How to Use Reciprocal Marketing as a Growth Strategy for Your Startup

Reciprocal marketing is a marketing strategy in which two businesses agree to promote each other’s products or content for mutual benefit. In this article, we will look at how startups can apply the reciprocity principle as part of their overall growth strategy.


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Why do you need reciprocity in marketing?

Also known as co-promotion, reciprocal marketing can take many forms. While many companies take advantage of co-promotion, they could benefit from a more systematic approach where reciprocal marketing is utilized to its fullest potential. Especially in content-related marketing activities, reciprocity presents a cost-effective scaling strategy for startups whose marketing budgets are limited.

How to apply the reciprocity strategy

Here, we will focus on three areas of marketing where you can apply the reciprocity strategy: content and link building, social media and email newsletters. The reason why these three were chosen is because none of them require any substantial investment up front. Most companies leverage these organic channels anyway, so adding reciprocity to the mix takes minimal effort.

Content and link building

The Pareto principle states that roughly 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of the causes. Similarly, we can apply it to content marketing, where you can expect around 80 percent of your results to come from 20 percent of your published content.

It’s important to invest enough time and resources in SEO, including keyword research and link building, as well as in the promotion of your content. In terms of reciprocity, making the most of your company’s content means creating a network around it. With this network, you can boost your content by featuring relevant articles from guest writers on your website, getting your guest posts published on other websites in the same niche, and building backlinks with other companies to improve your domain authority.

As long as they’re not used excessively, there’s nothing sketchy about reciprocal links. In fact, 74 percent of websites have reciprocal links. Just make sure they actually add value to your content.

When building your content network and reaching out to other businesses, pay attention to the following.

  • Relevance: These companies should operate in the same niche as your business and share a similar target audience. Otherwise, the co-promotion would be of little value to both parties. Driving conversions is the ultimate goal of all your marketing activities. So, ask yourself if you could see their audience as potential customers of your business and vice versa.
  • Company size: To ensure you both get enough benefit from the exchange, it makes sense to cooperate with businesses that are more or less in the same stage of growth. This way, you will share the same content goals and find common ground more easily. Use a tool like SimilarWeb to check their website traffic statistics.
  • Domain authority: To make the exchange equal, also take domain authority (DA) into account. DA score shows how well a website ranks for keywords, so obviously a backlink from a high DA website is more valuable to you as a trust signal. So, enter your potential collaborator’s domain on a website authority checker before you proceed.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of relevance when talking about any content-related collaboration. Google takes relevance very seriously, and it remains one of the top ranking factors. Whether it’s about guest posting or link exchange, visitors must find value in the content and in whatever is behind those links. All of it needs to be topically relevant and match users’ intent.

To get started, take the following steps.

  • Collect a list of potential collaborators: Find out who is responsible for content marketing and guest posts before reaching out to a potential partner. Also, try to evaluate the content to make sure the company is worth collaborating with.
  • Create outreach templates: Create separate templates for email and social media, where you explain your pitch. Be direct and concise and start with a value proposition. You may also create separate templates for guest posting and link building.
  • Reach out to prospects: Email is usually preferred if you have no previous contact with the person, but social media works, too. For example, you can start the interaction on LinkedIn or Twitter before reaching out.

Establish your own social media community

You may also want to consider creating a community on social media, like a Facebook or LinkedIn group. The benefit of having an actual community is that you don’t have to contact those same collaborators one by one when you want to cooperate with them again. Everyone in the community can freely offer guest posting opportunities or suggest reciprocal links when they have an article in the works.


Related: 10 Reasons Why Micro-Influencer Campaigns Interest Gen Z

Social media

The reciprocity strategy lends itself to social media platforms in the form of content promotion groups and communities. Social shares and likes boost your company’s organic visibility and contribute to building your brand. It’s not an uncommon way to convert people into customers, either.

But the crux of social media is customer engagement.

When it comes to organic reach on social media, the numbers are far from impressive. On Facebook, for example, the average reach of an organic post is only 5.2 percent, while paid posts reach 28.5 percent of the total (page likes). The average engagement rate for all posts is 3.4 percent.

