How Home Inspectors Cross-Promote with Local Businesses
March 6, 2019 |
Have you ever bought a hamburger at McDonald’s and automatically bought a Coca-Cola to go with it? You have been touched by cross-promotion. Think how your home inspection business would thrive if other businesses included you in their marketing plan, without charging you a dime. Think how fast your name would spread if it appeared alongside a local plumber’s company name, or the town electrician’s name. Cross-promotion can be a fast track to the competitive edge your business needs.
What is Cross-Promotion?
You have seen The Big Dogs cross-promote everywhere from Super Bowls to social media. Joint advertising merges two popular products under one ad, like McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. When you think of one product, the cross-promotion reminds you of the association with another product.
Cross-promotion is a strategy, not a single advertising channel. Everything from diner paper placemats to newspaper coupons to electronic billboards can be the media for cross-promotion.
Some tactics for fulfilling a cross-promotion strategy include:
- Jointly run contests with both company names on every promotional item
- Discount codes, coupons and “Friends of” programs that lead one business to the other
- Social media posts mentioning both companies and their relationship
- In-person recommendations directing traffic to the other business when customers use your service
For example, for a home inspection service, think of which businesses would be associated with your work. Think of what your clients want:
- Pest control companies
- Home handyman services
- Interior designers
- Foundation repair companies
- Driveway surfacing and sealing services
How Do I Get Started?
A home inspection business is often a one-person shop, so getting started in cross-promotion can seem overwhelming. Rather than take on too much and face disappointment, start small. Think of one business you think might be a good partner with a cross-promotion. Then think of a simple, one-time program you and that business could offer.
Contact the other business and float the idea. The best place to start is with a low-cost or no-cost roll-out. Perhaps you already know the other business will be at a spring Home Show; the two of you could share a booth and halve your costs, then direct foot traffic from one to the other.
Another low-cost or no-cost cross-promotion to test the waters is with online marketing. Perhaps you already have a website and a blog. Putting the other business’s name and contact information in a blog post costs you nothing. It allows both businesses to test the market reach of the idea.
Finding Natural Fits
To cross-promote, find companies that fit naturally into your marketing strategy. McDonald’s does not cross-promote with Jack Daniels, for example. Nor does a small Mom-n-Pop attempt to ride Coca-Cola’s coattails for fear of being swallowed up by their superior resources.
- Look for other one-person businesses in real estate and home improvement sectors. Find local businesses, not franchises or chains. You need decision-making to stay local and move quickly.
- Be persistent. Work your contacts and network until you find one business owner willing to go along with the concept. You are a business owner — you have already demonstrated the resilience to survive someone saying, “No.”
- Be ready to act as soon as you find a partner in cross-promotion. Have ideas and mockups ready.
- Remember your company’s advertising mentions your company first and then the partner’s, while your partner’s company will mention their own business first and then yours.
Pitfalls and Problems
Cross-promotion leverages reputation as well as advertising dollars. Do not commit to a company without checking it out thoroughly, since your company will be tied to that other company’s reputation.
If your home inspection business is new, finding a partner could be harder since you are the unknown entity. Offer incentives to the other business to make cross-promotion more valuable to them.
With cross-promotion, you have less control over the advertising message than when going it alone. Still, with a simple message (“Professional, accurate home inspections with full documentation”) repeated through enough channels, your word gets heard.