In this article, I will briefly outline one of my top favourite marketing strategies ever – forming a strategic alliance or joint venture (JV). A strategic alliance is basically a collaboration between two or more businesses to help each other grow and attract more clients.This is how it works: You choose a business you’d like to partner with, offer free extra value to their clients, make your joint venture partner look great and in return you get exposure for your business. Pretty simple, hey?
Pretty much any business can form a strategic alliance, you just need to think outside the box a little bit.
Here are some practical examples of successful strategic alliances:
A chiropractor Natalie teamed up with the owner of a children’s play centre. Natalie offers free health checks for busy mums and their kids at the play centre. A lot of the mums love her service and book in for more sessions at her practice. The play centre is considered one of the best places for mums and kids to hang out due to partnering with people like Natalie and offering amazing bonus services for free.
A jeweller, Kurt partnered with a hairdresser around the corner from his shop. Each client at the hairdressers is invited to enter a competition to win beautiful earrings valued at $800. All they have to do is leave their details. While they are getting their hair done (for hours!), they can flick through the jeweller’s magazine with some fabulous images and special deals that whet their appetite! Very clever!
Susie, a coffee shop owner partnered with the local newsagent offering their customers a free coffee for any purchase over $20 at the newsagency. The newsagent got to increase his average sales instantly and Susie picked up new regular customers because she makes the best coffee in town. Plus the people that come in to grab a coffee often brought a friend.
Here are a few things to look out for when forming a joint venture:
- Select the right JV partner: Identify businesses that have the same target market as you do (and preferably have a good database or access to their clients) but are non competitive.
- Offer massive value to your JV partners’ clients: Before you approach a potential partner, think about how you can add extra value to their clients by giving them something for free. Do not approach anyone without any suggestions! You want to make it as easy as possible for them or they won’t be interested. Your aim is to make your JV partner look good in front of his or her clients.
- Ask them: Ok, now that you’ve selected your strategic alliance partner/s and thought about what to offer, you need to ask them if they are keen to collaborate.
- If you already know them, it’s a bit easier, just give them a call and explain your idea. A face-to-face or phone meeting always helps to get them interested.
- Give your strategic alliance partners a trial or sample: If your potential partner doesn’t know your products or services, offer them a sample or trial. After all it’s hard to recommend something they don’t know.
- Organise all the marketing materials needed: Once you’ve got an agreement with your JV partner, prepare everything that’s needed for the campaign. Don’t wait for them to put together a letter or flyer to promote your offer. Depending on your campaign you might need a flyer or voucher for their clients, email copy or a letter to announce the bonuses etc.
- Look after your new clients: When working with your new clients, make sure you deliver the best product or service possible, don’t do a half-job just because it’s free otherwise you don’t have to do a joint venture at all! The purpose of this is to over-deliver and impress new clients so they come back for more and tell their friends and family about you.
Be creative, the sky really is the limit!