The spirit of giving is, at its heart, the joy of giving — seeing the recipient enjoy our gift, giving to make the world a better place, that warm feeling that comes from wrapping a gift carefully and thoughtfully as we picture the recipient opening it up.
We can get this same joy from collaboration: when we match up a client with a resource we know will be a great fit for them; when we mentor someone in our field who is just starting out where we were years ago; or when we send business in the direction of a fabulous colleague.
Collaboration can mean making allies out of your competitors, but it can also mean working with non-competitors in a mutually beneficial manner.
Collaboration may not be a trade of like for like. For instance, I have a wonderful working relationship with another local marketer whose niche is very different than mine. I am thrilled to send my clients to her when my services don’t suit their needs, because I know that they will be served well and be happy with the results (there’s that spirit of giving again!). However, it doesn’t make sense for her to send clients to me. So what do I get in return? She mentors me on business matters. This is very valuable to me and I have been inspired and informed by her countless times.
Similarly, you may be a resource or a sounding board to another entrepreneur who in turn promotes your business or features your guest posts on their blog, opening up their following to you as an audience.
Think of businesses that are similar to yours but not direct competitors; businesses that are completely different but serve the same market; and entrepreneurs whom you look up to or who you would like to mentor yourself. Here are some ideas what you might wish to give as part of a collaboration:
- Refer your clients to a business that offers complimentary services to yours. This helps both the other business, and your clients!
- Offer a discount on your complimentary services to the clients of your business ally. This is a win-win!
- Offer to mentor an entrepreneur who is just starting out.
- Recommend the business on social media. Analysis of social media users has shown that when a trusted brand offers a recommendation, users are more likely to follow links and make purchases than when they come across advertising done by the business itself!
Of course, you receive the added benefit of your collaborator’s support. Through this give and take, expect to build a relationship that you both draw on for business growth and inspiration.
For more ideas on how to build collaboration into your digital marketing, give me a call!