You’re pouring your heart and soul into your small business, yet audience growth seems to be dormant. You’ve also tried various marketing strategies, but expanding your customer base is still a challenge. But there’s no need to panic. There's a game-changing strategy called cross-promotion that’ll breathe new life into your business.
This isn't just another marketing fad; it's a proven method to boost visibility, sales, and customer engagement for you and your partner brand.
This article explores diverse cross-promotion strategies, including leveraging social media and email marketing. There are also incorporated examples to give you ideas for cross-promotion that you won’t want to miss.
So, what’s the takeaway? Equip yourself with actionable insights to build mutually beneficial partnerships that’ll drive your small business to new heights.
What Is Cross-Promotion & What Are Its Benefits?
Simply put, cross promotion is a marketing tactic where two businesses promote each other's products or services for mutual benefit. It’s like a buddy system for brands, where you and your cross-promotion partners amplify each other's reach without cannibalizing sales.
Take the Spotify & Uber partnership as a prime example. Uber riders got the luxury of personalizing their trips with their own Spotify playlists, while Spotify gained exposure to Uber's massive customer base. It was a win-win that enhanced the user experience for both services.
For small businesses, here’s what you can expect:
● Boost your credibility.
● Share advertising costs.
● Tap into a new audience.
● Add value to your existing customer base.
● Share resources like marketing materials and data analytics.
So, why go at it alone when you can join forces and make some marketing magic happen?
Now that you're familiar with the what and the why of cross-promotion, let's delve into actionable strategies for your small business. This will help you allocate resources wisely and make the most of your tight marketing budget.
10 Must-Try Cross-Promotion Strategies
As a small business owner, you’re juggling a dozen tasks at once, including constantly looking for ways to grow your audience without draining your budget.
Before that wears you out, look through these cross-promotion strategies and find golden nuggets to grow your small business.
Table of Contents - Cross Promotion Strategies
10. Share QR Codes
1. Collaborate With A Business Outside Your Niche
In cross-promotion, you're not just looking for any partner, you're seeking a collaboration that amplifies your marketing efforts and brings something fresh to the table. To do that, you should look for partners outside your niche.
The primary goal of cross-promotion is to build partnerships where all parties benefit. That’ll cause issues if you collaborate with a direct competitor. If you cozy up to them, you're setting yourself up for a lukewarm response at best.
So, shake things up and team up with a company from a different industry. This opens up various marketing opportunities you might not have considered. This lets you and your brand partner think outside the box and introduce yourself to a wider audience.
For example, let’s say you want to cross-promote your pre-workout supplements. Instead of reaching out to another supplement brand, why not collaborate with a reliable company specializing in high-performance running gear?
It's a perfect fit for runners who are already invested in enhancing their workouts. As for your end, you could offer promo codes for running shoes with every $30 purchase of your pre-workout supplement.
This not only diversifies your marketing opportunities but also provides added value to both customer bases. Thus, achieving mutual growth and sales boost.
2. Use Social Media Platforms
When it comes to cross-promotion, social media platforms are goldmines for reaching a broader target audience.
Because your partner companies likely have followers who have yet to discover your brand. A simple shoutout on select channels will introduce your products or services to a whole new crowd. Of course, this has to work the other way around too because you also have to offer something valuable for your collaborator.
How do you maximize social media channels? There are several ways.
Given that your target demographic frequents Facebook, this platform should be your social media communication hub.
Kick off the partnership with a Facebook takeover. Each brand takes over the other's social media profiles for one day, showcasing products that enhance safety and convenience for the elderly. Moreover, create a joint hashtag like #SafeSeniors to engage your social community and generate marketing leads.
You can also do a joint promotional video featuring both smart home devices and fall-prevention shoes. Showcase real-life scenarios where these products collectively enhance safety for seniors. It's visual storytelling that amplifies your #SafeSeniors campaign.
Don't stop there. Host a live Q&A session on Facebook where experts from both companies discuss fall prevention and home safety. This real-time social media communication not only educates your audience but also fosters a sense of community.
3. Plan Community Events
Want to make a splash in your local scene? Plan community events with your cross-marketing partner. In-person events offer something digital platforms can’t, which is genuine, face-to-face interactions.
When you co-host a community event, like a workshop or a charity fundraiser, both brands get involved in local activities and become more visible. It’ll let you showcase your products or services, while also positioning you as a community leader.
But more importantly, community events will help you make authentic connections. They’ll let you engage directly with potential customers, answer their questions, and get immediate feedback.
Let’s say you own a local organic cafe and partner with a nearby yoga studio for a "Wellness Weekend" event. You should set up booths showcasing fresh produce and yoga gear. Plus, you can offer short yoga sessions and cooking demos.
