It's the sum of many parts which grow to be something great. ~ Oliver Bierhoff
Cross-promotion is happening all around you. You've seen it all throughout your life. You may have even said, "Wow, that was a super smart idea to put those two products or services together." Or, you may have taken advantage of a cross-promotional deal. We all have benefited from two companies joining forces for our business.
To us, it looks like we saved money, but to the businesses involved in the cross-promotional campaign, they have earned new customers and more money.
Look, it is no secret cross-promotion is a smart way to maximize any marketing budget, and big businesses have been using cross-promotion campaigns for years.
So, what exactly is cross-promotion?
Cross-promotion is a powerful marketing technique used when two companies partner together to promote related product(s) or service(s) to shared target audiences. Why is cross-promotion so powerful? Well, cross-promotion is powerful because one company is tapping into another companies' target audience and making money.
Let’s consider a Weight Loss/Plastic Surgeon. The surgeon’s target audience are individuals who struggle with their weight. Most patients who shed a significant amount of weight struggle dressing their new improved body. They still shop as if they have their old clothing size and need assistance with their fashion. A weight-loss/plastic surgeon could partner with a local clothing boutique or fashion stylist. A local clothing boutique or a fashion stylist can tap into the surgeon’s target audience by cross-promoting special offers to the surgeon’s target audience. The surgeon can create more value for his patients in their transition to a new and improved look. The clothing boutique or fashion stylist can also cross-promote the surgeon’s services to their target audience as well.
Let’s consider another industry. A realtor or real estate company can partner with a local cleaning company. Realtors and real estate companies are in the business of selling houses. A local cleaning company can benefit from cross-promoting their services to new homeowners. The realtor or real estate company can create more value for their new clients by offering a unique cleaning service package from the cleaning company when their clients buy their new home. The cleaning company tapped into the realtor’s or real estate company’s target audience. The realtor or real estate company can also tap into the cleaning company’s target audience by cross-promoting to the cleaning company’s target audience as well.
Here are some more examples of how companies have used cross-promotion to target more customers and generate more business for their brands.
I know your mind is racing. You are probably thinking – I can cross-promote my business’ product(s) or service(s)! So, how can you start tapping into this powerful marketing technique and attracting more customers to your small business?
Here’s how you can get started.
Step One: Clearly Define Your Target Audience
Most small business owners believe they have a handle on their target audience but rarely take the time to dig deeper into creating buyer personas. According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It is vital for you to know your ideal customers and what makes them tick.
I mean you don’t marry someone after the first date – do you? Well, you shouldn’t. You need to get to know the person. You need to figure out whether they are the best fit for you. The same way you need to understand your potential life partner is the same way you need to understand your customers. The more you know, the better the relationship.
Building customer personas will help you gather a better understanding of your ideal customers’ background, challenges, goals, needs, and more. Defining your target audience will place you in a better position to identify good partners for cross-promotion. If you haven’t already created a buyer persona, you can create a complete buyer persona for your small business with this free HubSpot template tool.
Step Two: Create A List of Potential Partners
Most small businesses function as a solo-brand, meaning you have one brand and do not have multiple brands within your company. A small business with a solo-brand will require out-of-brand cross-promotion. You will need to create a list of potential partners. These partners should not compete with your business directly, but they should complement your business. You can build your list of potential partners from your current list of customers, Linkedin, your local Chamber of Commerce, Twitter, associations, or use major search engines based on industry-related keyword terms.
What if you have potential partners on your list, but you do not know anyone at the company, and you are not sure who you should contact. Lucky for you, there is an amazing platform called Anyleads, which can help you mine a list of leads with business emails and personal emails. This platform is a gold mine for any small business owner.
One of the features allows you to upload the domains of potential partners and you can extract all the information linked to the company as well as all of the employees working at the domains along with their emails.
Yes, I know you are excited! Every time I talk about this platform, I get excited about the Anyleads and the price of the platform. The subscription is only $99 per month, and this platform is worth the investment. If the big companies are using Anyleads, you should use this platform too. If you want to give this platform a test drive, click here to check out the Anyleads’ Free trial.
