How to Find Marketing Partners and Affiliates
If you heard episode #18, which you can find at subscribeme.fm/18, I talked about why you shouldn’t try to just focus on the A-listers in your industry, right off the bat. Go for the B, C, & D players.
This episode is going to focus on how you you should focus on finding the D-list Super stars in your niche.
These are the people who will have the inclination to help you. They too have something to prove, they’re equally hungry and excited to work with other d-listers, they’ll be more open to doing a mutually beneficial joint venture with you. They will be more willing to promote your product as an affiliate, write an article recommending you, interview you on their podcast. So many ways in which these kind folks can help you.
And no, I’m not talking about doing a stupid email swap or an ad swap or a link swap. I’m talking about finding influencers who are ready and willing to help you, AND can make an impact on your business. But for this whole thing to work, here are the main ingredients you absolutely must have in place first.
Let’s say you are getting ready to launch a new online course about horse riding. Here’s the new media way of finding your super star partners.
#1) Let’s start with the obvious: You must have a great product. Now I’m using the name “Product” to loosely refer to anything physical, or digital, or a service. So starting with a great product goes without saying. Whether you are launching a membership site, a Kindle book, a WordPress plugin, or a SaaS app – by the way, Saas – S A A S stands for software as a service. A lot of people put the cart before the horse, and forget that they need to first create something remarkable.
I’m not saying you have to have this massive product all polished and completed. There’s something to be said for launching a minimum viable product – or MVP. And the cool thing is, that with digital products, you can easily update it and add more to it over time, whether it is a kindle book – which you can easily update, and simply upload a new version with new chapters or edits of typos, you can keep adding content to your Kindle book with absolutely no hassle. With software, like a plugin, or a mobile App, or a Saas app, you can easily publish an update, a new “release”, with new features and bug fixes. Even a product like the iPhone, can release updates to its operating system without having to touch the hardware. If you remember, people made a big deal about the original iphone saying it didn’t have copy/paste functionality. One software update later, that feature was included. And Apple did not have to recall a single iphone in order to add that feature. So yes, the #1 thing is to start with a great product, even if it is a minium viable version.
2) Go to Facebook.com. Search for “horse riding group”. Quickly join the top 5, do a quick scan, eliminate the ones that don’t have much engagement, and ones that have too much spam and blatant promotion. Check if they allow new-member introductions. If they do, then make a post introducing yourself, give a quick elevator pitch about what you do, include a link back to your web site, and most importantly, say something like, “I’m excited to join this amazing group. I’m ready to contribute here and help others. I want to give more than I ask. So if you have any questions at all about horses and horse riding, then feel free to ask me below, or message me directly.” See how that didn’t sound like I’m quoting from my sales page or my resume? So just keep it classy, really low-key. I can’t stress that enough. If at any time you feel that you might be doing something pushy or pitchy, then hold back. Don’t worry about giving out too much content and wasting time. Trust me, you’re better off wasting time by offering free content and helping others, than watching viral videos and looking at everybody else’s life in pictures. It’s about dang time you spent every spare minute you have building your own business.
Once this is done, now start listening, reading, observering. Start answering questions from others who you think you can help. Contribute to discussions and arguments. Feel free to take sides, but don’t belittle anyone or trash someone’s view point. Just state in a very clear way why you’re taking one side of the argument, without involving emotion or making it personal. You can still have strong opinions and express them without trashing someone else’s opinions.
Now comes absolutely, THE most important part: Every time someone engages with you, likes your content, responds to your posts, participates in a discussion thread along with you, add them as a friend. Don’t go and start adding everyone in the group as a friend. That’s key. Do it ONLY with someone who has engaged with you, or who you have engaged with, by commenting on their thread or answering their question or offering feedback.
If you do this for even just a week in 2-3 different groups, you can easily make 30 to 50 new really good contacts.
3) Next, contact the group owners themselves, build a relationship with them. Offer them feedback about the group, not in patronizing way, but in a complimentary way. Offer them a free membership to your horse riding course. Tell them there’s absolutely no obligation. They never have to pay for it. If they love it, and if they have the time, you would really appreciate it if they can give you a testimonial that you can proudly display on your web site, with their signature, mentioning their web site, or the Facebook Group URL, or whatever they want. So the positioning of this offer is important. You’re not being pushy. You’re saying, IF they love it, IF they have the time, IF they would be kind enough to give you a review, you will proudly display it on your page.