This has to do with the algorithm changes on social platforms and the increased overall volume of content. Most users have more than a thousand posts competing to appear in their newsfeed every time they log in. And the algorithms select only a portion of those posts based on their relevance to the user. The ranking now favors posts that spark “meaningful interactions” between people.

social media

(Facebook Page reporting template by Supermetrics)

One solution to the organic content challenge is to join or create an online community where members can share their newly published content and ask other members to like or share it.

But having a community on social media means that you also need to spend time managing it. So, establish guidelines and create qualification criteria for those who want to join. For example, you could accept people only from your niche and require everyone to be a regular contributor in the group. You might also want to evaluate their previously published content.

Here’s an example of a few basic reciprocal marketing principles you could set up for your community and ask everyone to agree upon when joining:

  • No paid promotions are allowed, only reciprocity-based collaboration
  • Only promote relevant content that matches your target audience
  • No obligation to promote everyone’s content in the community
  • Only high-quality content in select niches is accepted

Since there’s no contractual agreement involved, all collaboration is based on mutual trust. That’s why all members should be encouraged to focus on building mutually beneficial relationships, instead of looking for quick wins and not giving back to the community.


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Email newsletters

One more channel where you can leverage reciprocal marketing is email newsletters. This means that two businesses agree to mention and link to a product, service or piece of content from each other in their newsletters that they send to their customers or email subscribers.

To make the co-promotion successful, it’s important that you both have a more or less equal number of subscribers and send your newsletters at similar intervals, for example, monthly. Even if you agree on a one-time promotion, those intervals usually impact the newsletter engagement metrics. You should share the results afterwards, including key metrics such as your open rate and CTR.

Evaluate the impact also by looking at your website traffic from email on that day:

(Newsletter traffic example)

If you send an email newsletter once a month, for example, you shouldn’t have more than one collaborator per newsletter. Having multiple would damage your own newsletter results. See if you can agree to offer some special perks for each other’s newsletter audience. That way, you avoid the risk of just promoting another business at the expense of your own audience.

Conclusion

For any startup to prosper in the competitive landscape, it’s better to partner up with others than to go solo. Many marketing channels, including SEO, content and social media, are dominated by the big players who possess more authority and resources.

When you have articles that are not ranking at the top of search results because competing articles have more referring domains and backlinks pointing to them, it’s time to find yourself a network of partners. Apply the reciprocity strategy systematically, make use of the advantages of being a small business, and invest in the relationships with your collaborators.

The post How to Use Reciprocal Marketing as a Growth Strategy for Your Startup appeared first on StartupNation.

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Meadow launches a powerful mobile marketing tool for cannabis dispensaries

Meadow was once called the Amazon of weed. Now it’s trying to be the Salesforce of weed, too.

Meadow, the maker of a popular point-of-sale system for cannabis dispensaries, is today launching new tools for its clients. Called the Meadow Platform, it includes two key tools for dispensaries: a customer relationship manager (CRM) and a text messaging platform for mobile marketing. As the company puts it in the news release, this system is designed to let users push a button and sell more weed.

This system is designed to help legal weed proprietors serve its client base with deep insights and targeted marketing — all while abiding by the strict regulations governing the budding industry (pun intended).

Meadow’s POS system is widely used throughout the legal cannabis industry, giving retailers inventory management, analytics, online ordering and more. Because of regulations, retailers have a wealth of information on their clientele, which Meadow’s system can use for target marketing. Because these new features are built into the Meadow platform, instead of through a third-party add-on, Meadow says it’s protected by the same security used throughout the rest of its platform.

Current regulations make it difficult for dispensaries to market their wares. These retailers cannot fully utilize modern marketing channels such as social media, leaving most retailers with limited options outside of billboards. Meadow’s new solution brings standard marketing tools to dispensaries.

