Have you considered working with another seller to maximize your marketing dollars? This is called cooperative (co-op) advertising and marketing. It means you team with another seller of a complementary product line to run ads, work shows, etc. It’s a great idea and one that is used by all types of industries.
To get the most from your cooperative efforts be sure to align yourself with sellers of products that your own customer base would enjoy. For instance, if you sell candles, you could co-op with sellers of other women-oriented products (skincare, cookware, children’s items, etc.).
You can swap leads with each other, run ads together, work shows, develop brochures promoting both product lines, etc. By doing this, you both get to promote your products and share the costs of doing so. Instead of footing the bill for a monthly promotional flier to be designed, printed and mailed, you would split the costs 50/50.
Co-ops have advantages besides just the financial savings. By working with another motivated seller, you are holding each other accountable for moving your businesses forward–much like having an exercise buddy. If you don’t show up for your morning walk, wouldn’t you feel guilty letting her down?
You can each develop goals and a simple marketing program for the upcoming months. Then you each know what you are working toward and what will be expected of you. You can lay out a budget for each task and agree up-front on who pays what so there are no surprising developments down the line.
One interesting idea is to join up with a seller of similar items and run an ad in a local publication. Normally it may be too expensive to run such an ad yourself, but by teaming up with one (or more sellers), you can cut your costs considerably and keep you business in front of the eye of your community.
If you run ads, don’t just have the run-of-the-mill “We sell such and such and we’re great!” ads. People see way too many of those. You need something that will catch the eye or something people will save. One such idea is to do a recipe in each ad. If your prospect is interested, she’ll cut it out and keep it–also keeping your name and business with it.
The recipe can have a slant for each of the co-op seller’s businesses. For instance, if you sell skincare and your co-seller sells children’s items, you could run recipes that are good for your skin/anti-aging and healthy recipes. Items such as salmon/fish, fresh veggies, etc. would work. Scour the internet and your cookbooks for recipes that contain anti-aging properties (there’s lots of information out there). In turn, you co-seller could run kid-approved recipes (things kids like).
Moms are constantly trying to find kid-friendly recipes that are also healthy, tasty and easy. If your recipes are unique and state that they are anti-aging or kid-friendly, etc. in ties into your advertising message.
For instance, if you run an ad with Salmon in Papillote with Garden Veggies (really a simple salmon cooked in parchment paper with veggies), be sure to promote it as a Beautiful Skin meal. At the bottom of the ad, invite the reader to call or email you for more Beautiful Skin ideas, including XYZ products, etc. Add a promo line to get them to call you. Something like “Call me before xx-xx-xxxx and mention this ad get a free skincare sample set.” Make certain your promo is good and legible. Don’t make the recipe section so large, your promo doesn’t have space. It is an ad for your business, after all!
If you run you ad consistently you will see return. The thing with advertising is that you must be consistent. Don’t run your ad once or twice and then give up. People will begin to count on seeing your ads and recipes and they’ll even look forward to them. If you make your recipes good and your promotions great, they will start calling! Switch off months with your co-sellers so you can each share the spotlight.
Your ads need not be large, just big enough to run a short recipe and the offer for both sellers. If you can afford ad space large enough, you can run two recipes and two offers. Work with a graphic designer or design one yourself on your computer. The publication will likely re-design your ad to fit the space. Be sure to get the space (mechanical requirements) of setting up the ad. You can call the publication to request a media or advertising kit.
One more note, those cheap little ads in the back of publications are great for one simple message, but will not support this type of advertising. These larger ads are more likely run-of-the-paper (ROP) ads. That means they will run in the general sections of the paper, not in the back classifieds. ROP ads are pricier, but since you have a co-seller or two to work with, you should be saving a significant amount! You may be able to request to run your ad in a certain section (Food, Lifestyle, etc.). These ads are an investment in your business and like any investment, may take a little time to pay off. Be patient!