Wouldn’t it be nice to expand your selling opportunities at low cost, and without hiring extra sales people?
You can, when you co-market your products or services with other businesses.
When you cooperate with other businesses to promote your products and services jointly, you can reach more customers while sharing the cost. Co-marketing can also differentiate you from your competition because you can offer customers a richer buying experience.
What got me thinking about this creative tactic was a recent visit to Savory Spice Shop in downtown Westfield, NJ. Franchise owners Becky Solheim and Jackie Mittelhammer not only offer an amazing selection of fresh herbs and spices, they also display near their register coupons to the Elements Wellness Boutique, a natural products store located across town. I have no doubt that Elements also features Savory Spice coupons on their counter. Something as simple as this boosts sales for both retailers at a low incremental cost.
Here are some pointers for effective co-marketing:
Seek compatibility. Think about what products and services go well with what you sell. Approach those companies and work with them to develop an enticing offer. Professional photographer Miki Malhotra of Mikifoto, for example, teams with Erica Gendel, a Mary Kay sales director, to provide clients with a professional makeup and headshot package.
A note of caution: be mindful of your reputation when you seek co-marketing partners. You don’t want to have another company’s quality or customer problems become identified with you in the customer’s mind because of your association.
Keep it visible. Just like Savory Spice put the Wellness Boutique coupons at their register, you’ll want to have a display, advertisement or handout that promotes you and your partners’ offerings.
Court referral sources. Even if it’s not practical for you and your co-marketing partner to display each other’s merchandise or services, you can still work together. Customers will often seek referrals to related services, so asking other businesses to keep your cards, coupons or brochures on-hand can also work to boost your business. If you are a landscaper, for example, make sure that the local garden supply shops have an ample supply of your marketing materials to give out.
Offer a sample. Your co-marketing partners will much more enthusiastically promote your product or service if they’ve had the opportunity to experience it for themselves.
Use more than one tactic. There are many ways that you can team with other businesses. You can work together to publish a newsletter, plan and run and event together, or share a booth at a trade show. Continued cooperation can give you ongoing access to new prospects and enhance your company’s image as it boosts your sales.
Loraine Kasprzak is a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) who helps her clients connect with their customers to grow relationships and sales. Managing Director of Advantage Marketing Consulting Services, LLC, Loraine is an MBA with over 17 years of hands-on experience and proven results in B2B and professional services marketing. One of Loraine’s strengths is her ability to help her clients clarify their thinking so that they can focus and fine-tune their message for the marketplace. Loraine blogs about marketing and social media at www.advantage-marketingblog.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.