Joint marketing can help save money
Dear Michelle: Money and time are so tight these days, but I know I shouldn't stop marketing. Can you suggest some inexpensive strategies?
Dear Entrepreneur: You are absolutely correct: now is not the time to interrupt your marketing.
In fact, take some time to look critically at your whole marketing plan and add some of these ideas, as well as other low- to no-cost strategies.
A terrific low- to no-cost marketing idea is joint marketing, wherein you share the expense with another like-minded entrepreneur.
The clients that each of you attracts separately can use both of your services.
Make sure your combined products or services are a good fit for your clients. One of the great benefits of joint marketing is that anyone who knows and trusts your colleague will transfer that trust to you and your business, and vice versa.
Whether it is some form of advertising, offering discounts, sponsoring an event, or producing a newsletter, you can reach out together, lessening your individual financial outlays.
With advertising, you are not only sharing the message, but the expense as well, and this can afford you a larger ad or a longer radio spot.
A joint venture in advertising would work well, for instance, for a chef and a baker, both of who offer services to customers who are looking to have an event catered.
The key here is to make sure that the potential clients understand whom each of you is and what each of you offer.
As in all advertising, be clear and concise.
Though we need to be very conscientious when we offer discounts, a good way to work together is to offer potential clientele a discount off your services or product only if they use/buy from both of you.
Just make sure the services or products are very well matched. Be sure that if I want one, I need or can use the other.
An example is a toy store pairing with a clown or musician; they all offer services for children's birthday parties or celebrations.
Maybe I want to create an event for my current and potential clientele, a marketing workshop, say. I might approach the local bank to sponsor some of or the entire event because they have a lot of existing clients who are business owners.
This is good for them as well since the event will bring in new people seeking marketing advice, who will also be learning about the products the bank offers for entrepreneurs.
And I benefit from new people hearing about me because they already have a relationship with and trust the bank.
Producing a newsletter
Newsletter writing is truly an art form. We receive so much information through so many avenues in our lives today that we must make sure that our newsletter (hardcopy or e-mail) is of the utmost quality.
So, we must either put together information that our current or potential clientele cannot find elsewhere, or we need to have something unique to say on an ongoing basis; otherwise our time, energy and money is completely wasted.
If you feel confident that you have quality information to share, a newsletter is a great avenue for keeping in touch with your existing clientele and having a presence with potential clientele.
Such a newsletter would work well for, let's say, a market gardener and a rancher, each specializing in organics, who could both inform their readers about the health benefits of organic vegetables and grass-fed beef.
They might each have an ongoing column for their respective products and add recipes and some other important tidbits of information for those of us who are concerned about our health and the food-growing/distribution system.
If you provide something truly remarkable, it's possible to make some money from this vehicle by offering paid subscriptions and selling it over the Internet.
The first thing you would do after creating your newsletter is to share each others' customer mailing lists because, as mentioned earlier, both sets of clientele will want the information from both of you.
The variety of joint marketing ideas is limitless. Consider which of your colleagues you might approach about doing some kind of joint marketing project and see what the two of you can create.