Collaboration is key. You’ve heard that. And yet, you think its easier if you just do it on your own. And maybe you could do it on your own for a little bit but now you’re aware that you can only go so far on your own. I mean, picture a canoe and then picture a cruise ship. Those cruise ships can go around a continent! Would be pretty tough to do that on a one-man boat. In your business you can do a lot on your own, you can grow a lot on your own but eventually, you will hit a plateau. And especially during times like these we really are stronger together. So, what is a collaboration? Why should you collaborate? Who should Collaborate with and What/how does it work? Let’s dive in.
First, collaboration is when one or more people in this case businesses get together and team up on a goal. This could be a few teachers coming together like I do with my TCME partners Tasha Edwards, Mychele Sims and Erika Quest. We come together to teach an event around a topic that is important to us. You can also collaborate with people that have nothing to do with what you teach/do (more on that below).
Collaborating is key for growing your audience in a way that actually benefits you. We’ll talk about who you should choose to collaborate with in a minute. But, why you should collaborate is will determine who you choose to collaborate with. Collaborating allows you to be put in front of other people’s audiences and they get put in front of yours. Basically, you need people to know who you are and what you do. And collaborating allows you to show up as yourself and create awareness around that in front of an audience that trusts the person you are collaborating with.
Choosing who to collaborate with is key for a “successful” collaboration. You want to first think about who you are trying to reach. This would be your client avatar. And if you haven’t thought about who you are trying to reach then watch my course on client avatars. You don’t want to just collaborate with anyone. If you’re trying to reach women in their 30’s-40’s in your area and you collaborate with a PT who works with post-surgical athletes or the tux shop across the street. So get super clear on your ideal client and then look at who is also reaching that person. If you don’t know the business owner yet it might take some “dating” before you collaborate. This is a good thing. It allows you to learn more about them, how you can work together, and get clear on who is doing what and how you can help them and they can help you.
Once you have an idea of who you want to collaborate with and know what you are wanting to get out of it aka more followers on social, more people on your list, more people aware of your business etc then its time to decide on how you will collaborate. Here are some ways you can collaborate:
- Instagram loops
- Events- virtual or in person
- Gift Certificates they can give away and vice versa
In an IG loop you and the other businesses would team up to do a giveaway. Everyone who wants to enter the giveaway needs to follow every business, like the picture and comment. Usually asking them to tag a friend (don’t give them too many things to do). Then you pick the number of winners and hopefully you and all the collaborators got some of each others followers and some new ones. SIDE NOTE: while this might get you more followers remember followers do not translate to $$$. But, it is a great way to see if you like working with someone with very little investment.
Events require a bit more commitment but people LOVE a shared experience and better than a loop because they get to experience YOU. So, they skip several steps of awareness and get more connected with you and what you offer. I’ve seen this done in many ways. A studio offers a class, then a nutritionist gives a talk and massage therapist teaches on something, etc etc. People buy a ticket for a nominal price (gets them to commit to showing up). Each business would invite their clients/list and everyone wins. And because each person in the collab is trying to reach the same people your marketing for it goes farther.
Years ago when I moved studios the studio owners offered the shop next door 50% off a first time session to anyone that spent x amount of money in the shop. The shop was able to email all their clients and have a reason to entice them to come in and buy something. And the studio got their name in front of all the people on the list and then those who got the gift certificate heard about the studio another time and were more likely to try it because they had that gift certificate/coupon. I love these because you can get some of these offers from other businesses trying to reach your clients and give those away for referral rewards instead of discounting your services.
We’ve got one more how. How do you ask someone to collaborate with you? Well, first you need to know what you bring to the table. What can you offer these other businesses? If you’re wanting to do a loop and you have 450 followers and they have 45k followers it might be mutually beneficial to them to partner with you. But if you’ve got a coffee shop looking for reasons to reach their clients who can’t sit indoors right now and you have space to do a class outside they would LOVE to bring their coffee to your people and invite their people to the class for a community event. So, when you ask people tell them why you love them/what they do etc, tell them what you want to work on and what you are offering. Then ask if they would like to get on a call and talk about it. Keep the ask simple. They should be able to read it on their phone screen. And, be specific why you like them. People can smell a copy and paste collab ask. Take your time to personalize 3-5 sentences.
Homework: write down who you are trying to reach? What you are wanting to bring more awareness to? Then make a list of businesses who are working with your ideal client and would like those same awarenesses. Then go for it! You’ll get plenty of no’s. I have been told no from many collabs and I have told many people no. Its not personal. It could be the timing, the offer etc. Its not you.
So, who are you going to collaborate with next?