It may seem counter-intuitive as a small business to want to partner with a business that offers a similar product or service. However, it can be beneficial to both sides, if done correctly. Small businesses often rely on word of mouth – both actual and digital. If your business can form a relationship with another company, it is likely that their customers will hear about yours through the grapevine. Or better yet, through clever marketing that encompasses the brand of both companies.

For example, say your company sells gourmet cookies. Would it be wise to partner with another company that sells the exact same type of cookies? Probably not. Would it be beneficial to partner with a gourmet cake and cupcake bakery? Definitely!

Here are some tips for successful cross-promotion:

· Offer a discount that is good at the other company. So using the cookie example, with every dozen cookies purchased, a coupon for a half off a dozen cupcakes would be offered. The cupcake shop would offer a similar coupon for the cookie store. This drives business to both companies.

· Consider advertising on blogs and websites that sell a similar product. A good example of this would be a quilter advertising on a sewing blog. It’s relatively safe to assume that at least some readers who are interested in sewing would be interested in quilting, as well.

· Host events with companies that are similar to yours. Good examples of this would be a college fair or gathering of food trucks. These businesses would typically compete with each other, but by having a targeted crowd, everyone benefits.

· Attend community events with other small businesses. Farmer’s markets, festivals, and neighborhood gatherings can be great places to network with not only customers, but also make contacts with other customers as well.

Another heavy hitter for cross-promotion and business to business marketing is, of course, social media. It’s certainly becoming common knowledge that social media is one of the best places to promote your brand and your business. It is easy to find nearly any business via Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram or flickr. A great social media presence is a very necessary marketing tool in today’s electronic world.

Businesses both small and large alike can use social media to their advantage by partnering with similar companies. Consider finding similar businesses on Facebook and contacting them to run cross-promotions. This is a great way to gain fans for both companies. Specials can also be offered for a customer mentioning that they saw a particular post on Facebook or Twitter. Overall, business to business marketing can be tremendously helpful to small businesses as well as bigger businesses.

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