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Partnership Marketing: How to Build Links & Visibility

Partnership marketing is an often overlooked but proven marketing and SEO tactic. Learn more about it, its benefits, and how to get the most out of it here.

There’s always a new kind of marketing out there attracting attention. It’s common for people to be attracted to shiny new things.

However, they may overlook some of the tried and tested approaches that have worked through the annals of time.

Partnership marketing falls into the latter category.

What is partnership marketing?

Partnership marketing (also known as “co-marketing”) is when you team up with businesses with a similar audience and work together to promote your products or services.

In 2019, Coors Light and National Geographic teamed up to reach 10 million people and increased Coors brand favorability by nearly 7%.

Buffer and Social Chain created a report together in 2019 that gained 17,000 download page visits in just one week – higher than the average for either site.

What’s more, 77% of brands saw partnership marketing as a core part of their marketing strategy when asked in 2019.

This stuff works.

How to Get Started with Partnership Marketing

Ideally, you’ll want to find a business that isn’t a direct competitor but has a similar target audience.

For example, our audience is small travel companies, so partnering with an accountant specializing in the travel industry would make sense.

We come up with marketing approaches together to raise awareness of our brands, but we’re not competing to sell the same thing to them.

Finding these kinds of partners should be as simple as paying more attention to people who are appearing in the same places as you are.

Which other businesses are writing guest content on the industry sites where you write?

Or who is listed as specialist service providers in your networks?

Once you become more aware of this, you’ll likely see a wide range of potential partners staring you in the face!

It’s then a process of narrowing down partners to those who have the same values as you and reaching out to see if they are open to working together.

Once you have a partner or selection of partners in mind, here are some of the things you could do together:

Reciprocal Guest Posts for partnership marketing

A simple, easy way to get SEO benefit from the partnership is to write guest content for the blogs on each of your sites.

You’ll get relevant links that will drive your rankings forward and visibility to the audience that follows your partner’s content, either by reading the blog directly or seeing the links when they share the content on their social media.

Make sure you do keyword research and write a post on your partner’s website that can rank in search engines for your target phrases.

This “barnacle SEO” approach is a great way to maximize the impact of your work – you’ll get visibility for you and your post on that site long into the future via the search results.

Combine that with similar content on your site, and you can start to dominate the search results for that topic.

Partnership marketing tip: mention one another on different websites

If you and your partner are engaging in co-marketing opportunities together, likely, you’ll also do other marketing activity elsewhere.

That being the case, including each other in these efforts is another excellent way of increasing your footprint fast.

If you’re writing a blog post on a third-party site (like this one 😉), mention your partners to get more links for SEO performance and drive your rankings higher, faster.

Your partner/s then does the same, and you exponentially increase how quickly you all get links from a broader set of sites.

Share content on social media as part of your partner marketing strategy.

So you’re both creating content for each other and on third party sites.

Guess what?

Sharing all of that content on your respective social media profiles is another great way to build awareness of your brands.

It will get more eyeballs on the content itself but, if you tag your partner in the updates, it will also drive an increase in followers of your profiles in a direct way.

Incorporate email marketing in your partnership strategy.

Once again, if you’re two savvy marketing companies, you are likely engaged in email marketing of some kind.

You might have existing email lists you don’t engage with, or you might be pros who are contacting your list regularly.

Either way, using this platform to introduce your partner can be extremely useful.

This could be as simple as sharing a piece of the content they’ve produced. Or it could be more directly sales related where you recommend your partner’s services.

Whichever angle you choose, an engaged email list can be one of the most effective places to promote each other.

If you don’t have a list already, I’d highly recommend starting to build one to have in your arsenal when engaging with potential partners.

Co-create an Ebook with partners to benefit both brands.

Creating an ebook together enables you to pool your knowledge as well as your audiences.

And if you create something desirable enough, it can help you both attract a much more comprehensive set of your target market.

It’s essential that the end product’s quality is exceptionally high and carries a strong message for both you and your partner. It’s also important to have a good story behind why you’ve created it together in the first place.

Why is your combination of expertise so effective?

What value is being added by this being a joint effort?

Do it well, and this can be an asset that drives leads long into the future.

Run a webinar with your partners to co-promote.

A webinar is a fantastic way to draw attention to both businesses in the partnership and allow you to bring some personality to the fore with a captive audience.

For it to work well, it’s vital that your partner’s offering aligns with your own and that you can come up with an engaging topic to present to your audience.

It’s also essential to have a call to action at the end of a webinar.

Ideally, you have some form of offer that people can purchase at the end of the event or somewhere you channel them where you can engage further.

Many businesses use this approach to offer a taste of the possible results if you work with them, with details at the end of pricing to work with them or a premium course they offer.

However, be careful with how pushy you are with your offer and ensure you offer real value with your webinar, so you build trust with your audience.

Think about the long game rather than a few quick sales.

Run events with your marketing partners to get in front of one another's audience.

If your location allows, what’s stopping you from taking the webinars offline and setting up a real-life event?

Even if you aren’t from the same place, find a location where a lot of your target market is based and run an event there.

This could be anything from a regular informal meetup to an all-singing, all-dancing industry event that attracts people worldwide.

Do the math. If the number of leads, conversions, and brand recognition you can get from it adds up — why not?

Introduce clients to one another to build out your partnership marketing network.

Here we are. The crème de la crème.

What better reason could there be for partnering with someone who has the same audience than getting direct, trusted recommendations from people your target market already engage?

All marketing is meant to get more leads and sales in the end, but this is one reason why partnership marketing can be so potent.

Not only can partnership marketing help you with longer-term marketing efforts like SEO or building social followings, but it can land clients on your doorstep almost immediately.

Partnership marketing only works if you and your partner are truly aligned and that you both offer a top service that you’re happy to recommend.

But if you find that fit, it can be a game-changer in your business’s growth.

More Resources:

Image Credits

Featured & In-Post Images: Created by author, January 2021

VIP CONTRIBUTOR Tom McLoughlin Director at SEO Travel

Tom Mcloughlin is the founder of SEO Travel, a specialist travel marketing company. A passionate marketer and travel blogger, he ...

Partnership Marketing: How to Build Links & Visibility

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