Co-Marketing: How To Grow Your Business With Local Partnerships

Summer is coming to an end, and the holiday season will be here before we know it. As the weather cools down, retail will start picking up  again and stores will get busier each day. Partnerships are a win-win way for all companies involved to grow their businesses by expanding customer reach, and building customer loyalty. This is commonly referred to as co-marketing, and it is used in businesses both big, and small. The benefit that you have as a local business is that you are surrounded by other local businesses to partner with!

Here are some tips, tricks, and steps to help you create a successful local partnership:

Identify Partners 

Look both within your industry, and outside of it. Partner with businesses that have the same type of customer, but not the same services or products as you. Within the pet industry, try partnering with local dog walkers, pet sitters, shelters or groomers. For partners outside of the pet industry, it will help to identify your customer base as a whole, and look at their age, gender, careers, and interests. Once you identify who your customers are, and most importantly, where they spend their time and money, you’ll be able to identify businesses that can be successful partners.

  • If you are a pet retailer who doesn’t offer grooming services, try partnering up with a local groomer.
  • If you are a pet retailer with millennial customers, partner up with a popular local coffee shop, clothing boutique, or fitness class company. 
  • If you are a pet retailer in an urban location, partner with a popular outdoor or rooftop bar, popular local influencer, or local delivery service.
  • If you are a pet retailer in a suburban location, try partnering up with a local hair salon, religious institution, or bakery.
  • If you are a pet retailer in a rural area, partner up with a local farmers market.

These are just some examples of unique partnership ideas, and the possibilities are endless!

Align On Goals

Work with your partner to create a mutually beneficial campaign plan. Make sure to align on each business’ goals for the campaign, and work on creating a long-term relationship.

Some examples of partnership goals might be:

  • Gaining social media followers
  • Boosting sales
  • Exposure to new customers
  • Driving consumers in-store
  • Driving consumers to your website

Once you build a partnership plan and align on goals, it’s time to start thinking about your campaign concept.

Create A Campaign Concept

Consumers are drawn to partnerships that help them discover and build trust in new businesses, so the more creative the partnership, the better. Partnerships that involve discounts to each other’s stores, or giveaways and contests are successful because they directly benefit and excite the consumer, which will drive campaign success.

Some examples of campaign concepts are:

Social Media

  • Hold a giveaway on social media. Create contest rules that benefit both businesses. For example: “We’ve teamed up with (partner business) for a giveaway! Enter to win (prize: should be something from each business) by following both of our accounts, liking both of our giveaway posts, and tagging 3 friends in the comments!”
  • Cross-promote each other’s business on social media by giving shoutouts, account take-overs, and co-producing content.

Events

  • Co-hosting events will bring in customers and let them first hand experience and get familiar with both your business, and your partner’s business. There are so many ways you can do this, and with experiential marketing, creativity is key! Using a play on words for your event name to entice customers is a great start. If you’re partnering with a local bar, try a name like “Tails & Ales” or “Hops & Hounds”. If you’re partnering with a local charity, try a name like “Paws For A Cause”.

In-Store Cross-Promotion

  • Place flyers or business cards at each other’s stores for exposure.
  • Give customers a discount coupon for your partner’s store when they make a purchase at your store, and vice versa. 

Co-Sponsor A Good Cause

  • Team up and raise money together for a good cause. This can be especially successful around the holiday season when consumers are looking to give back.

Get creative with your campaigns, and even try combining two or more concept ideas! For example, host a giveaway on social media and also cross-promote each other’s businesses in-store, or hold an event that also helps raise money for a good cause.

After following through with your campaign, work with your partner to come up with long-term co-marketing goals and new campaign ideas to keep your customers engaged. 




By Kelly Thomas