How Home Inspectors Cross-Promote with Local Businesses

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Home Inspectors Cross Prom

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:

  1. Jointly run contests with both company names on every promotional item
  2. Discount codes, coupons and “Friends of” programs that lead one business to the other
  3. Social media posts mentioning both companies and their relationship
  4. 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
  • Roofers
  • Plumbers
  • Home handyman services
  • Interior designers
  • Electricians
  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”
  3. Be ready to act as soon as you find a partner in cross-promotion. Have ideas and mockups ready.
  4. 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.