Can I share advertising costs with other businesses?
I've read that a cost-effective marketing strategy is splitting the advertising cost with other businesses, i.e. sharing a 2-sided business card or an event flyer. I've seen a lot of our competitors doing this and I love the idea of supporting each other's local businesses. My business is in cosmetology. What type of business should I be pairing up with? My concern is that pairing up with a competitor will overshadow our own service and product offerings.
Certainly you can when your businesses are collaborative and serve similar clients. You can also take it a step further for referral business down the road.
Recently we produced a book with 10 different companies all occupying one perspective in the business retention, growth, and engagement business owner issues. Someone represented a higher end recruitment business. Another spoke to engaging employees to champion change. Another dealt with employee development and offered a workforce bullying training. We were able collaborate in the writing of the book and the marketing of the training program. It was very successful. Each person held a place in the addendum with their marketing information. No sales pitches were offered in their chapter content, but there were links to that content in their bios. It was very effective.
Color analysts and stylists would be great to collaborate with. When someone has their colors done they will be looking for cosmetics that work for them.
I'm involved in a good example of this currently. My market is business owners and I am collaborating to put on an event with an insurance agent who targets the same audience. His firm will host the event, and we'll both promote it to our respective sphere's of influence. He'll talk briefly on what he can offer to business owners, and I will then be the main presenter with some business transformation coaching for audience members.
So, if you would like to position yourself as an authority in your field, you can do the same kind of thing in the beauty industry.
Everyone here is giving you their business side of the coin and as far as my knowledge goes they are all correct in their assessment. Allow me to give you advice on the Human side of the Equation. You mention and I quote " overshadow our own service..." You have to be of a very confident and trustworthy individual, and you must pair up with such people, or very quickly suspicion, and bad energy will flow. There will be times you get more business and vice-versa. So you must have in place a financial target goal and compensation/investment exit plan for both parties to be reached within a specific time frame. Then you sit down with partner and do the math. Maybe you have to compensate because you received the bulk of the business maybe the other way around, maybe you break even.
It is not necessary to pair off with a competitor. Search out other Small Business Owners who are marketing to the same target audience - not necessarily for the same product. For example an Auto-Dealer may have no interest in providing Auto Valet & Cleaning Services but you could share in a joint Leaflet Marketing Campaign and suggest to others, e.g. Child Safety Seat providers or a a local Gas Services Station to share space in your advertising. There are a number of ways you can combine to share costs of advertising - the leaflet is one, a Joint Presentation Day, combining local complimentary services, mutual sponsorships, etc.,
My dear friend, as you know, cosmetology has several branches of expertise. And depending on your location, budget and actual market, there is no one to answer your vague question. If they do, don't listen to them because they have no idea what would be good for your business. And you seem to already know the answer and just want some reassurances. Just Be the Best.
As a business coach, my advice to clients and business owners is to target high-value flow cost advertising first before investing heavily in marketing. This is based on years of study of the principles outlined in Guerrilla Marketing series by Jay Conrad.
I suggest trying to form strategic alliances with key businesses. In your case, they might be business owners specializing in skin care products, fitness/nutrition experts, businesses in the wedding industry (bridal wear etc.,). Clarity in your business is a key concept. Study your competition and understand why they do what they do and what is your unique value proposition. IT is possible together your services complement each other. As always, let me know if there are any questions or if you need further clarity. Remember to target high-value low cost strategies first before putting your money down.
The strategy fits only on three segments:
1) Do the businesses you pair up with service the same type of clients you would get?
2) Are they located very near by your companies location?
3) Can you depend on them to pay their percentage on time?
With three yes's you can do great things together. Any no would in my mind kill the deal. When I was selling radio ad's I would get 3-6 business strip malls and selling long term contracts. Be smart and careful.
Aside from those who want to sell you their services, everyone else says it's a good idea. Just work with complementary businesses not competitive ones. I worked with a group of B2B clients who cooperatively produced their own multi-page mailer which greatly reduced the individual costs. As retailers you might want to look into "Every Door Direct". This is a program run by the US Post Office. You can build an over-sized postcard with room for 6 - 8 advertisers. It gets sent to every household (including apartments) in the zip code area you all share. No mailing list, no permits, no special sorting. Really easy. I see that the UPS stores will design the cards, print them and get them to the post office for you. Maybe consider using the same artwork as a print ad to go into your local town newspaper or shopping guide. Whatever you do try to do it on a regular basis (like monthly if you can) to build recognition and stay in front of your local audience. Good ideas - Keep thinking of creative ways to stretch your budget and you'll do fine.
A ton of factors and concepts here under Marketing, advertising and media. Plus Promotion in the Nine P's of Marketing.
You'll need to look at similar target audiences and markets. Targeting or "People" in the 9P's. Look at timing. Look at similar businesses. Approaches. Look and review different media. Expectations would and will be important but you can test and start out slow.
All of the things or factors in media planning play here.
It's only creative and there is creativity in media planning and media spending is that it or the practice needs to deliver. You'll need response and actual SALES. The theory or practice is similar to co-op marketing and advertising. But if you review all media spending it's not done much for a bunch of reason and factos I just listed. All the best. Good luck.