If you are a lonely entrepreneur on Valentine’s Day, know that you are not alone and many businesses are also looking for someone to help them take things to the next level. Once you understand what it is your business is missing, your gut will point you towards the right strategic partner. So, cowboy up, and let’s figure out how to win over the heart of the business partner of your dreams.

Why you need a partner in the first place and what to look for

Whenever single people get lonely, they can turn to one of the many dating apps for matchmaking help. Similarly, in business, entrepreneurs who want to achieve more can surf the web to get help from other businesses regardless of whether they need to build up their authority, drive more traffic to their site, increase their customer base, you name it.

So, clarify why you even need a business partner to begin with. Once you know this, you’ll be able to set the stage for all of your other decisions. Here are some reasons why an online business may need to enter into a business partnership:

  • Bond with a respected figure.

If your website’s authority isn’t high enough from the perspective of search engines, you may want to get high-quality backlinks from relevant authoritative websites. The main goal here is to create a backlink profile for your website that is of higher quality in comparison with other websites in your index. You can achieve this by reaching out to your network or clients and asking them for guest post content.

  • Get more eyes looking at you.

Increase your traffic numbers and ultimately your customer base by partnering up with other non-competing businesses and asking them to add you to their newsletter, guest blog for each other, set up an affiliate marketing program, create content for educational courses, or even helping you enter a brand new market in another country.

  • Become the talk of the town.

Engage in all sorts of activities to show that you are a subject-matter expert: create expert content, attend and even sponsor online and offline events, be active in community forums and online discussions, to name a few. Besides helping others succeed, being an industry expert creates more conversion opportunities and drives more traffic to your site.

Take the time to figure out exactly what it is you’re missing as a business. But keep in mind that opposites attract, but like-minded last. Create a well-planned development strategy and identify what qualities and characteristics you need help with. The answer will point in the direction of your potential partner.

Where to swipe right for a business partner

Now that you’ve determined that you could benefit from a mutual business partnership, you’re probably wondering where to start looking. We have some ideas.

What are your options: Browsing search engines

Think of a non-competing industry niche that is indirectly linked to your type of business and look for companies or individuals who are ranking at the top of the search results for the terms “industry + tool/service”.

For example, if you have a SaaS company offering SEO services, you may want to consider teaming up with website builders, web hosting providers, grammar check services, designer firms—basically, any business that doesn’t pose a direct threat to you. Think of it as creating an ecosystem of products and services. If you get several businesses to join in, you’ll be able to leverage each other’s customer bases for mutual benefits.

Once you’ve identified several potentially viable options, you need to further analyze them to find the best one(s) to approach. So, run several more searches to see which of the handpicked candidates come up in the SERPs more often, which ones have higher Maps or more News results, which ones are featured in round-up articles, and so on.

“If they’re not on Facebook, they’re weird”

Now, take the candidate(s) you found on Google and see what you can dig up on social media. Naturally, you want to find businesses that are active and with a reasonably large community of followers. And be sure to check their presence across all popular social media networks to get an understanding of how many people you can potentially reach by teaming up with them.

On top of that, besides only looking at companies, you should also pay attention to individuals who engage in promo activities around specific topics. These people are known as influencers and they can also help you achieve your business goals. So, make sure to play the entire field before deciding on your perfect business match.

What’s the word on the street: Social listening, PR, and influencer marketing tools

Dedicated platforms such as Mention, Heepsy, and Brandwatch can point influencers out to you and show you all the data you need to figure out who you potentially have to partner up with.

But you aren’t just looking for influencers who you’ll have to pay. You want to find businesses that are willing to team up and help each other out for free. So, take your shortlist of potential partners and see what brand monitoring and social listening tools have to say about them.

Brand24, Talkwalker, and Awario are several solid tools that can give you a great idea of the conversations that are being held online about any website, including any site’s competition.

Are they beautiful on the inside too? Digging through analytics services

Alright, so now we have identified the main qualities that the perfect candidate must possess and have shortlisted several businesses, it’s time to dig a little deeper into each one. This is where we need to start using various analytics tools like SimilarWeb and Alexa.

SimilarWeb lets you compare several websites and provides you with traffic data that includes visit duration, pages viewed per visit, and bounce rate. Similarly, Alexa offers a range of SEO and competitive analysis tools designed to help business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs find the right keywords, discover competitor keywords, benchmark performance against digital rivals, and boost SEO performance, to name a few.

For example, above you can see the results Alexa provided for DreamHost’s website. In addition to seeing their site metrics like traffic volume and bounce rate, you can also get a list of its direct competitors based on audience overlap.

Chasing the same couple goals: The verdict

The last step in your analysis process is running in-depth SEO research of each shortlisted candidate. The main question you want to answer here is will you both benefit from the partnership.

An all-in-one SEO software solution like SE Ranking can provide you with a comprehensive analysis of any website in any location in the world. All you have to do is access the Competitive Research tool, select a region where you are active, and enter the URL of a website that you want to analyze.

As a result, you will be provided with all the information you need to make up your mind about a potential business candidate. In SE Ranking, you can straight away see how many keywords a website is targeting, how much organic and paid traffic it’s getting, how many websites link out to it, and more. Plus, you can see their dynamics to get an understanding of whether they are on their way up or down.

As a matter of fact, you can even conduct your entire research using SEO tools like SE Ranking alone. Just start with a keyword and analyze the websites ranking for it in search down to the last thread. Moreover, you can then take the candidates you’re really excited about and add them to the platform as a project and monitor all of their activities.

After all, you’re not just trying to get a partner for a one-night stand, but you want to be in it for the long haul.

Make your move, Romeo: Reaching out to the most promising player(s)

Finally, you have selected the most relevant, eligible candidates you can find, you know everything about them, and are ready to approach them—OMG, they don’t even know you’ve got the hots for them yet!

Start by finding a personal contact at the business you want to team up with. If you don’t have any luck getting it on their website, a good piece of advice is finding the business on LinkedIn, finding the profile of their marketing or communications manager on the same social platform, and reaching out to connect.

As a rule of thumb, don’t overwhelm your potential partner from the get-go. Aim to first build a professional, friendly relationship. Follow and engage with your potential partner on social media, wish them happy holidays—basically, add a personal touch to your relationship. Once that’s been established, show them your cards.

In order to protect yourself from making mistakes such as reaching out to the same person with the same message twice, you must organize all of your contacts into a neat database. Using a systematic approach will help you stay on top of all of your communications with potential business partners.

Once they say ‘yes’, you’ve got a match and your main job is to not mess it all up. So, deliver on your promises and do everything in your power to maintain a positive relationship.

And they lived happily ever after: Building a lifelong partnership

Congratulations, they said ‘yes’! Now that you’ve sealed the deal, you can’t afford to take your business partner for granted. So, stock up on patience and make sure to take unforeseen circumstances into account when planning your partnership.

Think about all the activities you plan on carrying out in the year ahead and make sure you engage your business partners whenever it is appropriate. Sure, depending on your business goal, you may not engage with your business partners all that often, but you absolutely have to be confident that both of you are yielding maximum benefits from the partnership.

Unlike real life, where we seek to find one partner for life, in business you can have several partners as long as they don’t have anything in common and are not in direct competition with one another.

So, make sure you play your cards right and don’t seem too desperate. Keep in mind that all of your partnerships must be based on a win-win approach.