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How Cross-Marketing Helps

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Advertising and marketing
gurus tell us that it takes “multiple impressions” of a message to get
potential buyers to make a buying decision. Seven is the number they often
cite. So how do we get those precious impressions? One way is through
cross-marketing.

 

The concept is simple. Find
products and services that complement yours and work with the companies that
provide them to promote their offerings and yours simultaneously.

 

Here is a real-world example.

 

Late in the manuscript phase of
preparing our book—Live Your Road Trip Dream:<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Travel for a Year for the Cost of Staying Home
,
which tells the story of a lengthy cross-country trip—we discovered a Web
site called MyTripJournal.com. Having struggled to maintain our own site for
ongoing reports on our journey, we immediately recognized the potential for
cooperation. So we talked with the site’s owner and, after gaining a better
understanding of what his company did, we decided to include a little bit about
its services in the book. Our relationship had begun.

 

The Multipurpose Demo

 

As time passed, we stayed in touch
with Dan Parlow, one of the principals in the firm (remember to constantly
build your network!). Dan called one day to say he was looking for robust demo
sites and wanted permission to turn our old travel site into a
MyTripJournal.com site. Of course we said yes. Having our book featured as a
demo site created a great way for people to hear about <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Live Your Road Trip Dream

as well as a great way for Dan to demonstrate the power of MyTripJournal.com. A
cross-marketing relationship was born.

 

From that time on, we included
MyTripJournal.com affiliate links in several places on our old travel site and
on our book site as a resource, further cementing cross-marketing efforts.

 

In addition, we suggested to Dan
that he explore the RV traveler market in more depth. I had been a speaker at
the Great North American RV Rally in July 2004 and we thought it would be an
excellent venue for MyTripJournal.com too. We gave Dan the contact information,
let the contact know that Dan would be getting in touch with him, and off Dan
went.

 

Having already formed a trial
partnership to co-promote his product with the very large RV group called the
Good Sam Club, Dan got booked as a speaker, signed up for a booth, and was
invited to have his booth in the prestigious Good Sam area because of his trial
partnership.

 

As rally time grew near,
MyTripJournal.com and the Good Sam Club collaborated on a fun marketing
project—an online scavenger hunt contest. People would scavenge a
MyTripJournal.com Web site for answers to questions that appeared there, and
compete for prizes to be announced at the rally. Great marketing idea! The
scavenger hunt would be promoted on the huge Good Sam Club site and through its
e-newsletter.

 

But whose MyTripJournal site would
be used?

 

Dan immediately thought of his
demo RoadTripDream site because the trip that it journals ended in Oregon,
where the rally was being held. It took only a little sleight-of-hand to
position the end of the hunt at the rally location rather than at our home. We
revised some content to match the progress to the rally—and we had
ourselves a great cross-marketing opportunity. Thousands of people would now be
exploring RoadTripDream on MyTripJournal.com and encountering a link to our
site that would let them purchase our book. Thousands of
“impressions”—and some sales.

 

But we didn’t stop there. Since we
were already so tightly linked with MyTripJournal for the rally via the
scavenger hunt, we decided to staff the booth together and, again, promote each
other’s offerings. We also did a couple of joint press releases targeted to
different market segments to maximize our visibility. At the rally, the
combination of a real-life example of a trip (we displayed a big U.S. map that
tracked our trip at the booth) and a demonstration of the MyTripJournal.com Web
site generated more sales of both companies’ products than either company could
have generated by itself. It was a win-win situation—1 + 1 = 3 for both
of us—and we are now working together to create still more
cross-marketing opportunities.

 

As we talked with Dan at the show,
we hatched another idea, this one involving book-marketing
professionals—all of you! Many of you travel promoting your books. Why
not stay in touch with family, friends, and business associates using
MyTripJournal.com?

 

The site is like a blog on
steroids. It keeps all your journals, thoughts, and pictures organized by
travel location. It is map-driven and very visual. All you do is click on a map
location anywhere in the world to view all your information associated with
that place. Its integrated email notification service allows you, with one
click, to notify everyone on your email list that you have made updates so they
can view the new materials at their convenience. No more clogging associates’
and friends’ inboxes with emails and pictures.

