Email marketing is a valuable tool for any business. When it’s combined with cross-promotion techniques, your results can be even better. To help business owners tackle the logistics of cross-promotions, we’ve created this handy guide to walk you through the process.

What does cross-promotion mean?
Let’s start by defining cross-promotion. Cross-promotion is about getting your message out on multiple channels. Your target audience gets information from various sources, right? By using multiple sources to share your message, you help increase the odds of customers hearing about it, says Steven Mintz, a marketing consultant with CLM Prescriptives.

What can you cross-promote?
You can cross-promote just about anything. From an upcoming event to a big holiday sale, with a little planning you can cross-promote a lot of the everyday things that your company does. For instance, you can cross-promote:

• upcoming events
• giveaways or contests
• new blog content
• a sale or promotion

How can you cross-promote?
We live in an email checking, Facebook scrolling, content-on-demand world. Because of that, the majority of cross-promotions happen online. Plan to use the most relevant digital platforms that are available to you.

To breakdown how to cross-promote your email content, we’ll use an example from a cross-promoting giant, Coca-Cola. Recently, the company launched a charitable event, “Happiness from the Skies.” Using remote-controlled drones, the beverage-giant delivered care packages to construction workers in Singapore. The packages contained Coke cans with messages of gratitude.

While most businesses won’t be breaking out flying drones anytime soon, the cross-promotion behind this event is something any business can learn from.

Send an email
The Coca-Cola event happened millions of miles away, so how did we hear about it? Through an email, of course. As part of its regular newsletter, Coca-Cola included a small blurb about the event. Check it out:

Use your newsletter wisely
Coca-Cola placed the information in its regular newsletter, which is the perfect spot for something like this. A newsletter is a great piece of the cross-promotion puzzle.

Be captivating
Let’s dissect this email a little more. We often emphasize writing captivating content, something that draws the reader in. In just a few words, Coca-Cola does that. You want to know more, right? When you’re working to cross-promote an event, spend time creating short, snappy content.

Include a clear call to action
Coca-Cola has your attention. Now, all you have to do is click on the “Learn more” button. It’s another great email marketing tip: make sure your email has a clear call to action. When you’re cross-promoting an event like this, you want content that’s easy to navigate.

Plan for social media
Coca-Cola is already thinking socially. Notice the hashtag in the teaser sentence? The company plans to use #Cokedrones in its social media posts. Whatever you plan to cross-promote, think ahead. What hashtag could you use?

Create a blog post
As soon as the email recipient clicks on the call to action in the email, they’re taken to a blog post that gives more details about the event. Coke explains why it wanted to reach out to the workers and how the company integrated its product with some high-flying technology.

Do the same for your cross-promotion. Make sure subscribers can get more information from your blog.

Use visuals
Coca-Cola doesn’t stop with an email and a blog post, subscribers can watch a two-minute video that shows the drones flying in and dropping off the packages. You get to see the surprised workers open the box and read the messages that are tied to Coke cans.

In addition to the video, Coca-Cola put together a behind-the-scenes slideshow so people can check out the drones.

Both the video and the slideshow are additional visual elements that help the reader see and feel the event.

When you’re cross-promoting something, try to add visual elements like this. For instance, if your company participates in a charitable event, put together a slideshow of your employees volunteering. If you’re cross-promoting an upcoming speaking engagement, email a quick video to show people what to expect at the event. (Need a little help shooting video on the cheap? Check out a recent post on this very topic.)

Share the news on social media
Coca-Cola already had a social media plan with this campaign, but even if a specific hashtag wasn’t mentioned in the email, you should still use social media as a cross-promotion tool. Coca-Cola shared the same blog post that was mentioned in the newsletter. You can see how all three of those elements – the email, blog and tweet – worked together.

Can cross-promoting be done on a smaller scale?
Absolutely. As a small business owner, you decide how far you want to take your cross-promotions. Here are a few smaller scale tips:

Use the big three
To cross-promote on a small scale, use your biggest digital assets: email, social media and your company website. Let’s look at an example.

Send an email
In an effort to promote its new blizzard, Dairy Queen sent an email to its subscribers. It’s short and sweet. In fact, the image is the main seller here. You can do the same thing. Send an email out to advertise a new product or an upcoming promotion.

Promote on social media
Once the email is sent, promote the same information on your social media channels. You don’t want to copy the wording from the email; you want to create something fresh. Here’s what Dairy Queen did.

Use your business website
Don’t forget that your business website is a prime piece of digital real estate. If you are cross-promoting something, make some space for it on your homepage. Create a website banner, or do what Dairy Queen did and make a larger promotion.

What can you do to build an audience and enhance cross-promotion efforts?

Build your email list
One of the key components of cross-promotions is email, so you’ll want to grow your list. One of the best ways to increase subscribers is to get creative with opt-in placement. Make it ridiculously easy for people to sign up. For instance, have a spot on your homepage where people can sign up for your emails, or add a “subscribe now” option to your Facebook page.

Build a social media following
It takes time to grow your email and social media audience organically, but it’s worth your time and effort. To gain a following on social media, make sure you’re consistently posting to the site and that the content you post is of interest to your readers. People will follow you if you’re active and genuinely care about the content you share.

When it comes to cross-promotion, is everything done online?
You do have a lot of accessible, cross-promoting tools online; however, there are other methods that you can use, too.

Use in-store promotions
You can devote some store space to cross-promotions, Mintz suggests. Hang a sign on the door about a sale, or use a flat screen television in your store for promotional purposes.

Team up with a non-profit
Work with a group in your area to cross-promote a mutually beneficial event. Maybe your company is sponsoring a gala for the local animal shelter. By working with a nonprofit, you not only give back to the community but you expose your business to potential subscribers.

Mail invites
If you want to cross-promote an event, you might consider sending a paper invitation through the mail. A week later, you can follow up with an email.

Cross-promoting is about being creative and using the outlets where your niche audience gathers. It does require some pre-planning, but if you take some time to think about what you want to cross-promote, you can easily disperse the information on multiple channels.

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© 2014 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.