A good business alliance can help you reach out to new customers and generate more leads. In this article, you’ll learn what to look for in a partner, where to look for them, and how to get started on creating a mutually productive relationship.
What is the most common approach for Australian freelancers to find new work?
It’s all about referrals. Leads that originate from people in your network are usually easier to convert into paying customers. You won’t have to spend as much time convincing the lead that your abilities are a good investment because the person who suggested you has probably already convinced them that you’re the real deal.
However, in order to earn references, people must be aware of your company and the services, goods, or skills you provide. This is where collaborations come into play.
The quantity of recommendations you receive will naturally increase if you begin fostering relationships with people who share your target demographic.
What are partnerships, and how do they function?
We’ll go into how to locate and connect with folks who are good partnership candidates later in this post. But first, let’s talk about what partnerships are and how they function.
When it comes to forming relationships, there is a golden rule:
The collaboration has to be advantageous to all parties concerned.
You’re probably thinking about the benefits a partnership could bring to your company. However, you are unlikely to form any partnerships unless you adjust your focus to clearly communicate the value you bring to your partners.
Make the idea of forming a relationship with someone sound as simple and inviting as possible. You should come prepared with general thoughts about how the relationship might function since you’re the one reaching out.
You don’t need a precise, thorough plan when you initially reach out, so don’t come on too strong. Instead, make one or two broad proposals, focusing on the value you can add to their company, and then see how they react. They may return with other suggestions that you hadn’t considered.
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A referral scheme of some form is the most basic type of relationship. You can provide discount codes or referral bonuses (such as $100 for every converted lead the partner sends you), or you can keep it informal. “I adored your portfolio, and my clients frequently ask me if I know anyone with your skills,” say. Is it possible for us to share leads?” Show them what you can do with some examples of your own work, and you’ll soon have an additional referral source to consult.
Collaboration on social media
If you and your possible partner are both active on the same social media networks, you’ve already got some great cooperation chances. Try sharing examples of each other’s work with your own audiences, running a live social event together, or even performing a “social media takeover” where you post on each other’s behalf for a day or week. On a more informal level, you can commit to organically increasing your overall involvement by commenting, liking, and re-sharing each other’s posts.
A blog is used by many small businesses and freelancers to demonstrate their skills and engage with their audience. If you have your own blog, you may propose a mutual guest blogging cooperation, in which one of you writes a blog post for the other and then shares it with your respective audiences. Bonus: This strategy can help boost the search engine optimization of your website.
Email mailing lists
Email lists provide freelancers and small businesses with direct access to their most loyal customers. If your target partner uses email marketing, having your company name appear in one of their emails could be really beneficial. If you have something to give their audience, such as a quality piece of relevant information or a discount code for your services, this technique can work particularly well.
Collaborating on something
If you find a partner with whom you have a lot of fun working, try expanding your collaboration with them. A graphic designer and a web designer, for example, might collaborate to produce a short YouTube course on branding, which they then share with their respective audiences.
What constitutes a successful partnership?
As you can see, there are numerous sorts of partnerships, each of which is distinct from the businesses and persons involved.
But, regardless of the type of collaboration you seek, there are a few traits that all healthy business partnerships share:
- Their target audience is similar to yours. You and the other company must have the same or similar target audiences for cooperation to work. The ultimate goal is to generate leads for each other, which means your ideal customers and clients must share the same desires, needs, and objectives.
- They don’t compete directly. Your chosen partners should provide products and services that complement your own. If they provide the same services or products as you, the relationship will be tough to bring to fruition. Of course, you can partner with firms that are quite similar—for example, an email copywriter and an ebook writer are both writers, but their skill sets are sufficiently different that a relationship could be beneficial.
- They interact with their audience. When looking for partners, pay attention to how they interact with their audience. Are they active on social media? Do they publish a newsletter? Are they well-known in their business or niche? Someone who is more active can introduce you to more people.
