15 Effective Cross-Promotion Ideas (Plus Benefits)
Updated November 21, 2022
Advertising is important for marketing departments to conduct effectively because it allows companies to increase their sales. Cross-promotion is a strategy that involves companies partnering with other businesses in advertising efforts, which can help both parties attain more customers. Understanding cross-promotion can help you diversify a business' marketing efforts and potentially increase its product sales.
In this article, we explain what cross-promotion is and share 15 cross-promotion ideas you can use in 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 the 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 users like social media influencers and podcast hosts to collaborate with stores or brands to attract more customers.
Related: How To Cross-Promote Effectively
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 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. Coss-promoting on social media can allow companies to advertise other collaborative efforts, such as mutual product releases or discounts.
2. Send co-promotional emails
Co-promotional emails can help two businesses effectively advertise to the target audiences of both companies. This method can promote collaboration efforts such as product bundles, discounts and reward programs. If the partnering companies email their customers about each other's products, then both parties have the opportunity to gain new customers.
3. Host partnership events
Offering rewards to customers who buy products at both stores in the partnership can help mutually increase sales. For example, a shoe store and a nearby beauty salon might host a drawing event where each purchase gives customers a chance to win free products from both stores. If shopping increases a customer's chances of winning, free rewards can attract customers to both businesses. Additionally, offering goods as prizes may 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 often more affordable if two businesses divide the costs. A billboard or commercial featuring two collaborating companies may also 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
Implementing customer rewards programs is another cross-promotion effort that can help improve sales. For example, two restaurants may offer a 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 encourage cross-promotional customer revenue.
6. Orchestrate public events
If you're cross-promoting with a local business, consider planning events in your community. Hosting local events can attract nearby customers and improve the companies' reputations. It may be beneficial to collaborate with public entities such as libraries, town halls, activity centers or gyms. Your events can promote products that are meaningful to your community. For example, a sports drink company and a sports gear company may host a marathon in their community. All participants can receive free entry, sports drinks and temporary rental gear. Local athletes may purchase both businesses' products after trying them in the marathon.
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 can offer bakery discounts, while the bakery can offer free samples in the laundromat. The bakery may experience increased traffic because of 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 may 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 demonstrate your product's benefits to potential customers. For example, two companies might collaborate using the same booth at a local mall. One can advertise its detergent by demonstrating how it cleans multiple stains on a shirt. The other company may advertise its clothing iron by ironing the same shirt and demonstrating how easily the product 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
Cross-promotion can also help two businesses sell new product lines. By releasing joint products, companies with similar products may create product bundles more easily. For example, two personal care companies may create a bundle deal with a new product from each business. The bundle may contain a recent line of conditioner from one company and a new shampoo from the other company. 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 for both brands involved. Referral programs that give rewards can be attractive to customers, especially if a company offers more than one product. Cross-promotional referral programs can offer customers multiple products from different stores to help advertise for both businesses. Potential customers may trust customer testimonies, so referral programs can increase the number of sales leads who eventually become customers.
13. Write an e-book
E-books can help promote a business' products even after a cross-promotion campaign ends. Collaborating with a publisher to create an e-book about the business owner, product creation process or company history can highlight memorable details about the organization to customers. For example, a restaurant might collaborate with an online publishing company to create an e-book about its founder and family history. Potential customers who discover the e-book can learn more details about the restaurant, and they may eventually plan a visit.
Related: How To Write a Great E-Book
14. Work with digital partners
Collaborating with news websites or digital journalists who write articles about a business can help promote its products to readers. Recording interviews and answering questions concerning the company and product may help the business gain publicity and develop a positive reputation. Popular internet personalities, or influencers, can also be good partners for cross-promoting online. If an influencer promotes a brand on their social media profile, it could raise brand awareness and increase the business' popularity.
15. Present webinars
Webinars, or digital presentations, can help promote a company online by directly answering customer questions and demonstrating products. Creating a webinar with a cross-promotional partner can showcase both companies' products and increase customer curiosity. Collaborating with another business while constructing a webinar may improve your webinar's content and customers' experiences.
How to cross-promote a brand
Follow these steps to create a cross-promotional campaign with another company:
1. Identify potential partners
A business can create a list of potential companies it could partner with, whether they're local or online businesses. You can then reach out to companies with an offer to collaborate with them to promote each other's products or services. Consider looking for businesses that are in the same market but aren't competitors. For example, a local music store and craft store may hold an arts festival in their community to promote their products together.
2. Develop an advertising strategy
Once you've identified a business that wants to cross-promote its products, you can begin developing a marketing campaign together. You may evaluate the other company's offerings and target audience, along with the goals of both companies. Consider each other's resources, current reputation and market share when creating a joint advertising strategy. For instance, if one company has a large online following, then the two businesses might focus their efforts on social media advertising, rather than television or print advertising.
3. Analyze the results
After executing your cross-promotional campaign, analyze the results to determine if it was effective. You may look at factors such as whether a high number of users or participants engaged with your content or promotions and whether both companies gained new customers and increased their profits. This can help you decide to continue the partnership and improve future cross-promotional campaigns.
Benefits of cross-promotion
There are many benefits companies can experience by conducting cross-promotional strategies, including:
Cross-promotion is a collaborative effort, so the businesses involved rarely charge for each other's services. Promotion, events and customer revenue from cross-promotion are cost-effective compared with traditional marketing campaigns. 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 increase local customer retention. Collaborating with local businesses may also allow companies to save money on transportation, organization and demonstration costs. Advertising to your community can help encourage customer loyalty as well.
Social media relevance
Cross-promoting by partnering with influencers, social media pages and journalists can help increase a business' relevance on the internet. For example, if a popular influencer advertises a business' social media posts, new customers may consider its products. Additionally, customers who see one business collaborating with another may associate the two brands, which could lead to potential sales increases.
Stronger brand awareness
Collaborating with one or more partners can allow a company to advertise its brand, company name and business history in addition to its products. Business owners can work with companies that are similar to theirs to help customers associate their products with other brands, which may lead to profit increases. Partnering with a popular company can also help a business develop a positive reputation because of the existing public perception of the partnering brand.
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