You’ve probably heard of relationship building activities for your busines but perhaps don’t know why they are important or how to go about them so in this post I’m going to explain just that. Why collaborations are good for your nutrition business and how you can get started with them to leverage from other people’s audience to help you build yours, particularly when you are just starting out.
Why is building relationships important for dietitians and nutritionists?
Effective collaborations can have a huge impact on your business. Weather we realise it or not, every aspect of our business as dietitians is built around relationships – establishing and maintaining effective and meaningful connections with other people. Relationships with clients, their families, organisations they belong too, people that refer to you, people you purchase from in your business (Email marketing software, client management, internet provider). In this day and age, with everyone moving online and the million of algorithm updates, or new platforms we have to juggle constantly, social media just isn’t what it used to be, it is critical for dietitians to be building business relationships.
Where are people going wrong when collaborating?
- Not personalising their pitch: Your reach out should be personalised and conversational. Make sure you make your pitch about them, not YOU!
- Treating business relationships vey transactional: Only getting in touch when they want something, not getting to know the other person in depth, what their needs are or values. It is best to cultivate your network and business relationships regularly. Like their posts, comment, share, email, message them.
- Treating people like they aren’t valued: People buy from people they like so treat your business colleagues like you would treat your family and friends. Be yourself, be vulnerable and show a personal interest in them and what they have to offer.
- Making it a one way street: Collaborating with another business owner should be done with ease and joint responsibility and participation.
Establish your why and set your goals for building your B2B relationships.
When it comes to developing business to business relationships, there are essentially two different arms – there are paid collaborations and there are things that you do that are unpaid but perhaps have other benefits.
Exposure in front of a different audience
Your competitors don’t have the same exact audience as you. Yes, there may be some overlap, but they have email subscribers, Instagram followers, and Facebook fans that may not know about your business.
Collaborating can be a great way to get your business in front of a different audience that may not know your brand.
Grow your audience
Have you ever had to go to your neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar? To be honest, we haven’t, but it’s a popular saying, so go with us for a minute.
Collaborating is like borrowing sugar from your neighbor. You ask for some sugar, they do you a favor by giving you some. The following week, you notice they need help starting their car so you help them out.
It’s a give and take relationship, where you help each other out when you need help the most, which is exactly what collaborating can do for your business.
It leverages on your talents and fills gaps in your expertise
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so this is a chance for you to collaborate with brands that can cancel out your weaknesses and allow you to highlight your strengths.
You can develop future partnerships with other like minded brands
Once you’ve crafted a successful co-marketing collaboration campaign, other brands will know that you’ve got what it takes to be a great brand partner for them too! This is a fantastic way to have partnerships in the pipeline for future product releases or service offerings.
It also works the other way around – there’s every chance that working with other brands will get your creative juices flowing, and help you formulate new ideas of your own that you wouldn’t have thought of before!
Collaborations are a fantastic way to cultivate conversations and discover inspiration from other brands, so it’s time you reach out and spark these relationships. You never know what the future may bring.
What you can do as part of a collaboration?
Let’s now take a look at some ideas of what you can do as part of a collaboration for your nutrition business.
- Giveaway. Instagram giveaways are a powerful tactic for encouraging engagement from your community and reaching new audiences. In fact, a study conducted by Tailwind found that Instagram giveaways can help grow your followers 70% faster in three months than if you didn’t host a contest at all. First step is to identify your goal ie grow followers may be one of your goals. Then once you have determined your prize, next you will need to work out your entry criteria and this is what is going to turn your comp from something you run that costs you money to something that helps you connect your current community and grow a new audience. For example, if your goal is to gain new followers, you are likely going to have a condition of entry for the comp is that they must be following your page. You could also have them tag 3-5 friends so that your reach is expanded and the hope is that they will enter and follow you as well.
- FB/IG live. These are fairly common where you are on one of your profiles and you do a joint live. This can be in the form of a Q&A, a casual chat or something more formal where you are teaching them something.
- Social media takeover. This is a form of influencer marketing where one business allows the other business to temporarily post on their account. Often it can be for a weekend. It is one way to get more people to become aware of you and thus, increase your followers. It can also engage more of your current audience optimising the time for sales posts once they are engaged.
