If you have a business, chances are that someone has asked you for free stuff.  Perhaps free advice.  Or a whole complimentary service or product.  In a lot of cases, what is really a favor to them is framed as a favor to you with an offer of marketing exposure instead of more traditional payment.  Some marketing exposure is worthwhile.  Some is not.  By applying some simple marketing logic to the case, you can determine if the marketing exposure you are being offered is worth it.

I know a lot of you are nodding your heads right now as you read this.  You probably get this question a lot.  Maybe you have even sworn off marketing exposure as payment since your first year or two of business.  However, this offer is not all good or all bad.  It is situation dependent.

From a marketing standpoint, there are certain criteria you can use to decide if someone’s offer of marketing exposure is worth considering.

First, who are they exposing you to?  If your target markets are aligned, then marketing exposure will at least reach the right audience.  Marketing exposure as payment can be beneficial if you reach your target market.  By having someone else refer you, you get an endorsement to your own target market.  Endorsements and referral marketing generally have a higher conversion rate for sales because the lead’s trusted source is showing trust in you.  That helps the lead to trust you.

#Marketing exposure as payment can be beneficial if you reach your target market. #business #biztips #entrepreneur #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb Click To Tweet

If, however, the target markets are not aligned, you might as well stop.  This negotiation is one-sided.  Although you can certainly take on the project if you believe in the cause or the person asking, you need to know that you are doing it out the goodness of your heart and are very unlikely to get anything in return.

Second, how many people are they exposing you to?  Assuming this marketing exposure offer passes the target market test, you need to know the volume of people in your target market you are going to reach by taking this deal.  Let’s put a percentage to this.  What if you could only convert 1-5% of the new leads to become customers of yours.  At the normal sale price of your product or service, does this volume look reasonable as compensation for the favor you are doing?

Lastly, what type of exposure are you going to get?  How active will this partner be in showcasing your brand and helping you generate promising new customers for your business?  Think about the marketing tools you usually use and which ones generally perform the best for you in converting leads to customers.  Marketing exposure can be good payment for you if the method will convert leads.  Is this partner offering you one of those options that is proving to be effective?  Or are you getting a business card-sized ad on page 28 of their publication?

#Marketing exposure can be good payment for you if the method will convert leads. #business #biztips #entrepreneur #smallbiz #smb #smallbusiness Click To Tweet

If you have not already heard a pitch like this before – for you to give away your product, service, or intellectual property in return for marketing exposure – you surely will.  Use these opportunities to put on your negotiating hat and find out the full scope of the arrangement and how it can benefit you.  If it doesn’t, you can walk away.  You really can.  You can just decline.  On the other hand, if it does seem to benefit you, take the deal.

Learning how to get to the root of the value to your business will only help you down the road, reducing busy work and potentially opening you up to beneficial outside-the-box opportunities.


If all of this comes back to you wanting to generate more leads, you may want to check out this online course on 3 Ways to Generate New Leads on a Budget.  Partnerships certainly have something to do with that, but this course will help you evaluate your options and show you how to make them work for you!