marketing on a budgetIn this market, finding new customers can be a daunting (and expensive) task. For a little help with marketing on a budget, however, you need look no further than a like-minded salesperson or another company offering complementary products/services. Collaborating on your marketing efforts is a fast, easy way for both organizations to slash costs, expand their marketing lists, get powerful referrals and start generating lots of new sales.

Lower costs

The easiest thing to generate through a co-operative marketing arrangement is cost savings. By combining parts of your marketing budgets, you’ll be able to split the writing and design costs, the cost of marketing lists, even drive down the cost of the marketing materials (the per-piece price printers and other service providers charge is almost always less when the size of the order is increased).

Combining costs will also enable you to roll out all-new marketing materials, start marketing more often, try new marketing methods and more.

Expanded marketing lists

Usually, both businesses agree to share their direct-mail and email marketing lists, as well. To keep each list confidential, you can combine forces in one of two ways:

  1. Each company uses its proprietary list to cross-promote the other company’s products/services.
  2. Co-branded marketing materials promoting both companies’ products/services are created, and both companies distribute them independently to their customers.

Don’t get distracted comparing the size of each company’s marketing list. It’s rare that they’re ever the same. If the list is large enough to be significant, it’s delivered leads and sales in the past, and your target markets are a good match, that’s all you need.

Real referral power

We all know how powerful a referral from a friend or family member can be. But people trust the companies they do business with, as well. So when your marketing partner recommends you or your company, that’s a powerful endorsement sure to result in new leads.

Consider using a message something like this: “You trust us for help with your [fill in the blank]. Now, allow us to recommend an [fill in the blank] that offers a complementary collection of [products or services] you also don’t want to be without.”

Choosing a partner

When considering partnering with another sales professional or business, make sure your business cultures are a good match, and that your two target markets overlap.

Some logical collaboration options for a residential real estate agent would be a mortgage agent or another agent who specializes in a different area of the city. A brick-and-mortar retail store could partner with a group of stores on the same block – or an online entity selling complimentary products. An athletic club could partner with a health-supplements store or an athletic supply outlet. But don’t limit yourself to just like-sized businesses. Larger companies, even national brands, are also very interested in co-marketing opportunities.

The key is to just get out there and start talking about the idea with potential partners. Because the sooner you get something going, the faster you’ll be able to reap all the associated benefits.

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