11 Nov 5 Cross-Promotion Tips for Small Businesses
Cross promotions can save businesses time and money and increase advertising exposure since more than one business can team up to launch a dynamic campaign.
You don’t have to be a large chain to offer cross-promotions. Independent businesses can benefit from teaming with complementary companies, too. A sporting goods store might collaborate with a fitness center, or a caterer might work together with an event planner to launch a campaign.
Trade counter space for promotional materials:
You would be surprised at the number of local businesses that display a bulletin board or dedicate counter space for other local postings. So it’s time to go make some new friends!
If a business you approach already has a dedicated space where they share business cards and flyers for other businesses, politely ask how you might be able to get in on the action. If they don’t already take advantage of cross-promotions, probe to see if they’d be willing to start. In either instance, don’t forget to offer to return the favour!
Identify existing referral partners:
Are colleagues, partners or friends already sending you a business? Many cross-promotional opportunities begin organically. Spend time tracking where your business currently comes from. If specific individuals or businesses are already sending you referrals, be proactive about formalizing the relationship. Reach out, express your appreciation for their referrals, offer to set up a compensation structure, and ask how you can help promote their business goals.
Feature each other in e-newsletters:
On your list of potential local business partners, find a couple that offers email and text subscriptions to customers. Sign up for their messages and newsletters, and see if there could be a place to mention your business within.
When you approach another business owner with this idea, counter-offer with how you could see promoting their products or services in your own communications. This should be a pretty even trade if you intend to make it happen without money exchanging hands. Be ready to hand over some dough if the promotion is more one-sided.
Explore shared publicity opportunities:
Another cross-promotion avenue to explore is shared marketing platforms. One recent example included a group of wedding professionals in the Atlanta area that joined forces to host a wedding show. Area brides could meet dressmakers, makeup artists, caterers, event planners and more under one roof. Each business shared a portion of the expenses and got valuable exposure to target clients. Depending on your industry, shared advertisements, cross-promotion focused email lists and contributing to a centrally themed blog are all effective strategies.
Start a referral program:
If you’re hoping to ramp up referral business, establish a formal referral program for your business. Often, businesses offer compensation for referrals. Some common payment structures include a one-time flat fee per customer, a percentage of the initial sale and a percentage of revenues for the lifetime of the customer relationship. Having a clear agreement in place motivates businesses to promote your products or services, and avoids conflict over compensation issues.
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