The modern marketing landscape gives you a ton of ways to promote your brand. From social media marketing to emails and ads. And one of the marketing methods that we feel is often underused is cross-promotion. Why this is so, we aren't sure. Perhaps, brands are unaware of how beneficial cross-promotion could be. Or they are unsure of how to approach it properly. Well, let's take a closer look at cross-promotion as a whole and how to use cross-promotion with in-app stories as a modern way to promote your brand.
How eCommerce brands should tackle cross-promotion
In order to properly explore how to use in-app stories for cross-promotion, we first need to outline what cross-promotion is all about. A lot of marketing managers have a skewed view of cross-promotion and opt to avoid it. Others approach it without due diligence, and end up hurting their brand in the process. So, before we focus on in-app stories and how to use them, let's get the basics of cross-promotion right.
Partner with complementary brands
Identifying the right brands to affiliate with is crucial for cross-promotion. Whatever affiliate marketing strategy you opt for, including cross-promotion via in-app stories, it is in your best interest to only align yourself with brands that have a good reputation. Keep in mind that by cross-promotion you will effectively connect your brand to theirs. And if they don't have a decent reputation, you will get yourself into a world of trouble.
Another thing to consider is which brands (or products) complement your brand. For example, if you sell fitness equipment, you could partner with a nutrition supplement brand. But, you can also partner with a fitness trainer, or with a brand that sells sports drinks. All of these can complement both your product and your brand. The main question is which does so best. The best course of action is to first identify what your brand is about (this would be the core idea of your brand) and then look for other brands that help enhance it.
Understanding your audience
You will only get results from cross-promotion if you understand your audience. This is why it is often hard for new companies to do cross-promotion well. Mind you, it is not only important to identify which brands you will cross-promote with but also to figure out how to represent your brand in future cross-promotions. It is surprisingly easy to invest a lot in marketing, and still fall flat. To avoid this from happening, it is paramount that you have a firm grasp on who you are trying to target and what content will resonate with them. Keep in mind that cross-promotion doesn't leave much room for experimentation and A/B testing. And creating effective in-app stories will require both. Therefore, you'd be smart to tackle this before you start collaborating with another company.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cross-promotion won't (or at least shouldn't) end at in-app stories. In most cases, brands that opt for cross-promotion choose to do so in a more robust way. A multi-level content collaboration is usually the best way to integrate the two brands. Both from the standpoint of online reputation and SEO management. Guest posts on each other's blogs or websites will help tap into each other's audiences. And they will help the SEO algorithm connect the two. It is also quite natural to collaborate on co-authored articles, videos, or podcasts related to your niche. The more you can relate to the two brands, the better your in-app stories will perform.
Monitor and analyze results
While you might want to cross-promote with a company because you like it or the people who run it, you shouldn't lose sight of the end goal of your marketing. Namely, the goal of cross-promotion should be to boost your marketing, and subsequently your revenue. Therefore, it is paramount that you track the performance of your cross-promotion efforts using key performance indicators (KPIs) like website traffic, conversion rates, and sales. If you already rely on marketing tools for these, we would simply advise that you prepare them for the analytics ahead. If not, you'd be smart to start utilizing them as soon as possible. Tools like Semrush, Google Analytics, and HubSpot are all viable choices for digital marketing analytics. And you need to know how to use at least one of them before you start tackling marketing.
Lastly, it is important to understand that cross-promotion agreements contain legal aspects. These include:
A legally binding contract that outlines the terms of the cross-promotion agreement. This contract should be drafted or reviewed by legal professionals to ensure its enforceability.
Terms and conditions
The responsibilities and obligations of each party. These should include the nature and scope of the promotion, the duration of the agreement, and any financial arrangements (e.g., revenue sharing or cost-sharing).
Intellectual property rights
A key aspect of in-app cross-promotion is to address intellectual property issues. These include the use of trademarks, copyrights, and other protected assets. If both you and the brand plan on creating in-app stories you need to specify whether and how each party can use the other's branding and content.
Hopefully, everything will go well between you and the brand you are cross-promoting with. But, if it doesn't, you'd be better off having a clear way to solve disputes. This is why it vise to include provisions for dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve conflicts that may arise during the agreement.
Termination and Exit Strategy
Unfortunately, not all disputes can be solved and you might run into some that stand to substantially hurt your brand. In this instance, you may want to opt out of the cross-promotion. To make that possible, you need to outline the conditions under which the agreement can be terminated and the process for doing so. This may include notice periods and procedures for handling ongoing promotions.
