Cross promotion is one of the most effective and cost-efficient means of marketing and advertising. I like to zoom in and direct my marketing efforts at real demographics that I could easily capture and track. Cross promotion is so attractive because, it costs so little to do, is easily trackable, and often carries immediate results. Let’s dive into identifying, outlining and creating good cross promotion campaigns. Then let’s go over some good ideas for real cross promotion campaigns that work.
First, we’ll need to identify potential businesses that we can work with, and would want in return, to work with us. These businesses are typically going to be within close proximity to your geographic location. They are going to be non-competing businesses, although typically these businesses will also be in non-competing Industries. Occasionally, if you share an industry, and if you’re not trying to capture the same sales segments, there maybe some great unique opportunities. Next, you are going to want to outline the benefits that you bring to their business, and the benefits that their business will bring to you. Make sure that this is something that will be beneficial for you, the non-competing business, and the shared client base. Win, win, win. Lastly is create potential campaigns or promotions based on these shared interests, build a relationship with those business owners or managers and present your cross-promotion ideas.
Okay, so all that stuff is fine and dandy but it means nothing without getting into the nitty-gritty of what are the ideas and application of a good cross promotion so let’s go over a few.
-Coupons / Gift Certificates: These are really great because it’s value added perception for the guests. Recently, with a restaurant I was working with, we made up free appetizer coupons, and put them on business card size stock and handed them out to the car dealerships down the street, with each of their national brand name and logo on the card, so they can hand them out to their potential customers to think over their buying decision. So the customer wins because they get a comfortable place to think about this and talk in privacy, plus they get free food. The car dealership and the salesman himself benefit because they get the perception that they are giving something free to the customer and building trust. And the restaurant wins because they’re getting two new impressions in their restaurant, plus they’re not going to just take the free appetizer. They’re going to buy a drink or maybe another appetizer or maybe an entree. Another application might be if you’re the owner of a gym and there was a sporting good store near you. You could place an offer at their store, good for no enrollment fees when you sign up and they could put a offer at your location for 15% off any purchase greater than $50 or more. Again win win win.
-Next is something very simple and costs you nothing. Just trade a location to place collateral locations at each others store; you could place your advertising in their store and they do the same for you. There doesn’t necessarily have to be any quid pro quo other than just the advertising location.
-You can also cross promote by collaborating on advertising pieces, where instead of spending the same money that gets you a small eighth or quarter page, now collaboratively you can buy a color, full page ad, advertising your geographic location and the variety of non-competing businesses or even competing businesses that exists there. Perhaps (if you’re not already a member) even creating Restaurant Row organization and which the restaurants all pay an equal portion to the kitty and then the kitty advertises all the restaurants in their location equally.
-Décor: is another way you can cross promote and it all depends on how creative you want to get. From something as simple as consignment art on the wall, to having your alcohol vendors pay for minor upgrades that display their branding, or like Wahoo’s, working with action sports companies to buy your tables and in return they get to wrap the top your tables with their advertisement.
-Events, organizations, clubs and mixers are another great way to cross promote. These have brought me success at many restaurants; here we hosted many business and realtor mixers, Rotary and Lions Clubs, etc. Providing a (slightly better than) break-even deal, on say something like, a single food item. Then I give them space that would typically be not used at this day / time. In return I get tons of fresh new impressions along with the fact that they end up ordering drinks and many will stay and have full dinners. Or perhaps if you had a professional babysitting service and you teamed up with a children’s boutique store, you guys could collaborate on some fun mommy and me outings or craft projects.
-You can cross promote with certain services or entertainment. For example, recently a restaurant I was working with installed coffee that was made from a local coffee brewing business; theirs being primarily breakfast and ours being primarily dinner. We proudly displayed that we only served only his coffee, and in return we got a discount on the product. Additionally he had up in his store that you could drink his coffee at this restaurant. Or, you could try something as simple as an open mic night, where you might be able to acquire an act for free or for nothing more than the bar tab in return they get to sell their CDs and market their entertainment services, and your guests get a beautiful ambiance and music.
These are just a few ways cross promotion can work with your business. Many businesses have created their empire on the foundation of cross-promotion and cross advertising. Use it well and it could be your best friend I hope this is giving you some ideas.