A cross-promotion is where you team up with another person or brand and market to one another’s audience.
When done right, it’s a strategy that can be insanely potent, helping both parties greatly increase their exposure and generate highly targeted leads.
“The greatest benefit of cross-promotion is that companies can access an entirely new audience without the cost of creating it themselves,” explains Find A Way Media.
“Cross-promotion is also typically free, which is what catches the attention of most marketers. If there’s enough mutual brand affinity, it’s a win-win, and neither party pays the other.”
Here are five specific cross-promotion ideas that can catapult your e-commerce brand to a new level, along with real-life examples of them in action.
Cross Promotion Ideas for Your Brand
1. Cross-Promote on Social Media
This first strategy is one of the easiest, but also one of the most effective.
It simply involves teaming up with another company—ideally a complimentary non-competitor—and promoting one another’s products on social media.
It’s a straightforward way for you to tap into the other brand’s audience to generate valuable, targeted leads, and for them to do the same with your audience.
Here’s a great example of social media cross-promotion. Thursday Boot Company sells durable yet sophisticated boots and shoes.
Cobbler’s Choice is a brand that sells premium footwear care products, like leather cleaners, waterproofing sprays, and brushes.
This is a perfect cross-promotion fit because both companies naturally complement one another and logically appeal to each other’s audiences. Here’s how it went down.
Thursday Boot Company created this post on Instagram, showcasing the Cobbler’s Choice Suede Cleaning Kit.
It’s a short one minute video that shows the Suede Cleaning Kit in action and demonstrates how it can make a scuffed pair of boots look like a million bucks.
They also link to the Cobbler’s Choice Instagram account, so its followers can seamlessly learn more about the company and what they have to offer.
On the other side of this cross-promotion, Cobbler’s Choice created a post on Instagram, where their WaterProofing Spray is displayed right next to a pair of boots from Thursday Boot Company called “The Duchess.”
And here’s the product page.
The photo looks great, and the two products situated right next to each other are a perfect match.
Also, notice how Cobbler’s Choice features a well-placed hashtag for Thursday Boot Company, allowing their audience to learn more about this brand of footwear.
I love this cross-promotion because everything flows so naturally. Someone who’s looking at Thursday Boot Company’s Instagram will likely have an interest in Cobbler’s Choice footwear care products.
And someone who’s checking out the Cobber’s Choice Instagram page will likely have an interest in top of the line boots and shoes like the ones Thursday Boot Company offers.
Also, note that this wasn’t a one-off cross-promotion, and it was actually part of a bigger campaign that was massively beneficial for both brands.
Here’s another Instagram post from Thursday Boot Company directing their followers to Cobbler’s Choice.
And here’s another post from Cobbler’s Choice directing their followers to Thursday Boot Company.
This makes social media cross-promotion the ultimate “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” approach and something you can certainly emulate. It’s just a matter of teaming up with the right brand and creating relevant content that both of your audiences are receptive to.
2. Guest on Podcasts
Podcasts have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years. In 2008, only 9 percent of the US population listened to podcasts. But in 2020, that number has jumped to 37 percent.
That’s about 104 million people in the US alone, and a number that I predict will continue to rise. So, it’s easy to see how getting featured on a popular podcast with a respected personality could propel your e-commerce brand.
This is a medium that allows you to:
- Talk about your brand
- Showcase your knowledge and expertise
- Highlight your UVP, culture, philosophy, and values
- Give a large audience insight into your own unique personality
One of the best examples of using a podcast for cross-promotion is when Blake Mycoskie, founder of ultra-successful shoe and apparel brand TOMS, was recently featured on The Tim Ferriss Show.
If you’re unfamiliar, this is the podcast of author, investor, and all-around entrepreneurial mastermind, Tim Ferriss. The Tim Ferriss Show has been ranked the number one podcast on Apple Podcasts several times and has surpassed 500 million downloads.
So, needless to say, getting on this podcast was hugely beneficial for Blake.
It gave him an opportunity to talk about TOMS, as well as a new company he launched in the spring of 2020 called Madefor, which offers monthly habit-changing kits that contain “a scientific overview of the research behind your new practice, along with a physical tool and a 21-day challenge that primes your brain for success.”
On the podcast, Blake talks about his two companies, along with an interesting mashup of other topics, like practices for developing positive habits, his philanthropy, and even psychedelics.
He’s a fascinating person, and his personality and philosophy really shined through on this podcast. And this no doubt resonated with many of Tim Ferriss’ listeners, boosting the TOMS brand equity, as well as Blake’s new company Madefor.
Tim also set it up so that his listeners could get 20 percent off on Madefor monthly plans by entering a promo code.
He also notified his Instagram audience of 1 million followers about his conversation with Blake on this post.
And Blake posted about it on his Instagram as well, helping Tim grow his listener base even more.
The exposure from this hour and a half discussion was enormous, which is why I think it’s one of the best cross-promotion ideas out there if you can swing it.
