Give Your Startup a Boost with Partnership Marketing

Life as a startup can be riddled with pains and demoralising processes. Audience building can be one of these. Unfortunately, it’s an essential part of any business’ marketing activities. Audience growth costs time and money – often delivering an underwhelming result. Thankfully, there’s a secret weapon to boosting your brand’s reach exponentially. Partnership marketing could be the answer. These tips from Innovate UK will help you utilise this strategy.

What is Partnership Marketing?

Partnership marketing: A smart collaboration of two or more organizations with the intent to develop a mid-term or long-term marketing program designed to meet each of their respective business goals. ~Source: SearchEnginePeople

partnership marketing for startups

Target Established Businesses

Partnership marketing is when two companies opt to work together for advertising and promotional purposes. These collaborations are usually from brands with the same target customer and are therefore mutually beneficial.

There are plenty of reasons why brands work together like this, here are a few of the most common:

  • Boosting audience reach
  • Adding value to customer experience
  • Enhance perception

A perfect example of partnership marketing in practice is Red Bull and GoPro’s collaboration. Red Bull is recognised for their support of extreme sports while GoPro offers point-of-view imagery for these events. It’s a perfect complementary team-up.

Research Your Market

You need to partner with an appropriate brand. To get this right, you need to research the market. It’s worth taking a look at your target consumer and contemplating their buying habits. When you come across a company that you’d be interested in partnering with, consider the following:

  • Is the brand and their product/services relevant?
  • Does the brand hold the same values and approach to ethics as you?
  • How would the partnership benefit you?
  • How would the partnership benefit them?
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Once you’ve found the right company for you, it’s time to start your approach. Don’t rush this. Realistically, you’ve only got one chance. Make a plan of action for this. Look for ways to build rapport with the brand. Usually, the most effective option is social media. Follow the business, like their posts and share their content. Comment on their activity and engage in a few topic-based discussions. When they’re used to seeing your name on their notification feed, it’s time to open lines of communication. Direct messages or emails are the best route for this – just don’t sound ‘salesy’.

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself

A partnership may look amazing on paper, this doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily perform well in reality. Never start things off with a big money marketing campaign. Social media is a great option for testing the waters. Joint promotions, shared competitions or even a content exchange are ideal. These require little investment and will help you gauge performance.

When discussing how to approach your partnership, it’s important to be honest about your intentions. Tell the brand what you’re looking to get out of any team-up. Whether it’s trust, visibility or access to a younger audience. If you’re upfront, there’s more chance to help each other.

Analyse the Data

It’s crucial to analyse the performance of your partnership marketing strategy. To do this, you must first look at which metrics are important to you. What will make the campaign successful? It could be social media engagement, traffic or even conversions. Once you’ve settled on this, you can begin analysis. Compare the return from your partnership to previous solo campaigns. An understanding of the data will not only help boost current performance but also place you in a powerful position for future marketing strategies.

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Additionally, you can follow @InnovateUK on Twitter or on Youtube.

This is a guest post by our friends from InnovateUK. If you also want to contribute, please contact us.

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