“Marketing is not one-size-fits-all, especially in cannabis. Dispensaries need tools to select which customers they want to talk to in order to send relevant messages and promotions,” David Hua, CEO and co-founder of Meadow, said in a released statement. “Let brand-loyal customers know when their favorite brands release new strains, products, blends or flavors. Tell customers about new hours or delivery and pick-up options. Send reengagement offers to customers who have dropped off. Let members of your loyalty program know when they have points to cash in and include their point balance. Tip-off VIPs when a limited-edition strain becomes available and give them first dibs. This is the level of delight and sophistication that has been missing from cannabis marketing, and we’re very excited to debut it to dispensaries across California.”

David Hua, Harrison Lee, Rick Harrison and Scott Garman founded Meadow in 2014. Since then, the company has raised $ 2.1 million and participated in Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 class. The company currently has 14 employees.

Building this product has always been part of Meadow’s goal, Hua tells TechCrunch. COVID-19 helped accelerate the need.

“[Meadow] has always had three core priorities,” Hua said. “The first was compliance, which we had a big checkmark at the beginning of this year. The second was operational efficiency, and now marketing. These dispensary owners, especially in this COVID-19 world, can talk directly to their customers again, bring in more revenue and give them more information on what’s happening. Now they can leverage Meadow’s platform to do promo codes, automated discounts, loyalty rewards; we have all that. So you could have a customer that’s ordering an early-bird special at 9:00 am, and that’s a member of your senior group that gets 10% off. You can now send them a message regarding new topicals. Marketing just becomes more engaging.”

Startups – TechCrunch

In marketing our business, should we prioritize content creation or networking?

Hi everyone, hope you guys are well.

So due to the COVID crisis, myself and an acquaintance found ourselves out of work. Seeing that finding employment at this time will be almost impossible and that we have sporting backgrounds (football administration and sports marketing), we decided to open a sports promotion and consultancy agency but getting clientele has been diffiult probably due to a lack of brand recognition and largely a monopolization of the market but we figure we might be onto something with our services (if of course given the chance to shine).

To try drum up some interest, we are thinking of releasing a ditigal magazine covering local/regional sports along with a special audiobook documenting the history ofdifferent sporting codes within our country.

Do you guys think it is a viable strategy that can translate to interest sports fans? Even if we become successful on this front, there is the possibility that it could flame up or blow up and while wee aren't necessarily interested in being content creators, we are fearful of the setback it could cause. If by the chance we get successful, how do we then convert the interest of sports fans into something attractive for sporting organizations to consider working with us? While we have no clientele, should we focus on the content creation or should we entertain the idea of doing events free of charge to get the word out? Should we reach hope to professional sporting organizations to work for them on a free basis to get some rep?

Thanks for reading

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Popmenu earns raves from investors for its marketing and delivery software for restaurants

Brendan Sweeney didn’t know anything about the restaurant business before he and his co-founders launched the Atlanta-based startup Popmenu.

What Sweeney did know was that it was nuts that while every other business was using incredible graphics, curated text, carefully crafted images and fancy videos to make their pitch to customers, restaurants were — posting a text-based menu.

“It’s just crazy that restaurants present their inventory, which is their whole story, their whole selling proposition, in plain text,” Sweeney said.

Popmenu, he company he co-founded with three former colleagues from software businesses around the Atlanta area (and which has closed on $ 17 million in new financing) offers a solution.

What the company’s software aims to do is keep customers on restaurant’s own online real estate by incorporating third-party reviews, images, recommendations and better descriptions into the web pages that it hosts for the culinary creators that use its service. “If you had all that information on a restaurant website it would probably reduce the need to bounce out so much,” Sweeney said.

Popmenu does more than just prettify web pages for the savory savants whose coding skills may not match their craft in the kitchen. The software also helps with social media management, emailing and, yes, even the all-important delivery services that have become vital in the time of a still-spreading pandemic.

It’s the pandemic that juiced the company’s growth, Sweeney said. “We saw 10 years of trends in the first 10 weeks of COVID-19,” he said. “A lot of people were unprepared for it.”

Sweeney and his co-founders Mike Gullo, Anthony Roy and Justis Blasco had all worked together at either CareerBuilder or Commissions Inc. It was the experience at Commissions that actually gave Sweeney and his colleagues the idea to start Popmenu.

