by Peter Crocker
Selling products or services direct to customers is all good and well. But could you be missing out on a potentially larger and more lucrative marketing opportunity?
In the past I’ve done a lot of work on channel marketing for IT companies. Put simply, channel marketing involves selling through partners or resellers rather than direct to customers.
For example, Microsoft sells their products through a network of partners ranging from small IT retailers to large technology consulting firms. To do this they focus on educating resellers on their products and providing sample software, marketing collateral and industry news so that, hopefully, the reseller will choose to recommend their products to their customers.
This same principle can work for solo business owners. For example, as a copywriter I often get asked “Do you know a good designer / web developer / printer / ad agency / business consultant etc…?”
There are similar examples across all industries such as…
- Nurseries recommend landscape gardeners
- Real estate agents recommend cleaners or removalists
- Accountants recommend finance software
- Architects recommend builders, builders recommend cabinet makers
- Local printers recommend graphic designers
- Beauticians recommend beauty products or gifts
Which businesses sell products and services to the same type of people you do? Or, which meet a related but non-competitive customer need? These are your potential channel partners.
The secret here is leverage. By selling yourself to one loyal partner, they can go on to resell many of your solutions to their customers over time.
So, all you have to do is work out who your potential channel partners are and you have a completely new target market that may be more profitable than selling direct.
Has this approach worked for your business? We’d love to hear how.
In a future article I’ll look at some specific ways you can target these partners.