5 Partner Marketing Strategies for Attracting Better Clients

Copyright © 2009 Meredith Liepelt

(The article below provides the most effective small business marketing ideas available. Ms. Liepelt is brilliant. I too have used these strategies to build large, profitable businesses. Read the entire article. It’s worth gold to owners of small business who need marketing ideas that can make them real money without costing anything.These are the efforts you should be pursuing in recessionary times.)

Partnership Marketing means joining forces with another business for a mutually beneficial outcome. The outcome can be to build your list, to sell a product or service or to increase awareness of your business. Because there is a mutually beneficial outcome, it is critical to very carefully select partners that share your target market and offer a complimentary service. Many businesses share the same kinds of customers and clients and can greatly benefit by combining their efforts into one synergistic move versus each of them performing their marketing alone. There are many kinds of partnerships. This article will cover five of them.

Joint Venture (JV) Partners

A JV is when you and another business develop a program or service that did not exist before, market it together and share the financial outcome.

For example, I co-created a program called the Business Breakthrough Series™. Diana Long, a success coach, and I joined forces to co-create a 12-part teleseminar series that teaches solopreneurs and small business owners specific marketing tactics to increase their businesses. This program did not exist before. Together we designed the program, we created and implemented the marketing plan and we share the expenses and profits. There are many reasons to JV with others. You get to share the work, you get the benefit of promoting it to both of your lists which increases participation, you get to solve your target market’s problems in a new way.

Let me get you thinking:

* Are you a financial planner who works with divorced women? Create a teleseminar with a divorce attorney that covers your top tips.

* Are you a real estate agent? Create a workshop with a loan officer or mortgage broker that meets the needs of prospective first time home buyers.

Affiliate Partners

Affiliate Partnerships work in two ways. You promote another business’s products and/or they promote your products. There is a monetary exchange in the form of a percentage of the sale or a flat fee. The goal in this kind of partnership is to sell a product or service.

I’ll use the Business Breakthrough Series again as an example. We partnered with several other businesses who share our target market, and they told their lists about the program. When someone from their list joined the Business Breakthrough Series, the partner received a percentage of the sale. It was easy money for them, they got to serve their clients in a new way and Diana and I got to benefit by being exposed to other people in our target market who didn’t know of us before. It’s a win/win/win! My favorite!

Let me get you thinking:

* Do you own a spa? How about becoming an affiliate for a local fitness facility? You both share the goal of helping others look and feel great!

* Are you a life coach? How about being an affiliate for a meditation coach? You both share the goal of helping other become self aware, reducing stress and so forth.

General Partners

Referral sources, list builders and general promotions fall into this category.

There are many people, your clients most of all, who are thrilled to give you referrals without compensation. However, if you have a formal referral program in place, your referrals are likely to increase dramatically.

I know of an energy healer who asked all of her clients for referrals and incented them with a free energy session for each new paying client. With this one strategy, she filled her practice in less than 2 months and had a waiting list!

Using partners to help you build your list can be very beneficial. This is a strategy that works well for online marketers, but also for brick and mortar shops as well. For example, when someone signs up for ezine, you can offer the ezines of your general partners that they may be interested in. In exchange, your partners offer your ezine as well.

General promotion can work very well too. For example, if you own a pizza store, you can promote the neighborhood child play/party center. In return, the party center can recommend or require the pizza place for meals for kids parties.

Let me get you thinking:

* A Feng Shui consultant can partner with a spa, massage therapist, energy healer, life coach, nutritionist

* A wedding consultant can partner with a flower shop, caterer, bed and breakfast, stationary store

* A flower shop can partner with a garden center, stores in your area

* A small business attorney can partner with a branding agency, web site developer, marketing coach

Formal business partnerships

This gets into legal territory and because I’m not an attorney, I’ll leave this one to the professionals! But formally going into business with another person requires much more than a handshake. There are many reasons to do this and you should be crystal clear on your reasons prior to entering into this long-term partnership.

Let me get you thinking:

If you are interested in going into business with another person, ask these questions of yourself and your potential partner:

1. Why do you want a partner?

2. Why do you want me as a partner?

3. What strengths will you bring to this business?

4. What strengths do you think I am bringing to this business?

5. What is your vision for this business?


This is where you get to think big! Are you an author or aspiring author? Did you know that you can get a sponsor to finance your book tour? Are you a motivational speaker? There are businesses out there that would love to sponsor your work.

The key to finding sponsorships is to find businesses who want to reach your target market. There are big players such as Hewlett Packard or Microsoft who promote women in business. If you are a woman and speak on a topic that is of interest to these companies, they may be interested in sponsoring you. As you can imagine, it takes some time to cultivate relationships with these big players, so don’t start down this path at the 11th hour. And also don’t forget that there are probably local businesses who may be interested in sponsoring your work locally! You’ll probably get less money, but if you don’t want to travel anyway, or you are just getting your feet wet with sponsorships, don’t forget to look in your own backyard.

Let me get you thinking:

* Are you a fashion consultant who just wrote a book? Partner with a local clothing boutique who can sponsor your local book tour.

* Are you an etiquette consultant? A regional restaurateur may be interested in sponsoring your regional workshops.

As you can see, there are many creative ways to use partnership marketing to creatively attract more ideal clients to your business. It starts with brainstorming ideas and them putting the best ideas into action! Start your brainstorming today and see what you can come up with!

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