In order to create a strategic marketing alliance for finding customers, you first need to determine who your customers are. No one’s business is needed by 100% of the population, so you need to figure out the people that need what you have to offer. If you’ve never thought about your business in these terms, then you need to move from a broad, general approach, where you view everyone as your customer; to something more specific, where only a certain number of people want what you are offering. Here’s how you can accomplish this.
One strategy for finding your customer base, is to make a list of customers who own businesses that are compatible to your own, or who belong to organizations whose members would have an interest in what you are offering. For example, if you sell kitty litter, you would not look to reach dog owners. Rather, your customers might include cat owners, as well as those who own businesses which cater to cat owners. Also, cat lover organizations would also be an ideal group of people to whom you can market your product.
Building relationships within your own customer database—reaching potential customers through existing customers—is an effective strategy that produces solid results. As shown in the image above setting dates for regular meetings is vital to strategic partnerships. Working on a strategic collaboration is a highly effective partnership strategy. This strategy is very effective and we have used it quite often. You know what they have to offer just as well as they know your capabilities. While it should not be your only strategy, do not sleep on the potential of utilizing the list of people that know you.
As was hinted at in the prior strategy, there are other ways to create relationships. Attempting to build them outside of your customer base is a possibility, although it will prove to be more difficult to do so. There is a good chance these individuals do not know you, and do not know what you are capable of producing, or even if you will deliver on what you say you will deliver.
Using letters of reference can possibly help you reach these potential customers, as well as being able to cite examples of some of the working business relationships you have with other businesses. If you are able to overcome the challenge of marketing to those who do not know you, and convert them into customers, the potential is tremendous; you can expand your business in ways and into markets that were not open to you previously.
By forging relationships with other entrepreneurs, whose businesses compliment your own, you are able to more quickly and efficiently add their customers to your own list of potential customers. When potential customers receive a recommendation, from another business owner, they are more likely to spend money with you. Whether implicit or explicit, this endorsement carries a great deal more weight than more traditional methods. Bellow are some strategic marketing pointers, necessary to make the most of it for your business.
First is, prospective customers that come to you through strategic marketing alliances are more likely to trust you. They Presumably have a good relationship with the person who referred them. This means they believe they can have the same level of trust with you as they have with that person. Trust is huge; someone is much more likely to spend money with you if they trust you.
Second, aligning yourself with well-established and trusted businesses enables you to take advantage of their positioning. It gives potential customers the impression that you, are putting down roots, and are in it for the long haul. This gives a customer reassurances that you are not simply here to get their money and disappear quickly in the middle of the night. Rather, money spent with you will be well spent.
Third, prospective customers that are introduced to you through a strategic marketing alliance, have cost you a lot less than had you reached them through traditional paid marketing methods. You are more than aware of the fact that, with the average (paid) method, only a small fraction of the people you are marketing to will actually become your customers and spend money with you. Or, to state it another way, you are paying money to reach people that will never become your customers and buy from you.
By contrast, the people that find you through your strategic marketing alliances are much more likely, on average, to become your customers; this is a much better return on your marketing investment.
Take the opportunity to create a list of all of your business customers who have purchased from you, particularly those that you are able to determine have great trust in you. A sure way to figure this out, is to look for those customers that have spent money with you on more than one occasion. These businesses are invaluable in forging alliances that can potentially lead to great relationships with their customers.
If you go to friends and family let them know that if they don’t need what you are selling, you would really appreciate them recommending you to someone they know who could use your products or services.
The alliances you create with businesses or organizations with similarities to your own are your means of creating a solid, viable, trustworthy, and lasting business that can attract customers for years to come. Employing some of these strategies to make that happen are worth the time and effort it will take to put them in place.