This article originally appeared on AMEX OPENForum
Everybody needs a little help from their friends. Businesses large and small can benefit greatly from the partnering mindset, particularly hyper local businesses.
The partnering mindset is simply a business point of view that suggests a great deal of the organization’s marketing mix will involve seeking out and activating business partners with the same ideal client target.
Understand that this thinking in full form takes in a bigger view than simply referring business to each other.
A total local partner mindset is an approach that starts with your product and service offerings and carries through to both making and give referrals as a total team effort.
There are a number of components involved in the creation of an effective program.
Recruit and introduce – the first step is to recruit your team and introduce them to your program and business. One of the best ways to identify good teammates is to ask your current customers to name other businesses they like to buy from. You don’t want just anyone as a partner, these need to be people you can also confidently refer business to.
Next, send them a letter outlining your plans and inviting them to tell you the best way to introduce their business to your customers – that usually gets their attention.
Create content opportunities – Invite your partners to contribute to your newsletter, act as a guest on your podcast or blog. Giving your partners exposure by way of content gets them exposure and you content. Consider taking this up a notch and create a group blog optimized for all of the partners.
Conduct video interviews – Set a meeting with your partners and use the opportunity to record an introduction video so you can have content to run on your website letting the world know about your partners. This will show you mean business.
Acquire special offers – Get your partners to contribute a product or service that you can use as a way to enhance your offering. Free business cards for every logo purchased or free flowers when you make a reservation for dinner, free tickets to give away in y our marketing, or free HVAC check-up when you get some plumbing work. This is a great way to promote your partners while adding real appeal to what your marketing. Make sure you create real perceived value here.
Make referrals – Make it a habit to consciously go out of your way to refer business to your partners. Don’t wait for people to ask, do it as part of your Monday routine. This is how you become someone that lots of great providers want to partner with, but you also increase your value to your customers by consistently helping get what they need in every aspect of their life.
Rate and review – If at all possible become of a customer of every one of your partners. This will make you a much more authentic referral sources (as a user) and allow you to test and filter the truly great experiences. Follow-up on this by actively writing reviews and ratings on Yelp and other online sites.
Create events – Figure out how to bring your partners together to network and create deeper engagement. Let each partner have a day where they educate everyone in the network. Create workshops and offer to conduct them for your partner’s customers. Develop a day devoted to topics that your partners can present useful information on and have everyone promote the event.
With just a little bit of creativity any organization can tap the awesome power of a partner network as a substantial lead and customer generator.
Image credit: Merelymel13