Marketing is essential for any business, large or small. A solid marketing plan helps you reach and engage your target audience, build relationships, and establish your brand. You have a vast array of strategies to choose from, from traditional tactics like billboards and direct mail to digital methods such as an SEO-optimized website, email, and social media. But have you ever considered co-marketing?

Co-marketing is marketing that involves two or more businesses teaming up for a joint promotional effort. Successful co-marketing partnerships create high-quality content or products that promote both companies. You might co-author a blog post, host a special event, co-host a webinar, or write an e-book together.

By combining your efforts into a joint marketing campaign, all businesses involved can broaden their audience, increase their brand awareness, and boost leads. If you’ve never considered co-marketing before, we’ve got your essential guide to co-marketing to help you get started. 

What Are the Benefits?

When it comes to co-marketing, the goal is for both businesses to benefit from the partnership. When done successfully, all partners involved can reap several benefits, which can include:

  • Build relationships. Along with establishing and building relationships with a new audience, you also get to build relationships with other businesses in your industry. 
  • Learn something new. You get to see how other businesses market, adding tools to your own arsenal. 
  • Fill in skill or resource gaps. Your partners might have different skillsets or a larger budget than your business, so you can essentially “fill in the gaps.” At the same time, you have skills and know-how that your partner doesn’t have. 
  • Cost-effective. Generally speaking, all businesses involved share the costs of a co-marketing effort. 
  • Analyze and compare responses together. You and your partners can work together to see which audience responded the best to your collaboration. Getting a fresh perspective from another business can help you improve your marketing. For best results, track your data using the appropriate software. For instance, if you’re using affiliates or influencers as part of your campaign, affiliate marketing software can help you monitor your progress and see how effective it is. 

Who May Benefit from Using Co-Marketing

Businesses of all sizes in any industry can benefit from co-marketing. For bigger companies, it offers a way to reinforce their brand identity and solidify their standing. For smaller ones, it’s an effective way to boost publicity and reach a larger audience. In some cases, the creation of a brand-new product or service can even help you reach an untapped market. 

No matter your business size, an essential factor for success is that all partners share a similar goal. You may find it beneficial to discuss your mutual goals with a potential partner to ensure they complement one another. If you’re looking to get different things out of your partnership, it’s not going to be a stable or fruitful collaboration.

The Different Types of Co-Marketing Content

The sky’s the limit when it comes to co-marketing content. You and your partner have several options to choose from, and you may choose to employ more than one. Even better, as mentioned above, you can split the costs of your campaign, making it a highly cost-effective solution. Some of the different types of co-marketing content include:

Blog Posts

One easy and low-effort form of co-marketing content is a co-authored blog post. Alternatively, you can create guest posts for each other’s blogs. That allows each of you to provide valuable content to a new audience. In each blog, you can link to each other’s sites, which provides the additional benefit of boosting your search engine optimization. 

Ebooks

Ebooks are a common type of co-marketing content, and it’s easy for you to divide the work. For instance, if your strength is content marketing, you might write the content for the book while your partner takes care of the design and layout aspects. 

Videos

Videos are an alternative to written content. Your audience (including your new audience) can hear your combined message while promoting each of your brands. You can post videos to your website, a joint landing page, or your social media pages. You might even consider going live on Facebook or Instagram, allowing you and your partner to interact with your broader audience in real-time.

Webinars

One way to host a webinar is to find an expert in your industry and arrange for them to speak to your broader audience. You can also have leadership from your companies give talks or comments.

In-Person or Online Events

If you and your co-marketing partner have the budget, you might consider hosting an in-person or virtual event together. While they can be pricier, the benefit is that you can split the costs and the labor with your partner. Each of you could act as keynote speakers during the event, or you can co-host it and feature industry experts. 

The Difference Between Co-Marketing and Co-Branding

As you dive into co-marketing, you may come across the term “co-branding.” Co-branding is when two or more companies come together to produce an even more valuable product for their audiences. Some of the more well-known examples include the Doritos Locos Taco (Frito Lay and Taco Bell), the Nike+ iPod Sport (Nike and Apple), and the “musical-ecosystem” partnership between Starbucks and Spotify. 

Co-marketing is the act of marketing something with a partner, which can be a new co-branded product or service or shared content, like a blog post, video, or webinar. Regardless of how you choose to co-market, all businesses involved promote the offer and share the results equally. 

How Do You Find the Right Partners for Co-Marketing?

Who you choose to partner with is an essential aspect of co-marketing. The last thing you want when working with another company in a co-marketing effort is to lose customers. Ideally, you want to find a company you’d be proud to work with, someone you’d be excited to tell your audience about. At the same time, you want to make sure your potential partner’s audience will be a good fit for your business and your current audience.

So, how do you choose? Typically speaking, you want a partner in the same or similar industry as yours, but you don’t want a direct competitor. You may even already have a few potential partners in mind. Before you start reaching out to anyone, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do they have a similar type of audience to mine?
  • Will our goals align?
  • Do they have any expertise that I don’t? 
  • Do they have a solid, trusted reputation?
  • Will I be able to get along and work well with them?
  • How many new leads will I get out of this partnership?

Once you have an idea of who might be a good co-marketing partner, you’ll want to reach out to them and see if they’re interested. Before you do, come up with an irresistible pitch. Learn what you can about your potential partner and their audience so that you can tailor your message specifically to them. Be sure to show them what value you have to offer. Make it hard for them to say no. 

How to Plan Out a Co-Marketing Agreement 

Once you’ve found a partner and you’re ready to start working together, it’s time to plan out your co-marketing agreement:

  • Figure out your content. Determine what content you’ll create with your partner and share it with each of your audiences. As you’re doing this, be sure to figure out the theme or topic. It should be mutually beneficial for everyone involved. 
  • Set your timeline. A timeline will help to ensure everyone’s on the same page every step of the way. 
  • Know where your strengths are. Each of you brings something unique, and your partner likely has different skills and strengths than you. Assigning tasks based on strength can help ensure a streamlined, efficient process. 

After hammering out these details, you’ll want to make it official with a formal co-marketing agreement. In other words, get everything in writing and have all parties sign it. Details to put in your agreement include:

  • Goals
  • Topics
  • Timeline
  • Content and asset ownership 
  • Where you’ll host and share your co-marketing content
  • Promotional plan

Expand Your Reach with Co-Marketing

Working with another brand can help you tap into new markets, allowing you to broaden your audience and increase your leads. No matter who you work with or what type of content you decide to create and share, the main thing here is that your relationship should be mutually beneficial. With the right partner and a solid plan, you’ll both be able to achieve your goals. 

Are you looking to use affiliates as part of your co-marketing campaign? LeadDyno’s affiliate marketing software can help you monitor your progress and assess the effectiveness of your plan. You can see all of your clicks, leads, and sales from a convenient dashboard, allowing you to assess how well you’re doing.