15 Effective Cross-Promotion Strategies (Plus Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 27, 2021

Advertising is important for marketing departments to conduct effectively because it allows their companies to increase sales and attain more customers. Cross-promotion, which is a strategy that involves companies partnering with other businesses in advertising efforts, can help both parties involved attain more customers. Understanding cross-promotion can help you diversify your business's marketing efforts and increase product sales. In this article, we explain cross-promotion and various cross-promotion strategies you can use in your advertising campaigns.

What is cross-promotion?

Cross-promotion is a mutual collaboration between two or more companies to increase customer bases and sales. Cross-promoting companies rarely charge advertising fees, as each party benefits mutually from each other's advertising efforts. For example, a sandwich shop and a nearby car wash company may decide to cross-promote by offering discounts at each other's stores. Businesses can also cross-promote online, allowing internet accounts such as social media influencers or podcast hosts to collaborate with stores or brands to jointly attract more customers.

Related: Comprehensive Guide to Creating a Marketing Plan (With Tips, Template and Example)

15 effective cross-promotion ideas

If you're considering cross-promotion with another company, consider these 15 cross-promotion strategies:

1. Use social media

Social media platforms can help companies attract new customers and collaborate with businesses. Even if a business doesn't solely operate online, social media partnerships can help promote traffic between two customer groups. Media such as videos or images can help promote two brands simultaneously. For example, two cross-promoting companies might post a joint video advertisement on both of their social media pages, creating greater combined viewership. Additionally, cross-promoting on social media can help companies advertise other collaborative efforts, such as mutual product releases or discounts.

2. Send co-promotional emails

Co-promotional emails can help you effectively advertise to both your company's and another company's target audiences. This method can help promote collaboration efforts such as product bundles, discounts and reward programs. If both companies email customers about each other's products, both have the opportunity to gain new customers.

3. Host partnership events

Offering rewards to customers who buy products at both your store and a partnering store can help mutually increase sales. For example, a shoe store and a nearby beauty salon can host a drawing event where each purchase offers customers a chance to win free products from both stores. If shopping increases a customer's chances of winning, free rewards can help attract customers to both businesses. Additionally, offering goods as prizes can help improve a store's reputation.

4. Jointly invest in advertising

Aside from social media and email advertising, dividing advertising costs on other mediums through cross-promotion can help attract customers. Newspaper, billboard and commercial advertisements are more affordable if two businesses divide the costs. Additionally, a billboard or commercial featuring two collaborating companies may gain customer attention. For example, a soda company and a video game company might collaborate to create a commercial for both products. A frequent customer of the video game company may then decide to purchase the soda company's products because of that partnership.

5. Offer customer promotions

Offering customer rewards programs is another cross-promotion effort that can help improve sales. For example, two restaurants may offer a point rewards program for customers who dine at any partnering location. Offering frequent buyer cards, entrance to loyalty programs and exclusive product offers between companies can help encourage cross-promotional customer revenue.

6. Orchestrate public events

If you plan on cross-promoting with a local business, consider planning events in your community. Hosting local events can attract nearby customers and improve local reputation. It may be beneficial to collaborate with public entities such as libraries, town halls, activity centers or gyms. Depending on your product, events can help promote products that are meaningful to the community in which you're located.

For example, a sports drink company and a sports gear company can collaborate by hosting a marathon in their local community. All participants receive free entry, sports drinks and temporary rental gear. Local participating athletes may purchase both businesses' products after trying them in the marathon.

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7. Set up cross-promotional displays

Cross-promotional displays, such as demonstration booths or free sample tables, can help promote your product at two locations. For example, a bakery and a neighboring laundromat may decide to cross-promote each other's services. The laundromat offers bakery discounts, while the bakery offers free samples in the laundromat. The bakery may experience increased traffic due to the discounts, and the laundromat may experience an increase in customers due to the baked goods served in the store.

8. Share products with employees

Sharing products with other employees through cross-promotion can help advertise an item's features. For example, a computer company and a phone company cross-promote by allowing employees at each other's offices to test new phones and computers. Employees of the partnering company may eventually become customers.

