Partnership marketing is ushering in a new era of collaboration and innovation for e-commerce brands seeking exponential growth.
Cross-Promotion: The Game Changer You're Ignoring
Cross-promotion is an effective type of partnership marketing that drives sales and revenue.
Cross-promotion is an effective type of partnership marketing that drives sales and revenue. Over 34% of businesses reported that co-marketing is the most effective way to generate leads and grow email lists. And 54% of businesses use partnerships to acquire new customers.
Cross-promotion with influencers, businesses, and entrepreneurs is an important marketing strategy for your business. Collaborating with non-competitors to reach new audiences, generate sales, and grow your brand is a cost-effective marketing approach.
The big question is where to begin and how to collaborate with other businesses for collabs?
This article covers a step-by-step guide to cross-promotion with influencers and other businesses and advanced collaboration techniques to take partnerships to the next level.
What is Cross Promotion?
Cross-promotion is a marketing strategy based on mutual collaboration between two or more brands that aren’t competitors. It works by jointly promoting one or more products to each other’s audiences (which is commonly a similar audience).
For example, Adidas and Ivy Park (owned by Beyoncé) joined hands in 2019 for a cross promotion campaign that was promoted jointly by Adidas and Ivy Park:
The partnership ended in 2023 as it didn’t work as expected. Adidas projected 2022 sales to be $250 million while only $40 million in sales in 2022 was brought by the Ivy Park partnership.
It shows two things:
- Cross-promotion campaigns require mutual input from both parties. It doesn’t work if any party doesn’t deliver the expected results
- Realistic partnership goals need to be set.
Why Cross Promotion is Essential for Your Business
When done right, cross-marketing turns out to be a powerful marketing technique for businesses of all sizes. The primary benefits include:
- Business growth: Cross promotions are ideal for small businesses as it gives your business an instant push. Growth gets easier when your partner promotes your product.
- New leads and sales: Generating new leads and sales at extremely low cost with cross promotion campaigns gets easier.
- High revenue and CLV: Customer acquisition cost reduces which increases lifetime customer value (CLV) and you can make more per customer. Revenue increases significantly with partner marketing as you get new customers at a fairly low cost.
- Brand awareness and audience growth: You can reach your target audience and potential customers in a new market with a well-thought cross-promotion strategy. This results in a spike in brand awareness and exposure.
- Credibility and reputation: When your products are pitched by another popular company, it increases your brand’s reputation and credibility. People will trust your business and products due to social proof.
How to Collaborate with Influencers and Entrepreneurs for Cross Promotion
You have to collaborate with businesses and influencers to run a successful cross-promotion campaign. Here is how to do it:
1. Set Goals
The cross-marketing process begins by setting clear goals. You can use cross-promotion to reach new audiences, generate leads, boost brand awareness, reduce marketing cost, increase revenue, reach a new target market, enter a new market, experimentation, etc.
There is a lot you can achieve with a cross-promotion campaign, so it is essential to have a clear goal and purpose.
Keep your partner in mind when setting goals. There must be something of value in the partnership for your partner too. This means you should focus on joint goals, not just individual goals. This boosts motivation and makes both parties accountable with clear objectives:
In a cross-promotion campaign, both parties promote their partner’s products to their audience. This means you need to do your homework in terms of where you’ll promote your partner product, what’s the estimated reach, how many sales you can generate per marketing channel, etc.
A projection of key performance indicators will make decision-making easy for your potential partner.
If you intend to collaborate with an influencer, be clear on what you will offer. This could include sample products, exposure on your social media channels, a featured newsletter, and monetary benefits.
When setting goals, don’t just focus on what you want to achieve but be clear on what you will deliver.
2. Select Partner
Finding and selecting the right partner is the next step after you have finalized the goals. The success of your cross-promotion campaign depends on your partner so choose wisely.
