InnovateUK: “Partnership marketing can boost your brand, reach and engagement”
ED note: Below is another guest post by our friends at Innovate UK , the UK’s innovation agency – an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.
How Partnership Marketing Can Boost Audience Growth For Your Start-up
Getting your business off the ground isn’t an easy process. In fact, audience building can be a huge drain on your time and finances. Thankfully, there’s a resolution that every start-up can implement. Partnership marketing can give your your brand a boost in reach and engagement. Here’s a little guidance on how your company can implement this to maximum effect.
Target the Right Business
“Look outside your industry for examples of successful partnerships you can replicate.” – Ryan Leighton (CEO, Leightons Group)
Partnership marketing is the act of sourcing and working with a complementary business for mutual gain. The ideal partnership will consist of a company that doesn’t compete with your own. Here’s just a few reasons why you should consider this type of strategy:
- It allows you to reach a wider audience
- It validates your business
- It adds value to your customers
- It allows you to tap into another brand’s values/message
We’ve encountered some great examples of successful partnerships. Red Bull and GoPro has to be one of the most noteworthy of these. Red Bull is renowned for its support and participation in the extreme sports sector. GoPro offers point-of-view cameras regularly used in these events. These companies are a perfect match.
Research Your Target Market
“If you’re operating on a limited budget, partnerships should be the first thing on your marketing to-do list” – Xaver Matt (MD, Netleadz & Angel Investor)
Don’t dive into a partnership without prior planning. You need to ensure you’re pairing up with the right brand. As with everything in business, research is critical. Consider these questions:
- Is the brand’s products/services relevant to your audience?
- Are the brand’s values similar to your own?
- Can you actually offer something in return?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when picking a partner – some of the less obvious options can be the best. Once you know who you want to work with, it’s time to approach them. Networking events, exhibitions or social media are all great for this. Before you approach be sure to follow them online, like their posts and share their content – get your name on their notification feed. Once they’ve taken notice, it’s time to start discussions.
Start With Simple Initiatives
“Simple APIs are a great way to hook new partners and gain instant access to their audiences” – Nick Lyons (CEO, Kaptur Software)
Build the business relationship before you start spending money on a campaign. Again, social media is a great place to start. Try working on joint promotions, a collaborative competition or even content exchange in the early days.
When you begin discussing the partnership, be honest about what your intentions are. If you’re up-front about this, both brands can work together to ensure the objectives are met.
Use Data and Insights
“Partnering with Zoopla increased our audiences tenfold overnight, gaining us vital user data to refine our proposition” – Barry Bridges (CEO, Property Detective)
It’s essential to analyse the performance of any joint campaign. The more understanding you have of the numbers, the more likely you are to be successful. Before anything, you need to settle on which metrics are important to you. It could be reach, social engagement, traffic or conversions. Furthermore, it could be something less easy to analyse like trust or validity. Once you’ve settled on a metric, you can judge whether the campaign is delivering a better return than solo ventures. If you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, an understanding of the analytics will give you the opportunity to ask why.
For more start-up tips, subscribe to Innovate UK’s YouTube channel here.
Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter here.