When it comes to promoting your small business, it always seems like a necessary evil. Without proper marketing and advertising, your business will most likely miss out on huge opportunities. But at the same time, promotions can drain your budget and put a strain on the rest of your finances. So how can you promote your business without digging yourself into too deep of a hole? The answer is simple. Having other businesses promote your business for you!

Partnering with another business might seem silly at first. But in reality, you’re not selling out the competition. You’re joining forces to reach a wider audience and further each other’s businesses. And with a mutual cross-promotion plan in place, promoting your business with the help of other companies can be easy and beneficial. Take a look at the tips below to help you get started on cross-promoting your business.

Guest Blogging

If you’re looking to cut down on marketing costs, guest blogging is a great way to get your name out there for no money at all. You write quality content for other businesses to feature on their blog. In return, you get your company’s name on other websites with links leading back to yours. A little bit of writing for a lot of link juice? Sounds like a great deal for any small business owner.

The trick is in finding a business that is similar to yours. While they might be (technically) your competition, there is no reason you can’t help each other out. Find a business in your industry that has similar products or services, or at least relatable ones. Look for companies that have a target audience similar to yours so you can appeal to more people than ever before.

You can also consider allowing other companies to guest blog on your website. They’ll be so excited about the opportunity that they’ll tell all their Facebook fans, blog readers, and loyal customers to check out their latest contribution on your blog. Both companies get to promote, both companies win.

Trade Materials

If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, a great place to start is where those customers spend a lot of their time. For instance, waiting rooms and lobbies are a good place to advertise because people have time on their hands, which they need to fill with something to read, think about, or do. Having your brochure handy when they’re waiting for their next appointment makes it much more likely that your business will get noticed.

Ask neighboring businesses to display your brochures, posters, handouts, and business cards in their waiting areas or on their front desk. You can even offer to display their own print advertising in your shop in return. Not only will you be reaching more potential customers, but you’ll have others doing the work for you.

Sponsor Their Events

If a neighboring or likeminded business is holding an event, offer to sponsor their decorations, catering, or even contest prizes. Your company’s name can go on all of their promotional flyers, emails, and social media posts and you’ll be present to meet and greet many potential customers. You can even offer to promote their event to your own customers to make the turnout as successful as possible.

Furthermore, persuading other companies to sponsor your events, contribute contest prizes, and participate in your company’s public activities will bring their customers, their money, and their advertising into your business. Having another company assist you in marketing anything is always a good thing.

Start A Referral Program

If you’ll be partnering up with other companies to cross-promote products and services, why not reward the company and their customers for coming into your shop. Create a referral program in which your partner companies are able to refer their customers to yours with a special discount code or coupon. When those customers bring you those special promotions, be sure to honor them and then show your appreciation to your partner company. Offer them a referral fee, a kickback for every customer, or even some free goodies from your shop.

With a referral program in place, your business and your partners will also have an interest in promoting each other, leading to greater development and more business opportunities.

Marketing is a necessity for every business. Unfortunately, small businesses don’t always have the budget to accomplish the marketing metrics they’d like to. However, cross-promoting with other businesses is a great way to continue marketing, getting your company’s name out there, and handing off some of the spending and busy work to another business. These sorts of mutual relationships can yield favorable results for both companies involved, all their customers, your own consumers, and the future development of more business.

Pete Wise is the SEO Manager for Blue Onion. When I’m not posting to my facebook page I’m working as a denver sem expert to better serve my clients.