Even the most time-pressed business owner can attract more customers with less effort through the right cross-promotional marketing. Why? Because when you join forces with other credible people who also reach your target market you can reach your customers more efficiently, credibly, and memorably with the right offers and services.
To stand out from the competition in a crowded advertising marketplace, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies are enthusiastically adopting this nimble approach to "out market" bigger competitors.
Their cross-promotions include "bundled" offerings, joint media appearances and events, and unconventional cause-related marketing. It might also include collaboratively produced how-to's and other resource e-booklets and videos, co-branding, co-op advertising, and shared space.
Cross-promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through each other's customer base. They can gain a credible introduction to their customers more effectively than with the traditional "solo" methods of networking, advertising, or public relations.
Cross-promotion is also a great way to cut marketing costs by sharing between partners. Get in the habit of doing business promotion for you and your partner businesses wherever you go and you'll be surprised how word-of-mouth builds.
Low-Risk and High-Opportunity Ideas
- Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.
- Add your parter's business name, logo, contact information (including web address), and slogan to your website and on your correspondence. Mention your partners in social media postings on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
- Writing articles on topics related to your business expertise can be an excellent promotion. Well-written articles or blogs can provide free advertising and build positive word-of-mouth for you and your partner businesses. If you're a realtor, for instance, you could write a piece on a newly constructed house, mentioning the builder, roofer, landscaper, etc. If you're a website designer, you might write a piece about assessing website usability and mention the photographer who takes images for your websites.
- Sending out press releases is another great way to get some free business promotion for you and your partners. The caveat to using press releases as a business promotion tool is that your press release must contain newsworthy information, such as a recent business expansion, the introduction of new products, sponsoring a charity event, or winning an award. Press releases can be published online or in print.
- Offer a reduced price, special service, convenience, or customer reward if customers buy products from you and your partner, or give your partner's product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product and ask your partner to do the same.
- Hang signs or posters promoting one another on your walls, windows, or products.
- Hand out your partner's business cards to interested customers.
- Mention each other's benefits when you speak at local events or are interviewed by the media.
- Drop one another's flyers in shopping bags, mailboxes, or on vehicle windows.
- Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional email or postcard.
- Share inexpensive ads in local shopping papers or a nonprofit event program.
- Give a joint interview with local media.
Strategies to Stand Out
- If you are skilled at taking video (or know someone who is) you can create video promotions for your products or services with your partners and post them on YouTube.
- Have a contest, with the prizes contributed by your partners. For the next contest, roles change, and you contribute your product or service as a prize for a partner's contest.
- Give customers a free product or service from a participating partner when they buy something that month from all of the partners listed in an ad or on a promotional postcard.
Referral Arrangements With Your Partners
Having a referral program in place will give you and your partners more incentive to cross-promote each other's products and services. A referral fee or discounts on merchandise or services are ways you can show your appreciation to your partners for sending business your way.