Monday, December 28, 2015

The Small Business Buddy System!

The idea of two companies working together under one marketing plan is not new. It is sometimes referred to as co-branding, which happens when the two products become synonymous with each other. Two great examples are how Dell computes boast Intel processors or how Kellogg's PopTarts uses Smucker's jelly. This strategy adds value to each of the products and also lightens the cost of marketing for each. On the other hand, co-marketing is when two businesses share the marketing and advertising load in order to improve visibility and decrease advertising costs, while retaining their unique identity.

So how can a small business use these tactics? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Find a Complement. Team up with a business that complements your product or service to share advertising. A pet store teaming with a pet groomer or a spa with a nail salon are more obvious ways to market complementary services, but it can also be accomplished in other creative ways. If you are a small bookseller, ask the local coffee shop two doors down if each can advertise for the other, or run promos for customer referrals. An apparel shop and jewelry store can co-market their products. Even a small butcher shop may do well to pair with the neighboring wine seller. Whether it’s as simple as putting a stack of business cards in each other’s stores, or lending inventory to display – start building up relationships like these.
  2. Market Together. Include your partnered business’s promotional material with yours in direct mailings (and vice versa) – this splits the budget and may bring in a new customer base. You can also try running an online promotion on social media with your newfound partner – to grow followers on both companies’ platforms.
  3. Swap Ads. If you have a website, contact other businesses in your locale with websites to see if you can exchange links or place advertising banners on each other’s sites. Many times, even unrelated business owners are willing to cross-link with other businesses for increased website visibility. I scratch your back, you scratch mine!
In any collaborative marketing effort, it is important to make sure your co-business is reputable and has the same high standards for its customers that your business would have. But well-oiled and well-fed partnerships can take businesses to new levels.

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