One of the fastest ways to build new business is to farm strategic partner opportunities. Approaching other businesses that have your same ideal customer in mind and proposing ways to cross promote, is something every small business should be pursuing. I write about this often as I feel it has so much potential and there are so many creative ways to approach it.
There is one component of this strategy that is often overlooked, but I think offers some very interesting opportunities.
What if you went out there and looked at the other things your customers need and buy and you recruited a team of partners to give you high value samples or trial products to pair with your core offerings as a way to differentiate and sweeten the deal.
Here’s an example that I’ve seen used effectively: A graphic design firm approaches a print shop and convinces them to give 500 free business cards to each of the design firm’s logo customers. Now the design firm has something to add a little spice to their marketing message. (They can also create an affiliate relationship with the print shop for further purchases.) In this example, the print shop wins because they have very little real cost in the business card printing and, let’s face it, won’t that business get new stationary and other printed items with that new logo on it?
There are hundreds of ways to approach this and, done well, a smart marketer can greatly enhance their own core offerings, create referral relationships and add passive revenue streams.
The key is to focus on value not volume. Anyone can go out and sign up for a bunch of affiliate programs and start pumping those into the mix. Or, gather up promotional materials from other businesses to insert in the products you ship. While these approaches may offer some value, I think you can make this strategy a real winner with a little bit of creative thinking.
There are hundreds of high quality partners that would love the introduction to your customers and one of the best ways to do this is through sample products and services. Think in terms of the online model. Many online companies offer 30-60 free trials. Take this same idea out to businesses in your community and start putting together a package of products and services that turn prospect’s heads.
Some idea starters:
- Be the electrician that gives its customers a free AC checkup and one free drain unclogged
- Be the marketing consultant that offers a free product trademark review with an IP attorney
- Be the accountant that gives its customers a free IT and computer network audit
- Be the retail store that gives 10 minute massages to weary shoppers
Are you starting to get some ideas on how you might attack this? Don’t stop at one pairing, go for several ways to enhance and differentiate your products and services by adding real value from willing partners.
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