Team up with other professionals.
Building strategic alliances by teaming up with other professionals, not in direct competition with your salon, are probably the most overlooked form of offline marketing and, yet, they’re one of the most meaningful. Two heads are better than one and, in many cases, two businesses are better than one–especially when they combine resources or share expertise.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s simply a way of thinking about your current relationships in a different way and looking to the outside to form new relationships. Open your eyes to all different kinds of possible alliances, including wedding dressmakers, photographers, beauticians, jewelry stores, make-up artists etc.
There is a host of benefits to these types of relationships, including:
- Expanding your customer base.
- Utilizing a partner’s expertise in a given area.
- Having a trusted advisor.
- Capitalizing on another business’s size or prestige.
Where to start you ask? Think of finding a common interest in a business in your area. Some of the most popular alliances are demographic or geographic relationships. The key here is to ask, “Is there a business with a product or service that overlaps with my target audience and that I can partner with for a win/win scenario?”
Companies in the wedding business are particularly adept at demographic alliances. These businesses regularly host expos be it big or small, where engaged couples can meet local florists, photographers, wedding location coordinators, and wedding planners. In this scenario, by acting as a one-stop shop for couples, every business wins. If you can form an alliance with businesses in an agreement like this already, you can have a host of businesses that can refer clients to you and you can do the same with your existing customers.
The key to success with team-ups is making the alliances work It may seem intimidating at first, but it’s not all that difficult to form alliances. Think of it as networking with a purpose. First, look for a common customer based or audience. Once you’ve identified a business that fits the bill, open a line of communication. Then, answer the following questions about your potential partner:
- What can we package together to save money? (it might be doing a joint advertisement and sharing the cost)
- How can we work together to expand our reach?
- What resources can we offer one another?
- How is this a win-win for both parties?
That last question is the most important. There must be a win-win situation in order for an alliance to work.
Whether through a formal contract or a gentleman’s handshake, alliances can take many different forms. The best alliances are completely voluntary, open-ended relationships that either party can leave at any time. Consider the following methods of collaboration, with varied strategic benefits:
- Advertising together.
- Sharing marketing efforts.
- Co-branding promotional products.
- Offering referrals.
- Redirecting business to each other’s Websites or Social Media sites
- Forming “preferred supplier” relationships. (this is a good idea if you can team up with someone that purchases from the same supplier as you do and you can see if by pooling your spend you qualify for perks like free delivery or a discount)
- Sharing information and advice or expertise.
As mentioned it might be hard or take some time to set these alliances up but they can go a long way to your brand awareness and client referral when done properly.