Co-marketing with another business is one way to open new opportunities and differentiate your small business from the competition. Done right, co-marketing can help you get new customers, build customer loyalty, and increase the bottom line. Here are four approaches to co-marketing with tips on how to get the most out of it.
Close a gap in your offerings
Often what sets local businesses apart are the small differences in customer experience. These days if you really want to get a good cup of coffee you have many choices. Cafes that offer a unique experience, either by their atmosphere, comfy chairs, or artisan bakery items, stand out and have a competitive edge. Compare your business to the competition and see if there’s a hole in your offerings, or better yet, a hole in the marketplace. Is there nowhere to hold small business events or to hang out with coworkers after work? Perhaps a room in the back can be repurposed to offer private parties or a happy hour with live music. If that’s the case, partnering with musicians and other artists might make sense. Consider partnering with a small catering business to offer more than simple accoutrements if a local office wants to have a small party. Be creative—these small differences are what makes your store unique, local, and memorable.
Add value to your customers
Is there a natural add-on to your product or services—something that would make it even more of a value for customers? If so, see if there is a business you can partner with to provide it. Jewelry shops, for example, cater to customers who are looking for a special gift. Make that gift even more special by partnering with local artists who create unique wrapping paper and gift cards. Customers can get everything they need for a truly special gift in one stop.
Expand your customer base
One exciting way to find new customers is to partner with complementary businesses. Referral arrangements are mutually beneficial because they are not competitive, but attract similar target customers. Consider what type of businesses might be talking to your target customers and how you might help one another. Whether it’s a simple word-of-mouth referral, handing out brochures and business cards, or allowing signage in your shop, a referral partnership can help spread the word about your services or products. Salons could partner with a fashion stylist to help offer “makeover” packages. A yoga studio could partner with physical therapists or massage therapists. Lawyers and accountants who specialize in the same area, such as small businesses, can offer packages together or refer business as the situation merits.
Reduce the cost of doing business
Some costs of business are fixed, such as rent. But partnering with other businesses to rent out space can help reduce those fixed costs and lower the risks of opening a new location. This type of partnership works well if there is something special about your location or if your business is seasonal. For example, a surf store on the beach could sell tickets to jet-skiing, parasailing, or other water sports. Businesses in tourist areas could sell tickets for local tour guides. Alternately, seasonal stores could flip their model and partner with a business that provides off-season help. A summer-based business could, for example, rent space to a local accountant during tax season.
Whatever your reasons for partnering, make sure your co-marketing arrangement:
· Doesn’t confuse customers
· Complements and enhances your business
· Is mutually beneficial for both businesses
Ready to research businesses and brainstorm co-marketing ideas? Check out Clover Insights, a free app in the Clover App Market.[image: kap bartender by Bernd Eckenfels on flickr]