by Christina R. Metcalf
This holiday season, we want to celebrate the uniqueness of small business as well as the treasures and exquisite services that can be found in our backyard. But small businesses have challenges as they market themselves alongside larger, national competitors. The perception that the larger businesses have better deals, more attractive hours, and more selection, can be strong. That’s why it takes a creative approach to be competitive. Cross promotion can be a very effective way for small business to stand out during the holiday season.
Why Cross Promotion?
Small businesses have the agility to do some creative things when it comes to promotion both within their own businesses and in partnerships with others. Cross promotion can be lucrative and draw in new target audiences. With cross promotion, you can also show support to other businesses and create partnerships that will help increase sales long past the holiday season.
Examples of Cross Promotion
If you’re considering cross promotion as part of your sales and marketing efforts this year, check out these ideas:
• Partnering with a complementary business that provides products or services. For instance, a gym may partner with a juice bar or an athletic clothing business to provide discounts for members. The juice bar or clothing store may, in turn, place coupons for a free gym session in all of their bags or as part of their sales.
• Reciprocal agreements. If you don’t want to enter into a formal cross promotional offer with another business, you can (and should) agree to mutually support one another. For instance, innkeepers could agree to refer visitors to local restaurants, while wait staff at local restaurants could refer people to nearby independent shops.
• Ads. Ads can help you reach a large audience and build name recognition. But they can be costly. Splitting the cost with neighbor businesses can help you afford a larger ad in a newspaper, mailer, cable TV spot, or even a billboard. Your local chamber may have some ideas on how you can defray advertising costs by partnering with other similar or nearby businesses.
• Run a contest. If you’re planning on running a holiday contest, you could approach nearby businesses to see if they will donate a prize and partner with you for even greater reach.
• Pop-up shop. If you have businesses next door to you, you may be able to create a pop-up market and split the costs of tents, entertainment, etc. For even more cross-promotional power, bring in a food truck or home business for entertainment or additional draw.
• Use social. Creating videos, reels/tiktoks, and other valuable content takes time. You could partner with another business so that you can increase the amount of content you produce. You also will have access to each other’s following for even greater reach.
• In-store. You can also benefit from in-store or business cross promotion. Online they’re referred to as “also boughts.” Structure your business so that things that are purchased together are cross promoted either on display or verbally by your staff. You can increase your sales with very little effort this way.
This holiday season, consider exploring the opportunities in cross promotion. Cross promotion can help you reach new audiences, build relationships, and spread good cheer. And couldn’t we all use a little more of that?