There are so many approaches to digital marketing today, it’s sometimes difficult to know which route to pick. And while we can’t say that one is necessarily better than another, each one has its distinct benefits, and each one fits a particular need.
So let’s break down three major marketing channels that you may want to use for your business: partnership marketing, content marketing through blogging, and referral marketing.
From startup to major corporation, these three approaches can be used to break through the noise and reach your customers in a way that is not intrusive and genuinely offers them something of use.
Let’s jump in.
Essentially, this is when two or more businesses have goals that align, are not in direct competition, and use this to attract a targeted group of customers. In short, you both benefit.
So partnership marketing is about collaborating with a person or business because they have a relationship with an area of a market that you’re interested in selling to (or where your audience may overlap). This partnership means you can introduce your brand to a new audience and the same goes for your partner.
Partnership marketing has often felt like it has been overlooked, but if you dig around you realise how often companies to work together. It may be called by a different name (joint marketing, co-marketing, merchant marketing, and so on) but it still boils down to the same thing.
It’s about finding a synergy between two businesses and leveraging that. It’s a form of marketing that is a win-win for both parties. Taking advantages of shared resources, using collaboration, can actually help push you ahead of the competition. Your visibility (and even credibility) can shoot up very quickly.
This collaboration may take the form of joint products, or product placement, some type of sponsorship or licensing, the list goes on. But whichever route you choose, it can work just as well for small businesses as it can for giant corporations.
Here are seven great examples (from HubSpot) of well-known companies that have used the power of partnership marketing to great effect:
- GoPro / Red Bull
- Taco Bell / Doritos
- Kanye West / Adidas
- BMW / Louis Vuitton
- Starbucks / Spotify
- Apple / MasterCard
- Uber / Spotify
Content marketing through blogging
Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective, and companies are increasingly looking to other ways to communicate with their current and future customers. Content marketing has become the go-to solution for this problem.
Essentially, it’s a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing engaging, helpful, and regular content that forms a kind of indirect promotion. It builds loyalty and trust, genuinely addresses customer needs/challenges, and means that when it comes time to purchase, the customer remembers you rather than your competitors.
Customers are increasingly annoyed with direct promotion, and it’s getting more difficult to make yourself heard over the noise. Content is a way of relationship building, lead nurturing, that is not intrusive to your audience. The content you produce is in-line with your product or service, helping to solve the same problem that your offering solves.
Content marketing is increasingly used from large corporations down to small startups. It fits all requirements. It can increase sales, save costs and it makes your marketing spend go that much further. A social media campaign is nothing without strong content at its core.
You only have to look at Red Bull that went from a soft drink company to a content company. And while not every business needs to transform itself to that extent, becoming a publisher of useful, engaging content has become increasingly important for businesses across a variety of industries.
Most customers that visit your website are not ready to make a purchase. So by staying in touch with them, without causing annoyance, you are maintaining a relationship that will pay dividends further down the line. The key is to ensure you content is of the highest quality and is genuinely useful. That way you will be remembered when it really matters.
Referral marketing is also known as ‘refer-a-friend’ marketing and unlike the more casual word-of-mouth (which is hard to measure), this is a genuine marketing tactic put in place to encourage, reward and, importantly, track your customer recommendations.
So it’s not simply your existing customers telling their friends about your product or service (although this kind of word-of-mouth is of course valuable). Rather, it’s something that your marketing team is influencing, and then measuring, and then adjusting as needed.
As mentioned in the content marketing section, today we find it increasingly difficult to rise above the noise and reach our target audiences. Customers are inundated with marketing, much of it not relevant to them and much of it seeming to offer them no real value.
So a referral marketing plan can help overcome this challenge.
Let’s look at an example:
Koodo Mobile was looking at a way of bringing in new customers at a lower cost. They created a referral programme that benefited both ‘sides’. In short, if you referred someone, you got a reduction on your current bill; and you signed up through a referral, you got a reduction on your first bill.
This method reduced the customer acquisition cost for Koodo and brought in thousands of new customers over a two-year period. They also tested out increasing the amount of the reward and found further referrals followed.
So by motivating your current customers to advocate for your brand, and offering both them and the person they refer a bonus for doing so, your company is able to boost sales and really measure the effectiveness of your campaign, adjusting it as needed.
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