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Joint Venture Marketing For Local Business

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When it comes to marketing, offline businesses could do a lot worse than following in the footsteps of online businesses, especially their use of Joint Venture (JV) Marketing. That’s when you market your product or service to the customers of another business, usually complimentary to your own.

For example, say you own a pool service and you know of a good landscaper who also services your community. Usually people with pools also have a yard that needs to be maintained. Why not team up and recommend each other’s services? The landscaper would certainly notice which yards have pools, and you can probably tell which of your customers need help with their gardens. Here is a joint venture waiting to happen. But will it?

Not from what I’ve seen. So many small business owners are paranoid about collaborating, as if a dollar into your pocket means one less for them. They act as if their customers won’t pay for both a gardener AND a pool man. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Online marketers are hip to this. It’s routine for a product to hit the Net on Monday and have thousands of sales by Friday. The truth is, most of those sales are through JVs. All of the online marketers know each other and they routinely endorse each others’ products. Although they’re selling to the same crowd, there’s no fear of competition. They know that people like to collect information, and no matter how many books or tapes they have on a subject, they’ll always buy another.

How is this different from the offline world? Real life people need a variety of products and services to make their lives easier. People need electricians, plumbers, and the like, and most folks would rather get a referral than pick a name out of the phone book. But I can count on one hand the number of referrals I’ve gotten for any of those services from another business.

With more businesses joining their Chamber of Commerce or networking groups like Business Networking International (www.bni.com), this is slowly changing. But you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to make it happen. Joint venture opportunities are all around you. You just have to open your eyes and SEE them.

Off the top of my head, here are a few ideas:

- If you own a skin care salon, you could team up with a massage therapist. Set up a massage room in your salon and get a percentage of every massage your customers purchase.

- If you teach piano lessons, connect with someone in piano sales.

- Are you a caterer looking to build your clientele? Find someone who helps to organize events that need catering, such as a special events coordinator or wedding planner.

- Do you create silk floral arrangements? Ask small furniture stores to sell them on consignment. The plants add to the decor and helps to stage the furniture and give it the “homey” touch. Customers might buy a table and the arrangment sitting on top of it because they look so good together.

- Are you into arts and crafts? Offer to put on mini- workshops at local arts and craft stores. Participants will buy the materials from the store and you get exposure and referrals.

- Are you a pet photographer? Get to know your local vetenarians, pet store owners, pet groomers and pet sitters.

- Fitness Trainer/Health & Nutrition Supplements – Auto Repair/Paint & Body Shop – Gardener/Landscaper

The possibilities are endless. And we won’t even go into what you could do with websites and opt-in mailing lists. This is plain old “dirt-world” marketing, no-tech stuff that anybody can do. Add in some endorsed email promotions and reciprocal linking and … well, don’t get me started.

So … put on your thinking cap and come up with a list of NON-COMPETING local businesses whose customers are in your target market. Then develop a special offer that results in a win-win for both of you.

Sharon Fling is the author of “How To Promote Your Local Business On the Internet”, and publisher of “Local Business Today”, an ezine that gives business owners tips, tools and resources for targeting local customers. Subscribe today and get a free ebook information, visit http://www.geolocal.com or send any email to: mailto:subscribe@localbizpromo.com

Joint Venture Marketing For Local Business
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