Have I been building relationships with non-competing companies?
Why would I need to build relationships with non-competing companies, unless they’re stakeholders in my business?
First of all, everyone is a stakeholder in your business.
Second, It’s not all about you and your business.
Just kidding! It actually is, but it’s also all about the other guy and how you can help each other out. You know, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.
But rather than risk collecting someone else’s dead skin cells and DNA under your nail bed, let’s view this idiom through the lens of online business and internet marketing.
Forbes noted that “the best way to create a consumer Internet company worth north of a billion dollars is to build a digital transaction business – a company that connects buyers and sellers so they can more efficiently transact.”
So north of a billion dollars is rather ambitious but hey, we also don’t want to limit ourselves so let’s just say that anything is possible.
Now, in my opinion, this statement doesn’t target a particular type of business; this is every company that’s in the business of selling a product or service online.
Let me illustrate:
You have a dog training niche website that sells every possible thing a dog lover could want. Out there in cyberspace, exists a really cool app that measures your dog’s health, sort of like Fitbit, but for your pooch.
With this app, you can time your dog’s walks (and yours, incidentally), find breed-specific diet recommendations, manage your dog’s vet check ups, create a feeding and med schedule, and monitor his vitals. It’s even shareable so when pooch goes to the sitter, they have an automatic detailed set of care instructions without you having to list everything out.
This is an ideal non-competing internet partner. You can install a link to download that app on your site, and that app can link to your site for extended, comprehensive information and all the cool doggie merch you sell.
Further, you can also link up with local vets, doggie daycares, and pet insurance companies, so that you’re providing your customer with a toolkit of dog care products and services.
The most important thing in all of this is that they can all drive traffic to your site.
Why Should I Purposefully Create Internet Partners?
It’s probably going to happen organically and randomly after all, why is a strategy necessary?
Think about it this way:
When you hit the gym, it’s for a purpose: to achieve your fitness goals, whatever they are. If you just allow the randomness of Nature or Chaos Theory or the Cosmos to guide you to it, you’ll end up on your couch eating cheese doodles and watching Game of Thrones, wondering why you have to undo the button of your jeans every time you sit down these days (I speak from experience).
The same is true for digital marketing relationships.
Every success starts with a goal.
And every goal starts with a strategy for achieving it.
A strategy involves a set of actions or behaviours that help you reach your goal.
You simply can’t get the goal unless you have some idea of what you’re going to DO (binge eating junk food and watching Netflix ain’t it).
But this is not a blog about productivity (though we could all use a little brush-up on how to be more productive), so I’ll get to the point.
Let’s look at what those actionable steps look like in your Build-BOSS-Net-Buddies strategy (Yes, I just used the word BOSS as a synonym for awesome. No, I’m not 21 and hanging-10).
Step 1: Go Local
Start with citations.
Create online citations so other local online businesses can find you. To learn more about how to do that, check out our Step 5 to SEO blog: Local SEO.
Step 2: Be Present
Develop a social media platform and get active.
I can’t stress how vital this step has become in this Insta-age. People won’t even go to a restaurant these days unless they’ve scoped out entire menus, read related reviews, and seen a catalogue of food pics first.
You need an online presence to be anybody now.
The great part is that it helps you find non-competing companies to hook up with. Even just a few minutes scrolling, searching, hashtagging, and commenting is time well spent.
Step 3: Network
Reach out to other companies and offer them something of value.
Remember the I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine idiom? Here we are. People love givers so be the first to give. You’ve got to give a little to get a little so don’t be afraid to spend your time or expertise helping other people.
This is where you get creative. How can you share your product or service with non-competing companies in a way that truly benefits them and also helps to promote your business?
For example, as a local SEO company in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, I’ve connected with dozens of local businesses in my community through a network called Java Jolt. It’s a member-led group of business people who meet up to help each other out and build a supportive network. From there, my network of contacts exploded and I’ve got partnerships with just about every industry you can imagine. (If you want to know more, check out my interview with Whitby’s Chamber of Commerce).
Now I had a starting point with which to offer my service to companies who needed some digital marketing expertise, perhaps a little nudge in the right direction. This contributed to my professional reputation in all the right ways and I got to meet and help some really cool people and be part of some interesting projects.
The Bottom Line…
Forging new relationships is a vital part of any business development but it’s absolutely crucial for SEO. It’s the other less technical, softer and squishier side of SEO because it deals with real, honest, and often face-to-face interaction if you’re sticking local.
Consider all the people, consumers, businesses or otherwise who search and buy based on recommendation. Consider all the times you’ve searched for a product or service based on someone else’s recommendation.
So the bottom line is, if you want to show up in an online search, Build-Boss-Net-Buddies. That is, create and foster giving relationships with non-competing companies.