How to grow your startup through partnerships

Partnerships are an absolute must for early-stage startups. The challenge is to find a partner that would be a good match and convince them to join forces. Let’s see how other founders managed to grow their website traffic x5 and generate x10 leads by building meaningful partnerships with other market players using partnerships with vendors, partnerships with other market players and even partnerships with customers.

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Artifacts
Partnerships are an absolute must for early-stage startups.
Partnerships does not necessarily mean affiliate marketing (which has gained a spammy reputation).
 
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Partnership marketing is a widely understood term. There’s no agreement between experts what “partnership marketing” is. In 1980s it was called “symbiotic marketing”, some still call it “alliance marketing”. Most marketers agree that it presumes some form of cooperation with others to achieve mutually beneficial results.
 
Partnerships are not only affiliates.
  • You can partner with other founders to create better features for your product.
  • You can partner with other market players to grow your brand.
  • You can partner with suppliers or infrastructure providers.
  • You can even partner with your customers.
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Sven Radavics, founder of InTribe (a platform for partnership marketing that allows to find a perfect partner for almost any marketing initiative)
 
— Partnership marketing can be incredibly efficient.
The challenge is to find a partner that would be a good match and convince them to join forces.
For instance, you own a small store and you want to launch a marketing campaign by putting a big ad in a popular magazine. You can’t afford the price so you’re up to partnering with other shop owners in the same area. You have to walk up and down the street, knock at every shop and ask every owner if they’d love to partner with you.
It’s very time consuming and inefficient.
The same story with startup founders, for instance. Say, you’ve figured out that your audience loves educational events. So you’re about to host a webinar on a topic that is related to your business (for example, how to do SEO right).
What would you normally do to find partners for this event?
You would probably go on LinkedIn or Twitter, try to find other founders who work in the same field but who are not your direct competition. You search for the experts. Then you do cold outreach.
Again, it’s very time consuming and yields not the best results.
First of all, because sometimes you can’t figure out who would be a good partner for you.
For example, would lawyers be a good match?
Intuitively, no — but what if there’s new legislation on data protection that affects SEO strategies as well? What about growth marketers?
Theoretically, they have nothing to do with SEO but they are the part of the same marketing team and can benefit from taking part in your webinar while the listeners would learn something new about performance marketing techniques.
Most founders feel reasonably overwhelmed when it comes down to partnership marketing because there’s so much to do here: analyze the field, find the right matches, get the contacts, reach out.
No wonder, only few are up to using this tactic in their marketing mix.
At InTribe we solve 99% of these problems, help to find the right match and arrange the connection between the parties removing the most challenging pain points from the view.
 

Forms of partnership

Let’s see how other founders managed to grow their website traffic x5 and generate x10 leads by building meaningful partnerships with other market players using partnerships with vendors, partnerships with other market players and even partnerships with customers.
 

How to find business partnerships

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Finding the right partner — tips from Sven Radavics

Further reading

 

Like what you’ve read so far in your founder guides? We’ve got more to come

Upcoming guides...

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Marketing
  • Content marketing distribution machine: a full guide for founders
  • Founder guides: create an affiliate program
  • A founder guide to programmatic SEO
 
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Co-founders & Hiring
  • Founder guides on hiring your first employee
  • Outsource effectively
  • How to split up equity
  • Finding a co-founder
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Product
  • How to find relevant beta users
  • Prioritize features effectively
  • How to price your product
  • Building a roadmap
 
Have an idea for the next Wizen Guide or interested in contributing in the next founder guides? Give us a shout at [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.
 

 

Meet the team 👋

 
 
 
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Ana Bibikova - @NotechAna
Ana is an Author, Marketing Strategist and a Mentor in the Founder Institute. Ana has 18y of experience in building businesses, growing them to $4M annual revenue.
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Anthony Castrio - @AnthonyCastrio
Anthony is a Software Engineer, Fractional CTO, and the founder of Indie Worldwide, a virtual incubator and social club for bootstrapped founders.