Using brand collaborations to grow your business

On the podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with Jess Ruhfus. She is a collaboration strategist and founder of Collabosaurus. Jess helps brands partner together and grow their reach and build their business through impactful collaborations. And today, she will share her tips and tricks with us.

Why is collaboration so important for growing your business and brand?

Collab advertising is getting more expensive. So brands need to shake things up and lean on the value they’re already sitting on. I think often small businesses don’t realise they’re sitting on a gold miner value that they could actually offer in a really great win-win lab. 

But I think at the end of the day, collaborations are an essential strategy because they’re up to 25 times less expensive than digital advertising, like as a marketing strategy. They are so cost-effective. 

Top tips for finding the perfect brand collaboration?

Take a step back and look at what your marketing goals are. A lot of people think they should be doing collabs for collaboration’s sake, but you need to think, what are you actually trying to achieve? 

Are you wanting to grow your email list? Are you wanting to increase your website traffic? Are you wanting to generate more sales or increase your cart value? What is it that you are actually trying to do? And then the whole collab can be dictated by your marketing goal because different collab types and different collaboration partners will work to achieve different goals. 

You’ve got to start with your goal in mind and then look for partners around that. Collaboration is a great way to find partners.

Besides social media, what else can a brand collaboration offer for marketing?

So many different things. It’s all about how are people discovering your brand then knowing you, liking you, trusting you, buying from you, and referring other people to you. And the good thing with collaborations is that they can see different types that can work for every different stage of your customer journey funnel. 

So if you know which stage you want to focus on or what marketing strategy you want to achieve. If you want to really grow your email list, you could do a collab with a brand, let’s say it’s a high-value competition or giveaway where people have to enter their email address to enter that can then grow your email list and you double your promotional reach every time you team up because rather than just running a giveaway on your own platforms and shouting that from the rooftops, you’ve got another brand also doing that. 

What are your favourite strategies that you’ve seen used between brands?

I love a campaign strategy. So rather than just doing a one-off thing, it’s a well-rounded campaign that has many moving parts and really leverages the opportunity within a partnership and the channels available within a partnership to get the best possible results. Word of mouth is massive. A campaign-led would be my top tip. 

The second thing I would look at is competitions and giveaways on social media are quite saturated now. And so I’d actually recommend exploring different types of collabs and different creative strategies like a gift with purchase collab or bundling of products. 

I would say stay clear of the competitions and giveaways unless there’s super high value and can lead to an email list growth. 

Top tips for keeping a healthy relationship between businesses during a collaboration

Communication. Even if things do go pair shaped, I think at the end of the day if you’re communicating, there are ways to rescue a collab if it’s not working. 

You have to think what are some creative ways we can actually add value here to have this be a win-win collaboration. And what they ended up doing was they created brand videos from all of the footage they captured and that was really high value that could be used in ads, could be used to showcase the alignment and they offered testimonials of working with these brands. 

There are always opportunities to rescue a collab if it’s not going well. But I would say my biggest tip is just communication. And even at the end of a collab, what I see so few people do is actually reach out with the results they saw from their side because that’s just the best way to maintain a relationship.

How to decide on what to offer and gain in return during a brand collaboration

You should definitely have that set in your mind before going after a collab. Start with the end in mind and think about what you want to achieve. And then rather than going after the partner, I would also look at what you could bring to the table. So the exchange fits what you both want to achieve.

If you’re using collabs, you’ll know what someone’s looking for and what they can offer before you even connect. But if you’re reaching out without something like collabs, it’s really great to approach it as if you’re trying to get the first date rather than marry them on the first date. 

It’s time to pull up your big girl pants!

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