Gregory Stewens
Gregory Stewens 2 June 2017

3 Things Developers Need to Know about Cross-Marketing

With a limited budget, small businesses should consider partnership with other companies or independent developers who offer related products and try cross-marketing. It consists in combining efforts of two or more companies for achieving the common goal.

Nowadays hundreds of apps a day are being created making the intensely competitive IT industry one of the biggest spenders when it comes to marketing. However, there are many companies that do not have massive budgets for product promotion and, therefore, need to use affordable methods to attract potential customers.  

With a limited budget, such small businesses should consider partnership with other companies or independent developers who offer related products and try cross-marketing. It consists in combining efforts of two or more companies for achieving the common goal – improving the sales performance by merging customer bases. Basically, your products get promoted and promote other software.

What are the advantages of cross-marketing?

Cross-marketing is a cost-effective method for breaking through the white noise of advertising and motivating customers to purchase products that they initially have not been after. Moreover, it provides you with a possibility to:

  • Establish your business credibility. By placing your product’s name next to the better-known brand, you develop a positive association in customers’ minds, and gain more trust from them, so they do not treat you like another dark horse. Obviously, it works only if you collaborate with a reputable company.
  • Increase the coverage of the target audience. With a customer base of your partner, you are able to reach more people who are potentially interested in your product. Your product will be shown to  
  • Broad your company’s visibility. People tend to opt for products they have already heard about; therefore, you need to get exposure, and cross-marketing lets you do this without spending much.

Rules for choosing the right partner for cross-marketing

To make your cooperation with another company or developer effective and mutually beneficial, you have to consider several things.

The first one is about learning whether a potential partner(s) is your indirect competitor. Your products have to complement each other, but not to offer the same features, even if there are a few of them. Customers may need exactly what you have in common, and the comparison may not be in your favor.

You have probably identified your and your potential partner’s target audiences already. Do they coincide? If no, you will probably fire blanks trying to get exposure among customers who are not interested in your product. For example, if you sell an app for Mac optimization like this one, you should try to reach developers oriented on users who pay much attention to their computers’ maintenance, but want to do it quickly and easy, and whose work is connected with processing of large amounts of information. It could be professional photographers, for example, who use photo editors. It is unlikely for you to benefit from partnering with companies that create apps for kids or low-code development platforms.

One more thing to take into account is how much your partner’s target audience is used to spend on software – you have to be in the same price segment.

You also have to make sure your potential partner would not harm your reputation. Small companies often try to get their name in as many places as possible in the pursuit of money; however, it is not a viable option for businesses that aim to sell quality products. For instance, a free software segment is known for advertising and forced downloads of harmful and unnecessary apps said to be designed for “improving user experience”. In fact, loyal customers are often scared off by such “bonuses” and may stop using your product. Therefore, you should guard against accepting potentially harmful offers and reconsider a monetization model if needed. Devote enough time for studying the company's history and its products’ reviews before initiating a cooperation.

How to make cross-promotion effective

Before you start working with your partner(s), you should determine:

  • Who will be the main contact from each business?
  • How the billing will be handled?
  • How long your promotion campaigns will last?
  • How the profits will be shared?
  • Who will be in charge of implementing new approaches while cross-promoting products?

This way you can avoid disagreements with your partner(s), which usually significantly reduce the efficacy of collaboration.

It is also worth remembering that barter projects need to be constantly monitored to make sure that both parties are satisfied. Collect statistics of traffic and sales and conduct analysis on a regular basis. It is probable that you will need to change your tactics in order to get better results.  

Obviously, there are other ways to promote your product without investing much and you should not rely on cross-marketing only. However, this method like no other can help you to make a big step forward in a very short time.

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