- You have some degree of chemistry. If you have a true connection with the individual or people you’re working with, business partnerships will stay longer and be more productive. Your connection with your spouse should be built on mutual respect, and you should enjoy and benefit from your interactions with them.
Where do you look for partnerships?
You should have a solid notion of what types of firms or individuals would be suitable partners based on the criteria above.
The next step is to identify potential partners so that you may begin creating relationships. Below are some of the most effective strategies for accomplishing precisely that—but wait until you’ve read the final section of this article on how to approach people properly before contacting them.
Considering entering into a collaboration?
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Networking (in real life or online)
If you prefer to meet people face to face, networking events can be a great way to meet new people. Networking meetings are returning to some parts of the country, and the Covid epidemic has spawned a slew of digital networking events that serve the same goal.
You can find events in your region using Eventbrite and Meetup, but you can also use Google to extend your search for digital events. Look for webinars, conferences, or meet-ups where you can meet people with whom you can create collaborations. If you’re a freelance wedding photographer, for example, going to a wedding expo in your city can be a wonderful idea. You can identify caterers, wedding planners, and venues that cater to the same demographics as you.
Using social media to find relationships
If traditional networking events aren’t your thing, social media provides many opportunities to meet and network with individuals.
If you’re already using social media sites as part of your marketing plan, you’re probably already connected with some potential partners. If not, you may simply find other people discussing similar issues by searching Googling hashtags or checking who your followers follow.
You may use groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn to identify people who share your target audience. Simply look for groups that are connected to the types of people you want to work with—a freelance accountant, for example, could look for groups that are related to small businesses or financial advisors.
Online forums and subreddits
Many of the most popular forums on the internet are available on Reddit, and they cover a wide range of topics and niches. Thousands of individuals subscribe to channels on that site concerning copywriting, startups, digital marketing… and that’s just scratching the surface. Using Reddit’s search function, you may easily identify groups connected to your interest.
Other online communities can be found on their own websites or in private Slack and Discord channels. By searching for terms like “top graphic design forums” or “slack channels for copywriters,” you can find communities where your potential partners hang out.
How to contact potential partners
How do you approach someone you think might be an excellent addition to your network once you’ve identified them? The goal is to focus on organic connection building rather than jumping in too fast with a demand for a partnership.
If you’ve met someone in person, whether at a networking event or otherwise, you might be able to strike up a natural discussion immediately (if not, collect their contact information later and utilize the approach described below).
When meeting someone online—whether through social media or through people already in your network—you should take the time to show that you’re truly interested in the person you’ve contacted, as well as why your company is valuable.
Here are some pointers for approaching a possible partnership lead, along with examples you may use in your outreach.
Make a direct statement about the value you contribute.
Above all, keep in mind the golden rule: partnerships must benefit both parties. Only approach someone to propose a partnership if you are confident you have something to offer in return. When you first reach out, emphasize the value you can provide. After you’ve established a rapport, you can begin discussing how they might be able to assist you in return.
Do your research first
Before you reach out to someone, take time to get to the heart of their business. By reviewing their social media profiles and business website, you can discover more about who this individual is, what they care about, and what goals they’re striving to achieve.
As you’re investigating them, take note of any social media posts, blogs, case studies, or other pieces of information that resonate with you. You’ll reference these when you contact the party you’re interested in, so they know you’re truly interested in them and their business.
Consider starting the connection on social media
Social media provides you with the opportunity to establish a genuine, engaging discussion without making a cold pitch straight from the bat.
Instead of pinging off an introductory email, consider following the party you’re interested in collaborating with on social media and making intelligent comments on their postings, or re-sharing their content that you find beneficial.
Eventually, this can turn into a really natural dialogue, at which point you can float the notion of forming a partnership.
Be explicit about what you’re proposing
While you don’t want to be overly aggressive in your idea for a collaboration, it’s still necessary to make sure the person you’re reaching out to knows broadly what you are proposing and, if they’re interested, what the next steps are.
It may be best to provide a few different options so that they may choose what best matches their schedule and marketing style. And make sure to leave the door open for their suggestions as well.
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