Marketing can feel extremely overwhelming. There are so many pieces of the puzzle to put together, but as a Startup, you are probably most focused on getting in front of potential customers. This is your number one concern.
There are many ways to get in front of your potential clients, but they tend to fall into three main categories:
In this blog, we are going to dig into some specific strategies on partnerships and how to leverage other people's audiences to grow your pipeline.
How to Actually Get in Front of Potential Customers
Before we dig into partnerships, I’d like to chat a bit about traditional advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Advertising can be an incredibly effective way to get in front of new potential customers and it is often the tactic that founders think of first.
However, advertising isn’t always the best option. It can be quite expensive and does take some time to get right. Digital advertising does require a ramp-up period which is something that is often overlooked. On the creative side, there is a bit of testing that is required for you to understand the right messaging and visuals that will entice your target client to click.
There is also time, that is needed for whichever platform you are advertising on to build intelligence around your brand and the audience you are trying to reach. This “learning period” is usually around 3 months, but could be longer if you are having trouble nailing your messaging.
Looking at SEO can be a super-effective way to connect with your potential customers at just the right moment. Running an SEO program is the process of creating content that specifically answers questions that your prospects may have in terms of their pain point as it relates to your product or service. In order to build a truly effective SEO campaign, you need to be thinking of creating content for clients that help move them through the sales process.
That means bottom creating three types of content:
Bottom of the funnel: content that is more general and broad but addresses your ideal client and their pain points as it relates to your product or service.
Middle of the funnel: content: content that begins to make the connection between your client's pain point and the possible solutions to their problem starts to offer solutions to their problem.
Top of the funnel: content specifically points to how your product or service can help them.
The problem with SEO is that it often takes months, if not years to truly be effective. You'd see SEO working by the increase of organic traffic to your website. Once the traffic arrives to your website, you’d then need to make sure your website moves people into action either by leaving their email, making a purchase, or booking a call/demo. This all depends on your business model.
Lastly, there are partnerships. A partnership strategy is one that simply leverages other people's audiences to get your marketing message out. Here are three proven strategies for using other people’s audiences to grow leads and fill your sales pipeline.
How to Leverage Partnerships to Fill Your Sales Pipeline
I love when Startups use Partnerships to grow. It is usually quite a low-cost option and could have a significant impact on the success of your business in its early days (and beyond).
Leveraging other people's audiences through partnership simply means that you are getting in front of the existing customers or existing email list of another organization. This is awesome because that partner already has an established relationship with their audience and level of trust. This means if they promote your business people will be more likely to consider your proposition.
How to Find Partners?
Take time to think about your personal network and broader community. Who are some contacts, influencers, brands, or organizations that you know who service your target client?
Let’s start by making a list of everything you can think of.
However, there are a few caveats here. When looking for partners, it’s important to find ones that serve your client but are not direct competitors. You want to find companies that have complementary products or services to the products of service that you offer. This is going to ensure that you can actually gain customers from a partnership engagement.
3 Ways to Leverage Partnerships to Fill Your Sales Pipeline
Now that you have a master list of organizations, influencers, brands, and connections for potential partnerships, now it’s time to get your creative juices flowing. I hope that as you made the list, some ideas were sparkling in your mind.
Here are three tactical ways to facilitate a partnership.
Events: It is beneficial to join conferences or industry events as a way of networking with people in real life. This is a form of leveraging other people's audiences because the organization that puts on the event has its own audience. By joining the event, you are able to get yourself in front of that audience to share your brand, product, or service. But you can take it a step further. If you are looking to join conferences, there are so many marketing opportunities to make your brand shine; such as adding swag to the goodie bag, joining a panel as a speaker, even volunteering yourself as a moderator, or even paying for a booth.
There are so many ways to upgrade your exposure at events but this is the traditional route and today we're going to talk about some more alternative marketing routes.
Staying on the theme of events. There are plenty of opportunities to create virtual events with partners. You could do webinars, conduct interviews, or some kind of training together with a partner that's going to add value for your potential customers. The benefit of doing a virtual event with a partner is that the partner is going to be sharing it with their audience on social and their email list– which will put your brand front and center to their audience.
Email Swaps: Another strategy that I've used many times with clients is a promotional email exchange. If you're not interested in running a full event with a partner, you could simply ask to do an email swap. This is the act of each partner sending a promotional email through their own email lists. Email is such an intimate medium for brands to connect with their audience, which is why a good list is usually much more engaged than on social media. However, this strategy only works if you and your partner have comparable list sizes (or else it wouldn’t feel beneficial for both parties). Don’t worry, if your email list is small, there is another option. Plenty of businesses will send promotional partner emails for a fee. If you've chosen some potential partners from that list you created on the first step, you can approach them to see what it might cost to send a message to their email list on your behalf. The cost usually depends on the size of the email list and how engaged the audience is. But you never know. This is a little-known strategy and you might get lucky and find the perfect partner willing to collaborate for free or at a very small cost.
Social Media Influencers: If swapping emails doesn’t sound exciting, you can always run a similar strategy but on social media. In this case, you'd be working with a potential partner to put social media messages through their social channels. This is a wonderful way to expose your brand to a completely new audience on social media and get more people to follow your social accounts. This can be a free exchange if it makes sense, or you can pay them to generate the posts on their accounts.
For all of these strategies leveraging, I would suggest having a clear call to action for anything you do. That could mean directing new potential clients to book a call/ demo or offering a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free piece of content (or something of value) that you can offer to that new audience in exchange for their email addresses. Once you have their email address, you can continue to communicate with them, build a relationship, and sell to them.
However you choose to execute it, running a consistent partnership program is a wonderful way to always be getting in front of new audiences at a low cost and building a strong network that can continue to help support, grow, and scale your business in the future.
Take a listen!👇🏻
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Victoria is a Marketing Mentor to early-stage founders. She has built compelling brands around the globe and has worked as a marketing director across several verticals. She is passionate about helping women think BIGGER about their businesses and giving them the tools to grow. She'd love to connect on LinkedIn or email her at email@example.com.