Key partnerships are important components of any business model, including inbound marketing. A key partnership is a symbiotic relationship in business--each partner provides and extracts value to the other partner. In the most ideal symbiotic relationships, the value extraction is at no cost to the other partner. Think about a bird that gets a free meal from cleaning the parasites off an elephant's back--both animals benefit at no cost to the partnership.
Your organization's online marketing strategy can benefit from using specific partnerships in useful ways. Here are three of the most important key partnerships in inbound marketing today.
1. Industry Influencers
It's extremely important to be known, respected and followed by your industry's online influencers. These influencers have earned the right to feel special, since they've built strong followings of their own through years of mastering the daily grind of your industry. Provide these leaders with valuable insights, strategies and news about your organization that you typically don't provide to just anyone on the street. When you provide valuable insight, influencers will use this information for topics on their blogs or news websites. Stories about your organization on these industry-influencing websites can increase your online PR and search relevancy.
2. Strategic Alliances
Forging strategic alliances with other organizations in your industry through co-marketing is another great way to connect with your target demographic. The first step is to identify products or services that are complementary to your business. Choose the top companies in each product or service segment, then reach out to the business development department. Set up co-marketing opportunities like webinars, research projects or other educational collateral. Clients, prospects and followers of both companies will combine into one extremely relevant audience for both organizations.
3. Suppliers and Vendors
It's also important that you view these as strategic partnerships rather than simply buyer/seller relationships. Vendors often perform a task that otherwise may, or has been, done in-house by your team. These vendors can provide an economy of scale for your organization, and can help you identify exactly what you need at any given moment without hiring or firing employees. These vendors in particular should be considered partners, since they are a strategic piece of your business model. Treating vendors like PPC managers and inbound marketers like partners will create a stronger bond between your organizations and allow you to obtain more value and attention from them.
Overall, be sure to maintain and truly value these partnerships. Never take on more partnerships than you can realistically manage. Remember to always provide as much value to the partnership as possible, as this will be directly proportional to the value that you will be able to extract in return.