Popmenu co-founders Brendan Sweeney, Mike Gullo, Justis Blasco and Anthony Roy. Image Credit: Popmenu

Where Commissions was about designing tools to help local real estate agents and brokers take some power back from the large online platforms that were eating their lunch, Popmenu is bringing the same tools for small businesses to restaurateurs.

“I got this playbook for helping small business with SaaS. [And we’re] helping restaurants take control back from Yelp and Tripadvisor,” said Sweeney.

Other companies around the country, like ChowNow out of Los Angeles, are trying to do something similar. But while ChowNow is focused on online ordering, Popmenu started with marketing and… well… making menus “pop.”

The company is going to use the new cash it raised to add services like on-premises contactless transactions and from there could have a connection from the front-of-the-house to the back-of-the-house operations and ordering and fulfillment services.

Existing investors like Base10 Partners and Felicis Ventures returned to finance the company’s Series B along with new lead investor Bedrock Capital. Popmenu has also received some celebrity financing in the form of a commitment from Mantis VC, the newly launched investment firm from the wildly popular Chainsmokers band.

Apparently, they wanted something just like this, according to Milan Koch of Mantis VC. “When Alex, Drew and I met the Popmenu team, it was obvious to us right away how much they really cared about restaurateurs,” Koch said in a statement. “Having close ties with owners and hospitality groups worldwide and knowing the unique challenges they face, we got excited about how Popmenu’s product could help impact their businesses in so many different ways.”

Popmenu sells its software for a monthly fee starting at $ 269 per-location.

“So many industries have experienced radically accelerated trends through the COVID crisis, probably none more so than the restaurant industry,” said Sweeney, in a statement. “They’ve embraced technology as key to weathering these challenging times. We are fired up to give them even more help attracting guests and reducing costs and complexity on the road to recovery.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Small business payments and marketing startup Fivestars raises $52.5M

It’s a difficult time for small businesses — to put it mildly. And Fivestars CEO Victor Ho said that many of the big digital platforms aren’t really helping.

Ho argued that those platforms — whether they offer delivery services, user reviews or marketing tools — all have the same underlying model: “They seek to take over a small business’ customer base and then charge them a tax to start reaching those customers.”

Superficially, a company like Fivestars, which has created software to support small business payments and marketing, might not sound that different.

But Ho said that the startup actually takes the “opposite” approach, because Fivestars isn’t trying to build up a big “walled garden” of its own customers that businesses pay to access. Instead, businesses pay for the software, which they use to build a database of their own customers; they don’t have to pay to reach those customers.

“The incentives are more aligned,” he said.

Fivestars

Image Credits: Fivestars

The Fivestars platform includes its own payment product, integration with other point-of-sale systems, marketing automation that delivers personalized messages to customers and a broader network of 60 million shoppers, allowing for cross-promotion across different Fivestars businesses.

The startup is announcing today that it has raised $ 52.5 million in new funding, combining a Series D equity round as well as debt and bringing its total funding to $ 145.5 million. The round was led by Salt Partners, with participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, DCM Ventures, Menlo Ventures and HarbourVest Partners.

Ho said Fivestars actually closed the round before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team decided to hold off on the announcement because it seemed like a bad idea to “flaunt” the company’s bank account when so many of its customers were suffering.

The company has seen “record usage” during the pandemic, with 1 million new shoppers joining the network every month. At the same time, Ho acknowledged that the pandemic has caused the company to shift its strategy. Originally, the goal for the funding was “just to keep growing our portfolio of merchants across our existing products,” but Ho said, “What changed pretty dramatically through this period for us was emphasizing the payments piece and the network” and focusing on “what small businesses need more than ever.”

He also noted that during the pandemic, the company has provided customers with more than $ 1 million worth of credits and also made more of its products free to use.

“It’s very clear that small businesses are incredibly resilient,” Ho added. “Particularly when it comes to the category of experiences — you’re not going to take your wife on a date to Pizza Hut, when you go to Paris, you’re not going to go to a generic chains.”

In the funding announcement, Natasha Teague of Ft Lauderdale health food store Tropibowls described the Fivestars platform as “a huge help.”

