Many people launch an online marketing career to work for and by themselves. However, even as an online entrepreneur who works for themselves, you will still most likely need to interact with others to achieve the ultimate success.
Networking is a task that doesn’t have to take much time or effort, but it’s something that you’ll need to do in order to appeal to prospective buyers as well as affiliates who can send you both subscribers and sales.
Making Yourself Available to Those Who Reach Out to You
You, as a marketer, may feel intimidated having to interact with your niche audience. But what you may not realize is that your followers will feel intimidated having to reach out to you as well. There are many people who will continue to stay confused or in the dark about a situation rather than must contact someone with questions.
Part of the reason they feel uncomfortable is that they do not want to bother anyone. They feel as if you are an expert and if they take up any of your time, you should be compensated for it – something they may not have money to do.
You want to be known as a niche leader who is there for your target audience to help them outside of purchase situations. Does that mean you have to coach them free until they succeed?
No, of course not. But interacting with and networking with your target audience can generate goodwill, and it can be in bite-sized amounts. Sometimes networking can be done on social media sites like Facebook and maybe simple banter about something other than the niche topic.
For example, if you are in the anti-aging niche and you have an Instagram account, you might share a picture of you with your pet. Some of your followers may comment about what breed it is, how cute it is, or talk to you about their pet.
These seemingly insignificant conversations that take mere seconds to carry out help your audience feel as if they know you in some small way – which means you’re helping build trust for future purchases of products in that niche.
You will want to make it a two-way street. Do not always allow the conversation to simply come to you. Engage your audience, try to remember their names or little things about them that you can discuss now and then.
With potential affiliates, you might even form closer friendships because you will be fostering a working relationship where you must speak to each other about more details. Make sure it is always a mix of business and personal life when you network.
It never has to include private information you don’t want to disclose – it can even be about your favourite foods, but don’t be all about a business where they never feel as if they got to know you or can trust you.
Making Connections with People Who Can Help Grow Your Business
When you start working online as an Internet marketer, you may feel at times like it is you against the world. You must make all the decisions, learn things on your own, and motivate yourself to act.
But there are others in the industry who can help you grow your business. Networking with them is a good way to give your efforts a boost whenever you are feeling overwhelmed.
The first group of individuals who can help are those who you look up. This would be other marketers (whether they are in your niche or not) who have built and sustained an online business for a respectable amount of time.
These people can often spot things you may be doing wrong and offer advice on corrective measures you can take to get yourself on the right track. For example, you might be pricing your products wrong or failing to launch with a funnel – and they can quickly offer their insight.
You never want to assume that this type of situation is going to pay off in terms of free advice from someone who is already successful. Many people who offer insight like this charge a coaching fee to dispense it.
However, if you are friends with this person and naturally interacting and networking with them online, they will often speak up whenever they see a glaring mistake that you are making.
In this situation, you want to find and network with a group of people on different levels. Some may be below you in terms of success online, some may be on the same level, and others may be far ahead of you.
It is good to get feedback from a variety of people because the more advanced people become, they forget the little details that you need to know as a beginner. The second group of people that you should mingle with online to help grow your business are those who may now or in the future become a part of your team.
Becoming a team member does not necessarily mean they will work for your company. It simply means you might outsource something to them in the future. Even if you did not hire someone, it helps to be friends with those who excel at copywriting, graphics, content creation, search engine optimization, paid ads, and more.
That way, whenever you have a question, they may speak up and help you with it. If not, they may be the best people for you to hire in the event that you want to outsource a project to them and free up your time to work on other tasks within your business.
The Right Way to Recruit Others to Promote for You
Another way that you want to network is with those who could promote your product for you and help you earn higher profits as well as beef up your subscriber list. Affiliates can be a valuable resource, so you want to communicate with them carefully and build a genuine relationship with them.
You need to find out who promotes products in your niche. The first place you want to start is by looking at your competitors. Competitors in the world of online marketing are often each other’s greatest supporters.
You also want to look at affiliates who do not have their own products on the market, but who do have a list or following in the niche and would be interested in promoting you. To find these people, you can look to see who has a review blog or look at the leader boards for contests where affiliates were vying for a prize in that niche.
Once you have a list of potential affiliates, you will want to spend time getting to know them. Start out by friending them on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.
