6 Ways Small Businesses Can Collaborate for Free

Collaborating with other businesses on marketing initiatives can be hugely beneficial. It helps you increase your influence, impact and income as a small business owner. There’s no doubt that small businesses that collaborate get more leads and achieve better overall success. But the truth is, working with other businesses can be daunting for many small business owners.

To achieve greater reach and attract and convert the ideal clients, you can easily align your business interests, resources and marketing strategies with other like-minded small businesses. Not sure where to get started? Here are some ideas to help you break barriers and create opportunities for collaboration and success for free.

Who Should You Collaborate With?

Before we get to learn how you can collaborate for free, what local businesses should you be targeting? You need to be more strategic and consider small businesses that fit one of the following criteria.

Businesses You Like and Currently Work With

One of the best places to look when collaborating with local small business owners is your own personal and professional business network. Which business owners do you frequently work with? What local companies do you like and admire? Where do you shop when supporting other local businesses? Which other local business owners buy from you?

Start here - existing natural relationships can easily form all types of collaboration, from co-marketing to hosting business events and community outreach events.

Businesses With a Similar Target Market

Another match is local businesses with a similar target market as yours. The fact that such collaborations keep everyone’s customers first makes it an attractive option for potential local businesses that you approach. Here, you need to be strategic, be creative and think outside the box to find potential companies to partner with.

For instance, if you’re a nail salon that uses all-natural products, a perfect fit would be a local masseuse who enjoys working with environmentally-conscious customers. If you offer a local co-working space that caters to entrepreneurs and freelancers, you can team up with a local coffee business.

Businesses That Offer Complementary Products or Services

Another great option is focusing on businesses that sell products or offer services that complement what you offer. Target local businesses that your customers are likely to buy from based on their purchases, interests, and needs. For instance, if you own a home remodeling business, you could partner with other home service businesses offering home cleaning, landscaping services, or plumbing.

Businesses in a Similar Location

Who is your immediate business neighbor? Do you like what they do? Do they have loyal customers that also visit your business? Team up! Most local shoppers will want to know what you offer and will be happy to know that you’re collaborating with another business owner to provide even better service delivery.

Local Fan Favorites

Are there any other local businesses that your customers love? Maybe there’s a popular bakery with lots of happy customers a few blocks from your retail store. Partnering with the owner can see you give some sweet treats to customers for free promotion for the bakery.

How to Collaborate With Local Businesses for Free

1. Cross-Promote on Social Media

Up to 77.6% of small businesses use social media to promote their businesses, according to Smallbiztrends. Out of these, 90% of business owners acknowledge that their social media marketing efforts have increased their business exposure. To raise awareness and engage even more customers, you can collaborate with another business to cross-promote on social media.

Teaming up with other businesses to promote each other’s services or products raises your brand awareness, amplifies your impact, increases your influence to a larger audience and improves your income. More customers will be interested in what you offer. From retweeting one another, sharing Instagram stories to posting on Facebook, you have many options.

Key Takeaway: To ensure successful cross-promotion on social media, partner with businesses that complement your own, so you can reach people who are likely to be interested in what you offer.

2. Run Giveaways on Social Media

You can also team up with another business or businesses to run a social media giveaway competition. Running giveaways is one of the best ways to increase engagement online. It’s one of the most enjoyable and easiest collaborations you can do with other small businesses. Offer your most popular products as giveaways or prizes to make it more attractive.

For instance, if you’re running the giveaway on Facebook, you both post the competition on your Facebook timeline, and to enter, people must follow both companies and like and comment on each of the posts. It’s that simple. You can then select the winner randomly. This is an easy and free way to collaborate and get more followers engaging on social media.

Key Takeaway: Design your giveaways with the right text, graphics and tags. Also, make use of sponsored posts for better targeting and reach, and ensure you respond and build relationships with contest participants.

3. Cross-Promote With Offers and Coupons

Another great way to collaborate for free with local businesses is to create special offers and coupons for your collaborators’ loyal customers. For instance, you could offer special discounts for each other’s businesses to your customer base. You could also use this opportunity to create a group customer retention program that provides rewards and coupons to both companies.

That is a great way to spread the love and customer appreciation to a core group of local businesses. You can also extend this online if you’re collaborating with several local businesses and want to broaden your reach.

Key Takeaway: Just having your business name mentioned by another business isn’t enough. Potential customers need to believe that your collaboration is more than just a business mar