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How to use online cross-promotion to boost your business

How to use online cross-promotion to boost your business

Cross-promotion is an affordable way to advertise your business by partnering with another business that reaches a similar audience. By sharing resources with each other, businesses can help boast each other up, without the spending of a major ad campaign. But, cross-promotion doesn’t have to simply be restricted to displaying fliers in each other’s stores. Online cross promotion can be a very effective tool to grow your brand. Here’s how.

1. Recognise potential brand partners online.

Start by identifying a handful of businesses that you’d like to cross-promote with. Look for a non-competing brand that reaches a similar target audience. A wedding photographer, for example, could partner with a dress shop — they both market to engaged couples, but aren’t competing with each other. With online cross-promotion, consider more than just other businesses but influencers too. Take a look at their online presence and see who has a higher number of followers.

2. Identify the potential ways to cross-promote.

The possibilities for online cross-promotion are big. Brainstorm both the platforms that your brand could promote another on, and the potential places you’d like to see your brand get cross promoted. Consider social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. Don’t forget about blogs and email newsletters.

3. Reach out and start crafting a plan.

With a few ideas in place, start reaching out to those potential cross-promotion companies. As you reach out, make it clear that the plan is mutually beneficial. Be sure to convey where you could promote them and how your brand has similar values. Once you find a partner, be specific about what you will cross promote, when, and where.

4. Build the cross-promotion campaign.

As you share posts for cross-promotion, be wary of making your page suddenly sound like an advertising service. Cross-promotion posts should still sound like a friendly or helpful social media post and not an ad — you don’t want to loose followers that don’t want to be spammed. Be sure to add links where relevant. Sharing each others posts is also another great way to cross-promote without sounding like a salesman.

5. Evaluate and continue brainstorming.

After a post, see how the post did and work with your partner to identify different ways to improve or to continue working together in the future.

Cross-promotion is a great tool for small businesses. Along with strategies like swapping flyers, online cross-promotion can help put your business in front of potential new customers.

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What is cross-promotion? What small businesses need to know

What is cross-promotion? What small businesses need to know

A business doesn’t exist on an island, but inside a larger community. And just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to build a successful business. But a community is made up of more than just individual people — businesses, too, can help boast another business. While new business owners may shy away from other working with other businesses, cross-promotion can be a very effective tool.

Cross-promotion is simply a promotion that’s shared between two businesses. Consider it a sort of “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine” among two different businesses. In a cross-promotion, businesses may trade ads on each other’s websites, displays in each other’s stores, post on each others social media networks and more.

To be effective, most cross-promotion is done with a non-competing business in the same industry or that has the same target audience. For example, a wedding photographer can run a cross-promotion with a bridal gown shop. The same customers will shop at both, yet the two companies aren’t in competition with each other.

Cross-promotion is not only an effective strategy for reaching your target audience, but can be very cost effective. You’re not paying to take out a billboard or newspaper ad. Instead, you are essentially trading services with another business. That doesn’t mean it’s always free — you may need to print out brochures if you are swapping an in-store display, for example. But, compared to other types of marketing, cross-promotion is one of the more affordable options.

Cross-promotion can take on many different forms. Here are just a few examples:

  • Trade social media posts. Promote each other to your followers for an easy and inexpensive option.
  • Swap mentions in newsletters. Whether it’s a physical newsletter or email marketing, trade a mention in each of your lists.
  • Trade in-store displays. Something like a simple brochure, or even a wall hanging can work. There are lots of different options here.
  • Write guest blog posts. Trade posts on each other’s blogs by writing a guest blog related to your product or with links back to your online store.
  • Instead of doing cross-promotion with a business, consider working with a non-profit.

To get started, brainstorm some businesses in your area that have similar target audiences, but aren’t direct competitors. Then start reaching out to gauge interest and work together on finalising what the cross-promotion will look like.

Cross-promotions don’t have to be one-time deals. Businesses can develop long term relationships with other similar businesses to create an effective, affordable way to continue reaching out to potential new customers.

5 Simple Steps For Building Affordable, Effective Advertising Through Cross-Promotion

5 Simple Steps For Building Affordable, Effective Advertising Through Cross-Promotion

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.

6 Ways Photographers Can Use Cross-Promotion as Affordable, Effective Advertising

6 Ways Photographers Can Use Cross-Promotion as Affordable, Effective Advertising

Advertising is a double-edged sword — without it, photographers find little expansion to new audiences, yet advertising can take a big cut out of the budget. But, putting creative energy into innovative ways to advertise can dull that sword. Cross-promotion is one of those creative advertising methods — and it can be an incredibly helpful tool for photographers.

What is cross-promotion?

Cross-promotion is when two businesses with similar audiences work together on an advertising project. For example, a wedding photographer may partner with a florist to co-develop a set of social media ads or may work out an agreement with a reception hall to display photography fliers. Newborn photographers may work with an infant boutique to advertise in-store mini sessions.

Cross-promotion can be an incredible tool for photographers, particularly for those who work with several related (but not competing) vendors on a regular basis. Here are just six ideas for jump starting a cross-promotion.

Cross post on websites.

A simple way to cross-promote is just to link to that partner business on your website. Visitors to their site will see your link, and visitors to your site will see theirs. This is easy to set-up and typically tends to be free.

Share the costs for large campaigns.

For campaigns that require a big budget, like a video series for social media or a large print ad, cross-promotion can mean splitting that large expense. By creating an ad that promotes both companies, you get the same reach for half the cost.

Create simple displays.

Cross-promotion doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple display can make a big impact. Depending on the relationship, photographers may or may not have to pay for the display, but even the paid displays are often more affordable than traditional advertising. A newborn photographer, for example, may create a display for the area hospital. The hospital gets free decor for the walls and the photographer gets inexpensive exposure with a few canvases and a business card or sign accompanying the images.

Link in social media.

This one doesn’t even necessarily require reaching out to the other company first. If you tag another company in your social media post, that post will be seen by both your followers and theirs. This one is great for wedding photographers — if you share a photograph of the bouquet, for example, why not tag the florist in the post and get more reach? Tags can be locations, prop stores and services such as makeup and more.

Guest post on blogs.

If that like-minded business has a blog, why not guest post? Guest posts are exposure for the writer, and free content for the poster. A wedding photographer, for example, could write a post called “5 Unique Bouquets For Spring Weddings,” using, of course, photos of bouquets. The floral company gets free content and the photographer gets exposure for those images with a link back to their own website.

Offer a mutual discount.

People love to save money — it’s why sales are so effective. By offering a mutual discount, potential clients that otherwise would not have seen your information are eager to look you up to take advantage of that savings. A baby boutique may offer a discount to a newborn photographer, while the photographer in turn offers clients a discount to the store. By creating a mutual discount, you put a coupon in front of potential clients that would not have otherwise noticed your business.

Advertising does not have to be expensive — if you get creative. Running a cross-promotion is an affordable way to reach out to the right clients while helping another like-minded business at the same time.