Even the most time-pressed business owner can attract more customers with less effort through the right cross-promotions. Why? Because when you join forces with other credible people who also reach your market you can reach your customers more efficiently, credibly and memorably with the right offers and services.
To stand out from their competition in a crowded advertising marketplace, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies are enthusiastically adopting this nimble approach to "outmarket" bigger competitors. Their cross-promotions include "bundled" offerings, joint media appearances and events, and unconventional cause-related marketing. It might also include collaboratively produced how-to's and other resource booklets and videos, co-branding, coop advertising, and shared space.
Cross-promotion has the potential for a big marketing payoff because partners can successfully expand through each other's customer base. They can gain an inexpensive and credible introduction to more of their kind of customer more effectively than with the traditional "solo" methods of networking, advertising, or public relations.
Here are some low-risk and high-opportunity ways to jump-start your first cross-promotion:
- Print joint promotional messages on your receipts.
- Offer a reduced price, special service, or convenience if customers buy products from you and your partner.
- Hang signs or posters promoting one another on your walls, windows, or products.
- Mention one another's benefits when you speak at local events or are interviewed by the media.
- Drop one another's flyers in shopping bags.
- Pool mailing lists and send out a joint promotional postcard.
- Share inexpensive ads in local shopping papers or a nonprofit event program.
- Give a joint interview to local media.
- Give your partner's product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product, and ask your partner to do the same.
- Use door hangers, posters, flyers, or postcards to promote special offers for each other's products.
Here are some cross-promotion strategies that can really help your company stand out:
- Co-produce special promotions you could not afford by yourself. Hire local community college broadcasting/cable TV students to produce a "how to use" video and/or audio tape that involves you and your partner's products.
- Have a contest, with the prizes contributed by your partners. For the next contest, roles change, and you contribute your product or service as a prize for a partner's contest.
- Give customers a free product or service from a participating partner when they buy something that month from all of the partners listed in an ad or on a promotional postcard.
Kare Anderson is the author of Walk Your Talk: Successful Cross-Promotion. Learn more about Kare at her website Say it Better.com