3 Ways Co-Marketing Can Help Your Small Business

I feel like I’m adding a new jargony word to my marketing dictionary every day. Don’t you? It can be hard to figure out which ones to put in the “ignore until I need to sound smart” bucket, and which ones to embrace fully. If you only learn one new marketing term in 2014, “co-marketing” should be it. 

Co-marketing is a great strategy for a business of any size, but should be a necessity for small businesses. I’ll go more into explaining what co-marketing is later, but for now, I’ll let you know that by practicing it, you have another business’s marketing department promoting your business for you. Sometimes they’ll be promoting it pretty heavily, depending on what kind of partnership you have with them.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Now, let’s delve further into the concept of co-marketing:

What is co-marketing?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s when you work with another business, or group of businesses, on a marketing strategy or campaign that promotes all of your companies. Here’s HubSpot’s definition:

“It’s the opportunity for two brands to work together on promotional efforts with a co-branded offer. In a co-marketing partnership, both companies promote a piece of content or a product, and share results of that promotion with each other.”

So basically, you’re working with one or more partners to create something like a blog post, ebook, infographic, video, or event. Any marketing activity can be turned into a co-marketing activity. You all contribute, and you all reap the benefits. And nothing says you can only work with these businesses just one time. They can turn into great long-term relationships.

One example of co-marketing is a webinar HubSpot hosted last week along with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All companies contributed content to the webinar, and all promoted it to their respective audiences. As well as promoting themselves, they were also all promoting each other.

Why is co-marketing perfect for small businesses?

Most small business marketing departments are pretty small. Even the best marketer in the world only has so many hours in a day. And if you’re a one-man (or woman) team, you don’t have time to execute all the strategies and ideas you come up with it, I’m sure. For awhile, I was in the same boat.

But with co-marketing, you have other marketers that are willing to market your business, because they’re getting just as much out of the promotion as you are. It’s like having part-time marketing employees specific to a certain campaign. Who wouldn’t want that?

3 ways co-marketing can help you

1. Reach new audiences

Just like with guest blogging (which is sometimes co-marketing), it’s a great opportunity to show your company and its content to a new, relevant audience. You’re creating content just like you would for a regular campaign, but instead of just reaching your own audience, you’re reaching everyone connected to your co-marketing partner, as well.

Since these campaigns are usually heavily promoted, you’ll likely reach every Facebook Like, Twitter follower, LinkedIn connection, Google+ subscriber, blog reader, and email subscriber your partner has. That’s a lot of people you wouldn’t be reaching otherwise. And if the co-marketing campaign is good (and of course it’s good), they’ll remember your name and check out your website or social profiles. Who knows where your relationship with that visitor will go from there?

2. Earn the right kind of backlinks

The guest blogging and linkbuilding world is in the process of being turned upside down. We know how Google’s Matt Cutts feels about people guest blogging purely for SEO purposes. If you’re guest blogging just once on each site, on as many sites as possible, just for a link, you’ll probably be penalized for that behavior soon.

The Google and SEO overlords are looking for guest blogging backlinks from sites that you have a relationship with. That means having a backlink on more than one of their website pages or blog posts. By building a co-marketing relationship, you’re building higher-quality backlinks to your site. 

3. It’s efficient and cost-effective

For every minute a co-marketing partner is promoting your business for you, you can save a minute working on one of your other marketing projects. Of course, you can’t let them do all of the campaign’s promotion. That wouldn’t be fair to them since you would be benefiting from the partnership a whole lot more than them.

But for every tweet that goes out about your co-marketing campaign from their account, that’s one tweet you can use on a different campaign. You’re sharing the workload. You’re also sharing the cost of developing the campaign, which is great for small businesses with an even smaller marketing budget.

Have you developed any co-marketing partnerships? What did you think was the biggest benefit? Leave your opinions in the comments!