“The value of being able to communicate with our customers and share updates in real-time has been immeasurable,” Teague said in a statement. “The power of Fivestars’ expansive network and payment tech has made our reopening process seamless and a lifesaver as we navigate new needs as a result of the pandemic.”

Startups – TechCrunch

With a new focus on marketing software, NewsCred relaunches as Welcome

The company formerly known as NewsCred has a new name and a new product: Welcome.

Co-founder and CEO Shafqat Islam explained that this follows a broader shift in the company’s strategy. While previously known as a content marketing business, Islam said NewsCred has been increasingly focused on building a broader software platform for marketers (a platform that it uses itself).

Eventually, this led the company to sell its content services business to business journalism company Industry Dive and its owner Falfurrias Capital Partners over the summer. Now Welcome is officially unveiling its new brand, which it’s also using for its new marketing orchestration software.

“It’s not often that startups like ours get to close one chapter and open another chapter,” Islam said. “We kind of went back to being a Series A, Series B startup, iterating and working very closely with our customers.”

While today is the official launch of the Welcome platform, Islam said the company has been moving the software in this direction for the past year, and that this side of the business has already seen significant growth, with daily average users up 300% year-over-year.

Islam also suggested that while this was the right time to come up with a new company name, it’s something that’s been discussed repeatedly in the past.

Welcome Gantt Calendar

Image Credits: Welcome

“Every time we raised money in last 10 years, the new investor would say, ‘What about the name? Can we change it?’ ” he recalled. “We could never do it, because we had this content heritage built up and enough brand equity. Finally, with this deal, and with the launch of the new software … we came up with the name Welcome.”

While there’s no shortage of marketing software out there already, Islam said marketers need an orchestration system to manage their projects and workflows — most of them, he said, are stuck using “horizontal” project management tools that aren’t really built for their needs, such as Asana or Jira.

“Marketers have very specific needs,” Islam said. “It could be a simple thing like … marketers work with campaigns, so what are your specific campaigns, marketing briefs or marketing-specific workflows? Our approach was: How do we create something that’s really specific to marketers versus all horizontal solutions out there?”

He also noted that “close to half the engineering team works on the interoperability problem,” so that Welcome can integrate all the other tools that marketers are using, like HubSpot and Marketo. The goal, Islam said, is to become “something marketers standardize on,” the way that salespeople log into their Salesforce accounts every day.

Islam also argued Welcome will take advantage of the way that the pandemic has accelerated changes in the enterprise sales process.

“I personally believe the way people buy software is changing,” he said. “The days of wining and dining and selling to the CMO, that still exists, but that’s not how everyone wants to buy anymore.”

To adapt to this new world, Islam said the startup is adopting a more “bottoms up” sales approach, with a free version of the platform due for release next month.

Startups – TechCrunch

Swedish martech Mediatool nabs €2.5 million to grow its cloud-based remote marketing platform

Stockholm-based Mediatool, the startup that offers media management software for omnichannel marketeers, has received €2.5 million in an investment round led by Newion, early stage investor in B2B software companies, together with J12 Ventures, Almi Invest and current investor Twig. The Swedish company Mediatool allows marketing professionals of brands and agencies to plan, execute, analyze…

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EU-Startups

[verse.io in PR Newswire] Ascend2 and Verse Unveil New Survey – The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales

Ascend2, a leading market research firm, in partnership with Verse, today unveiled a new survey of more than 250 marketing and sales professionals, The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales. The report brings new insights to the challenges and opportunities that organizations face in today’s modern communications landscape, as well as the technologies that they currently use in order to optimize their sales operations.

Read more here.

The post [verse.io in PR Newswire] Ascend2 and Verse Unveil New Survey – The State of Lead Conversion in Marketing and Sales appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

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Global IoT Insurance Market Strategic Decisions, Quickest Development, Market Shares, Trends, Marketing, Promotional And Sales Strategies – Stock Market Funda

Global IoT Insurance Market Strategic Decisions, Quickest Development, Market Shares, Trends, Marketing, Promotional And Sales Strategies  Stock Market Funda
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