 

Where and What the
Opportunities Are

 

Prospective partners are
everywhere, and ways to cooperate are limited only by your imagination.
Opportunities exist for every field and every type of product.

 

Here are six ideas to get you
started:

 

When
you are selling your book(s) at a show in your field, look around you.
<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> You’re likely to see some companies that have
products and/or services complementary with yours; these companies would be
great cross-marketing partners.

 

Scour
the Internet for companies involved with the topic or topics of your book or
books.
Contact them, and start
building relationships. Trading links is a great way to start. Once you
understand each other’s offerings and strategies, you will naturally come up
with ways to work together.

 

Go to
your local bookstore, book fair, and/or Amazon.com and see what books from
small presses might complement yours.

Contact the author or publisher (check your PMA Directory, Books in Print, the
BEA catalog, or your favorite search engine for contact information) and see
what potential partners are doing that might work well in terms of
cross-promotion.

 

Form
your own co-op with marketing partners and take each other’s books to events.
<span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’> Those of us in the RV travel area have done just
that. Several RV travel authors go from one show to the next during the year
and take along a group of titles each time. We pay the “sponsoring author” (that’s
the person who’s doing the traveling) 25 percent of the sale price, which
covers the booth cost and other associated expenses—with a little left
over for the author to pocket.

 

Write
an article or news release that includes material on your cross-marketing
partner’s product or service.

Submit it to publications (on- or offline) and/or PRWeb.com for distribution.
You will both get leads and sales.

 

Remember that cross-marketing
deals that involve nonbook products may be as effective or more effective than
cross-marketing deals that involve books, especially if fiction is what you
publish. How about selling some other company’s relevant videos on your Web
site, while its sells your books on its site? Many books have topics or themes
that cry out for add-on products—stuffed animals for a story starring an
animal; tea and teacups for a tea-ceremony book; golfing equipment for a book
about golf clubs; yoga mats with yoga books. The ideas are endless!

 

Build Opportunities into
the Book

 

The best time to think about how
you will cross-market a book is before it is written. While the manuscript is
being created, it pays to focus on who will be most interested in the book and
where you will find these people in order to sell it to them. Selected Web
sites? Certain trade shows? Home and garden shows? Business conferences?
Antique shows? Have a brainstorming session with colleagues and friends and see
how many places you can come up with that would be possible venues for a given
book. Then make sure those places, ideas, and themes appear in the book.

 

That’s what we did. As you’ve
seen, including just a little information about MyTripJournal.com in our book
sparked a long-term productive relationship. But I haven’t yet told you about
the other useful mentions we included in our book. Text about the type of
vehicle we traveled in provided a great opportunity for us to interact with the
vehicle’s manufacturer and cross-market using the manufacturer’s field reps.
Since it is a road-trip book, it discusses AAA services, and we have now become
speakers for AAA; we educate its members about planning their road trips,
promote its services, and sell our book, all at the same time.

 

Does this mean we have sold out to
commercial interests? I don’t think so. None of these companies paid us
anything to mention their products. We just tell our trip-planning story as we
experienced it.

 

Marketing is frustrating. You
never really know which piece of information caused a person to buy. But we do
know that people who buy our book often say they’ve seen it “in lots of
places,” and that’s one reason we are glad we’ve built ways to reach our
targeted audience by helping other companies reach theirs.

 

Carol White spent 35 years
in the computing and telecommunications fields with Lucent and AT&T,
retiring from Lucent Technologies in 1999. The co-author of <span
class=8StoneSans>Live Your Road Trip Dream,
she can be reached via 888/522-TRIP (8747), carol@roadtripdream.com, and
www.roadtripdream.com

 

For information about
MyTripJournal.com and/or a one-year free subscription for authors, call Dan
Parlow at 778/389-0050; email him at dparlow@mytripjournal.com; or visit
www.mytripjournal.com.

 

 

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