Step Three: Identify Your Partnership Benefits and Create Your Proposal
It is best to identify benefits before you approach your potential partners. Create a list of how your partnership can benefit from your cross-promotion offer. Once you have created your benefit lists, you can create your cross-promotion proposal. Why do you need a cross-promotional proposal? Well, your first impression is lasting, and you need a professional introduction. You are asking another company to partner with your brand and creating a proposal shows you operate in excellence. Remember, how you start is how you operate and how you finish. Your potential partner will trust your business more and consider a partnership a smart business move.
Step Four: Create Your Cross-promotion Plan and Execute
Often business owners will come up with ideas and they will get super excited, but they abandon the idea when they realize the process may require them to step outside of their comfort zone. Can you relate? You had good intentions, but your intentions went out the window when you realized the process was a little harder than you expected.
The reality is, you can plan and plan, but if you do not execute your plan, you will not experience your desired outcome. You can minimize the risk of abandoning your cross-promotion goals when you create a solid plan and execute your plan. You cannot procrastinate, you have to take action, or your vision of attracting more customers will get delayed. If you struggle with procrastination, you may want to read our blog post procrastination, “Are You A Timewaster?” before you create your cross-promotion plan.
So, what happens once you are ready to put a plan in place? You need to think of ways to cross-promote. Here are seven strategies to help you cross-promote your small business and start attracting more customers:
Promote A Contest
Contests are popular cross-promotion strategies used by many companies to attract customers. Your partner can contribute the prize, and you can promote the contest as a joint effort between your brand and your partner’s brand. You can promote several giveaways, so both companies receive the benefits of attracting new customers from shared target audiences. In the end, you win, your partner wins, and the customer(s) win.
Give Your Customers A Joint Discount They Can’t Refuse
Customers love a Good deal. But, what if you offer two deals? This cross-promotion is simple, and it’s a win-win for everybody. You can promote a discount on your receipt or invoices from your cross-promotion partner when your customers purchase with your small business. This strategy would place your partner's brand in front of your target audience. Both you and your cross-promotion partner can swap places to position your brand in front of your partner’s target audience. Everyone is happy.
Host A Fabulous Event
Events may require a little more work, but you can get two target audience in one location and win in sales! You can get creative with this strategy. Both companies can decide on a theme and identify the type of product(s) or service(s) to promote. The other benefit of this type of marketing technique is sharing the expenses associated with an event. You are not shelling out all of the money on your own.
Social Media Cross-Promotion Deal
Everyone is online. The young and old are glued to their phones and scrolling websites and social media platforms for information. There are endless opportunities on social media to cross-promote brands. If both brands have a Facebook business page or group, you can cross-promote on each other’s page. You can cross-promote your brands using ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin and share the expense of the ads.
Cross-promotional Email Campaigns
If both you and your cross-promotional partner have an email list, you can implement this strategy. You agree on the number of email marketing campaigns, create an offer, and cross-promote to both target audiences.
Cross-promotion on your company websites
Your website is another gold mine. If both you and your partner have good website traffic, you can cross-promote with success. You can place ads on your high-traffic pages as well as on your blogs. You can decide on the number of months you want to market each other’s brands. This strategy will only cost you the graphic design of the ad. But, if you know how to design ads, this cross-promotion will only cost you time.
Running ads on your top search engines can become a little pricey - on your own. However, if you share the cost and advertise online with a cross-promotion partner, you can share the cost and offer a discount together. You will attract more customers and increase brand awareness online.
If you are working with a shoestring budget, but you need to grow your small business, reach the more customers, and make more sales - than you can use the above strategies to cross-promote with success. All you need to do is commit to putting a solid plan in place and execute.
Do you need guidance on cross-promotion strategies? We can help! Schedule a coaching session with Stokes Marketing, and start planning your winning plan, today.