A lot of small businesses, especially start-ups, are working on limited marketing budgets. They are constantly on the lookout for effective marketing strategies that won’t hit the hip pocket in a major way. Sharing marketing costs is one way, often over-looked, to increase the reach of your small business without spending too much.

Shared marketing is a simple concept. It is usually used where many retailers or service centres share the one location or where related business services advertise on the one marketing campaign.

For example, I encouraged one despondent client, with a very tight marketing budget, to get together with his fellow retailers in a local mall to discuss the possibility of launching a marketing campaign that they would all benefit from with the additional benefit of being able to share the total cost. This mall housed a series of eight specialty shops. He took my advice and they decided to distribute an A4 sized brochure to some 43,000 local residents – far more than he would ever be able to reach on his limited marketing budget.

To promote the campaign they organised this campaign to coincide with local activities organised by the council to increase their prospects. They each paid one-eighth of the total cost and increased their direct customer reach dramatically.

Because they did their homework and with a few phone calls they hooked into the local council promotions and benefited greatly by the increased exposure. Each of the eight specialty stores benefited from a boost in sales throughout the week, which were directly attributed to the marketing campaign. It was so successful, they have all agreed to do more marketing in this vein.

Another fantastic example, is a client of mine was a solo business operator working from home and wanted to extend his marketing reach without increasing his marketing spend. He was a Mortgage Broker. After explaining the shared marketing concept to him, he couldn’t see how it would work for him. I asked if there were Real Estate Agents, Solicitors and other people he regularly dealt with in his day-to-day operations, who specialised in residential housing? The light went on and he got the picture.

He got the picture so clearly, he not only lined up the usual suspects such as real estate agents and solicitors, he also lined up insurance brokers, professional house and carpet cleaners and pest controllers who all got together to advertise. They not only shared the costs of marketing campaigns, they also shared qualified leads between each of the parties. His business has gone from strength-to-strength as a result of this arrangement.

They now all benefit from this co-operative marketing approach and their marketing budgets are much better for it.

Even if your small business is in the enviable position of having a large marketing budget, I would recommend that you look for opportunities to share marketing costs, in order to keep your business expenses lean and your profit growing!

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