9. Create shared booths

Cross-promotional booths can help advertise your product during trade shows, business events or mall demonstrations. If your product functions well with another company's, sharing a booth can help demonstrate your product's benefits to potential customers. For example, two clothing companies collaborate using the same booth at a local mall. One advertises its detergent by demonstrating how it cleans multiple stains on a shirt, resulting in a wrinkled, but clean, shirt. The other company advertises its clothing iron by ironing the wrinkled shirt and demonstrating how easily it removes wrinkles.

10. Consider sharing a facility

Some cross-promoting companies choose to share a facility if they plan to collaborate for long periods of time. For example, a large retail company may cross-promote with a gaming company by building a small arcade room near the entrance of its store. The retailer and the game company both receive new customers due to the arcade's convenient location.

11. Release joint products

Collaborating with another company's products can help both businesses involved sell new product lines. By using this strategy, companies that have similar products may create product bundles more easily. For example, two soap companies may collaborate by combining two new products into a bundle deal. One soap company can sell its recent line of conditioner, while the other sells a new shampoo. Customers who recognize one product and not the other may still decide to purchase the bundle due to their recognition of the familiar brand.

12. Start referral programs

Hosting a referral program for two companies may result in greater customer turnover between both brands involved. Referral programs that offer customer rewards can also be attractive, especially if your company offers more than one product. Cross-promotional referral programs can offer customers multiple products from different stores to help advertise for both businesses. Because potential customers may trust customer testimonies, referral programs can help increase the number of sales leads who eventually become customers.

13. Write an e-book

E-books can help promote your products even after a cross-promotion campaign ends. Collaborating with a publisher to create an e-book about your business owner, product creation process or history can help highlight memorable details about your organization to customers. For example, a restaurant might collaborate with an online publishing company to create an e-book biography about its founder and family history. Potential customers who discover the e-book can learn more details about the restaurant and eventually plan a visit.

14. Work with digital partners

Collaborating with news websites or digital journalists who write articles about your business can help promote your products to readers. Recording interviews and answering questions concerning your company and product can help your business gain publicity and develop a positive reputation. Popular internet personalities, or influencers, can also be good partners with whom you can cross-promote online. If an influencer promotes your brand on their social media profile, it could raise brand awareness and increase your business's popularity.

Related: Types of Advertisements and What Makes Them Successful

15. Present webinars

Webinars, which are digital presentations, can help promote your company online by directly answering customer questions and demonstrating products online. Creating a webinar with a cross-promotional partner can help showcase both companies' products and increase customer curiosity. Additionally, collaborating with another business while constructing a webinar may help improve your webinar's content and customer experiences.

Related: What Is a Webinar?

Benefits of cross-promotion

There are many benefits companies can experience by conducting cross-promotional strategies, including:

Free advertising

Because cross-promotion is a collaborative effort, both businesses involved rarely charge for the other company's services. Promotion, events and customer revenue from cross-promotion are cost effective compared with traditional marketing campaigns. Additionally, companies typically split any incurred costs such as extra advertising, sponsorships or demonstrations during the campaign.

Improved local business

Cross-promoting with a neighboring business can help increase local customer retention. Collaborating with local businesses may also save money in transportation, organization and demonstration costs. Advertising to your local community can also help encourage customer loyalty.

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Social media relevance

Cross-promoting by partnering with influencers, social media pages and journalists can help increase your business's relevance on the internet. For example, if a popular influencer advertises your business's social media post, new customers may consider your products. Additionally, customers who see your business collaborating with another company may begin to associate the two brands together. This association could lead to potential sales increases.

Stronger brand awareness

Collaborating with one or more partners can also help your company advertise its brand, company name and business history in addition to its products. Working with companies similar to yours can help customers associate your products with other brands and may lead to profit increases. Additionally, partnering with popular companies can help your company develop a positive reputation due to the existing public perception of the partnering brand.

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