Now, this isn’t to say that you have to get on a podcast the size of The Tim Ferriss Show. In fact, that’s pretty unrealistic. But it shows the potential there is and that you should be on the lookout for collaboration opportunities.
Check out this list of the top 100 podcasts on Stitcher for ideas.
3. Appear in Influencer Videos
The term “influencer” is still relatively new, but it’s something most people are familiar with. And according to research, influencers have a significant amount of sway when it comes to promoting product purchases.
In fact, 58 percent of people say they’ve bought an item because of an influencer recommendation within the last six months. I know that I have.
Further, “Nearly two out of every three consumers say that they trust influencer messages about a brand more than a company’s advertising about their own brand,” Convince and Convert explains.
So, another of the cross-promotion ideas worth considering is collaborating with an influencer, specifically where they show off your product in a video.
In exchange, you feature the video and give them a shout out to boost their personal brand. Let me give you an example.
Tangle Teezer is a company that sells “detangling hairbrushes” that use patented teeth technology that sets them apart from competitors.
It’s one of the most high-end brushes on the market, and they have an intensely loyal customer base. For one of their recent cross-promotions, they teamed up with Lal Alexander (CurlyGalLal), an influencer with a sizable Instagram and TikTok following.
With this collaboration, Lal created this video where she shows off some of the products she uses to maintain her lustrous locks, including the Tangle Teezer.
She also places a link to their Instagram account in her video, so her audience can quickly find it and get more information.
To reciprocate, Tangle Teezer featured the same video on their Instagram page, where they include a link to Lal’s Instagram.
Considering they currently have 140k followers and this video has received over 17,000 views, it’s safe to say that this brought some great exposure to Lal’s page for a win-win.
And at the end of the day, that’s the main point of this strategy—two brands leveraging one another’s audience in a way that’s mutually beneficial.
If you can strike up a relationship with someone like Lal, who has a solid following, you can quickly get your e-commerce company in front of a ton of targeted prospects, while helping someone else out at the same time.
The best part is that there’s a huge volume of influencers to choose from, spanning nearly every niche imaginable. Just explore platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to see who’s out there. Then, reach out to them personally to see if they’re interested in collaborating with you.
4. Feature Influencers on Your Site
Another angle you can take is to highlight a notable influence on your e-commerce site and have them share your brand with their audience. That’s what women’s clothing and apparel brand Pretty Little Thing does in this example.
One of the ongoing features of their blog is called “Seen on PLT Influencers,” where they point their readers to fashion trendsetters.
One person they recently highlighted is model and jewelry brand owner Gracie Piscopo who boasts an Instagram following of nearly 1 million and a YouTube following of nearly 300k.
Here she is on the Pretty Little Thing blog sporting their product, the “Basic Chocolate Crew Neck Long Sleeve Bodysuit.”
With this particular cross-promotion, Gracie is getting a shout out and is able to tap into Pretty Little Thing’s audience base. And at the same time, she is promoting Pretty Little Thing on her Instagram account.
Here she is in the same photo posted by this brand, along with the link.
She also includes multiple shots of her in the bodysuit, letting her audience see it from different angles.
So, in this cross-promotion, Pretty Little Thing was able to crank up their brand equity, showcase one of their products, and get a tip of the hat from a major fashion influencer.
And at the same time, Gracie was able to get her name out to a larger audience (Pretty Little Thing currently has 12.5 million Instagram followers), which in turn boosted her personal brand and gave her the opportunity to promote her jewelry company, Saint Jewelry, as well.
5. Suggest Podcasts
The last of my cross-promotion ideas is to suggest another e-commerce brand, typically on your blog, and have them reciprocate by sharing your company with their audience as well.
There are several ways to go about this, but an example that I like is a gift guide from Thread Wallets, a brand that specializes in slim, functional, minimalist wallets.
And here’s the 2019 Gift Guide they created for the Christmas season.
It’s super simple. Thread Wallets links out to several e-commerce brands they recommend, such as Hemlock Hat Company, Keep Nature Wild, and Madson of America.
They also allow their readers to get a discount by using promo codes, which I’m sure went over quite well. And in exchange, these companies gave Thread Wallets some friendly mentions.
For instance, clothing and accessories brand Keep Nature Wild showcased one of their wallets on their Pinterest page.
That’s big considering they receive nearly 412k monthly views on Pinterest. Again, this allows two different companies to capitalize on each other’s audiences and get on the radar of relevant prospects.
That’s why I suggest staying on the lookout for opportunities like these and making it a point to always be networking.
Who doesn’t love a win-win situation where both parties walk away in a much better position than they were in before? That’s the essence of cross-promotions.
By using strategies like the ones mentioned here, two brands mutually benefit and can leverage the relationship to pull in tons of new leads.
And as CEO of Madneto, Paras Malhotra, points out, “Most cross-promotion campaigns don’t even cost a single penny, they’re absolutely free!”
It’s just a matter of linking up with the right brands and taking an approach that positions you both for success.