would be a gym. People that go to a gym might be interested in yoga classes and people that do yoga might be interested in a gym membership. 

Collaborative marketing involves developing a clear understanding of your brand and partner’s brand so that you can communicate a message that resonates with the audience of your brand partner.

 

Step 2: How to review your potential marketing partner

 
The second step is to review their web presence. Look at their website and social media presence and ask yourself if the people that use this gym would be the type of people that would be interested in your yoga classes.

Look at the number of social followers. The more followers they have the more members they have.

How does it compare to your following? If one of you has more followers than the other, you can still partner up. I will come back to that later.

Research the owners and managers and ask yourself if they are people you would want to work with.

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Step 3: Types of collaborative marketing

The 3rd step is to think about the types of collaboration that might be possible. So this is a list of all of the different ways you can collaborate:
 
  • You and the gym can both create a special offer and cross-promote it to each others’ customers, email lists, social followers, and put the offer on each others’ websites.
  • You and the gym can select a piece of your existing content and cross-promote it to each others’ customers, email lists, social followers and put the offer on each others’ websites.
  • You and the gym can agree to interview each other and create new content and cross-promote it to each others’ customers, email lists, social followers and put the offer on each others’ websites.
  • Sponsor each other’s online or physical events
  • You can also create a referral program. I’ll come back to that later.
 
These are audiences that consist of your target market and you would not be able to access. If you have a similar number of customers, followers, or website traffic then this can be done without any money changing hands because you’re both offering the same level of promotion to each other.
 

Step 4: Achieving equal benefits from collaborative marketing

 

If one of you has a lot more customers, followers, or website traffic than the other then this won’t work because the smaller partner will get much more from the partnership than the bigger partner.

But you can still work together by creating a referral program.
 
For example, if you own a yoga studio and your audience is smaller than the gym then you can create a referral program where you create a special offer and ask the gym owners to send it out to their audience in return for a fee for everyone that signs up for the yoga offer.
 
In the meantime, this entire approach can also be used for influencer marketing.
 

Step 5: Where to find brands for collaboration

 
At this point, I think you can see that just one partnership or collaboration can potentially transform your business but you also know that finding people that meet your criteria and are willing to partner with you is very difficult and time-consuming.
 
This is where the social matching system on IIMAGINE makes life much easier for you.
 
You just need to check some boxes in your profile and allow IIMAGINE to match you people that want to collaborate with you.
 
If you’re on the My Home screen, just go to Social then click on the down arrow, go to the profile section and click ‘Edit’ then click on ‘My Objectives’. Enter information about your audience in this section.
 
We will use this information to match you with other business owners. If you scroll down, this is where you select your preferences.
 
As you can see, there are many ways to collaborate. It’s not just limited to cross-promotion with Collaborative marketing.
 
You can use it to find people to interview for your blog, YouTube channel, or podcast or make yourself available to be interviewed on someone else’s blog, YouTube channel, or podcast.
 
You can find referral partners, and co-founders, and even raise capital.
 

Step 6: Convert visitors to customers or followers

 

Before promoting your brand (or yourself) you should be clear about your Unique Selling Proposition – why should people buy from you or follow you? What makes you different? What makes you better?

You need to know how you compare to your competitors. Follow our guide about how to do effective competitor research (quickly).

Promotion alone won’t allow you to achieve your goal. In most cases, your goal will be to sell something, build a pipeline of leads (e.g. with an email opt-in) or increase your followers on social media.

In order to maximize your conversions, you will need to create an optimized marketing funnel that makes users feel compelled to take the next step in each stage of the funnel.

 

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Use our “Impact Entrepreneurship” checklist to start your business and make the world better.

  • Adam Radly

    Founder
    Founder of IIMAGINE. More than $100M raised. TEDx Talk about passion > 1 Million views. Founder of World Reconciliation Day with Nelson Mandela. Founder of One Direct Democracy.