Part 2 of 2: Promotion and New Markets
In Part 1 of this article, we looked at product sales and development from the perspective of an online strategic alliance.
In this second part, we conclude with how strategic alliances can position your business, help gain more exposure and enter new markets.
Positioning and promotional benefits
13- Position your business
Strategic alliances position businesses in the minds of customers. That is why your choice of strategic alliance partners is critical in securing your desired business image.
Example: If you are associated with a University, people will perceive that your offerings are supported by scientific evidence and academic ethics.
If you are a member of a home-based business association, people will see you as a cottage industry or … one of those professionals who have a great lifestyle!
14- Trade invitations
A special invitation to your customers for visiting your strategic alliance partners’ website or subscribe to their newsletter can increase your customer base and result in extra sales when reciprocated.
Viral marketing, the online word-of-mouth, is more credible and powerful than any expensive banner advertisement.
15- Exchange testimonials
Reciprocal testimonials serve as endorsements of each other’s businesses. It costs nothing but reassures potential customers in regard to your trustworthiness and expertise.
It makes people more receptive to your commercial message.
16- Swap adverts
Partners of a strategic alliance can save on promotional costs by exchanging website adverts from their business.
This a good way to increase traffic to their sites at no cost.
17- Increase search engine visibility
An increased number of inbound links (links towards your website) will boost your search engine ranking.
One of the factors that determines ranking on search page results is link popularity, which is based on the number and quality of inbound links.
Reciprocal links from strategic alliance partners will increase search engine ranking for all concerned.
18- Cross-promote your businesses
Pool financial resources to maximise your promotional efforts.
Example: You could publish an ebook on health topics or projects that recommend the use of products and services from both alliance partners.
If you don’t have the time or the writing skills to produce an ebook, share the cost of hiring a ghost writer.
To increase the readership, give it away for people to post on their website. You may not make money from the publication of the ebook but you will increase your exposure.
19- Increase your database
It takes time to build a valuable database of clients. Tap into your alliance partner’s established list of qualified leads to grow your business quickly.
20- Reach local markets
With people increasingly performing local searches on the web, create alliances with businesses located in different geographical areas.
This way, you reach a global audience of local searchers.
21- Enter closed markets
Gain entry to restricted or closed areas where your target market is congregating.
Example: If you want to reach the members of a professional association to which you don’t meet the criteria, create a strategic alliance with that association.
This type of sponsorship can entitle you to advertising privileges in exchange for your products or services provided free or at discounted price.
22- Protect your market share
Align your business with key players on the web. Combining forces can erect a barrier to competition.
23- Obtain competitive intelligence
Share sensitive information about competitors’ moves to set up appropriate strategies.
24- Share market research
Exchange data collected in your market researches.
When assessing strategic alliance partners, consider these important issues:
- Trustworthiness: check credentials of a potential partner
- Compatibility of ethics and core values
- Language and cultural differences
- Expectations and commitment
- Contribution: present and potential
- Reputation and other affiliations of potential partner
- Products and services: must be complementary and not competitive
- Ability and willingness to share data and knowledge
- Intentions: short or long term
On the web, with just a few emails you can form strategic alliances that will catapult your business into cyberspace.
Strategic alliance? Think collaboration and competitive advantage.