There is one basic rule of marketing. Be all about the connections you build with people. Partnership building is all about connections.
That’s what it’s all about anyways, right? The people!
Partnerships can mean many different things to different people. For some it means brand ambassadors, referral business, products or services to use or ongoing publishing relationships. For others it could mean you meet a dope soul and feel deeply connected to them. You could just want to party with them!
Either road you choose in the partnership path, you should know some basic guidelines on how to build up a good relationship through best marketing practices.
Share their content FIRST
When you’re building a relationship with someone, do you start talking about yourself first or do you ask questions about them? If you’re a person genuinely interested in someone else, the rule of thumb is to show interest.
What’s the best way to show interest in someone else when you don’t really know them yet? Share what they do with the world!
When I respect someone and want to work with them, I’m happy to share their content! I have so many amazing partners that I am honored to work with and share their love just like they share mine.
If you’re building a partnership, it needs to start with trust and respect.
Ask permission to connect
Chivalry is not dead, my friends!
You are a lot more likely to go places with people when you ask permission. There is an art to creating personal relationships and it all starts with courtesy and kindness. #partnershipbuilding #CBCInkedTweet
When you’re sharing their content and lifting them up, that’s a great introduction to an actual connection. When you’re attempting to connect, you can ask them if it’s okay to share or cite their content or even if they would like to be connected with you on social media.
For example, LinkedIn offers a great feature when connecting with someone that allows you to “send a personalized note”. Take advantage of this and make it as personal as possible, people!
Compliment them publicly
Who doesn’t love a compliment? I know I do!
When kicking up a partnership, throw compliments out like it’s your job. I would pick a short list of people you want to partner with and follow them across their social networks.
Practice the art of observing at first, don’t jump the gun and compliment on the first picture you see. We aren’t Joe from Netflix’ YOU, come on now.
Patience, my friend.
Learn their story by seeing their brand voice and tone online. Understand their passion so when the partnership does form, it’s genuine and beneficial for both sides.
I love complimenting other people because it makes me feel good. Doesn’t it?
Actually meet them
Okay, it’s time to be bold! Does this mean you have to put on pants and go out into the real world? Maybe, maybe not!
So often we make these isolated social connections, get excited about what they do and then it falls by the wayside because the online world is so saturated with the next best thing. My advice is this. After you’ve made a special and personal connection with a potential partner, offer a meet up! This can mean you schedule a virtual coffee date, a video call or even a phone call to make 100% sure you vibe well with them.
I have a few ways I do this and tools I use to make it happen. Here are my go-to’s in the virtual meet up space:
- Zoom – free video conferencing
- GoToMeeting – paid video conferencing
- Calendly – free online schedule coordinator
- G-Cal – Google’s calendar
There is nothing worse than following a brand that you thought you loved, only to find out that the person behind the curtain is not who you thought they were.
It may be worth a conversation to find out what kind of people you want to partner up with.
Be transparent with them
This pretty much goes along with everything you should do in business. Be transparent with everyone! But especially with your potential partners.
What does this mean and how transparent should you get here?
The answer varies based on the type of person you are. Some partners like to know your ROI, your goals, your vision, your passion, your struggles…the list could get tedious.
I would advise that you should be as transparent with them as you want them to be with you. If there are struggles and strife right off the bat of a potential partnership, that may be a red flag that they aren’t the one for you. (Same goes for regular relationships, am I right?)
Be open, honest and trusting and good will follow when it comes to #partnerships.Tweet
Offer a Guest Post
As we all know, content is the way to build just about anything. Partnerships are no different!
If you are a skilled blogger (like me, wink wink) you want to offer a free guest post to be hosted on their website. This should be a reciprocal offer as they get benefit from providing one on your website as well. Just not on the same topic with the same keywords, lol.
Offering a guest post is a great way to provide value to their website while allowing mutually beneficial links to other respected brands along with your own. A basic rule of thumb for guest posting is that you should only include one backlink to your domain. It also should be quality content and bring value to their audience, that’s a given.
Here are some guest posting guidelines from Backlinko to check out.
Once the blog post is live, you can then share away on all your social networks so it is maximized for each. A win-win for both partners involved.
Create a Partner page
One of the coolest things you can do for a partners is highlight them on your website. It really is the ultimate compliment.
Creating a partner page may require a little technical expertise if you aren’t website saavy. Not to worry! There are a million people out there that can help, including me.
Adding a landing page on WordPress is fairly simple. After that it’s more about obtaining their logo, brand images, affiliate links and bio context so that you can portray them in the best light.
I have some pretty amazing partners myself.
Another cool addition to the partner’s page is to write a blog post highlighting your origin story of meeting each other. People love an origin story!
Once you have established a quality partnership you want to maintain it, right?
Ever have a friend that you met and thought that you really connected…only to find out that they were horrible at communicating and you lost touch so fast you couldn’t remember the connection in the first place? Yeah, don’t be that friend.
Communication doesn’t have to be annoying! If you wanted to set up a guideline of comms before you kick off a partnership, that is very smart. You can let them know you prefer email, Slack groups, LinkedIn messaging or maybe created a Shared Google Drive folder for a file dump.
Communication should be FUN with your new partner. Like getting together over a cup of joe (or a margarita) and kickin’ it with your pals.
Get legal with it
If you’re in the business of making money (who isn’t) you should probably think about some legal stuff when you’re partnering up.
If you’re a high volume, big enterprise company you probably have a department that handles all these types of documents. But if you’re starting out like most of us out here, you may want to come up with a short, sweet contract between the two parties that states the expectations, protocol and policies of the partnership.
There are a ton of resources for this! You don’t even have to create one from scratch. AND you don’t have to kill trees to have people sign it because it’s 2020 and we have eSign now.
Here are a few resources for getting legal with partnerships:
Send them freebies
Who wants free swag? Secretly, we all do.
There’s nothing better than getting something in the mail other than bills. So if you have something fun that you can send that’s free, go for it! If you don’t have swag, maybe it’s time you think up some fun freebies to send out for just this reason alone.
The beautiful thing about sending out freebies is that the chances of them sharing on social are pretty high even if you don’t ask them to. I know I would!
And when you’re thinking of sending out free swag, don’t forget your girl CBCInked. She loves free stuff!
My partners send me free swag all the time and I LOVE sharing it to the world! Check it out…
CBCInked Wrap Up: Build those partnerships
Creating lasting relationships and fun partnerships is one of my favorite things about being in this bizz.
Check out a few of my fun CBCInked partnerships right here on my About page. If you want to partner up, let’s do it! I am always looking to expand my network and meet cool people.