Small businesses don’t typically have the capital behind them or the technological infrastructure to reach as many consumers around the holidays as large corporations do. However, this doesn’t have to mean your local company is relegated to marketing to its immediate surroundings. In fact, if you’re clever enough to make some strategic partnerships with other small businesses, you might be in store for a big sales boost this holiday shopping season.
With cross promotional marketing, your small business can expand its reach with relatively little effort – if you play your cards right. However, picking the right partner and maintaining that relationship isn’t as easy as it might seem. Check out these five secrets for successful cross promotional marketing campaigns and how you can take the first steps on your own path today.
1. Choose your partners wisely
When small businesses enter into a cross promotional agreement, they’re essentially agreeing to push each other’s products in exchange for greater market reach. However, American Express’ Open Forum website explained that customers can sniff out a phony promotion from a mile away, so it’s best to partner with companies that complement your own business practices.
Don’t pick a competitor – obviously – but you don’t want to be suddenly promoting something that has nothing do to with your products or service. A bike repair shop might want to cross promote with a touring company, while a cooking supply store may partner with a culinary group or class in town.
2. Get serious about print collateral
The American Genius explained that, even if your small business has a killer product or service, you still need to raise awareness among customers through tried-and-true print materials branded with your company’s logo, color scheme, mission statement and any other brand-defining aspects.
Place pamphlets, brochures and other print collateral in your partner organization’s retail storefront, and make sure any large events are accompanied by highly visual display elements like Myron’s Full Color Custom Banner. After finding a suitable partner, you should be leveraging their consumer base as soon as possible.
3. Cross promote online
Your small business might have a quaint storefront and helpful staff, but your online presence is the one most consumers will see. This means that cross promotions need to be leveraged on digital platforms like social media pages and Google searches to make the most of the partnership for both businesses.
This might include coupon codes for the partner business upon checkout at the other, or a simple digital banner ad that links directly to the partner. The goal of the cross promotional period is for each business to tap into the other’s consumer base without siphoning any off, and natural promotions like these are a great way to achieve this.
4. Offer enhanced services
Ideally, you’ve partnered with a business that offers a complementary – but not similar – service or product as you. Take this opportunity to sell a combined commodity to both of your consumer bases. A bookstore and a coffee shop might partner to offer free refills on coffee as long as customers are reading something they purchased. An event planning service might include a free appetizer from a catering business to boost sales for both.
5. Get out when it makes sense
Like all promotions, small businesses should put a time limit on how long they can afford to engage in a cross promotion with another company. After a set period, review your marketing goals and see how you fared. You don’t have to abandon ship at the first sign of trouble, but know that while the point of cross promotions is for both businesses to prosper, you shouldn’t suffer for the good of the other guy, either.