Many small business owners believe it’s easier for big businesses to do cross-promotion, so the smaller ones 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 other’s 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. Promote on social media.
Using social media is one of the most powerful ways to cross-promote these days. This includes collaborating with other companies to plug each other on their respective social media pages, so they can reach new audiences. It would be best to team up with an industry that complements yours.
For instance, a shoe brand can tie up with a shoe cleaner company. Featuring your customers on your social media channels can also offer mutual benefits, just like what PrintPlace does. They share customer stories to spread inspiration, engage with their community, and help customers get their names out there when customers tag them or use their hashtags.
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3. Start a referral program.
Most people trust recommendations from someone they know. Meaning, referrals coming from families, friends, or colleagues are indeed effective. Attract referrals when you give a discount to customers who refer business to your partner from your store and vice versa.
4. Exchange mailing lists.
Your target market should be the same as whomever 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 email lists will double your reach to customers.
PrintPlace can help make your direct mail campaign simple.
5. 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.
6. Establish deeper connections.
When doing cross-promotion, it’s best to show your customers that your collaboration is beyond just a marketing opportunity. More than just mentioning each other’s company, why not create something valuable? Co-host a webinar, create bundle deals, or write a useful blog or article that would promote each other. PrintPlace, for instance, writes compelling blog posts that feature their customers while promoting what they offer. It’s a win-win!
7. Use podcasts.
Over 60% of consumers in the US alone listen to podcasts. Guesting on a popular podcast can help introduce you to a wider reach. You may also look for a compatible partner and co-host a podcast. This can be a great way to create something bigger and better with another company that suits yours.
8. Include marketing inserts in each other’s 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) won’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 who carry products and 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 will still need to watch out for yourself to make the most out of it.
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