This casts a positive image for both brands and lets you engage directly with health-conscious locals. You can answer questions about your organic sourcing and give wellness advice, giving the locals immediate feedback. In the end, everyone leaves feeling part of a vibrant, health-focused community.
4. Host Webinars Or Livestreams
Online events like webinars provide quality content while promoting each other’s brand and offering deeper engagement with your audience. It allows you to go through a how-to guide point-by-point or discuss industry trends.
More importantly, webinars provide versatility. You can record the session and share it on social media, further extending the life and reach of your content.
How do you set these up?
Zoom, WebEx, or GoToWebinar make it incredibly easy to set up and run webinars. They offer features like screen sharing, interactive polls, and Q&A sessions, making your webinar informative and interactive.
For instance, let’s say your home solar power business cross-promotes with one of the rising electric vehicle brands. To strengthen your marketing campaigns, you can host a webinar series called “The Future of Green Living,” focusing on solar energy and electric transportation as sustainable choices.
You can incorporate interactive polls about solar installation myths or discuss electric car benefits over gas vehicles.
Additionally, you can show a graph comparison of energy consumption between a solar-powered home and a traditionally powered one.
Consider inviting guest speakers to elevate your credibility. Local environmentalists can share valuable insights, while satisfied customers offer authentic testimonials about their experiences.
Throw in a virtual tour of a solar-powered home or a behind-the-scenes look at how your solar panels are made if you like.
5. Do Bundled Offers
As a small business, bundling is a strategy you can’t afford to overlook because it’s a guaranteed win-win for everyone involved. You boost product sales, your partner sees an uptick in their business, and the customer gets more bang for their buck.
How do you make this strategy happen?
Identify complementary products or services that would make sense as a bundle. Then, work out the logistics and pricing. Finally, launch your joint advertising campaign to promote the bundled offer. Use social media, email newsletters, and in-store signage to get the word out.
This could be simply a partnership between a coffee shop and a bookstore. A "Read and Relax" bundle wherein a customer buys a book and gets a discounted cup of coffee.
It's a curated experience that seamlessly blends reading with relaxation. Plus, the exclusivity of these deals adds a layer of excitement, encouraging more people to take action.
But what if you have a digital product?
Here’s a scenario to help you brainstorm ideas:
If you want to cross-sell your project management software, the perfect partner for a bundled offer is a company offering video conferencing services. You can create a "Remote Work Essentials" bundle where customers who purchase a yearly subscription to your project management tool get three months free of the video conferencing service.
In return, the video conferencing service could offer its yearly subscribers a discount on your project management software. Together, you can promote the bundle as a solution for multiple problems for remote teams to make it a compelling offer.
6. Use Email Marketing
Did you know that for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can get a $42 ROI?
This tried and tested marketing channel lets you create targeted, personalized communication directly to your customer's inbox.
One way to leverage email marketing is through newsletter features. You can feature your partner's latest product or special offer in your monthly newsletter, and they do the same for you.
Moreover, use email marketing to send personalized offers or exclusive discounts that are only available through the partnership. Frame it as a VIP pass to savings and value to encourage customers to engage with both brands.
The best part? Most email marketing platforms like Aweber offer easy-to-use templates for newsletters and promotional emails. Use these tools to craft compelling, visually appealing emails that spotlight both your and your partner's offers.
Here’s an example of how you can apply this:
Let’s say you’re managing the cross-promotion strategy for Whop, an online marketplace for digital products. Who could be your collaborator?
A company offering online courses in digital marketing. You can feature their "Course of the Month" in your newsletter, while they spotlight a "Whop Exclusive Digital Toolkit" in theirs.
This is a sample email copy you can use to promote your partner:
"Hello, Whop Enthusiast!
We've partnered with [Online Course Company] to elevate your digital journey. Use code WHOPCOURSE to snag a 15% discount on their trending Digital Marketing course. It's the perfect match for your exclusive Whop digital toolkit!"
For a more detailed guide on how to get started with email marketing, you can get a free copy of How to Grow Your Business with Email Marketing here. It includes access to plenty of email templates to get started right away. And you can sign up for their email platform for free, too. [We are affiliated with Aweber which means we may get a small commission should you subscribe to their service. It doesn't change what you pay.]
7. Create Seasonal Promotions
Seasonal promotions resonate with what's already on people's minds, making your offers timely and enticing. It also creates a sense of urgency since the offer is for a limited time only.
How do you execute this?
