Here’s a nice way to extend your marketing reach without increasing your marketing budget: Try a cross-promotion. When you do a cross-promotion, you and another non-competing business agree to help each other out by marketing to each other’s customer base on behalf of the other.
Is there a children’s clothing store in your community? Maybe they could distribute your brochures to their customers, and in exchange, you could hand out their marketing materials to your camp families. That’s how cross-promotions work.
One thing you’ll like about cross-promotions, they’re a win-win arrangement for you and your marketing partner because you each get an opportunity to expand through other’s customer base. You’re reaching many more potential new customers than you otherwise would without your cross-promotion partner.
Another great thing about cross promotions is they’re relatively easy to set up and aren’t too expensive to set up. The main cost involved will be your time finding suitable cross-partners.
How to Find Cross-Promotion Partners
The key concept to making cross-promotions work is thatyour marketing partner must share the same market base as you — kids — but the two of you can’t be direct competitors or else it won’t work. (Obviously another camp is not going to hand out your marketing materials to its customer base.)
So where do you find cross-promotion partners?
The best place to look is right in your own neighborhood. Identify a handful (5 or 6) of non-competing businesses in your market area who are good potential partners, then approach them with your idea. And don’t be afraid of rejection, because this isn’t like cold-calling or anything like that. To the contrary, you’ll probably be surprised by how many people take you up on your proposal because, let’s face it, the economy still sucks and who doesn’t want more business?
Three Cross-Promotion Ideas to Get You Started
- Approach your local Chuck E. Cheese’s. See if you can put your flyers on their prize desk (where kids redeem their winning tickets for prizes). In exchange, you could email your customers about Chuck E. Cheese’s great birthday party opportunities for kids.
- See if you can set up a booth at your neighborhood kids gym to hand out your brochures to their customers. In trade, invite the gym owner to your next open house or parent orientation where they can meet, greet and distribute their promotional materials to your camp families.
- Is there a popular family restaurant in your town? Ask the manager if they’d be willing to recommend your camp the next time they email their customers. You’ll be glad to reciprocate in your next email to your families on behalf of the restaurant.
The days of the lone wolf marketer are over. It’s all about collaboration now. See if you can band together with others in your niche to promote each other’s stuff. You’ll reach a much larger pool of prospects than you otherwise could thanks to your cross promotion partner.
I hope this post has been beneficial to you. I realize there are many more ways to do cross-promotions than what I’ve listed here (trading website links comes to mind), so please let me know if you think of anything I may have missed. And if you’ve ever done a cross-promotion before, please share your experiences so others can get ideas and learn from you.
Cross promotion sounds like a good idea but I wonder what the limits are for a camp that is a 501c3.
Can't handing out marketing and promotion materials for a for-profit business get a non-profit into trouble with the IRS?
Hi Matt, thanks for your comment. But honestly I have no idea how to answer your question about taxes nor am I qualified to. I'd check with your accountant or tax advisor regarding any questions or concerns about cross-promotions for non-profits. thanks again