Branding

Keys to Establishing a Productive Business Partnership

In business, very little is more conducive to growth than a productive, mutually beneficial partnership between two or more organizations. When companies come together to use their resource in an attempt to grow as a team, they can each benefit greatly from the result, making productive partnerships a key part of growing a business and reaching new audiences.

 

How do partnerships work? Essentially, two companies with similar markets approach each other and brainstorm ideas of how they can work together to achieve their goals for growth. This is the idea behind sponsored YouTube videos and affiliate posts on blogs, however it expands much farther than simple sponsored partnerships. Take Etsy for example, who have settled on a deal with West Elm that allows the online craft site’s products to be listed in West Elm’s stores and catalogs. This partnership benefits Etsy and the creators who fill it with content, as it promotes sales in a new market – in this case, products that were previously available only online can now be purchased through catalogs and in-stores, opening up to a large new audience that likely would not have seen the products otherwise. In turn, West Elm gets a portion of the revenue from sales, allowing them to benefit equally from the partnership.

 

While having partnerships is evidently very beneficial, establishing productive partnerships can take more time and effort than one may expect. Not every partnership offer will be mutually beneficial for both companies, however there are a number of guidelines that can be followed in order to ensure that any partnerships sought will allow both entities involved to benefit equally:

 

  • Partner with the right organizations.
  • Personally reach out to potential partners.
  • Devise campaign ideas to pitch to potential partners.
  • Use trusted business practices.

 

The first step of creating a partnership is finding a partner. This is perhaps the most important part of creating a productive partnership, as it will set the tone for any future action taken. Be sure to contact only companies that have products or services that will work well with what you are currently selling. A company selling power tools may not want to partner with a company selling crafts, but working with a landscaping service may be a productive partnerships.

 

It’s also important to only work with companies that have a favorable public opinion – working with a business that has a bad reputation can cause far more harm than good, making it a risk not worth taking. In addition, the company should have had successful partnerships in the past, which will indicate that a future partnership may succeed as well.

 

Once a list of potential partners has been created, it’s necessary to contact them and professional pitch the idea of starting a collaboration together. Reach out using social media or email, and be prepared for any response. Many companies are not interested in a partnership, and others will be hesitant to agree. Be sure to present your ideas clearly, and make it clear that the partnership will be beneficial to both parties. With any luck, a professional presentation will result in a partnership.

 

After a partner has been found, it’s time to generate campaign ideas. This includes the creation of co-marketing ideas that will allow both companies to benefit from the partnership. Create campaign ideas that take advantage of each company’s resources in order to reach a larger audience. If one company has a bustling social media presence, include that as part of the marketing campaign; another idea is to take advantage of combined email lists, and use each other’s email newsletters to cross-promote. The ideas are limitless, and a good co-marketing idea will determine how successful the partnership will be.

 

Finally, the last key to establishing a productive partnership is to optimize marketing strategies. If one campaign seemed to work better than another, focus on the campaign that received positive results, and don’t be afraid to scrap ideas that didn’t pan out. Narrow down which campaigns worked best, and create new ideas as more information has been gathered. Over time, this will optimize partnered campaigns to reach the largest audience and get the best results.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.