Six Ways to Profit by Promoting Other Businesses
One thing entrepreneurs are told over and over is that they have to promote their business. Promote. Promote. Promote.
But what if I told you there are actually several clever ways to make more money by promoting other people’s businesses?
A couple of them are pretty obvious, at least if you spend much time reading about marketing on the internet.
1. Affiliate marketing
The most obvious, and perhaps the most widely used, way to make money promoting another company is to sell their products on your website or blog. This is typically done through affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing works very simply. You place on your website a link pointing to a product on another company’s website. The link includes a special code that identifies you. If somebody clicks through that link and ends up buying something, that sale will be credited to you. Your business will get a commission for the sale.
The link can come in several forms. It could be an ad. It could be a text link in the middle of a blog post. It could be a clickable image of the product. Depending on what country you are in, you might have to disclose the nature of the link – that you earn a commission if the reader clicks through and buys.
Strictly speaking, this is not really promoting another company. It’s merely promoting a product. And since a commission is involved, it almost makes you a retailer. So, although affiliate marketing is the most obvious way to make money promoting another company, it is neither the cleverest nor the most original.
2. Sponsored posts
You might read a lot about accepting sponsored posts on your blog. This is where a company pays you to publish a blog post with one or more of three features:
- a brand mention
- a link to their website
- a product review (presumably positive)
Again, you might have to disclose that the post is sponsored. Does this really count as promoting another company? I’ll let you decide. In any case, if your blog is at all “corporate” in nature, it is unlikely you would want to take this approach.
3. Old-fashioned advertising
If you consider sponsored posts as a means of promotion, then you’ll probably also consider other advertising forms. For instance, many local restaurants solicit small ads to be printed along the borders of their placements. While diners are waiting for their food to arrive, they get to stare at ads for a range of local businesses.
These ads are a form of promoting other businesses, with no need to disclose funding. I guess people assume they are paid recommendations.
4. Local business link exchange
This one I discovered back in the days when I did SEO for a living. Even as link exchanges were falling out of favor, thanks to Google’s disapproval, some sectors were still doing them. In particular, I noticed that the wedding sector included DJs, wedding planners, bakeries, photographers, florists, and other suppliers, all exchanging links.
But they would present it as a wedding services directory. It was no longer just an SEO thing.
For the user, this made each website a one-stop-shop. For the suppliers, they receive customers based on a recommendation from a symbiotic business. So each of the businesses made more money by promoting each other. Find 8 great examples of this type of link exchange here.
5. Recommend products that create a need for your business
Another trick I came across in my travels online is to promote products that create a need for your business. I saw this on the MyUKmailbox blog, and it made me stop and think.
The blog mostly just featured products available in the UK. For example, an article on creating your own celebrity look links to a number of UK retailers. That serves the company’s interests well since it provides UK mailboxes and forwarding. Readers from far-flung countries develop a thirst for these products, then they need a way to get them from the UK. That creates a market for the forwarding service.
This principle can apply to many niches. Create a demand for your product, and if that means promoting another business that can create the demand, so be it.
A taxi service can promote bars because people will need a taxi to get home. A pet food store can promote the local pound, creating a new demand for dog food. For a dentist, there is no better way to drum up business than by promoting the candy store. This is the ultimate way to make money promoting another company…although I would hope dentists would resist that temptation.
6. Promote local businesses to your local customers
This has elements of some of the above ideas. The concept is that, even if your business has nothing to do with the other one, you share a common customer base.
For example, your local accounting business might post a sign on its front lawn, advertising the lawn care company. Others nearby might like to hire them, too. The lawn care company might then mention in their pamphlets that they are proud to use your accounting services. Many of their customers might need a local accountant.
There is nothing more counterintuitive than to promote some other business. But if, despite the raised eyebrows, it makes your business money, why leave that money on the table? See if you could profit from any of these six ideas.