Sure, there are many great courses, conferences, symposiums, and training events happening across the US. Students more routinely seek local events instead of ones that require a considerable distance for travel, especially in the age of COVID-19. So, what is the smartest way as a business owner to help promote other courses, even those that may compete with your product? Here are a few simple ways you can support your own business with competitor products while feeding your consumer base with high quality content, even if it doesn’t come from you!
1) Offer Affiliate Marketing
If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, you should be. And most likely, you have interacted with affiliate marketing on a daily basis without knowing it. Simply put, affiliate marketing allows affiliate marketers a commission on sales they make an exchange for promoting your product to their audience.
The larger their audience and sphere of influence, and with the right product and ad copy, affiliate marketing can offer fantastic returns and for a small business that is in the process of growing and isn’t well capitalized or doesn’t have a huge marketing budget. This is the cheapest option for ad spend and the return on investment for affiliate marketing can be considerable.
The only difficult thing about this is they need to have a large consumer base interested in their product and they must have an affiliate marketing process, or you have no way of knowing if your ads converted. This is typically done with a unique tracking cookie tagged on the end of the URL, so this seems simple, but it’s a bit more sophisticated than it may seem. Commission ranges may vary considerably, but it’s not unreasonable to see anywhere from 10% up to 40% Commission based on the product.
2) Mailing List Shout outs
If you’ve got a great mailing list of participants in previous courses that may benefit from a new course that you don’t offer but your competition does, why not take the opportunity to reach out and see if they’d like to hey you to promote on an already refined target audience? Granted, this typically only works if you’re a larger company than your competitor and have a good working relationship with them.
As a side note, one of the most important business decisions you can make is to develop a team of similar, competitor, and complementary companies and work closely with them. In the grand scheme, every business owner is competing with both their competition and themselves to reach their audience, but the smartest business owners identify the value of the team approach! For one, it’s hard to have a conversation about business with somebody who doesn’t understand business. Secondly, the number of small business owners in the unique space of nursing continuing education is certainly a small one and worthy of having friends. And you BOTH will benefit from the collaborative efforts!
3) Social Media Takeovers to Help Organic Followership Growth
Social media in general is a huge opportunity for business growth and knowing somebody who’s an expert at social media content to keep your learners engaged in your product is an art unto itself. Doing a social media takeover is the equivalent of a band having a guest artist who already has a successful band. Collaboration pulls in the followership from the one company and shows the audience two things: first, it’s OK to like this other product AND our product, and secondly that it’s a great company to work with and you should check them out too! The cool part is this works both ways since both companies will have followership that it is naïve to the new product and other company, so a spillover effect happens and both companies benefit.
4) Shared conferences
Taking item number 3 to the next level, if you’re in the business of offering continuing education conferences, what better way to draw a shared crowd then to have other crowds attend! Plus, who really wants to hear one person speak for an entire event? One of the hardest parts in collaborating conferences is scheduling, so if you intend to do this, you will need both a well thought out plan as far as the time and location, and also how this benefits all the parties that will be investing in putting the conference on. Not everybody is interested in money when starting a business, and having the opportunity for ad space, exhibiting, and time with a well refined target audience will lead to more sales revenue than a small honorarium for presenting. Get creative!
5) Paid Business Mentorship and Coaching
Being paid to coach and mentor your competition seems silly, but in reality, the term competition is silly. If there’s one thing that I would encourage any small business owner to recognize is the value of a team. This concept of mentorship and coaching is a two-way street, and if you plan to learn from the best as you are growing yourself as a business owner, you will need to pay for lessons.
Just like a musician paying for piano lessons in middle school. Can you imagine that middle school piano teacher saying I would love to give you lessons, but maybe someday you’ll be better than me, so I think I probably should just not do that. For one, you lose the opportunity as music teacher for the revenue, which is completely understood as a fair exchange for services rendered. Secondly, the relationship that’s built is extremely valuable. When the instructor does a good job and the student does a good job, one of the first questions that will be asked is who taught you? This is the opportunity that takes time to cultivate, but being the reason someone is successful is quite possibly the best marketing strategy you will ever have.
Hopefully these are fun ideas to consider if you’re looking for ways to promote other companies and products that aren’t your own. As always, if you want to reach out, I’m always happy to discuss business, education, and fun new ways to reach our audience in these changing times! And if you want to see some of the awesome companies that we affiliate market for, check out our affiliate course page.