[tweetmeme]Cross-marketing partnerships are a smart and effective way to cut through the saturated online marketplace. They can help you build your network, strengthen your expert credibility and make for wider exposure much faster than you could hope for going it solo. If you’re a forward-thinking entrepreneur, chances are you’re engaging in or thinking of engaging in cross-marketing partnerships. But is finding cross-marketing partners as easy-breezy as it’s made out to be?
In my experience as a Partnership Manager (aka Joint Venture Manager) finding high-integrity, energetically aligned cross-marketing partners is both a delicate and time-consuming process.
There are three types of prospective partners:
- Prospective Partners who Know, Like and Trust You – These people are essentially your professional friends. When you set out to engage in cross-marketing partnerships you undoubtedly have an initial set of potential partners in mind. These are probably people who already know you, like you and trust you. Proposing a win-win partnership to someone who knows you, likes you and trusts you will take little convincing on your part and will be the easiest partnership to initiate.
- Prospective Partners who are Acquainted with You – These are people who you have met or connected with at some point or they may be someone you were introduced to. They could be people on your list or within your social networks. They might recognize you and/or your business. While these people are likely acquainted with you, they do not necessarily know you, like you or trust you. Forging partnerships with this type of prospective partner will take a bit more effort.
- Prospective Partners who Have No Knowledge of You – This is essentially cold-calling. These partners are people who seem to fit your definition of an Ideal Partner. You might have known of them for some time or maybe you found them through an internet search. But regardless of your knowledge of them, they have no knowledge of you or your business. This will undoubtedly be the most difficult partner to secure.
Needless to say, approaching a prospective partner who knows you, likes you and trusts you will be a lot easier and require a lot less time and effort than approaching a prospective partner who has no knowledge of you at all. Given the complex nature of the partnership process it’s probably fair to say that the larger your network is, and the more closely you are in touch with your community, the easier it will be for you to connect with partners.
My advice? Network, network, network! And I don’t mean just “friend” someone on Facebook or trade business cards at a conference. If you want to use cross-marketing as the powerful business-building strategy that it is, you’ve got to get to know people! Take the time to exchange detailed introductions, figure out who you both know, like and trust to create instant connections, and be sure to follow-up. Don’t forget to ask people in your community regularly, how you can support them. I think if you pay attention, you’ll notice that the most successful business owners are those who are constantly engaging with their communities.
Understand that the bigger your network and the more personal relationships you have in place to capitalize on, the easier the process will be. But if you have a limited network and you or your Partnership Manager (aka JV Manager) need to do lots of reaching out and relationship-building, it will definitely take a good deal of time and attention to attract lots of cross-marketing partners. So be sure to engage in partnerships with a good sense of your network and realistic expectations.
About the Author:
Jessica Z, aka “Queen of Collaborations” is the fresh, fun face of partnership! Online business development expert, awesome idea generator, fab marketing guru, and general bringer of fun times, Jessica knows and shares with her community the amazing benefits of collaboration as a primary business growth tool. To learn more about integrating your online marketing and partnership strategies to spark exponential growth, visit http://jessicazsolutions.com. Or come to the next JV Coffeehouse (http://jessicazsolutions.com/the-jv-coffeehouse) where you can learn new cross-marketing strategies, meet potential partners, and have your questions answered by an expert!