Are you on the Marketing Fast Track?

photo by Amnemona

There are a lot of great ways to market your business, but a lot of really effective, inexpensive marketing ideas are related to networking.

In the book Endless Referrals by Bob Burg, Networking is defined as follows:

The cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships.

The first couple of steps is to establish a network of relationships that meet the definition above.  Although it’s not easy and it is an ongoing effort that takes time, there are a several good books on how to do that, including Endless Referrals and The Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer.

But once you have a network in place, how can you fast track those relationships, in a win-win fashion to build your business?

Help me Help You!

One great way to leverage your network is to start doing some cross-promotions.

A cross promotion is when two or more businesses partner together and offer customers a value-added benefit from the partnering businesses.  The end result, if it’s well conceived, is an increase in business for everyone concerned.  A true win-win-win situation, because the customer ultimately benefits as well.

The Pizza and Movie example

Let’s take a look at a classic example of a cross-promotion:  Rental movies and pizza delivery.  The owner of the pizza shop knows that people renting movies, are going to be staying at home and are a perfect audience for pizza delivery.  So the pizza shop owner approaches the movie rental shop owner with a ‘special’ offer of $2.00 off a delivered pizza for movie rental customers only.

The movie rental shop gets to advertise and generate good will (at no cost) by offering a $2.00 value for a $7.00 movie rental.

The pizza shop gets a very targeted advertisement into the hands of an ideal customer, most likely when they’ll be thinking about food, at virtually no cost other than the discount itself.

The customer, who’s renting movies anyway, gets the opportunity for a cheaper pizza then they would have otherwise had.

Win-Win-WIn!!!

How do you get started?

The first step is to have a detailed picture of what your customers look like. 

A lot of times this is described as your target market.  The writers over at Gateway Blogging have written up an idea that takes this a 1/2 step further related to developing personas to describe your ideal customer.  It’s a great article – Greg does a nice job fleshing out the idea.

Either approach will work, but it’s important you know who you’re targeting and more importantly, beyond your product or service, what are other things they like?

The second step is to take a creative look at who you might be able to cross-promote with.

This is where your existing network comes into play.  Who do you know, like and trust that has a similar set of customers and a complimentary product to yours?

  • If your clients are stay at home Soccer moms with teenage kids, perhaps you know the owner of a fitness center or a spa?
  • If your clients are affluent parents of grade school kids, perhaps you know the owner of local ice cream / custard shop?
  • If you clients are small business owners perhaps you know a business coach you could collaborate with.  😉  Give me a call!

The real key here is the creativity.  If you don’t know the right partner, then this might be a great opportunity to meet someone new.  You’re approaching them with a win-win opportunity and a desire to help them grow their business, that’s pretty hard to turn down.

The third step is to come up with the promotion details and get it started!

A lot of times, once you’ve selected the partner, the actual promotion might be fairly straightforward, but this is another opportunity to be creative.

  • You could do joint promotions of your products
  • You could offer your customers discounts on someone else’s services
  • You could create a valuable ‘giveaway’ that your partner gives to their customers.  An online example could be something like an e-book or white paper.

The biggest step for success is to take action!  Brainstorm with your network, identify others to collaborate with and get it out there.

I’d love to hear other examples of cross-promotions that you’ve heard of or that you’ve tried.  Share them here or contact me if you’ve got some ideas that you’d like to talk about with me.

Shawn Kinkade   www.aspirekc.com

2 thoughts on “Are you on the Marketing Fast Track?”

  1. Great, practical stuff, Shawn. I appreciate you mentioning Gateway Blogging. If you don’t truly know and understand your ideal customer, how will you create a promotion that would appeal to them? You will miss the mark. And of course, this imperative precedes promotions — you will be much more successful in general if you have a detailed portrait of your ideal customer in mind with every decision you make.

  2. Michael – Thanks for the comment. I’m enjoying what you and Greg are doing at Gateway Blogging (I’m in the PBCA with Greg). I’m also getting Remarkablogger and finding that to be very inspirational as well.

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