How to Leverage Local Partnerships as a Marketing Opportunity
Founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting
If no man is an island, then no business is either. Even if you have the best business plan and top-notch products, you will be limited in your growth and marketing abilities without the support of others around you. Word of mouth marketing is one of the most trustworthy forms of promotion, with 86 percent of consumers trusting messages in this format, according to Referral Candy
But don’t leave it up to your customers to share their love of your brand. Partner with other local businesses so you can drive value for them while do the same for you, helping promote your business, saving you money, and assigning in building your brand recognition in the process.
Use partnerships as a tool to build business post-COVID or simply connect deeper with the businesses around you—a long-term strategy that will pay dividends.
Here’s how you can leverage these valuable local partnerships in your area to grow your business and improve your standing in the community.
Look for Ways to Help Others In Your Community
The first step to forming lucrative local partnerships is to consider what you have to offer to others in your community. What services do you offer that other businesses don’t and how can use what that unique offering to make other businesses or community institutions stronger? Here are a few examples:
- A CPA might offer discounts to entrepreneurs who rent offices in a co-working space to help them get their businesses off the ground. The CPA gets business that will grow over time, the entrepreneurs get affordable financial help, and the co-working space gets to offer an additional perk to renters.
- A restaurant may partner with local schools and nonprofits because to donate funds or food or sponsor events in exchange for advertising.
- A personal trainer might form a partnership with a local dietician.
- A realtor might have partnerships with interior designs and contractors that offer special rates.
The goal is to find key partnerships that lift up others while benefiting your business in the long-run, allowing you to connect, support, and grow. During COVID, the University of Chicago started Partnering for Community Impact to support local residents. UChicago News
“These efforts, which reflect the University’s deep institutional commitment to supporting the vitality and strength of Chicago and the South Side in particular, will provide at least 225,000 meals over the course of the next 10 weeks (a minimum of 3,000 meals per day) to South Side residents through use of the University’s existing infrastructure."
There will also be a donation of "1 million in food through direct funding and philanthropy" along with $1 million in the form of bridge grants to support local small businesses and nonprofits.
This type of partnership—between the University, the city, and its residents—provides support to many while building loyalty and awareness for the University.
Form Partnerships That Support Your Customer
It’s critical to keep your customers at the forefront of all brand partnership decisions; after all, they’re the ones who will be taking advantage of the promotions and deals. Which businesses would your customer be most interested in? Which partnerships would benefit them the most?
For example, Shine Pole and Aerial Fitness, a small business in Hurst, Texas, partnered with a local yoga studio to complement what the studio offered to its members.
explains, "Now members at Shine can access the yoga studio's classes to continue to work on flexibility and strength at Shine and work on mindfulness and breathing through yoga, all with one membership."
Put Values Before Competition
While partnerships shouldn’t take business away from you, they can be used to better serve your clients. Consider the experience of Scott J. Corwin, Attorney and Principal of Scott J. Corwin Law
. He works within a community of lawyers in his area to pair clients with the right attorneys for their needs—even if it means sending a referral outside of his law firm. Corwin explains:
“There is a saying, justice delayed is justice denied. If we are unable to obtain an excellent result to settle a client’s case, I partner with other attorneys who have dedicated their practice to litigation and trial. We work with and partner with these other law firms and lawyers. We share the work and the costs of litigation to achieve the best result for our clients. We put their interest ahead of our own.”
When everyone is connected and gaining value from the partnership, the customers and clients win. What’s more, you build a strong rapport with others in your industry, which likely drives referrals and business in the long-term.
Focus on Holidays and Events
A great time to leverage local partnerships is during holidays and events—when customers are already shopping, eating out, and indulging in spending. While there are many ways to leverage partnerships during this time, consider this simple idea from PayLess ShoeSource and GameStop. NFIB
“GameStop and PayLess ShoeSource partnered up on a cross-promotional campaign. Shoppers at the video game retailer received register coupons for the shoe store, while shoppers at PayLess got discount coupons for GameStop. Because many of the stores' locations are in close proximity, it was a win-win for the retailers.”
Leveraging local partnerships can be as simple as this. Make it easy for customers to move between the two businesses and give them a reason to spend with you and your partner to leverage the full benefits of a marketing partnership.
Leverage Local Partnerships
Local partnerships are similar to leveraging influencer marketing
. Your brand benefits from getting in front of a new audience of people, while the other business gets in front of your audience. With the right local partnerships, you can form strong bonds with other businesses that last for years, while helping others within your community and showing your customer that they’re your priority—a win-win-win.
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