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.
During one holiday, for example, GameStop and PayLess ShoeSource partnered up on a cross-promotional campaign. Shoppers at the video game retailer received register coupons for the shoe store, while shoppers at PayLess got discount coupons for GameStop. Because many of the stores' locations are in close proximity, it was a win-win for the retailers.
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.
Consider these 10 ideas to cross promote your company:
- Create a co-branded advertisement for the local newspaper. For instance, if a mortgage broker, real estate agent and moving company purchase a joint advertisement, the costs will be one-third of those for a solo ad.
- Use social media outlets. Add comments to a business partner's Facebook page, or Tweet about the company.
- Send out a joint promotional postcard using your combined mailing lists.
- Run a contest with prizes from all your partners. For example, a florist, beauty salon and dry cleaner in a strip mall could hold a Valentine's Day drawing where the winner receives a dozen roses, a manicure and $50 worth of dry cleaning. (More contest tips)
- Co-produce a lecture at the local library. An interior designer and a furniture store could talk about inexpensive ways to revamp a family room or teach attendees how to color coordinate a room.
- Create frequent buyer cards. Customers receive free gifts from each partner in the cross-promotion when they buy a certain amount of products or hit a specific purchase point.
- Set up a display with samples in each other's location. If you own a bakery, place a plate of freshly baked cookies -- along with a sign -- on the counter of a neighboring store. If you're a home remodeler, ask to place brochures in the local hardware store.
- Include promotions and discounts for partners on your invoices. Offers might include 10 percent off an upcoming order or free shipping if customers order from both companies.
- Share a booth at trade shows, business expos or other events where both companies can land clients.
- Share space. Starbucks Coffee leases space in some Target stores. Consider sharing a facility -- and customers -- with another business. (The Do's and Don'ts of Co-working Spaces)