#4) Go to the big content directories: iTunes, Youtube, LinkedIn. Find the top 10 people in each category who are providing a lot of value, creating great content, and are really cool to their audience. Contact them directly. You might not get much traction with the top few people, but that’s ok. The goal here is to focus on the long-tail, the C and D-listers. Spend some time consuming their content. This is absolutely critical. If you shoot them an email right off the bat saying you want them to promote your product, you are almost never going to hear back from them. Instead, subscribe to those podcasts and youtube channels. Consume their content. Become a fan. Of course, if their content sucks, move on to the next person in the list. You don’t have to listen to crappy shows. But the good ones? Listen, and become a fan. And find an interesting thing that you can say to them, that only a fan would say. For instance, I was a fan of Jon Nastor from Hack The Entrepreneur. And in one of his other shows, the Show Runner show, his co-host calls Jon Nastor the defender of humanity. So many months later, completely unrelated, when I was launching my own podcast, I wrote to Jon with the subject “O Defender of Humanity” and I wrote a really cool email to him, because I was a fan, and what I wrote was super genuine, and absolutely nothing pitchy or promotional. I built a relationship with him by exchanging a couple of emails, offering him some feedback, and finally, one day, I told him, oh, by the way, if you ever want to interview the coolest geek on the planet, then I would be super thrilled and honored to come on his show. I even referenced what I meant by me being the coolest geek on the planet. If you go to Google right now, and search for the keywords “coolest geek on the planet”, you’ll see that my web site shows up at the top. So I was a fan, I gave him feedback, I genuinely appreciated him, and actually communicated with him like a cool human being. He loved the idea, and I ended up as a guest on one of the hottest entrepreneur interview shows on iTunes.
So yes, you have GOT to put some time into becoming a fan, and building a relationship with your potential partners. You’ve got to woo them. It goes back to the often used example in dating. You can’t ask a girl to marry you on the first date. And in this day of social media, where it’s super easy to reach out to someone, and equally easy to be a douchebag and piss someone off by being pitchy and pushy, it is very important that you understand how to approach super starts and future partners. Remember, nothing, and I mean NOTHING gets a person more excited than hearing from a genuine fan tell them how much they love their stuff. And if it is genuine, and true, they’ll feel it, and you’ll hit it off instantly.
Think all of this is a bit too time consuming? Heck yeah, it is. In the beginning, you probably have more time than money. So go ahead and spend all of your time and effort on this. Stop watching Netflix for a month. No big deal. I know Gary Vaynerchuk is famous for his line “Stop watching effin “Lost”. Sorry, Gary, I said that way before you did. I was telling this to my friends in 2000, back then, of course, I was telling them, Stop watching effin Friends! Because friends was the big & famous show back then. So yeah. People binge-eat, bing-watch Netflix, binge-play video games, we binge on every darn useless thing in this world.
So the next time you’re on Facebook, and you see an exciting article or a video, click on that little “V” icon next to that post, and save it for later. Trust me, this one tip alone will make you 5 times more productive on Facebook.
So how about you spend the next 1 week binge-buildig relationships? How about you do binge-marketing?
This topic will be continued in the next episode.
YARO STARAK, one of the leading lifestyle entrepreneurs in the world, from Entrepreneurs-Journey.com, said this about my book at subscribemebook.com:
Ravi’s book rams home a very important message: It’s much smarter to get paid more than once for making one sale, and one of the best ways to do this online is to sell membership products. Read this book and your eyes will open to some incredible opportunities to make money online.
So check out my book at subscribemebook.com. It is a culmination of 18 years of my life making and marketing digital products, starting with selling a physical book back in 1998.
Until the next time, don’t forget to do some bingeing that will actually help you take your business to the next level.
All of that in today’s episode. Listen to the show via the player above.
Or if you want all of the episodes to be automatically downloaded to your device as soon as they’re available, then subscribe to the show on iTunes at SubscribeMe.fm/itunes/ , or on Stitcher at SubscribeMe.fm/stitcher/ .
– Ravi Jayagopal
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