Here are a few things to note when hunting for an influencer or entrepreneur for cross-marketing:
- The target audience of your partner should not be the same as your current audience
- Your partner must give you access to a new audience that currently doesn’t know you or your product
- Your partner shouldn’t be your competitor
- The partner should be able to generate sales. Brand awareness and reach aren’t enough if you don’t get customers
- There should be a clear alignment between the two in terms of business philosophy and vision.
There are two ways to find the right partner:
- Search manually. Use your existing contacts and network. Use social networks like LinkedIn to find relevant businesses and use Instagram to find influencers. You’ll need to send your proposal via outreach to multiple businesses, entrepreneurs, and influencers and then negotiate and finalize terms. This is a tedious task that requires consistency. But it works great as you build connections and grow your network in the process.
- Use a collaboration platform like Subkit. It offers a great way to run cross promotion campaigns at no cost. You can choose from a wide range of businesses and entrepreneurs, and your product is bundled with theirs. Subkit handles and manages everything for you. This makes it easy to find the right partner as you get recommendations automatically from the system.
3. Track Performance
Most businesses don’t track performance accurately for their partnership campaigns. This makes it hard to prove ROI accurately and it leads to making wrong decisions in the future.
For example, you might re-collaborate with a partner who didn’t perform well or you might miss re-partnering with a high-performing partner.
So, what exactly do you have to track, and how?
You need to track key performance indicators (KPIs) for all the collaboration campaigns you run. Your KPIs are defined by the campaign goals. For example, if you partnered with top content creators and asked them to promote your product and your goal was to generate sales, you need to track the following KPIs:
- Number of sales per influencer or content creator
- Acquisition cost per influencer
- Average order value and total order value per influencer
For example, if an influencer generated 100 sales worth $1,000 with a customer acquisition cost of $12 and another influencer generated 60 sales worth $400 with a customer acquisition cost of $3. You should obviously re-collaborate with the second influencer with a lower CAC.
Because lower CAC means high customer lifetime value and higher profit.
Now if you are only tracking the number of sales or the number of leads, you won’t be able to up your partnership marketing game.
Use advanced tracking tools like Pipedrive, Bitrix24, and others. Or a simple, free tracking tool like Google Analytics. You need to track traffic, clicks, conversions, and sales with attribution to track performance.
A simple and free way to track traffic is via Campaign URL Builder by Google Analytics. You can create customized URLs that can be tracked in Google Analytics:
You can find all the campaigns in Google Analytics and dig deep further:
This helps you track end-to-end performance and gives you a realistic look into how your partner performed.
Marketing collaboration isn’t a one-time campaign. It needs to be a part of your marketing strategy. This is a reason why you should track all the performance of your partner so you can decide if you should continue working with the same partner or switch to others.
A single cross-promotion campaign with an influencer and a couple of social media posts is, by no means, enough.
If you look at partnerships of leading companies, you will notice that their partnerships last for months and years – not for a standalone single campaign.
Apple and Nike partnership started in 2006 and is still active. Recently, both companies signed another multi-year partnership to produce new sports films. This new multi-year collaboration is a result of a consistent long-term partnership between the two companies.
This is exactly what you have to do. Convert high-performing partners into long-term business partners.
And this is only possible when you have mutually aligned goals and both parties work collectively to achieve those goals.
Best Practices for Cross-Promotion with Influencers
Follow these techniques for successful cross promotion with influencers and businesses:
1. Choose a Networking Platform
The best way to find long-term marketing partners is through a reliable collaboration networking platform like Subkit. It makes it extremely easy to run cross-marketing campaigns free of cost. It saves you from spending endless hours finding and contacting partners, finalizing them, running, managing, optimizing, and analyzing cross promotion campaigns.
Here is what you get with Subkit:
- You can set up your store with all the products. It integrates with Shopify and other ecommerce platforms seamlessly
- Set up your payment processor and integrated email marketing tools
- You can send proposals for product bundling right away as soon as your store and products go live
- Your products are bundled with relevant products based on your recommendations and your first cross-promotion product bundle goes live in as low as 2 weeks
- Both partners promote the bundled products and grow together
- You get monthly product bundling offers from Subkit.
