Cross-Promotion Ideas for the Small Business

Many small business owners believe it’s easier for big businesses to do cross-promotion, so the smaller guys don’t even try it. But cross-promotion, or cross-marketing, is simply a marketing strategy that any size business can use, if it has the resources.


Cross-promotion is partnering with another company that has similar products or services that complement your company’s products or services. The key here is “complement” – you don’t want to try to partner with a competitor. Basically, you join forces and save marketing money by marketing your product with the other company’s product.


Here are five ideas that you can use to cross-promote your company with another while saving money.


1. Display each others’ brochures, posters or other marketing materials. This is one of the simplest strategies. Set up a display at your cash register or counter with your partner’s business brochures and flyers. Hang posters around your store that show your partner’s complementary products. Your partner should do the same for you. This should help you both increase sales because if your products are truly complementary, most people will need both products.


2. Start a referral program. Give a discount to customers who refer business to your partner from your store and vice versa.


3. Exchange mailing lists. Your target market should be the same with whoever you decide to partner with. It’s a good idea to make sure this is true before you agree to be partners. Sharing mailing and emailing lists will double your reach to customers.


4. Be co-sponsors. Co-sponsor a community event in your area. You can share costs and the marketing spotlight by having both of your names in equal amounts when you co-sponsor a charity event, or a local little league team.


5. Include marketing inserts in each others’ invoices. Businesses do this all the time. The credit card statement you get in the mail every month includes little flyers for other businesses. That annoying flap you have to tear off before sealing the envelope is another cross-promotion. Just make sure that the added flyer(s) or brochure(s) doesn’t add weight to your invoice. You don’t want to have to pay for that extra weight – you might end up losing money that way.


Don’t be afraid to approach other business owners in your area with products or services that complement yours. Most businesses jump at the chance of sharing marketing costs and customers, as long as you aren’t competitors. Just make sure you write down and both sign and agree to any terms – like who pays for what or how you’ll split costs. Even though it’s a partnership, you still have to make sure you watch out for yourself.

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