Can Co-Marketing Work for Your Business?


Co-marketing is when two or more businesses team up for the purpose of sharing marketing costs, growing their audiences, and/or developing new products, services or promotions.

Let’s say Bob owns a horse boarding stable and John is a farrier. They meet at a chamber of commerce dinner and decide to team up. Bob keeps a stack of John’s business cards at the front desk and recommends his services to his customers. John reciprocates by posting about Bob’s stables on his popular blog and widely followed social media accounts.

This is a very basic example of co-marketing – two businesses with similar industries and audiences working together to promote themselves and their partner(s). Bob’s customers now get their horses shoed by John and John’s customers board their horses at Bob’s stable when they go out of town.

Each now has access to a larger customer pool that they might not have if not for their joint efforts – and that’s the biggest benefit of co-marketing.

But can it work for your business? Ask yourself these questions.

What Do I Need?

Before you start looking for a co-marketer, you need to have a goal in mind. What are you looking for? Is it leads? Increased sales? More social media followers?

Co-marketing only works when everyone’s needs align. If you’re looking for leads but your co-marketer is trying to boost third-quarter sales, it might be difficult to get on the same page.

What Do I Have to Offer?

You are the “co” in co-marketing, which means you need to bring something to the table. The reason Bob and John work so well together is that they each have something the other needs – John has a popular blog and a huge social media following, and Bob has a stable full of horses that all need shoes.

What do you have to offer to your co-marketer? Will you give a discount to your co-marketer’s audience? Commit to creating regular blog posts promoting their business? To receive, you need to figure out what you’re willing to give.

If you can answer these two questions, congratulations – co-marketing can work for you. (Spoiler: It can work for nearly any business as long as it’s done correctly.) Here are some tips to get you started.

Co-Marketing Tips for Your Small Business

Find the Right Partner

A fish and a bird can marry, but where would they live? Likewise, a mortician and a pogo-stick maker can co-market, but what would they sell?

It’s important to find a partner that aligns with your industry and existing audience. It doesn’t need to be an exact match, but there needs to be enough cross-over to make it worth both of your time. If you’re each pitching the other to people who just aren’t interested, there’s no point.

Decide on a Strategy

How are you and your co-marketer going to work together? Will it be a handshake “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” deal, or do you need a more formal agreement? (Pro tip: You should always use a more formal agreement.)

Are you going to work together to create content like eBooks, white papers, or webinars? Are you going to offer reciprocal promotions or deals? Are you going to work together to produce a co-branded product or service? Any or all of these things can be considered co-marketing, but it’s important that you and your partner agree on the specifics.

Track Your Results

Is your new partnership the beginning of a beautiful relationship or are you headed for a bad break-up? The only way to know is to track your results.

An easy way to do this is to set up three identical landing pages: One for you, one for them and one for the co-marketing campaign. This will show you how much traffic is being generated through your independent marketing efforts compared to the joint one.

Two Heads Are (Usually) Better Than One

Done correctly, co-marketing can save you plenty of time and money while allowing you access to a wider audience and a different set of marketing strengths. It’s a good deal for everyone involved!

Are you and your co-marketer ready to take the next step? Mischa Communications can help you put your plan in place. Let’s get started.