You don’t get such streamlined and systematic cross-promotion and collaboration campaigns elsewhere.
Setting up cross-marketing and product bundles manually without an app isn’t impossible but it is too complex and requires a lot of resources. It is better to use a dedicated tool.
2. Focus on Sales
When setting up a collaboration campaign, focus on one thing: Sales.
Brand awareness, brand exposure, reach, new audiences, leads, referral traffic, clicks, social engagement, etc. are all secondary metrics. What really matters is sales and revenue. If a partnership isn’t generating sales, it is not worth spending resources on.
Generating revenue is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today so you should focus on generating revenue with the help of collaboration marketing:
Both the partners in a marketing partnership spend resources and when a business spends resources on a marketing campaign, it is interested in ROI. Qualitative metrics like engagement and brand awareness are hard to measure and proving ROI is too challenging.
When you can’t prove ROI, your partnership won’t work.
This is a reason Subkit offers product bundling that contributes directly to revenue. You can see results in the form of sales and revenue when running a collaboration campaign on Subkit. And you generate brand awareness, credibility, reputation, authority, and other qualitative metrics as by-products.
Stick with the basics and focus on sales when setting goals and objectives for your cross-promotion campaigns with influencers.
3. Choose Your Hero Product
What product you choose for a cross-promotion campaign is crucial. When you use partnership marketing for generating sales, use your best product which should be your hero product.
It is your best seller product that you are proud of. It is a product that communicates your brand message and voice to your audience. For example, the iPhone is the hero product of Apple. It showcases everything about the company and delivers the brand message perfectly.
Since the hero product is your brand’s top product, using it in a cross-promotion campaign will work great. Instead of experimenting with new products, you should stick with products that have a track record of overperforming in terms of sales.
You should do experimentation in-house and finalize a hero product using data and analytics, and use it in cross-bundle campaigns with influencers.
If you don’t have a hero product yet, find it by following these steps:
- Use data. It will show you the top performing products
- The hero product should be a true representation of your brand. It should have perfect design and packaging, it should deliver value, it should solve user product, and must deliver more than expected
- Proven track record of generating the most sales
- Exceptional conversion rate.
If you have a single product, you have to use it. Most businesses like coaches and SaaS companies have one product with limited or no variations. For example, a coach selling online fitness coaching or an online trainer. In this case, you can choose to bundle your full product or a portion with the collaboration campaign.
In any case, use your best product in a partnership marketing campaign to make the best use of shared resources.
4. Grow Your Network
Collaboration marketing relies on relationships, networks, and connections. The more business connections you have, the better. And it gets easy to find collaboration opportunities.
You need to get out of your shell to grow your business network. This requires:
- Attending events
- Visiting places like gyms and hotels
- Spending time with business partners like vendors
- Community collaboration
- Actively use your personal and business social media accounts especially LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with like-minded people
- Getting premium membership of clubs, hotels, gyms, airport lounges, etc.
- Use collaboration and networking tools like Subkit to grow your network.
Face-to-face and in-person business meetings are among the most effective ways to grow your network. Research shows that 85% of businesses prefer face-to-face interactions as they build stronger business relationships:
A Harvard study reported similar results where 95% of entrepreneurs emphasized the importance of in-person meetings and said that they are beneficial for long-term relationships and 89% said that face-to-face meetings are essential for ‘sealing the deal’:
Spending time on virtual events and webinars is important for networking and if you are using an online networking and collaboration tool, you must engage with like-minded people in person too. This will pay you in the long-run
Use Subkit for Exclusive Cross-Promotion Opportunities
Collaborating with influencers and entrepreneurs is a daunting task. You need a strategy, plan, and software like Subkit that automates running cross-promotions.
Subkit makes it easy to increase sales with cross-brand promotions that are jointly marketed by both companies. You can collaborate with a new partner every month and grow your network at the same time.
It relies on generating sales and passive income for small businesses and solopreneurs. It takes cross-promotion to a new level. Sign up free and request your first collab!