Data Protection and privacy
In-app stories are often used to collect some form of customer data. If you plan on using them for that, you need to address data protection and privacy considerations. Especially if the promotion involves the collection and sharing of that data. Ensure compliance with data protection laws, such as GDPR in Europe.
It is absolutely paramount that you clearly outline any financial terms, such as revenue-sharing percentages, payment schedules, or cost-sharing arrangements. Ensure that both parties understand how profits or costs will be distributed.
Mind you, these are just some of the many clauses that need addressing from a legal standpoint. Therefore, you'd be smart to consult with a legal advisor before you go into the process of cross-promotion.
Using in-app stories for cross-promotion
Now that we have a decent idea of what cross-promotion should entail, let's focus a bit on in-app stories. Namely, as a fairly new and engaging type of content, in-app stories can be quite effective in guiding users' attention. A well-made, well-placed in-app story will introduce a key idea to an already engaged app user. As such, it can be the key step in converting a semi-interested user into a paying customer. Furthermore, in-app stories can be personalized to cater both to the user and their stage of the in-app journey. Let's now outline a couple of aspects of in-app stories:
Seasonal discounts and limited-time offers
A fairly easy way to introduce cross-promotion via in-app stories is to use them for seasonal discounts and events. Namely, to jolt the interest of their customers, brands usually turn to discounts. After all, what better way to reinvigorate the interest of your customers than to give them an easy way to save money? A seasonal discount provides a clear incentive for your viewers to react to your content, and to do so as soon as possible.
If you do plan on using seasonal discounts and limited-time offers as a way to cross-promote with your brands, you'd be smart to first outline the best season to do so. Certain products are high in demand during certain periods, while others have similar demand year-round. Ideally, both you and the brand you are collaborating with will have similar sales trends.That way, you'll be able to easily outline the timing and the tone of your in-app stories so that they yield the best results.
Bundle and Package Deals
If, on the other hand, you don't share sales trends, or you simply stand to benefit more from the year-round marketing, you might fare better with bundle and package deals. These entail packaging your products with your partners and selling them for a discount. Doing so achieves numerous benefits. Firstly, you are naturally connecting your and their brands. Secondly, you are providing a clear incentive for app users to purchase from your brand and recommend it to their friends and family. If you understand your audience, and if your partner has a product that naturally relates to yours, your bundle will easily become a best-seller. And, with the right price tag, it may even become the staple of your product marketing.
To highlight your in-app stories, and the cross-promotion within them, you might want to really on social media influencers. Namely, no matter how popular or reliable your and your partner's brands are, you cannot compete with the perceived honesty of independent influencers. They, as a member of your audience, will always have an influence over your audience that you, as a brand, cannot copy. This is why you should use that to your advantage and one of the reasons why UGC is so important for modern marketing.
Working with a designer
Modern tools make creating in-app stories quite straightforward. With StorifyMe you can create and export stories with surprising ease. But, while it is easy to create an in-app story, it isn't as easy to create a good one. So here are some tips! Firstly, you need to have an idea of the visual aspect of your brand. Mind you, this doesn't simply include your logo, but also the font, the colors, and the general tone you use in your story content. Secondly, you need to be able to create such stories so that they highlight both your and your partner's brands. This, as it turns out, is surprisingly difficult. It is quite easy for one brand to outshine another in this case. And if the designers aren't careful, a single brand can quickly take over the cross-promotional content.
To avoid this from happening, it is in the best interest of both brands to hire a designer to create the marketing content. An experienced visual designer will know how to incorporate the unique elements of different brands and help them boost each other.
To sum up, cross-promotion via in-app stories can be a terrific way to promote your brand. You lessen the impact on your marketing budget, as you share the financial load of content creation. And you expand your audience by garnering the attention of your partner. So, half the price, twice the reach. While this seems great, you need to appreciate the under-the-hood difficulties of cross-promotion.
First, you need to set up both your brand and your marketing to accommodate your partner. And second, you need to look into content creation and in-app stories. A well-made in-app story can guide the attention of an app user towards natural conversion. But, to make such a story, you need to understand how your users think and what they experience while they are in your app. Finally, it is vital that you don't let your brand get overshone by your partner. A third-party designer is your best bet in creating the in-app story that will fairly promote each brand.