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The holidays are all about making spirits merry and bright and in the small business community, this often translates to collaborating together on seasonal partnerships. If you’ve never approached a fellow business before with this idea, you might wonder how the two of you can really pull it off.
After all, the holiday season has a fairly limited time frame. How can you work together to make the partnership cohesive and valuable for everyone involved while still bringing in enough revenue?
Here’s a look at some of our tried and true tips for making the most out of seasonal partnerships that benefit one and all for the long haul:
First, work alongside a business you trust in a similar market
When approaching a business for a seasonal partnership, take a moment to evaluate its brand and how its mission aligns with your company. Do your offerings complement one another? Do you share similar values? If you find during the vetting process that their business doesn’t see eye to eye with yours, don’t move forward with the partnership. Instead, partner with a company that will complement your brand.
You can find partners that are talking with people in similar markets, like small business owners and franchises, and establishing strong contacts there. If they have a similar customer base, then it’s a win-win for you to create well-executed promotions that do more than just expand your audience reach. They also allow both businesses to stand out from the holiday competition in an authentic manner that attracts new customers to your brand.
Outline expectations clearly from the beginning
In some cases, it’s helpful to set up a holiday partnership agreement between both parties similarly structured to a business partnership agreement. Here, you can outline in-depth more information about the responsibilities each business shares in the partnership and an exit strategy plan for when the holidays end.
If you don’t think this kind of agreement is necessary for a seasonal partnership, think again. Patrick Hull, contributor for Forbes, writes that your partnership needs records and documents that clearly outline the goals and expectations of the businesses working together. One major part of those expectations includes strong communication, so everyone remains on the same page and there’s no miscommunication (or worse, that the partnership gets forgotten about all together in the midst of holiday pandemonium). Hull also adds how important it is to consider how the partnership will benefit your customer base and how the agreement will be mutually beneficial for both businesses.
Create a special fusion product or service offering together
Now that you’ve determined the right business to partner with and know what the goals of the holiday promotion are, it’s time to get your offering out there! The best way to do this in a seasonal partnership is by making a fusion product or service. The fusion combines elements of what each business does best into one special value that each business couldn’t offer alone. Not only does the fusion attract more visibility and foot traffic to your brand, it also serves a purpose for consumers. These products or services are typically created to make lives easier with added convenience during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. You can also share news about the fusion through social media platforms, which ties in with our next point below.
Cross-promote with content and social media
Kick off your social media cross-promotion strategy by putting your fusion product or service in the spotlight! As with all aspects of a seasonal partnership, cross-promoting via social allows your business to double its reach. You don’t have to focus entirely on the fusion promo when promoting visual content on one another’s platforms, either. Consider hosting an Instagram takeover or Twitter chat, creating videos for YouTube or Instagram Stories, or holding a giveaway that gives followers a chance to win by using personalized hashtags.
If your business doesn’t have a physical fusion product or service to offer, you still have plenty of content cross-promotion options available. Offer to cross-blog on one another’s accounts with guest posts or vlogs that include tips or actionable insight to interest their readers or include a listicle that highlights each business and its offerings in an e-newsletter.
Keep the partnership going strong after the holidays
If you found your seasonal partnership was a hit with your customers and fans, why not keep it going into the New Year and beyond? Look into offering more fusion products, discounts and contest opportunities, and social media promotions to keep customers interested and engaged in what you’re doing. You don’t have to stop at one partnership, either. Now that you know how to approach a potential partner, establish goals and offerings, implement a strategy and measure the success of its results, you can work on creating more creative partnerships with companies and brands that provide both businesses the win-win they need to make a splash in their industry.