Sealing the deal with partnerships | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 18, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 18, 2019

Sealing the deal with partnerships

Effective partnership strategies for online businesses

Dhaka’s booming scene of online businesses & freelance modelling is a good indicator of how our economy is moving steadily towards e-commerce more and more every day. These businesses have social media at the core of their modus operandi. They are run by makeup artists, online business owners, photographers, digital marketers, etc. Marketing strategies of these pages are different from that of other businesses. Large portions of their revenue come from “collaborations”, which are basically partnerships and sponsorships with other online businesses. We investigated a few local online pages to find out what their marketing strategies are and how they ace it.


Customers can become your best brand managers. For example, customers’ photos with the company’s products are often featured on these pages. The Purple Box, an online-based jewellery shop, uses the strategy of featuring customers wearing their products along with the models on their page.  Maliha Eena, owner of The Purple Box says, “In online businesses, success is all about trust. So, you have to build a relationship with your customers that nurtures trust. Your customers then become your marketers.”  This is a successful strategy to gain sponsorship because it shows your investors that your customers have faith in you. Customers also feel engaged with the company as they feel their feedbacks are being received and implemented.


Engagement in peer circles of our field is an effective strategy for successful partnerships. Freelance photographers usually keep connections with other photographers to form teams when requested to cover an event. They also collaborate on photo series and thematic exhibitions.  Anika Anjum, owner of Rouge Photography says, “Being confident about your work, engaging and knowing the right people are keys to good marketing. By right people, I mean the handful number of people of your social circle who share your work with the same enthusiasm. And then, just like wildfire, your work is spread amid social circles. That’s passive engagement for you. ” This passive engagement in work and social circles is useful to find work collectively. Your marketing is not just limited to your customers but is extended to your acquaintances as well, forming a great network for you.  These partnerships are particularly effective for creative arts professionals.

Freelance models also use innovative engagement posts with their audience in the form of short videos and Q&A sessions. This helps them identify what their audience profile looks like. Sunehra Tasnim, one of the fastest growing fashion bloggers of Dhaka, attaches her opinions in captions along with engagement questions. This helps her know what sort of content can get the highest number of viewership. Local boutiques, whose target customer base is young female students and professionals of Dhaka, are often featured in her posts because their customer base matches her follower profile.


Once you have established a peer circle and good customer engagement, the next step is to focus on making your brand stand out to your investors. Fat Man Film, a digital marketing page for food photography, has a unique set of colours and shades that they use while photographing in different restaurants. No matter what the cuisine is, the food is always photographed in the same style that makes their work stand out. A dark background with rustic accessories has become its signature style and customers identify them by it. Having your own signature colour palette creates an automatic brand of your work.

However, repetitive colour palettes aren’t always necessary to create your signature style. Sharly Rahman, a freelance model, rather opts for creating trends using her local culture. Her page often features content focusing on fusion of sub-continental jewellery items with European and North American fashion trends. She says, “My strategy is to try and find new ways to creatively express my brand on social media which on its own generates a lot of attention.”


What if you are a newcomer and you don’t have any connections to hunt partnerships? Opt-in email list is a solution to this problem. Your customers or followers can sign in and receive correspondence from you and you can do the same with other businesses. Email local businesses around you with your portfolio and attach specific promotional plans you have for your future. Sharing promotional plans can help you build a trusted relationship as well as demonstrate your marketing abilities. Email marketing is considered to be one of the most powerful tools of our time because of its vast outreach.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is also an effective method to make your page visible on the map. This is not helpful for content creators who create new content every day. But page admins who offer products and services using certain common tags and keywords can opt to this to make these pages easily searchable. Try to use similar tags as other businesses or common tags your customers can remember.


Noshin Saiyara is an aspiring conservationist, deluded into thinking that she can save the planet from dying. Reach her at to bring her back to reality.

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