Reaching more people while spending less isn’t some false promise from an advertising firm — it’s a growing strategy called cross-promotion. Using cross-promotion strategies allows small businesses to reach more people with smaller budgets by sharing promotions with non-competing companies with similar audiences. For example, a wedding photographer may partner with a DJ to share advertising costs, since both are looking to reach the same audience: brides. Intrigued? Here are five easy steps for small businesses to integrate cross-promotion marketing.
Determine if cross-promotion is the right fit.
Cross-promotion isn’t for every business. For the idea to work, you need to have other businesses serving a similar area and a similar audience that are not direct competitors with your own business. A print shop could partner with a custom frame shop — but a print shop that already sells custom frames too would want to brainstorm a different partner. Make sure you are also partnering with a business that customers respect too, or their bad vibes could come off negatively on your own business.
Brainstorm potential campaigns.
Cross-promotion simply means sharing any advertising strategy — which advertising strategy is entirely up to you. Some industries may have several options available, while for others, a specific marketing technique may make more sense. Marketing campaigns can be shared in the more traditional sense such as TV, print, web and social media ads. But cross-promotion can go well beyond the usual — like hosting an event, conference or give away together. Cross-promotion doesn’t always have to cost something; businesses can also partner in small ways like linking to each other’s websites.
Pitch the partner.
Once you have a few ideas on how you’d like to approach cross-promotion, start reaching out to those like-minded businesses. Start by introducing yourself and your business. A personal relationship, like one cultivated from attending the same industry events, also helps here. Then, discuss your idea, making sure to highlight what would be in it for the other business, not focusing on your own needs.
Dig into the details.
Once you have a partner on board, pin down all the details to make sure both sides are on the same page. Make sure details like the cost, date and method are understood. Get specifics, so you don’t create a fancy graphic to link to the other business while they give you a simple text link.
Promote, then promote again.
Once you find a solid relationship for cross-promotion, keep it going. Expand by adding more promotional ideas, from including flyers at each other’s locations to printing coupons to the opposite business on the bottom of receipts. Trade links in email campaigns and share each other’s social media posts. If customers find more value by finding a new service or product that fits nicely with yours, cross-promotion can be a long-term advertising strategy.
Small businesses are always looking for big ways to reach customers on small budgets. Cross-promotion works for many businesses because it reaches out the same audience while sharing costs — or even opening up free advertising like link swaps.