The right partner can help you reach greater heights. Image: Michael Pollak
A lot of businesses are directing a bigger portion of their marketing budgets towards online marketing.
In fact, spending on digital marketing is expected to increase to 35% of total budgets by 2016!
As result, there is a growing demand for SEO, social media and content marketing services.
While this could mean more opportunities for SEOs everywhere, you also have to be thinking about adapting to the needs of the marketplace.
Many businesses aren't just looking for SEO services anymore; they want to initiate multiple online campaigns simultaneously, and require the right mix of solutions to make this happen.
How do you offer all of the services a client is looking for? In many cases, strategic partnerships can provide you with the answer you're looking for.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing budgets are expected to double in the next four years!
Social media is hugely popular, and most businesses are aware of the need to distribute their content and connect with their audience through social channels.
As an SEO agency, you should be thinking about building a partnership with a skilled social media manager, as more businesses seek to jump on the social trend.
In many cases, content and social go hand-in-hand, because it's a lot tougher to have an effective social strategy without content assets to share.
So let's move onto…
In 2013, both B2B and B2C marketers were looking to make more content in 2014, and 60% were looking to increase their content marketing budgets!
This trend is only going to grow in 2015.
SEO has become somewhat synonymous with content, but not all SEO agencies handle blogging, content creation, and inbound marketing.
Even if you are involved in tweaking content, you aren't always responsible for creating it.
This is why you should build relationships with content marketers who you can trust to deliver optimized content on a regular basis.
A good content marketer can handle keyword research, the building out of an editorial calendar, as well as the actual writing and development of different types of content.
Mobile is clearly the biggest area to watch moving forward, with smartphones coming in at a close second in popularity to desktops and laptops.
Web developers specialize in code, graphics, and of course building templates and websites in general.
Many businesses who are looking to allocate more of their budget towards online marketing may also be interested in revamping or refreshing the look of their site; especially if their brand isn't totally up-to-date.
A strategic partnership with a web development expert can help you find that crucial balance between optimization and design, which can sometimes be at opposite ends of the spectrum.
How To Find And Build Strategic Partnerships
One of the ways that a strategic partnership can help you is to offer services that you can't, and that's what we've been talking about so far.
Here are several keys to finding and building the right partnerships for your agency:
Finding a partner is a lot like hiring the right people to work for you. You have to interview them, get to know what they're about, and figure out whether or not they actually fit your business culture. If you don't have a good connection, it may not be a good fit.
You have to have clearly established goals, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Be clear on why you want to build the partnership, and how it will benefit both parties. Take some time to understand your prospective partner's goals as well, and determine whether or not your goals are complimentary.
Understand your branding, value proposition and key differentiating factors. If you don't know what makes your business unique, it makes it harder to negotiate terms with your partner.
Research your potential partner. You need to know that they can actually deliver what you need them to. You can ask your friends or business connections whether or not they know anyone that they trust.
Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. There is an opportunity for your partners to fill gaps that you aren't able to, but if you can't see where those gaps might be, you may not utilize your partnerships effectively.
Keep the lines of communication open. Talk through problems, check in with each other, and reinforce goals. Regular communication will lead to a solid partnership, as it will keep confidence levels high.
Remember to find partners that can fill a real gap.
The most effective partnerships are those that compliment each other and have strengths where the other has weaknesses.