No business exists in a silo. You’ve got suppliers and distributors. Advisers and accounting firms. Loyal clients and window shoppers. But don’t forget one of the most powerful assets you have: partnering businesses.
A partner business could be the brick and mortar store a few doors down from yours. Or, it could be a company located on the opposite side of the country, but you share the same corporate values. Partnering with other companies is an excellent marketing strategy not only for support or a fresh perspective, but for cross promotion.
What is cross promotion?
Cross promotion, otherwise known as cross marketing, is the practice of collaborating with another business on a mutually beneficial promotion. Often referred to in the marketing realm, cross promotion can take a range of forms – from digital contests and webinars to in-store displays and industry events.
There are lucrative benefits and many unique ways to use cross promotion in your business strategy. Let’s take a look.
What are the benefits of cross promotion?
Businesses hit a plateau from time to time. It often happens when they’ve been targeting the same audience with the same handful of marketing and advertising techniques for a while.
Defeat the plateau by mixing things up with a cross promotion project. Here are some of the key benefits of cross marketing with another business:
Increase reach – with a similarly sized partner, you can each double the eyes on your promotion
Revitalize and engage your audience– cross marketing injects fresh interest and excitement
Increase sales in a strategic way– develop a cross-promotion plan to target growth in an under-performing part of your business
Broaden your perceived value – great cross partnerships reveal new value that your business offers
Strengthen recognition– Make your business more well known in the local market
When it’s a good match and a solid tactical plan, this marketing strategy is win-win.
Cross Promotion Strategies for Small Businesses
ADVERTISING – Support a fellow business by displaying one another’s digital or print ads on your website or in your store.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Cross-promote each other’s businesses with carefully crafted shout-outs and link-sharing via your social media channels.
CREATE A CROSS SPECIAL – Work together to create a promotion or product/service pairing between your two brands.
ORGANIZE A SHARED EVENT – Plan a collaborative event that appeals to your mutual target base to boost sales or sign-ups for both businesses. An educational conference or webinar, an after-hours shopping event— the choice is yours.
GUEST CONTENT – If you have a blog or email newsletter, invite your partner to provide value-added guest content. Make it educational and engaging so that you're giving readers a benefit, rather than merely an ad.
CONTEST – A contest is hard to resist. Set one up where a purchase from your business enters the customer into a giveaway contest at the other’s business. Or, organize an online contest that requires customers to follow both brands on social media and subscribe to their email newsletters.
TRADE SPACE – One classic cross-promotion strategy is to trade physical space within each other’s brick and mortar stores. Allocate a table or space on the counter for cross merchandising of each other’s product line or service to get fresh eyes on what you offer.
Picking a Cross-Promotion Partner
Choosing the right partner is absolutely essential with cross promotion. When you align yourself visibly with another brand, it's a public statement that you support and believe in that business.
Growing business relationships is a great thing. When choosing partner businesses, we recommend that you do your research to:
Determine if they share similar corporate values as your brand
Determine if you have a similar target demographic (which you should)
Ensure that they are credible and have a good reputation
It's smart to partner with businesses that sell related products/services, but you should not partner with a direct competitor. The alliance should be a natural, complementary fit that makes sense. It should not take business away from you.
Armed with these ideas and tips, start knocking on doors sending out emails to initiate a collaborative cross-promotion effort that works for both of you.
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