If they do have a product of their own, you will want to purchase it so that you can see the type of quality they feel is worthy of promotion in the marketplace. If you are hoping they will promote for you as an affiliate, do not contact them and ask them for a free review copy of their own product.
One thing you want to do is get on their list as a subscriber to see what their style is like. This will help you determine how to network with them on a social level – are they funny or serious, short and to the point or long-winded?
You will also be able to see what they promote from other people. This kind of data can tell you whether their list responds well to text-based courses or video courses, as well as what topics they promote on a regular basis within the niche.
Be sure and engage with potential affiliates for quite a while before asking them to promote your product. You will want to take this step early in the development of your online business so that when the time comes, you’ll be able to reach out without it feeling spammy.
When you do have a launch in the works, make sure you contact potential affiliates a few weeks ahead of time. This gives them the opportunity to create a bonus for their buyers.
It also gives them the chance to put you on their schedule in case they have extremely limited availability in their emails. When you do approach a prospective affiliate, you will want to send a few elements of vital importance to their decision-making process.
The first is a link to your JV (joint venture) page. You may also want to give them the details about the product and launch in your first communication with them about this subject.
Make sure you send them a complementary review copy of the product. If you want them to promote items in your funnel, then send a copy of those items as well so they can mention it to their readers.
Do not make them ask for a review copy, and do not ask them if they want one. Just send it. Make it as convenient as possible for them. Another thing you may want to make clear is whether you are providing any additional perks for them if they come on board for your lunch.
This might be an increased percentage for their commission, a bonus that you have created for them to give their list, a banner ad spot on your download page, advanced opportunity to promote the product before other affiliates, etc.
After you have sent this communication, make sure you do not bug the affiliate to give you an answer about whether or not they will be promoting for you. It is okay to send a quick reminder the night before the launch, but if you get too pushy with the situation, they may shut you out and see you as a nuisance.
Watch Out for Reciprocity Traps
One danger you must watch out for is getting stuck in a trap of reciprocating with other affiliates to promote their products if they will promote for you. This is a common manoeuvre some marketers make in guilting people to promote their launches.
But there are problems with this approach. Aside from the ethical issues, if you promise to promote someone else if they promote you, you are putting your subscribers at risk. And those are the people you should be protecting.
Some top marketers who earn a lot of money do not necessarily put out decent products themselves, and then you are on the hook to make a recommendation you do not honestly believe in.
What is worse is, if you spent time building a rapport with your subscribers, you are going to have to betray them to fulfil your end of the deal with the other affiliate. So, you are now compromised, and they can no longer trust you.
You can always have a rule that you will promote for others with the disclaimer of if it is a good fit for my list. This gets you off the hook because you can either be honest about the quality, price, or another issue – or simply say it is not a good fit.
You can expect some pushback from this strategy and understand that some affiliates might promote you only one time since you will not promote them back. But it is better to have your integrity intact than to burn bridges with the people who paid money to gain your guidance.
Going Above and Beyond with Your Networking Efforts
There are other ways you can network with affiliates and customers. One way that is extremely popular is to attend niche seminars where your customers can meet you and affiliates can mingle with you as a friend.
These kinds of meetings are held all over the world and often last a few days. During the daytime, there will be workgroups and talks to attend, and at night, there is often a social element where attendees are laughing and having fun and getting to know one another.
Keep in mind that sometimes, alcohol is flowing freely at these events, and if you drink too much and embarrass yourself, it may sabotage all of the networking efforts you’ve been doing for weeks, months and years.
You might also make a group that serves as a mastermind network for you. This is usually a close-knit group motivated marketer all striving for further success who get together periodically and share insight and strategy with one another.
There may be a mastermind group that invites you to join them, you can ask around about one, or start one yourself. These individuals often meet up somewhere convenient or even in a virtual setting to help each other grow their success.
Networking can be a fun way to enjoy increased success. It is also a great way to stave off boredom and loneliness that comes from working for yourself without a normal team atmosphere.
It will allow you to have a support system in place that does not require your friends and family to decipher what it is you want to discuss about online marketing. Even if you are shy, there is bound to be a level of networking that keeps you at ease, while simultaneously helping you bolster your business.
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To your success