The first step to developing profitable Joint Ventures is to identify and develop relationships with other business owners who can help you reach your target market.
Business competition has been viewed with a wary eye for far too long. The internet is a big, big place. There really is room for everybody - everybody that knows how to properly market themselves that is.
Who better to partner with but those who are already serving your target market? They have mailing lists subscribers, website visitors, podcast listeners, membership sites members, partners, affiliates and friends who you would love to be introduced to and who better to make the introduction?
Look around the internet marketing world and you'll observe many strategic JV relationships between business owners who would seem to be in direct competition with each other, yet they are cooperating on projects all the time.
Imagine your main competitor emailing his list and inviting them to check out what you have to offer.
It can happen. So here are six easy tips to help you increase your website traffic through joint venturing with a competitor.
1. Co-author a two part article.
Article marketing continues to be an important activity for online business owners. Whether you are crafting articles for distribution or writing them to keep on your own site as exclusive original content, you do need to be writing on a regular basis.
Approach a competitor with an email like this:
I think my web visitors would be pretty interested in your products and I have an idea for us to co-promote our websites. I hope you'll be interested.
Let's come up with a topic to write a two part article about. I'll write part one and publish it on my website and I'll tell readers that they can find part two on your website. You write part two and publish it on your website, letting your readers know that part one can be found on my website.
We both have added some original content to our site and we're sending each other some fresh traffic. Sounds easy enough to me. I have a few ideas for article topics too.
Want to give it a try?
2. Co-author a two part report.
This can be as simple as the article idea only kicking it up a notch by asking for some more cooperation from the partners. You'll work together in creating the report; giving both of you credit and links back to your websites.
The resulting small report can then be given away by both partners on their website. You can even turn it into a viral tool and allow others to freely give it away with the understanding that they cannot remove your author info or links.
Alternatively, if you wish to sell the small report you can jointly purchase a domain and set up a mini site, work on the sales letter together, co-sign it and split the profits. This may be a lot to chew for a young JV relationship - you don't want to start mixing money too soon.
3. Conduct an interview of each other for your lists.
If you both have an area of expertise you can put a twist on a plain old ad swap and take turns interviewing each other email interview style.
You'll send a list of questions to the other person, collect their answers and then share this email interview with your mailing list.
Be sure to ask them questions that lead them into sharing about their products and services but don't make it too promotional in nature. Get them to share some really useful information with your readers.
Now they can do the same for you. This takes the exposure trade to a great new level. Your readers will know that you really respect the person you interviewed why else would you take the time to do it? There's a lot of implied trust that will go a long ways towards encouraging list members to check out what the interviewee has to offer.
You could also crank it up another notch and make it an audio interview and offer the mp3 link for your members to download or create a page where they can listen online and access links to the resources mentioned.
Both of you get valuable content to offer your list with no strings attached and that is a good thing.
4. Give away bonus products
Let's explore some great ideas in this area. The first examples that come to mind are information products. Imagine that you and your potential JV partner are both in the weight loss field. Your competitor is releasing a new ebook about exercise. You can offer her a complimentary free special report bonus to give away with the product that is all about gentle stretching techniques.
Another example would be for physical product sellers. You sell food mixes and your JV partner sells kitchen tools. You can prepare some sample packets and send her a bundle, allowing her to give one away with each order.
In both cases you are giving them something to promote and emphasize on their website in a way that helps them get more sales. And at the same time, you and your products get extra exposure.
Other bonus ideas would include audios, videos, email coaching, etc.
5. Co-operate on an event.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone from your field and found that you love the same topics? Take that synergy and turn it into a Teleseminar or web conference.
In much the same way that you would have cooperated on an article or small report, work out an outline of content together and plan out who will cover what aspects of your topic developing a rough script.
Set a date, arrange for a bridge phone line or web conference room and create some promotional materials.
Both of you will promote the event inviting your friends to do the same of course.
At the event you both get an opportunity to let your expertise shine to each other's followers. Participants will see both of you as having the "know how" they need so you should be sure to include an invitation to subscribe to your respective mailing lists and feel free to make a pitch for a complimentary product.
As always you can add some spice and do a multi-date event, inviting other speakers to join you. With you and your partner at the top of the list as event hosts you're setting yourselves up as leaders in your community.
The options in this arena are wide you can make attendance free or charge for admission. You can sell recordings and transcripts later or give them away to your lists as a gift.
6. Share Affiliate Programs
If you're really serious about finding ways to cooperate and partner with your competition, you have to have something that answers the "What's in it for me?" questions that you'll be getting.
If I'm going to tell my list about you I'd love to get a commission on any sales I send your way. Sure, I may do it even without the financial incentive but we are in business here right?
It definitely sweetens the pot for that first contact as well, when you can tell them that any new customers they refer to you will result in lifetime residual commissions for them.
If you don't have an affiliate program now, what's holding you back? How you can start a co-operation with your competitor?
Give them the spotlight first.
A potential JV will always be a little warmer to someone who has already showed themselves willing to share the love with others particularly them.
Mention them in your newsletter tell your list something you really like about what he/she does or offers.
Blog about their products or services. Mention them in your podcast. If they are like most internet business owners, they'll have Google Alerts or Technorati Tags set up to alert whenever anyone publishes their business name so they'll probably know right away that you've been giving them some buzz. But just in case they aren't aware, don't hesitate to send a short email linking to your mention of them saying something like Just wanted you to know I think you're great.
Ask if they'd be interested.
Like the example I shared above in the article partnering section you simply need to ask the person for what you want.
Give them all of the information they need but don't make the email a mile long.
Be personable. If your email sounds too business like, they may think it's a form letter. Address them by name.
Compliment them. Tell them what you like about what they do and why you are interested in partnering with them. Ask for their suggestions. Be open to their counter offer.
Make it as easy for them to say yes.
You are asking them to act in some way so you can't make it effortless, but you can offer to do any necessary footwork.
When you've successfully partnered on something small and both parties have enjoyed the experience and benefit, you have laid the foundation of a potentially long term fruitful partnership.
Let your partner know that you're open to new ideas and invite them to contact you anytime.
If you truly trust them, let them in on some of your future plans and ask them if they have interest in partnering on one or several of the projects.
When partnerships begin to involve money over the long term, you are delving into a whole new level of trust and accountability. Make sure that you have all of the legal and financial points covered and don't hesitate to seek out the advice of professionals in this area.
There are some great resources out there when you're ready to dig deeper and you have a partner willing to work with you on a big project.