As an SMB with limited resources, you sometimes have to get creative in order to see big gains in revenue. One of the best strategies is to find cross-marketing partners with which you can have a mutually beneficial relationship. Cross-marketing allows you to tap into another company’s customer base to introduce them to your products and services.
With the right partners, you can essentially expand your marketing reach almost instantly, and hopefully, make the most of it and generate more sales. Cultivating partnerships with businesses that offer complementary services or share a similar target audience can benefit both of you in a number of ways.
For instance, if you have a web design firm that helps other small businesses, teaming with a content agency is wise since potential clients may need content to put on their new sites. By partnering with a respected firm, you can offer referral discounts to each other’s customers, and potentially bring each other new clientele.
Cross Marketing Partnerships in Action
If you’re wondering how this works, take a look at a few successful cross-promotional partnerships to get some ideas.
Bringing related offerings together. A couple of years back, Sherwin-Williams teamed up with Pottery Barn to create an exclusive line of paints to go with their home furnishings. Pottery Barn had color brochures available to their customers that featured Sherwin-Williams’ seasonal colors to help shoppers coordinate the look of their rooms, and both companies promoted the collaboration on their respective websites.
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Enhancing user experience. Starbucks and Spotify are in two totally different industries, but they pair well together. Starbucks employees get free premium Spotify accounts and are encouraged to create playlists for their stores, while Spotify has a dedicated section on its platform featuring Starbucks playlists.
Co-branding products. Nike and Apple got together a few years back when they realized that fitness and music go together well. One of their most recent dual projects was the Apple Watch Nike+ aimed at runners.
How Partnerships Boost Revenue
Cross-marketing partnerships can help SMBs achieve various marketing strategy goals from increased sales, to lead acquisition, to company awareness. No matter your goal, here’s how partnerships can help your bottom line.
Cross promotions are cost-effective. If you want to launch a marketing initiative all on your own, it will require time and budget. But if another company already did the legwork (i.e. market research, mailing list building), and you have something valuable to offer them, you’ll inherit a captive audience.
You can monetize your clients and audience. Other businesses might be just as interested in tapping into your clientele as you are theirs. Whether it’s sharing your mailing list or giving some real estate on your website, other industry players may be willing to pay to be associated with you.
You can reduce your acquisition costs. Why experiment and lose valuable time trying to attract and engage prospective customers when you can access a similar business’ audience directly?
Time to Partner Up: Next Steps
Now that you know that cross-marketing can lead to bigger profits, follow this game plan:
Be on the lookout for companies that run in the same circles as yours. You can even ask your top customers which other related businesses they patronize.
Do your research. Before you pair up with another business, you want to be sure it is reputable and ethical. The company you keep will reflect on your business so choose carefully. Read up on potential partners including how they are rated on customer and employee review sites.
Get in touch to gauge their interest in running a contest together, co-sponsoring an event, collaborating on a newsletter, or sharing advertising space. This is where networking skills come in. Whether you meet at an industry event or local meet-up, or connect on LinkedIn, express your interest in working with like-minded entrepreneurs to boost your business.
Create cross-promotional messaging for each other’s social media followers to increase your visibility. Once you begin working with a partner, one of the easiest ways to engage each other’s customers is to cross-promote on social platforms.
Give each other some physical space, too. It could be as simple as hanging a flyer on your partner’s storefront or agreeing to stick their business cards in customer bags or shipments. If you’re both taking part in a local event, you might share a booth to save on the cost as well.
Work together to bring in other synergistic partners. Who says you have to stop at two businesses working together? The more cross-promotional partners you can work with, the more you can extend your reach. Think about how wedding vendors often put together bridal expos since they all share the same target audience. How can you mirror that strategy in your industry?
Cross-marketing partnerships can help you share resources, cut down your customer acquisition costs, and increase traffic flow to your online or in-person business—often at little or no cost to you. With such a good return on your investment, finding the right partner can end up being one of the most lucrative moves SMBs can make.