How To Cross Promote Your Way To Success

handful of cash

Here’s an inexpensive way to market your business and help out some of your fellow business people.

Cross promotion has been used for years, but a lot of businesses still don’t use this valuable tool for building traffic and boosting sales. Cross promotion is a great marketing tool no matter what kind of business you’re running.

I’m not talking here about cross promoting other products or services your business offers — although that’s a great idea too. It’s one I’ll cover in a later article. I’m talking here about working with other businesses in your area to cross promote each other.

Take Eddie as an example. He owns Eddie B’s Dry Cleaners. He does a fair amount of business, but like all business owners, Eddie would like to get more customers. So he decides to work with some of his fellow business owners to cross promote each other.

In the shopping center where Eddie B’s Dry Cleaners is located there’s Pete’s Pizza Parlor, Bobbi’s Books, and Sally’s Salon of Style.

cross promote your way to success

Eddie talks to Pete, Bobbi, and Sally and suggests they all work together to cross promote each other’s businesses.

Whenever someone picks up their dry cleaning from Eddie, they find four coupons attached to the clothes hangers. One of the coupons is, of course, for a discount on dry cleaning in the future. The other coupons are for Eddie’s cross promotion partners. There’s a coupon for a free small pizza with an order for a large pizza from Pete’s. There’s a coupon for a free paperback book with the purchase of two hardcover books at Bobbi’s Books. And there’s a coupon for $5 off a haircut at Sally’s Salon of Style.

And since Eddie’s partners are in on the cross promotion, each of them hand out coupons for Eddie’s and the other businesses whenever they have a customer.

One advantage of using this method is that you build your customer base through your partners’ customer bases. And since you’re working with businesses that aren’t your direct competitors none of you are diluting your customer base.

Another advantage is that you help your customers find other merchants with whom they can do business.

Cross promotions can work for all kinds of businesses. Lawyers can cross promote with accountants. Vitamin stores can cross promote with natural food stores. A clothing store can work with a shoe store.

Here’s an idea I heard Dan Kennedy talk about. Book stores cross promoting with movie theaters. He suggests book stores providing excerpts of books that are on the big screen at the theater.

The possible combinations are endless.

How do you get started?

Simple. Look around at the businesses that are located near yours. Their customers could be yours and vice versa. Get in touch with the owners or managers of those businesses and tell them about your idea. Work with them to develop a plan for promoting your businesses together. You might even share the costs of printing coupons or other promotional materials.

Get creative and continue to look for new ways to market your business and those of your cross promotion partners.




On-Hold Messages: Why They Are Vital For Your Business

Customer on-hold are left in the cold

Every interaction you have with your customer is vital to the success of your business. From the radio and TV commercials you run to get customers in the door. To the way you treat the customer after the sale.

Everything you do needs to be designed to communicate your message.

Why should it be any different when a customer calls you on the phone?

Think about this. A customer has taken the time to pick up the phone to call you. Maybe that customer is ready to make a huge purchase. Or maybe a question about your product or service needs to be answered.

Regardless of the nature of the call, you have another opportunity to interact with that customer. However, the person who answers the phone isn’t the one who can answer the question. So the caller is placed on hold. Stuck on Hold

If that caller hears silence it may seem like they’ve been hung up on and they may hang up.

Or worse, what if that caller gets placed on hold and hears a radio station that is running a commercial for one of your competitors? Uh-oh! That can be a huge problem. You may lose that customer and the sale to your competition and probably never even realize it.

There are also legal ramifications to playing a radio station or other music to your on-hold callers. If you don’t have an ASCAP license you can’t legally play copyrighted music through your phone system. And even though the radio station you’re playing to callers has paid its ASCAP fees you still aren’t legally able to retransmit that signal. The radio station likely won’t mind — they want all the listeners they can get. However, playing a radio station over the phone is actually a violation of the law.

But with a telephone on-hold message, you can solve these problems. And give yourself another opportunity to sell to that customer. First, your customer will realize they haven’t been disconnected. Second, they’re hearing about your business.

You’re reinforcing your sales message. You can tell the customer how important you think they are. Plus you can tell them about products or services they might not be aware of.

Third, you won’t be violating any music copyright laws with a custom-produced telephone on-hold message.

Sick of being on-holdYou never want to leave customers on hold for very long, but it’s an inevitable part of daily business. Why not use that time to make your customer feel important and take another opportunity to interact with your customers?

I began producing telephone messages-on-hold for clients across the country more than 15 years ago. A custom-produced on-hold message can be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in products, services, prices, and specials. They’re easy to update for holidays or special promotions. And they’ll give your business an edge over the competition.

Take a listen to my On-Hold Messages demo right now. If you’d like to learn more about telephone on-hold messaging please call me at (303) 915-9317 or email me at




When Should You Lie?

is lying ever appropriate in business?

