Reciprocal marketing is where businesses promote each others products or services in order to gain a mutual benefit. For example, when you book a holiday to Florida with many of the UK’s major travel agents, you will be offered the opportunity to purchase discounted attraction tickets – which are supplied by a third party. This is a simple joint agreement whereby the attraction company piggy back off the original holiday purchase. This would then result in a small commission being paid to the agents for each Sale. The travel industry have successfully been using these techniques for the last 30 years.

Whilst the protocol of “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” is an old business strategy, finding potential partners is difficult, and often time consuming. That’s why we created to help businesses easily discover like minded organisations.

The internet and digital era has changed the way we can reciprocate, placing links on a website and embedded in emails allows us to track communications, this is often called affiliate marketing, other names include: co-op marketing, cross-promotion, or collaborative marketing.

Reciprocal marketing is really effective for small, entrepreneurial websites and large, well-established ones. David Vidgen, owner of called it “a remarkable strategy employed by forward thinking organisations. The tactic gives businesses the opportunity to add value to their customers, by offering them discounts with online partners and vice versa.” For example, a customer who spends £20 or more a website, will earn a coupon or discount with a partner site. “What’s more, because we primarily use email to communicate the discount, they are not immediately discoverable by competitors in the same way perhaps a link on a website could be easily found.”

Reciprocal marketing offers many benefits for small business owners because it helps reduce the cost of attracting new customers. It’s inexpensive to implement and enables you to add value to your customers in ways that perhaps were not achievable without reciprocal marketing. Of course, the key to a successful strategy is to ensure that you find the right partners. The best companies are those that share a similar philosophy, product line and reputation. You also need to consider the number of impressions, as there would by little point partnering with a business that has very few customers. On the other hand, let’s say your local Indian Restaurant has collected the names and email addresses of over 500 local residents and they send out email communications. Another local shop could easily capitalise on this by having a discount or offer included within an email. The need to partner with a business that compliments one another is negated in this instance because they share the same location. Such partnerships could really change the face of the business and make a significant contribution to their turnover.

The same can easily be applied to social media. For reciprocal marketing to work, benefits don’t have to be communicated via email. If a company has 1500 Twitter followers, this is just as powerful as email addresses and can easily be used to send out reciprocal marketing communications. Effective partnerships can harness social media and share information to shared target audiences.

A companies website acts as a beacon for consumers. Sometimes however, you get visitors land on your website who do not fit the geographical area of your business. For example, a beauty salon based on Oxford Street London, could easily attract visitors who really wanted a beauty salon in Oxford and vice versa. This situation can easily be fixed so that both parties benefit when this happens. A simple website link can direct visitors to the correct location, what’s more at no cost to either party.

Do you like the idea of Reciprocal Marketing? We have clients on our database who are actively seeking to partner with like minded organisations for the purpose of sharing target audiences. At present we have clients in the following industries:

  • Health & Beauty
  • Food
  • Photography
  • Manual Handling
  • Estate Agents and Lettings
  • Pet Care
  • Swimwear and Lingerie
  • Police
  • Construction
David Vidgen is the owner of He is a certified Hubspot Inbound Marketing professional and Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (ACIM). David has over 20 years experience in Marketing and 17 years in Digital Marketing. David helps small businesses in the UK with their online website presence, generating leads and new customer for his clients.
 If you own or play a role in an organisation that has the authority to make decisions on reciprocal marketing partnerships then please do get in touch.