By Laura Lake
In business, it's important to align yourself with strategic alliances. For example, this week I received a call in my office of someone seeking marketing advice. "Laura, I have a company that has a small mailing list of approximately 2000 people. This list is broken out into two groups - one being those that have purchased our product and the other are those who have not yet purchased but have interest in a contest that we were running. What can I do with this list?"While the company carries an interesting product, it is only one product. So how can we market to this list? More than likely the people that have purchased the item and they are not in need of an additional one at this time.
Many small businesses are in this same situation they offer one product or perhaps one service and do not the have or time to create new offers - so what do you do with those lists that you've accumulated?
The answer is easier than you think, you find other companies that cater to the same audience that you do, but are not direct competitors. For example, let's say that you are specializing in renting wedding gowns - your list has grown and you get fantastic referral business but how can you drive revenue from past customers. You find another supplier or merchant that is catering to your same target market. Take for example a photographer or catering service. Your list would of interest to them and their list could be of interest to you. Although, timing would be the key factor in this situation.
Let's take a look at another scenario. You specialize in selling art. The artwork that you sell has a specific target market. They are professionals with an income range of $150,000 to $300,000 per year. The pieces you sell are very rare therefore carry a steep price tag. While you continually market to your clients and enjoy repeat business, you'd like some fresh prospects. How about finding an interior decorating that is interested in joint venturing with you. It's a win-win. You both exchange lists and send out a special offering to the interior decorator's clients and she does the same. You could also just create a special offering and split the advertising and marketing costs.
The key is knowing who your target market is. Learn who they are:
- How old are they?
- What is their income range?
- What are their occupations?
- What other interests do they have?
When you've gathered the information above it's time to so some brainstorming. Who else markets to these people? What other businesses around me have the same target market?
Then pick up the phone and get in touch with these companies. Ask them if they would be interested in joint venturing with you and creating a win-win business situation. If they say no, time to move on to the next. There will be some who are not interested - but to be honest you find more that are.