How to Market your Business for FREE

by | Aug 24, 2020 | Business Building Musts, Marketing Strategies

​Collaborative marketing!

What is collaborative marketing?

Quite simply, it’s teaming up with similar like-minded (but non-competing) businesses and pooling financial and time resources to create more buzz and interest than you could likely generate on your own.

Some collaborative marketing ventures are a one-time event and other ventures are where businesses teaming up for a longer period of time.

As most small business owners know, there seems to never be enough money in the budget for marketing and it can be expensive.

Enter collaborative marketing ventures.

It can be very low cost and sometimes even FREE (and who doesn’t like free marketing!)

When small business owners come together with a common audience, or goal, or a common mission or interest, they can band together in any number of ways to create an influence and a presence that is greater than they could simply do themselves.

Sharing of resources, databases and marketing expenses are just a few of the wins that collaborative marketing can have.

The concept is not new and has existed for a long time in marketing.

You can open any airline magazine to find collective ads that promote Top Steakhouses, Top Seafood Restaurants, or even Top Plastic Surgeons!

There are many examples of amazing success stories when it comes to collaboration marketing – one that comes to mind is Go Pro® and Red Bull®.

It’s like a match made in heaven.  Crazy Red Bull® adventure lifestylers recording their adventures!   They creatively tapped into each other audiences and engaged a new audience to reach new potential customers.

On a smaller scale, retailers do collaboration well, especially independents.  Hosting VIP shopping evenings with similar but non-competing businesses, sharing time, resources and marketing budget.  They reach a wider audience, get the opportunity to market their brand to new potential customers and engage with them as they shop.

It’s mutually beneficial and win/win whilst leveraging each other’s assets (their database and/or audience).


As Stephen R Covey so famously wrote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, start with the end in mind! 

Think about your end goal.

What do you want?

  • More reach
  • To grow your database
  • To grow your social followings
  • To tap into a new market
  • Engage the audience you already have

REMEMBER – it MUST be a valuable to you.

Collaborative marketing will only be successful if you have a goal to measure it against and you can see the value to you and your business in both the short and long term.

So identify your TARGET MARKET – who has your target market (potential customers) you want to get in front of or the channels you want to get exposure through, that is a non-competing business? These are the businesses that can be your key collaborating opportunities!


With collaborative marketing, you and the other businesses are leveraging your skills set, your community, your time – instead of money.  You are leveraging each other’s assets. It’s not a financial transaction between two businesses.

Influencers collaboration is different because there you are paying for content creation and/or placement.  The exchange is financial gain for one party and exposure of the other party.

Influencer collaboration is a very effective marketing tool, but not the exchange of community, time and skills, we are talking about when talking collaborative marketing.

Both do, however, have their place in small business’ marketing strategies today.


Unfortunately, with all the good intentions from both parties, I have seen collaborative marketing go sour.

The 3 biggest pitfalls that can ruin a fabulous collaborative marketing strategy are

  1. The parties had mismatched expectations,
  2. One party is doing all the work to get the collaboration up and running or keep running, and
  3. One party (not always the one doing all the work!) is getting all the rewards.

All these pitfalls could have been and can be avoided if you go into an agreement understanding each other’s expectations and target audiences!


The answer to that question is both Yes and No!

Depending the complexity of the arrangement, the expectations of both parties and the resources (time, energy and sometimes marketing budget) that needs to be into it, is an indicator that you may or may not need an agreement between the parties.

Having a simple MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) which details in dot points what each party is expected to do and the desired outcomes, could be all you need. 

It can be as simple as one page document capturing the details of how the collaboration will work.


Collaborative marketing works seamlessly with: –

  • Event partnership
  • Product partnership
  • Brand to brand marketing partnerships
  • Social media partnerships (running competitions or giveaways)
  • Webinars
  • Facebook Lives
  • And many many other ways

Even if you are starting with no list, no social following and no cash – collaborative marketing can work for you!  That’s it’s beauty – it’s all about teaming up strategically with the right businesses.


Collaboration is an incredible tool to tap into new audiences and grow any business by reaching new potential customers.

It also engages your communities on another level with something new and awesome.

PRO TIP – this is a massive opportunity for you to get to grow your own network at the same time – creating new business friendships, new business connections. 

Starting off doing something small, which grows into something very valuable and important in your marketing mix.

So our CHALLENGE to you today is:

Who has your target audience that you would like an opportunity to tap into?

What would your goal be if you were given the opportunity to get in front of that audience? 

Could you leverage your skills set, your community, your time and your assets with that business to create a win/win collaboration marketing strategy?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on future collaborations ideas or even your experience in collaborations you’ve already done or are doing right now!

Join our closed private Facebook group Like Minded Business Owners and continue the conversation or get the answers from our brilliant community, that you’ve been looking for!


Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners.  Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.

With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)

Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast


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Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!


Brilliant – it’s on its way – thanks!

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