“Buddy marketing” is what I like to call analog social media marketing. Social media marketing is all the rage these days. As a social media professional, I’m all for it! But, as I often remind clients, don’t forget the social part of social media. And never forget the power of real world social relationships to help your marketing and sales efforts.

Buddy marketing (also know as referral marketing) is, in short, teaming up with another vendor to reach a wider audience. Let’s pretend we’re wedding vendors for a minute. Let’s say you sell gorgeous wedding invitations. A colleague in your area creates beautiful floral arrangements and bouquets. These are two very different types of products ever bride needs for her wedding, and as a result, you and your colleague have different mailing lists. You might even go to different bridal shows.

But what if you teamed up to send out your marketing materials together? If you and your florist colleague sent your flyer or email newsletter to your own contact lists and included a recommendation for each other’s business, you would each be reaching a whole new set of brides, which results in more leads, and ultimately, more sales.

The recommendation provided by each of you is an essential part of the process, however. A bride will want to know why you are willing to offer another business’ products or services to them. Try to make this a personal message from you, such as “I have always admired the work of Jane’s Floral. Jane’s passion and dedication to each Bride she works with is inspiring. Because she is such a professional, I know that you will love working with her, and so I’m pleased to recommend her.”

This message has a two-fold effect of making Jane’s Floral look like someone brides want to do business with, but also elevating your own business in their mind by being associated with such a great business.

Buddy marketing has proven to be an effective way to reach larger audiences and create more sales, so get out and find related vendors and colleagues in your area that you would be happy to partner with. It’s so easy to do, it will be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat!