Started by, Nat Welfare, The Collab Hub was actually a solution to her own problem finding collab partners to join styled shoots and other projects to help grow her first business, creating custom bridal denim jackets. The Collab Hub is a super straightforward and ultra-affordable membership community for businesses, brands, freelancers, venues, and influencers to create and respond to call outs for collaboration opportunities. Providing businesses and individuals with an instant business network, putting people in front of others who are also actively looking to collaborate – making the whole process not only faster but a lot less disheartening. No more unanswered emails (yay!). At TDP we are all about collaboration, so we had to have Nat tell us all about it as our latest Guest Contributor…
Collaborations such as social media giveaways, co-creating products, guest blogging and podcasting, styled shoots, and using influencers – have become one of the most effective forms of promoting and growing a business over the last 10 years. More and more businesses are realising they need to be collaborating in order to be seen! The reason for this, is that the way consumers buy has completely transformed with the internet and, more specifically, social media. Consumers no longer buy from glossy, airbrushed images or direct sell advertising – they buy you. They want to know about you and they want to know about your business, where it comes from, what it’s purpose is, and why it aligns with who they are as a person.
The problem is, they don’t want to hear it from you.
Research has shown that almost 95% of people (i.e. everyone who knows how to use Google) will look at online reviews before purchasing (Spiegel Research Centre, 2017).
What has this got to do with collaborations? Collaborations – among other things – are a form of social proof, similar to a customer review. It’s essentially another business vouching for you to their own customers.
Which, when you think about it like that, is HUGE!
I started my first online business, SodaPop, about 18 months ago (which at the time was selling hens party supplies but now just focuses on custom bridal jackets) and I spent a lot of time and money dabbling in Facebook ads, Google Adwords, Google Smart Shopping and all of those common paid advertising tools in the hopes that it would drive customers to my store but the truth is it really didn’t. I just wasted a bunch of cash.
My audience and customer-base really started to grow only when I began building a network through collaborations such as cross-promotions and giveaways and built relationships with other businesses who would share my posts and products. People needed to be referred to my business by another person or business that they trusted before they would buy – especially higher value items. And, not only that, but those customers then went on to become part of my online community after they had purchased and continued to share and engage with my posts and stories – reaching even more people. They felt like they knew me and my business before they purchased because of the referral and then continued to treat my business as part of their own network, afterward. Collaborations are a great opportunity to show potential customers that you’re trustworthy, likeable and whatever you sell is high enough quality that someone else they already trust is willing to promote you in a public forum.
You really can’t buy that kind of advertising. And, the best part is – collaborating is FREE!
There is a downside to collaborations, though.
They are very time consuming to organise which means small businesses are limited to how many they can do. If you don’t already have a very broad and pre-established business network, finding collab partners is seriously hard work. First, you have to spend hours trawling through the internet looking for the businesses or people you think would be a good fit for you and your collab idea. Then you have to craft the perfect, personalised pitch for each one (you definitely can’t just do a copy and paste job – people can smell it a mile away).
Then, you wait.
Sometimes, you hear nothing. Sometimes, you get a No simply because they’re not up for collaborations right now. Sometimes, they show initial interest and you spend days communicating back-and-forth only for them to fall off the face of the earth and you’re back to square one. In order to continue to grow your brand’s presence in the online world you really need to be collaborating at least monthly. But to do this the old fashioned way – one-by-one – is a full time job in itself! After lots of rejections and non-replies trying to organise collabs for my first business, SodaPop, I decided something had to be created that made the whole process a lot easier. Which is why, after I ruptured my achilles playing netball and was couch-bound for weeks, I decided to use that time to start The Collab Hub.
The Collab Hub’s sole purpose is to make collaborating easier and less time consuming so we can get back to the 5000 other things on our To-Do lists (ammirite?) without missing out on the benefits of regular collaborations. The Collab Hub is a membership-based community where businesses, freelancers, venues, events, influencers and content creators can post and respond to any kind of collaboration opportunity. Having a ready-to-go collab community means we reduce the time spent finding the right people simply by posting a call out directly to the group and letting the right people come to us! And, for those looking to jump onboard with other collaborations, they only need to come to one place to see everything that’s on offer. The response has already been so amazing and the small community we have built since our launch in mid-July have already kicked off multiple collaborations in the members group! It’s so clear that everyone wants to collaborate but are probably putting it off because of the effort involved. The moment it’s made super easy for them – they are setting up collabs left, right and centre!
Membership to The Collab Hub is $19/year to ensure its super affordable and accessible to everyone and this gives you access to the member’s group to post and respond to unlimited Collab Call Outs.