Promoting your online business almost always depends on others. When just starting out, family and friends get the ball rolling and once you have a few customers you depend on their word of mouth. Cross promotion uses word of mouth and partner visibility to boost your sales, credibility and brand.
In a nutshell, cross promotional marketing is working with other businesses both large and small to draw attention to your products or services.
Cross promotion is different from affiliate marketing in that it is an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both people in the same way. With affiliate marketing, the affiliate gets a percentage of the pie based on an agreed upon amount. With cross promotion, both partners are looking to receive the same amount of compensation.
Why Cross Promote?
The easy answer here is that you want to increase traffic to your website or blog, establish yourself as an authority, and to increase sales. That is the goal of business, after all.
Another reason is to increase your visibility among your business peers. When you partner with a bigger more well known business or blogger (Mike Stelzner calls them Firestarters), you increase your credibility. Keep in mind what you have to offer. The top marketers, influencers and large businesses won’t waste much time with someone who doesn’t bring something valuable to the table.
Types of Cross Promotion
So what does cross promotion look like? The agreement between similar businesses to help one another in their advertising and promo forms a network with new business people and also a way to increase profits for both of you.
Here are a few ideas for cross promotion to get the ball rolling:
1. Advertisement: Banner or Link Exchange
You can post advertisement links or banners on each other’s sites. Look for people or businesses that share similarities with yours or are at least interesting to each other’s site visitors. For instance, if you sell party supplies, partnering with a party planner makes good business sense. Your goal is to be relevant.
If you don’t have a banner, you can get one pretty cheap at $20 Banners. Depending on what design you choose, they really do start at just$20. This gives customers a chance to check you out in a glance so be creative.
Don’t use those free or cheap link exchange services! You want to build relationships with other site owners and you should be careful about the credibility of those other sites. Don’t hook yourself up into a “bad neighborhood”
2. Guest Blogging
Write website content and blog for each other. This is something that does take a little bit of your time but the rewards are great. By contributing to a blog in your same niche you’re establishing yourself as an expert in that field as well as building links back to your site.
Most website owners allow 1 or 2 “do follow” links within the text and a bio with links so the visitors can click on it for more information.
Share each other’s audiences and tap into one another’s insight. It’s a win for everyone if done well.
3. Link It Up
When you are active in the blogging community you are consistently reading other articles and are aware of the topics. Keep those in mind when you are writing your own articles and link back to them.
Rather than leaving a long comment on a blog post, create an article around it and link back to their post. You’ll add content to your own blog and you’ll be offering a little link love at the same time.
4. Comment Club
Another smart idea is to form a group of bloggers in your niche that will agree to leave comments on each other’s articles. Honestly, I think this should be something we are all reciprocating without forming a club, but it may give us the motivation to kick it up a notch.
It’s like having an exercise partner. You both want to get fit, but sometimes without that accountability of knowing someone is waiting on you it’s way to easy to put it off. Having a group of commenters will keep you accountable and actively involved.
5. Blog or Product Reviews
You see the big guys promoting one another all the time. You always know when there is a new marketing or affilate product launch coming up when you see the same information coming from a group of people. They have their own clubs they have created, so you know it works to create a mass viral effect.
You see John Chow, Jeremy Schoemaker, Yaro Starak & Zac Johnson cross promote. Or, Michael Stelzner, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman and Chris Garret together. Recently we’ve seen Brian Clark, Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone form their alliances. They all understand this concept.
6. Blog Rolls
Blog Rolls provide your readers and Google a way of figuring out what you’re all about by who you read and look up to.
Much like link exchanges, but blog rolls have a more prominent place than an advertising text link and show your visitors that you recommend this other person rather than took money from them to gain that spot.
7. Bookmarking Buddies
Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are great ways to get traffic to your site…IF they are being bookmarked. Without an active base of friends or subscribers it’s nearly impossible to make it to the front page of a bookmarking site. There are certain guidelines you must follow in bookmarking etiquette to keep from looking spammy, so don’t go overboard.
StumbleUpon and Digg both offer “do follow” links to your post, I believe. Delicious doesn’t have “do follow”, but they still provide traffic. I use Delicious to bookmark those sites I want to have on hand as a reference because it’s simple.
For a better understanding of how it all works, I have an earlier series of articles I’d recommend called Bookmarking 101.
I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ways to cross promote that I may have missed. What have you found to work well? What new ways can you think of to share here? Leave your comments below to get some feedback.
To Your Success,
P.S. ~~> I am always on the lookout for ways to cross promote and help one another. If you’d like to band together with me and others in my niche, drop me a line with your idea and we can discuss the opportunities! You can use my Contact form or direct email: coree[at]marketlikeachick[dot] com.