Local cross-promotion activities generally serve small, independent, and franchise businesses. This strategy is low cost yet high return, if implemented correctly.
Cross-Promotion Strategies & Kinds of Cross-Promotions
- Geographic & In-House
- Industry Specific
- Buying Group
- General Category
- Companion Products
- Related Tie-Ins
- Similar Customer
Cross-promotion strategies can range from highly sophisticated with formalized contracts like with the major airlines and certain telephone long distance carriers, to promotions as casual as stuffing your bags with flyers or coupons from another merchant in your community and having them do the same for you. Or, perhaps putting promotional messages on one another’s register receipts?
An insurance agent in my community cross-promoted with a local restaurateur. The owner of the restaurant paid for the printing of the insurance agent’s business cards. The cards doubled as a 20% discount coupon for the restaurant and also had a map to the restaurant on the reverse. The insurance agent gave out several of his cards at every business upon which he cold called. The cards ended up sitting around in many of the businesses for a long time. This was because the cards were seen as a valuable discount coupon rather than another salesman’s business card.
They call themselves the Sonoma County Fine Furniture Association (SCFFA). This is an example of both a Geographic and an Industry Specific Cross Promotion. Eight Northern California fine furniture retailers, all competitors, banded together to survive through cross-promotion and buying strength. They developed combined events where customers would visit several of the stores to be eligible to win prizes. They promoted each other to their customers within the store, especially if the specific retailer did not have exactly what the customer was seeking. They even printed a combined brochure, including the address and map locations of each member. The front of the brochure said, “People you can trust.” They bought advertising together on the local radio and in the local newspaper. They even dictated to the local newspaper on which pages their advertising would be located. They received impact and results.
One Step at a Time
Taking the cross promotion idea one-step at a time, consider using the below listed basic publicity tactics by collaborating with another merchant in your community to cross-promote through publicity.
- Distribute free booklets or reports.
- Author a book.
- Publish a newsletter.
- Submit news releases.
- Write a regular newspaper or magazine column.
- Do your own radio show.
- Get on popular radio & TV talk shows.
- Become an expert resource for reporters.
- Welcome new people to your town.
- Congratulate people in writing when you read about their accomplishments.
- Give public speeches.
- Sponsor public seminars.
- Host power breakfasts.
- Sponsor local charity or service club events.
To achieve successful cross promotions, you’ll need to develop your process or road map. I suggest these steps:
- Be clear on what you want to create for yourself.
- Discover the “What’s In It For Me” for your promotion partner(s).
- Develop a plan for who does what, especially in the areas of costs and contributions.
- Explain to your promotion partner(s) the value they will receive. Help them to also have emotional ownership (commitment) in the promotion.
- Develop a method to measure results.
- Execute the cross-promotion.
- Debrief on the value all the participants received.
- Plan your next promotion.
Cross-Promotion Check List
I suggest you also use this simple cross-promotion checklist:
- Who does what?
- Develop a theme.
- Explore print advertising.
- Explore radio advertising.
- Explore cable TV advertising.
- Explore direct mail advertising.
- Explore E-mail advertising
- Divide the work equitably.
- Is everybody going to receive similar value?
The owner of several local Dominos pizzerias suggested this to me. “When you cross-promote with non-profit groups, keep the following in mind:
- They always tell you what they want.
- They generally have their hand out without offering much in return.
- Be sure you tell them what you need.
- Ask them to do more for you than simply take your money.
- Always use coupons to assist in measuring results.”
Customer list based cross-promotions are usually quite successful and inexpensive. Generally each merchant expands the reach of their targeted customers two-fold, at a cost of approximately 40% to 60% less than is usually spent on a similar promotion conducted solo. Additionally, each enjoys the credibility of the other. Common direct mail strategies include flyers, postcards, coupons and calendars. Flyers can be printed on both sides for a two-party promotion or several flyers can be mailed in the same envelope.
Cross-promotion is simply common denominator marketing. You find another merchant or business that has similar or overlapping markets and customers. Then you discover a way to work together to do what you already do more efficiently and effectively or cooperatively do something promotional that neither of you could not pull off solo.