Cross-marketing is simply a way of promoting your business by partnering with other local businesses in direct marketing efforts. Whether you are just starting your business or have been running it for a while, consider the benefits of a partnership with another local business whose customers might benefit from your products and services – and vice versa, of course.
Start by visiting and introducing yourself to the business owners that are physically closest to you. If yours is a restaurant, coffee or sandwich shop, offer a few free samples or dollar-off coupons (if appropriate).
For real-life examples, consider these cross-marketing partnerships:
- Your clothing retail store + local dry cleaners
You sell clothing, and no doubt, some of those items need to be dry-cleaned from time to time. And perhaps the dry cleaning customer realizes that it’s time to replace a well-worn item. Kismet! You and the owner of the dry cleaners can come up with a flyer to promote each other’s products and services.
- Your car repair shop + local auto supplies store
You service cars for people who cannot do it themselves (or don’t want to). That includes replacing tires, transmission fluid, brake fluid, motor oil, etc. While you may sell some of these items, it’s not your core business to do so. Why not form a partnership with a nearby owner of a tire store or auto supplies store whose core business IS selling these items?
- Your beauty salon + beauty supplies store
Lots of possibilities here for customers and employees alike! A customer will want to stock up on whatever products they’ll need to maintain that fresh new hairdo or to touch up that French manicure/nail treatment or fancy pedicure they just received. As you probably know, women who patronize beauty salons for hair and nail treatments will spend a lot of money to always look as good as they do when they leave the salon. And like with the car repair/auto supplies example, while you may sell products in your shop, it’s not your core business, and women always want a bargain.
What better place than a nearby beauty supplies store that sells everything they need – except a hairstylist and manicurist? For the beauty supplies store owner, their customers may be inspired to visit your salon to see how products can be applied to achieve the most stunning results. For your salon employees, think how convenient it would be to have a relationship with the beauty supplies store when you run out of something. While this article focuses on physical cross-marketing through face-to-face networking to build relationships and to collaborate to produce printed materials, the effort can be extended to email marketing as well. The critical thing to remember is that your business is not an island. Build relationships with local business owners whose customers can become YOUR customers and vice versa. It’s a great example of a Win-Win situation.