Partnerships with complementary business owners in your space can be one of the most effective ways to grow your customer base in a way that benefits everyone.
First, you must choose to view other ecommerce companies within your industry that reach similar customers as potential partners rather than competitors. This mindset shift can unlock an entirely new world of possibilities for mutual growth.
From joint promotions to co-sponsored marketing campaigns, events, content production, social sharing and otherwise, combining resources and forming partnerships with others in your industry can greatly benefit all parties.
Here are three ways to work with other business owners to achieve your ecommerce goals:
Joining forces with other business owners in your space to directly cross-promote your complementary products or services can be effective in many ways.
For example, if your ecommerce store primarily sells running gear, you could partner with a store owner who sells cycling gear and another who targets swimmers to combine efforts and create product bundles or special offers that are perfect for triathletes. Create a mutually agreed upon grouping of product types, and list the same bundle on each of your stores for the same price. Then, promote to your existing customer base. Share the email list of purchasers at the end of the promotional period so that all your partners can continue marketing to the new customer pool over time.
Product bundling of complementary goods can be a win-win for each partner involved. Not only does this create more potential value for your own customers that identify as triathletes and want access to more affordable gear, but you’ll gain exposure to an entirely new audience of physically active customers who are likely to need running gear for the years to come. One of the primary reasons why this tactic can work so well is that the trust your partner’s customers have in their business is transferable to your brand under the umbrella of a joint promotion.
Content Marketing Partnerships
Content marketing has become a must-use strategy for ecommerce brands that want to stay relevant, continue building their brand image and reach new online audiences. With anything from how-to videos to long-form blog posts, up-to-date industry news, opinion pieces, clever storytelling and beautiful imagery, the common theme with great content marketing for ecommerce is that it provides value and excites your audience.
By establishing a content marketing partnership with a related ecommerce store in your space, you’ll be able to get your content, whether that’s blog posts, social images or videos, in front of other established audiences that have a clear interest crossover.
If you’re selling products and tools for graphic designers on your ecommerce store, building a content marketing partnership where you regularly swap blog content and social media posts with a brand that reaches a large audience of designers like Adobe or Behance can significantly increase exposure to your target audience.
Agree on a set number of posts to publish on each other’s blogs, social media channels or to highlight through email newsletters each week, and track whether you see any lift in new followers, subscribers or customers as a result of the partnership.
Finding creative ways to partner with other ecommerce brands in your space can lead to exciting new content for both of you, especially if you’re able to leverage each other’s core competencies and reduce production costs.
Let’s say you primarily sell activewear on your ecommerce store. Forging a content production partnership built around shooting a series of how-to hiking videos with a company that sells camping gear would allow you to co-produce content that highlights both of your product lines. Your activewear store gets exposure for what you need to wear in various hiking climates, and the camping store gets to showcase the gear you’ll need to have a comfortable night’s sleep on your trip.
Before locking in a content production partnership, be sure to have very clear goals, mutually agreed upon deliverables, fair division of responsibilities and well thought out promotion requirements that benefit both parties after the content is produced.
Making the most of your relationships with other business owners in your industry can lead to great results for all parties involved. However, remember that the success of your partnerships depend heavily on choosing ecommerce partners that sell to the same audience as you do and find creative ways to bring them to your store.
About the Author
Ryan Robinson is an entrepreneur and writer for Vistaprint. You can find guidance on strengthening your business through partnerships, along with other marketing tips for your small business, via their Ideas & Advice hub. Ryan also shares business startup advice on his popular blog ryrob.com as well as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.