I took a big step this week for my company – I closed its virtual doors.
But I’m far from being out of business. I’ve decided to focus on content marketing clients who are also working with a marketing company for complementary services like social media and inbound marketing strategy.
Working with partners – whether formal or informal – has helped me reach new levels in my business. And it can do the same thing for yours too. But you need to be careful you aren’t compromising yourself, your ethics, or your sanity when you strike up a partnership.
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts that I wish I’d had when I first started working with partners.
DO look for complimentary partners for your SEO copywriting services.
Fortunately, we’re working in a time where the demand for copywriting and content marketing is at an all time high. Anyone involved with providing web marketing services to clients – from web designers to social media consultants – needs to know great content creators. If they don’t have one they trust an email away, they are doing their clients a big disservice.
Start your search by finding complimentary providers on LinkedIn, exploring small business sites, or looking for freelancing blogs where similar, but not competing, providers might be hanging out.
DO learn about the different ways of partnering with other providers.
Partnership doesn’t have to mean going into business together.
You can work with other providers under a referral agreement or set up a deal where you provide a service as part of their company – but still retain your own clients. It all depends on what you and your potential partner decide to do.
Consider where you want to take your SEO copywriting business and then pick an option that works best for you.
DON’T jump into a partnership too soon.
Finding a good partnership is a lot like dating. You’re not going to run off to Vegas to get married the first night you go out. And if you do, you’re going to end up getting the partnership version of an annulment.
Network with other providers, but take things one project at a time until you get a good feel for how you work together. There’s nothing worse than getting into a contractual relationship with someone whose business practices you don’t respect.
DO evaluate your potential partner’s target market and marketing approach.
There are dozens of opportunities out there for working with another provider – so you can afford to be choosy.
Pay close attention to your potential partner’s own marketing. Who are they working with and speaking to? This is important for two reasons. Finding a provider that works with your own target audience will make it easy for you to create client content – and easy for you to create content for the fellow provider. Everyone needs blog posts and website copy, so chances are your partner will be looking to use your content services at some point. It helps to be familiar with their target audience and know who you’re writing to.
DON’T work without a contract.
No matter how friendly you may be with another provider, you’ll want to treat them just like any other client.
There needs to be contracts in place for each project or – depending on the nature of your partnership – for the length of time you’re working together. Even if you’re working with a fellow business owner it doesn’t mean that they have your best interests in mind.
DO pay close attention to their business practices.
Finding a good fit with another provider goes beyond the leads or projects you can bring one another.
Are you truly on the same page when it comes to growing your businesses? Case in point, after a single project with a particular SEO provider I came to realize his opinion of clients (that they were stupid and deserved to be duped) didn’t jive with the way that I want to do business. This isn’t always apparent based on their website, marketing and social media usage – so keep things low on commitment until you know more about their business practices.
DON’T explore partnership unless you’re sure you can handle it.
If you’re someone who prefers to work on your own, partnership probably isn’t for you.
For me, I found the life of a solo copywriter to be sort of lonely. I always found myself conferring with SEO providers, web designers, and social media marketers so I decided to make it official. Do some soul searching and figure out what you want your business to look like in the future.
Have you worked with referral partners or other partners? What was your experience like?
About the Author ~ Courtney Ramirez
Courtney Ramirez is an SEO Copywriter and content marketing specialist who creates clickable content for clients in both B2B and B2C markets. You can connect with Courtney on LinkedIn.