Identify potential partners whose products or services complement yours and align well with the season in question. Next, get creative with your promotional materials. Go for themed newsletters, social media posts, and even in-store displays that scream, "This is the deal of the season!"
For example, let’s say you’re selling custom holiday ornaments. You can partner with a platform providing customizable Christmas messages to create a "Merry & Bright Bundle.” With every purchase, you’ll give your customers a free Christmas card with a personalized message.
You’re taking off something on their plate because now, they won’t have to worry about buying a separate Christmas card and writing their own message. This gives them a little more time during the holiday rush, which many will appreciate.
So, if they’re buying custom ornaments for their daughter, they can get this message from the platform and just tweak it a bit:
You bring us so much joy and always make us so proud. To our amazing daughter [write the name], Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Promote your limited-time offer through Christmas-themed social media posts to capture your audience’s attention.
But here’s a reminder: To make this strategy a success, plan ahead since your promotion window is short-lived. Mark your calendar with key dates and start reaching out to potential partners well in advance. That way, when the season rolls around, you're ready to make a splash.
8. Leverage Guest Posts
Guest posting lets you showcase your expertise while subtly promoting your brand. It's like being invited to a party where you don't know anyone yet, but by the end of the night, you've made a bunch of new friends.
Identify businesses that complement yours and have active blogs. Then, reach out to them with a proposal for a guest post. Make sure to pitch a helpful article idea that aligns with their audience's interests but also allows you to naturally mention your products or services.
For example, if you’re selling an organic skincare line, you could write a guest blog for a health and wellness website about "The Top 8 Organic Ingredients for Healthier Skin." Within the article, you could subtly mention how your products incorporate these ingredients.
It's a win-win: you get exposure to a new audience and they get valuable content for their blog.
Once it’s live, you and the publisher should promote it across both brand’s social media channels.
9. Partner With Influencers
Influencers have an online presence you can leverage to introduce your brand to a wider audience. They’ll vouch for you and share your products or services with an already engaged audience. This will boost your brand’s visibility and lend you credibility.
However, with various influencer types, which one is ideal for your brand?
Since you have limited resources, go for a nano (1k to 10k followers) or micro-influencer (10k to 100k followers) since they’re more affordable. Plus, they’re more likely to work with a small business.
But that doesn’t mean they’re less effective. They have a smaller but highly engaged following on social platforms.
However, make sure the influencer aligns with your brand values and appeals to your target audience. When it’s time to reach out, offer to send them your product for free in exchange for an honest review or a feature in their content.
For example, you're running a small business specializing in artisanal coffee blends. A micro-influencer who focuses on gourmet food and beverages would be a perfect fit for your brand.
Reach out to them and offer a curated selection of your best-selling blends for free, in exchange for an honest review or a feature in a "Morning Routine" type of video. This endorsement will significantly boost your brand's visibility and credibility.
Their smaller, but highly engaged following means you're likely to see a more immediate and meaningful interaction, from likes and shares to actual sales.
10. Share QR Codes
Don't underestimate this small, pixelated square. QR codes make it incredibly easy for customers to engage with your brand. A quick scan with a smartphone, and they’re instantly directed to a webpage, video, or special offer.
In addition, they’re easy to create and affordable. Plus, you can track scans to measure the success of your cross-promotion. It's a simple yet effective way to drive engagement and boost brand awareness.
For instance, let’s say a sports bar collaborates with your MMA stream platform. After a streamed MMA fight, you could feature a QR code on the screen that directs viewers to a special offer at the sports bar, like a "Fight Night Special" discount on wings and drinks.
As for how it’ll help you? The sports bar could display your QR code on table tents or even the big screen, directing its patrons to a free trial or discount for your next pay-per-view.
Final Thoughts on Cross Promotion Strategy
As a small business, unlocking your full potential requires you to think outside the box to make sure your resources are used and spent well. With cross-promotion strategies, you can do just that to grow your small brand.
Collaborate with complementary businesses to expand your reach and add value to your existing customer base.
From bundled offers to social media takeovers, the 10 cross-promotion ideas in this article are designed to give you a competitive edge, boost your visibility, and increase sales.
However, make sure to continuously evaluate your cross-channel performance.
Is it still mutually beneficial? Are you getting the most out of your buck? Does your collaborator still align with your brand values? Do you need to switch strategies already?
Be on alert and tweak your approach as needed for maximum impact.
Are you ready to take your small business higher?
Small Business Rainmaker will provide you with content like videos, newsletters, direct mail, and blogs to strengthen your cross-marketing efforts. With these types of content, you can boost your brand’s presence.
Plus, you can use your access to that content to entice potential marketing partners. Don’t miss out and get in touch today.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement revenue-driven SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?