Customer acquisition is a main source of concern for every ecommerce merchant. Even successful merchants are looking for ways to grow their customer base. If you’re not taking customer acquisition seriously, then you’re not taking your business seriously.
There are popular customer acquisition methods out there including paid advertising and SEO. These methods are popular because they are proven to provide results.
Paid advertisement is powerful. With some money, you can get advertising platforms to show your content to a specific audience of people. This ability to target people who meet your customer criteria has worked for many businesses and it’s a reason for its popularity.
SEO is also popular because of its relationship with the habits of internet users. Internet users love to search for information. If SEO is done right, content from your online store is seen by these users when they search for information related to what you’re selling.
These popular customer acquisition methods however come at a cost; they’re expensive and time consuming for many small businesses. So if you’re an ecommerce merchant looking for ways to acquire customers, what do you do? You explore simple yet effective means of getting users.
In this post, I’ll share with you a great way to put yourself out there in order to attract customers.
What does this mean?
Forming partnerships here refers to reaching out to other ecommerce merchants who sell products that are not in direct competition with yours but rather complementary to what you sell.
For example, if you sell men’s shirt and trousers but not sunglasses, you can reach out to a merchant who sells sunglasses for partnership. Or, if you sell handbags but not sandals, you can partner with a merchant who sells sandals.
This partnership will bring together the strengths of you and the other partner merchant for mutual benefits.
Areas of Partnership
When reaching out to merchants to form partnerships, there are many areas you should consider. You should take into account the benefits you’re looking to gain and the strengths of the other merchant.
Below are some of the partnership areas you should seek for. They are also the simplest ways to get customers.
— Guest blogging
Whereas guest blogging is popular among tech startups, it’s not very popular among ecommerce merchants.
Wondering how different it is from writing for your own blog? Well, it’s similar but this time you’re writing for another person’s blog.
Guest blogging is a great way to attract customers to your online store organically.
This is how it’s beneficial.
By writing good content for another merchant’s blog, you’re announcing your presence to that merchant’s customers. For example, if a partner merchant has a 1000 people reading their blog, by sharing your content on that blog, you’re exposing your business to a 1000 potential customers. And if you selected the right partner, someone whose business is complementary to yours, you’re closer to converting all these 1000 readers to becoming your customers.
— Cross promotion on social media
One area that is driving traffic to online stores is social media. Social media platforms are humungous with some boasting of close to 2 billion members. Apart from the size, people are spending several hours of their time on these platforms.
With this many people, social media has become a force to reckon with in the marketing space, hence, a reason to consider it when striking partnerships with other merchants.
Cross promotion on social media involves agreeing to promote each other’s content on your respective social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or the others.
So once a week or once every two weeks (depending on what you agree on), you’ll share content from your partner and the partner will also reciprocate this action. The content you share could be links from your respective blogs, products from your store or whatever you deem fit.
This is beneficial because you’ll be able to tap into each other’s audience on these platforms.
Look at it this way.
You have 500 followers on Facebook whilst your partner has 600 followers on Twitter. By agreeing to cross promote each other’s content, you’ll both now be reaching a total of 1100 people instead of your individual 500 or 600.
— Affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing through a partnership involves giving out rewards normally as commissions to a partner whenever that partner brings you a new customer.
So for merchants who are partnering with other merchants with a complementary business, affiliate marketing is an effective way to get them excited enough to promote your products.
Do you see how this works?
Partner A has agreed to get a 20% commission on the cost of a product whenever he/she gets a customer to buy the product. With the commission as an incentive, this partner will now be more willing to promote your product through any available marketing means he/she already has.
This is a win-win for both of you. Whilst you’re both making more revenue from the new customers arriving as a result of your partnership, you’ll be making additional revenue from the commissions you’ll each be receiving.
There are many customer acquisition strategies out there but if you’re looking for the simplest way to attract new customers, consider forming partnerships with other ecommerce merchants. In negotiating the partnership, make a request for the opportunity to guest blog, cross promote content on social media or start an affiliate marketing program.