- Custom trainings in other businesses Facebook group. I love this one. This is like a webinar strategy except it’s to a close group and is tailored specifically to them so it becomes quite an elite training that is provided.
- Guest Writer. This has to align with your business and build on your strengths. If you aren’t a good writer, don’t pitch a blog.
- Guest appearance on You Tube Episode. Again work to your strengths. If you freeze up on screen and public speaking isn’t your friend, maybe you are best writing a piece.
- Guest on their podcast. Podcasts are so easy to do. You can have notes jotted down in dot point for yourself and they are quite relaxing to do, especially if it is someone elses podcast and all you need to do is show up.
- Sponsored posts. Brands are working with businesses everyday. Advertisers can pay businesses or influencers to promote their brand in a post to get exposure to that brands audience and engaged followers.
Let’s look at how you might initiate conversations that lead to collaborating with another business. It takes a very dedicated amount of time and energy to build good, strong, lasting business relationships these days yet they are such an integral part of any successful business.
- WORK OUT WHO: Find someone within the industry (or several someones) who align with the work you’re passionate about or focused on. I usually get my dietitians to create a spreadsheet and each page is dedicated to a specific area geographically or type of group of people ie bariatric surgeons. Then on each page, I get them to record business name, contact details, contact person and WIP (work in progress) so you can do a running progress. You could add things in this column such as waiting for email reply, sent 9.9.22
- EXISTING RELATIONSHIPS: Look at what existing relationship you have, if you have any mutual friends/colleagues in common or how you can start from scratch if necessary.
- RESEARCH: Research their business – is what they do aligned with you and your business? Would their audience benefit from your knowledge and would your audience benefit from their knowledge? The key when looking for other businesses to collaborate with is to look for someone that offers a different service to you but has the same audience as you. You as a dietitian, say a weight loss dietitian, wouldn’t go and collaborate with another chronic disease/bariatric dietitian as your combined audience would be confused about what either of you offer and if they want to work with a dietitian, they have two choices to choose from which is not idea as one person is always going to be missing out. On the other hand, if you were a weight loss dietitian and you collaborated with a personal trainer and at the end of it, someone wanted to work on their diet, they would only have the choice of you but what you do would compliment the pt so you could have joint/combined cients.
- BRAINSTORM: Brainstorm ways in which you could collaborate together. I like to do this based on the research I have done and understanding what assets they have that they utilise in their business currently. For example if they have a podcast, you could pitch to that. If they have a large, engaged FB group, you would pitch an activity that would be appropriate in there. If they have a blog, you would pitching topics you could write about on their blog and so forth.
- CUSTOMISE & FLOAT THE IDEA: Once you have some ideas in mind, its time to start reaching out to the businesses you added to your list initially. I hate the idea of sending blanket one sentence emails. What I teach is to personalise your pitch. Always offer something before you ask for something.If we go back to who from your list is already in your network, think about how do you usually communicate? Is it on Instagram through the DM’s, is it via email? Text? Use that method initially to introduce your idea and then if they are on board, take it to email to nut out all the details. If you don’t have an existing relationship, do you have any mutual colleagues that may be able to introduce you? As a last resort, we would look at cold pitching.
- MEET: Once you have a collab idea and you have agreeance that the pair of you can do something together, I send them my booking link to book in a time with me to meet on Zoom so we can talk about the finer details and firm everything up and delegate all tasks that need to be completed before D-day.
You might be thinking why me? I’ve only got 100 people following me……
The value you provide isn’t in the numbers. It’s in the expert knowledge you have that you learnt whilst studying for how many years! If the listener, reader walks away learning something new, then you are the one that is providing that value.
Businesses may want to work with someone who is less well known because they just may not have a huge budget for an influencer. Smaller businesses might have more authentic, engaged audiences.
What I can tell you though is that you should not underestimate the value you provide as a person who is passionate and educated and that the world needs to hear from you. One of the best ways to grow your business organically is through the use of leveraging from other people’s audiences when you are first starting out and I hope that this blog post has given you some encouragement to know you can get started with collaborations to grow your nutrition business.