Another side of publicity
When businesses owners think of the word publicity or public relations, they tend to think only of publicity achieved through exposure in the various forms of media, including radio, TV and newspapers. But in fact, publicity is far wider reaching and includes online publications, blogging, deals and offers, social media, word of mouth, newsletters to your database, networking and many other aspects – basically anything that puts you out there providing useful news and information on your industry or area of expertise. In other words, it gets you known.
The reality is that nobody can do business with you if they don’t know you exist. Publicity works to solve that problem – it’s the umbrella term that describes all the activity you can do to get yourself and your brand known. Publicity is free (or low cost) because it’s quality information sharing for the benefit of the audience and in turn, builds your brand and gets your business or identity known. It builds expert status.
Introducing “Strategic relationships” and how to form one
In this post, I would like to discuss the concept of forming strategic relationships with related businesses to build awareness for your brand. The great thing about forming mutually beneficial alliances with other businesses is that they allow you to share costs and time, and give you access to a greater (shared) audience.
The first step to creating a successful strategic alliance is to choose a business that has a similar client base as you, but are not a competitor to your business. So, for example, that may be a mortgage broker if you are a real estate agent. Then, how you move forward is completely dependent upon your shared resources and individual objectives. Here are some ideas:
- Pool your resources to create a competition or event – because it is both of you now, there will be greater incentive for your shared audiences to take part.
- Contribute to one another’s blogs or newsletters as a guest author. This will give you access to each other’s audience too for wider reaching results.
- Consider whether their products or services are directly complementary to your own. Then you may offer a discount or two-for-one offer for each purchase of the “package.”
- How else can you help one another from a practical point of view, for example, can you offer personnel, machinery or shortage space in return for something else your business does not have?
- Advertising campaigns and direct mail-outs will cost less if you both take part.
Are competitors really competition?
I wanted to make a note here about competitors. Don’t necessarily overlook competitors in your strategic alliance considerations. They could be your greatest source of business! This is why. You may have a competing business that specialises in a slightly different field in the same industry, or appeals to a slightly different clientele. The difference might be the age group or their price point might differ. This is another reason to be entirely clear on your niche before you set out in business. Even if your competitor offers exactly the same product or service, it may be worthwhile considering an informal referral agreement, if one or the other of you is not able to service a client for one reason or another (i.e. not having the physical capacity).
Read more at sbh.hotfrog.com.au
Be creative in your strategic alliances and open to all possibilities. You never know where these relationships might lead.