There are those times in the life of any business when it seems that telling the truth may not be the best thing to do.

So, the question comes up, when is it okay to lie when it comes to your business?

The answer, in a word, is: never.

Remember, the basis for any good communication is trust. If you’re less than truthful in business, you’ve damaged the message you’re trying to send. Sometimes you can do irreparable damage to your business identity if you’re not truthful.

One of the best examples of this happened in 2001 with the collapse of Enron. It’s obvious that the company was telling lies, not only to its employees but to its customers and investors as well. The people at the top of the company were telling everyone that business was great while it was in a state of freefall. If Enron had told the truth would this have prevented the collapse? It’s not likely the collapse could have been prevented by truthful communications at that point, but it certainly would have prevented a tremendous amount of heartache and financial loss for many people.

Truth in communications extends to everyone your business comes in contact with. That means not only customers, but also vendors and suppliers, and employees.

If your business is truthful with everyone you’ll keep more people happy and your business will be known for its trustworthiness. Remember, that everyone your business comes in contact with is a communications channel for you.

pinocchioLie to a vendor or supplier and word could get around making it more difficult for you to do business with other vendors. Lie to employees and you may find they aren’t giving you their best efforts.

Probably worst of all, if you lie to your customers word will eventually get around which could put you out of business.

Be sure that your employees all know that lying about anything related to your business is strictly forbidden. Train your employees to handle as many situations as possible but constantly remind them if they’re not sure how to answer a question or complaint they should always escalate the problem to a superior rather than lie. This is another reason management should never lie to employees. If the company exhibits truthfulness at every turn with employees they will learn that trustworthiness is important to the success of the company and they’ll exhibit truthfulness in their business dealings.

One of the toughest times to tell the truth is when something negative has occurred within the organization. But this is definitely one of those times when you want to be sure that all communications coming from your company are the truth. Never try to cover up a negative situation with a lie; it will only make matters worse. When something goes wrong, it’s best to admit the company’s mistake, explain how it has been corrected and then move on. Dwelling on company problems will only make the problems seem worse.

Protect all your communications channels by always telling the truth.




More On The Power Of Sound

I previously linked to a great live presentation about the way sound affects us.

The Power of SoundToday, I’m urging you to take a look at a great presentation put together by Katz Media about the power of sound. This is more like a slide presentation than a video. Just be sure you’ve got your speakers turned on so you get the full effect.

Take a look at listen to the power of sound.



Watch The Signs

By no means am I an expert on signage.  However, a number of people have said they respect my opinions on marketing communications and advertising so I guess I can make a couple of comments on good signage.

A well-designed and well-placed sign can do wonders for a business.

If that last statement is true, then the opposite would likely be true as well.  If the sign isn’t well-designed or well-placed it won’t help the business, and could in fact hurt.

Who Are You?

Marketing communications is about communicating. Be sure you're communicating.What started me thinking about this is the construction of a new restaurant a few miles from our home.

This restaurant is being built at the corner of a very busy intersection with thousands of cars passing through each and every day.  The restaurant is located in what I would consider the premiere spot of a shopping center that includes Best Buy, Target, a grocery store, a bank, a couple of fast food restaurants, and some other businesses.

I say it’s in the premiere spot because it’s the most visible spot in the shopping center and right at the corner of this busy intersection.

What’s the restaurant?

I have no idea.

My wife and I have driven past countless times and throughout the construction, we kept waiting for a sign with the name of the restaurant. Finally, when the building was nearly complete, a banner was hung on the side.  It said, “Now hiring.” Still no clue as to which restaurant this might be.

Is it a chain?  Or a brand new entry in the dining world?  What kind of food do they serve?

No clue.

I Still Can’t See Your Sign

The other day, I finally spotted a sign on the front of the restaurant.  However, I still have no clue what it says, because it faces into the shopping center. The only people who will see this sign are people who are in the shopping center.

That means tens of thousands of people passing by each day will have no idea about this restaurant.  If they are curious enough, they’ll have to drive into the shopping center to check.  But, really, how many of those tens of thousands passing by will even bother?

I’m very curious about it, but not enough to drive in and see.

Check Your Sign

If yours is the kind of business that uses a sign or signs as a way to generate customer traffic, take a look at your signs.

  • Is your sign placed so that the most people will be able to see it?
  • How close does someone need to be to see the sign?
  • Is the sign easily readable?
  • Can it be seen at night?
  • Can it be seen when the sun is out?  How about on a cloudy, rainy day?
  • Does the sign let people know what you do or do they have to guess?

Remember, marketing communications is about communicating.  Don’t make people guess.  Make it easy for them to know who you are and what you do.