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Should You Cross Promote Other Businesses in Your Craft Business Customers?

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A Cutting for Business reader emailed me asking my opinions on cross promoting her items when she sells her handmade products on Etsy. Specifically, she is an independent distributor of body wraps and wanted to include a small sample of the wrap material, a pamphlet, and a business card when someone buys her paper party banners and favors.

I found the timing of this reader’s question ironic because I had just received something the day before from a seller cross promoting what I (assume) was the seller’s other business. I had ordered a handmade greeting card and when I opened the package, a business card for false eyelashes was presented on top of the handmade card I ordered. I found it slightly tacky and actually thought I was mailed the wrong package until I opened it and found my card.

I think cross promotion is a great tool for small businesses, when it is done correctly. Unfortunately, when cross promotion isn’t done correctly buyers may be confused or offended and advertising materials are wasted.

6 Things to Consider With Cross Promotions

  1. Whether the businesses are both yours, or yours and someone elses, make sure they work together. In the example above, I purchased a gender neutral, handmade greeting card and was sent marketing materials on eyelashes/mascara. I don’t see any connection between the two.
  2. Tell the customer why they are receiving the marketing material. This is as simple as a note or printed postcard that thanks them for their purchase or one that explains the connection between the two businesses.
  3. Don’t let the secondary business overshadow the primary business – which is the one that the customer ordered the product from. I may not have been confused by the marketing material that was enclosed with my greeting card if it was placed under my greeting card and not front and center on top of it.
  4. Make sure the secondary product is not offensive. If your secondary business only appeals to a small audience and some people would find it offensive, it is best to skip cross promoting.
  5. Be sure that the other business is not in direct competition to yours.
  6. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, people are bombarded by MLM (multi level marketing) programs all day long – and many people grow tired and distrustful of them. Don’t let a MLM overshadow your handmade products. Anyone can do MLM, not everyone can create gorgeous, one-of-a-kind handmade products.

P.S. The Cutting for Business reader who emailed this question ultimately decided that marketing her weight loss wraps to customers that buy her paper goods was not good for either of her businesses. What do you think of cross promoting businesses?

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