Reaching New Customers Through Other Businesses

CorkboardTwo weeks ago, we asked if you might be missing valuable customer information by not building out your customer profile.

Last week we expanded on this topic a bit further by discussing how to use your customer profile to guide you towards cross-promotional opportunities by working with other businesses that serve the same customers.

Now we’ll look at some of the different approaches to cross promoting your business once you’ve established a relationship with another business.  The great thing about most of these methods is that they can be done with little or no cost to you other than time.

Social Media and Email

Word-of-mouth efforts can often be amplified by using tools like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.  Because of the potential to quickly reach a large number of people, getting other businesses to promote your business to their followers is an excellent no-cost way to reach more people.  Be sure to repay the favor by promoting their business to your followers as well.  If your business or the one you’ve paired with uses email marketing to reach customers, trading space in each other’s email campaigns can also be very effective.

Flyers, Brochures and Cards

An easy way to cross promote your business is to use printed flyers, brochures or business cards that can be pinned to bulletin boards, placed in waiting rooms or next to cash registers.  Trading printed materials with other businesses is inexpensive and helps promote other local businesses in your area.

Events

Pairing with another business is a great way to attend or sponsor local events while cutting your costs in half.  You’ll be able to reach your partner’s audience and the same for them and your audience.  Even though not every member of your partner’s audience will need your offering, they may know someone who does.  This means you’ll be positioned to indirectly reach people you might otherwise not have had the chance to connect with.

Incentives and Referrals

If you’re able to work these out with the businesses you’ve paired with, incentives can be beneficial to everyone involved.  By offering discounts through a referral program, customers who refer business to your partner’s business (and vice versa) will benefit in the form of savings while you and your partners benefit by increased exposure to a wider audience.

Sharing Office Space

Have you ever seen banks, tax experts or the Girl Scouts just out in front of or just inside your local grocery store?  Well…the same types of opportunities are available to you and businesses you’ve paired with.  Why not offer space for your partners to spend a few hours just inside or outside your business in exchange for letting you do the same at their location?  It can be as simple as a few chairs, a table and some flyers and you’ll find yourself in the position to talk to people, answer questions and build relationships with new customers who will be more eager to spend money with you once they’ve met you.  Your setup can be temporary or it may become a regular occurrence depending on the outcome.

What do you think?  As a small business, what are some of the things you’ve found to be effective when marketing on a limited budget?

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