How to Collaborate For Business Growth (With Power)
On a recent episode of Through the Marketing Lens, I spoke about something that is very near and dear to my heart, and that is collaborating with other businesses with power. What the heck do I mean by that? I'm going to get into it.
I see a bunch of collaborations and it’s amazing how many businesses are really coming together and finding partners in it. But I want you to do it in a way that actually grows your business. We're not just like showing up on Instagram Lives together without a purpose. Although it's great to show up on any Instagram Live, it's so much more powerful if you show up on that Instagram Live with a plan and a strategy behind it, and you know you're going to be reaching your ideal audience.
How do you actually decide who it is you want to collaborate with?
Before you're sending out any kind of DMs, before you're asking people to join you and take over your blog or whatever it is, I want you to think about five different types of businesses that are not the same as yours. So, if you are a jewelry company, I don't want you thinking of another jewelry company. I want you thinking of another complimentary business that serves the same clientele.
Let's say that you make trendy jewelry, and you serve a hip younger woman. So, who else, what other businesses, serve this specific clientele? Cool clothing, boutique yoga studios, hair stylists, juice bars, handbag lines, any kind of health food place, clothing lines, you get the idea. So, those are complementary to what you do. They do not compete with what you do. So now that we have five or more types of businesses that have the same ideal clients. Now we can dive into that next step.
What does that look like?
I want you to outline what your specific goals are for your collaboration. What I mean by that is, are you promoting something in particular? Maybe you're launching a new course. Maybe you have a mini course. Maybe you have an e-book that you want people to opt-in for. You want to make sure that you know what it is and you're not getting asked questions like, ‘Oh, do you have anything that you want to share with people who are watching this Instagram Live’ and you're kind of fumbling around. You always want to have an end game and know where you want people to go. Are you there for follower growth, are you just trying to get more people on Instagram to follow you, or are you trying to get people onto your email list? Think about those things. And make sure you're able to communicate your intention, so that you can actually execute it.
This really might mean that you write out like a kind of scripts for both of your parts. I've totally done that before, where I have been on like a semi-TV show, and it was absolutely a real conversation, but our parts were “scripted” because I knew where she was going, and she knew where I was going. So be prepared to share what your intentions are with each other and the script feels appropriate especially if it's one of your first ones.
Think about what you both want to get out of it.
I want to always make sure when going into any kind of collaboration, I ask the question, ‘What do you want to get out of this?’ Because although you're communicating what you want to get, you want to make sure that they're comfortable with this too. That's how you both shine when you're in these collaborations; if you're really supporting each other through the entire process and the way that I find that to be the most effective is by being ready to show up for your client, but also being ready to show up for the person who you're collaborating with so that they feel supported through the entire process, and they can shine. It just helps the whole thing; you know that feeling when you see people really vibing together? That's what I want you to create so people are super engrossed with what you're saying and they don't tune out.
Another point is that you might reach out to someone and ask them to collaborate, and they might not really get what it is you're trying to do, or they might just have a totally different idea than you do - be okay with saying no. The way that I make sure that I'm okay with saying no to any of my clients who are collaborating is by having a pipeline. Collaborations becomes pretty easy once you outline a couple of them, and just making sure you always have some in your pipeline so if one of them falls through, no big deal, right? It shouldn't be the only way that your business is going to grow, this is just part of your whole marketing strategy.
So, make sure that you feel comfortable with saying no, and realizing that not everybody's going to be a good fit. There's no way and you can try to fit a square peg into a round hole. It always kind of feels wrong. I've done it myself; I've seen clients do it, and you feel like it's going to go well and then things just kind of go off the rails. You just have to trust your gut and be okay with walking away.
If it doesn't feel right, press pause.
Even if you're in the middle of the whole process, even if you've built up this whole script, be okay with saying ‘you know what, maybe it'd be better if we did something not on video,’ or ‘hey maybe we should just blog swap instead.’ You don't want to do that as a normal protocol but if something feels off, it's going to feel off to your audience too, and especially if you're showing up on social media.
It's really important that we understand that we're talking to people. So, if you're expecting people to trust you, which is the whole point of marketing right. If we want to establish that know like and trust which is what we're trying to do, over and over. You have to show up in your best way constantly, and if it doesn't feel like your best way, just pick a different route, and just let's just simplify this. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it.
Here's a few ideas of ways that you can collaborate:
Instagram Lives: In the Instagram Live you can both interview each other
Facebook Live: Can be done in each other's groups, if you have Facebook groups where you do some kind of teaching, and you add value in their group, and they add value in your group.
Interview each other on video: You can do it over zoom and put those videos up on YouTube and then you share them in email form, you can share those videos on a different platform like Facebook Live.
Moderate a Clubhouse room together: Obviously, that's a big thing if you're on clubhouse right now. It's a really simple way for you to have to do it, there's no editing or anything it's just in real time.
You could create a freebie or an e-book together and share to each other's audiences with opt-ins to each other's email lists: This one takes a bit more coordination because it's going to be back and forth with creative stuff, but it is something that you can bring back to life several times. I like the things that live long-term. It takes a lot more work, but listen here, you can essentially create those freebies from your Instagram lives, or Clubhouse rooms, or whatever it is you guys did together - taking that content that you created and putting it into a freebie. It's actually really simple and here's the process of how you could do that. So, let's say you guys do live, and now it's recorded, so you or your virtual assistant can watch that and basically take the really valuable points, and then build it into a freebie. That's it. It's just something you have to create so it's one more step. But now it's something that you guys can share, over and over and over.
You can host a giveaway together: This is really simple too. I like this a lot for growth and it's not a ton of value, but you'll be introducing to each other's audiences. You could also offer like if you guys have courses you can offer discount codes to each other's courses. I like to do that specific thing through a live or through a shared blog post
Guest blogging on each other's sites with a ton of value: If you want to go one step further. You can have these blog posts, and if you did, interview on zoom and you recorded it, we put that up on YouTube. And then you share that YouTube link in the blog post and depending on what platform you have for your website. You should just be able to like actually click a YouTube video and you can actually see it. So that's like one extra element, but it's something that's going to live on YouTube too so now you're searchable for it.
You could create a whole new product together: That's something that obviously can take a ton more investment in that person, but you could sell it at a pretty low price point to each other's audiences.
You could host a free webinar together: You're adding a ton of value, and you're not doing it on something like Facebook, so you would get their emails to be able to let them join the webinar.
So, I just gave you 10 different ways that you guys could work together. These are all really good strategies, and you could layer them, as I was explaining, so you don't have to just do one but you can start with one. If it goes really well, go to the next one, and having a game plan and starting small is really effective.
When you go into any kind of collaboration, just like anything else, having a powerful strategy behind it is going to make it worth 10 times what it would if you didn't have a strategy, probably more. Honestly, if you do it really well, it's so incredibly effective. And you're also showing up in a way that that your clients haven't seen. You're constantly getting on stories or getting on Instagram Lives, and your clients always see that. It's not that they don't want to see you, they trust you. But if you're introducing something else that's really valuable, it's just something different. Literally, they can get fatigued from just seeing you, so, give them something else and showing up in a way that's a collaboration, that something else where you're adding different value and so on and so forth.
If you're interested in hearing more and learning how you can get started right now, you should listen to this episode of Through The Marketing Lens podcast, where I go way deeper into this!