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It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who Likes You Enough To Listen

By Yaro Starak
13 Comments

I did an interview with Jeff Walker last week for a product I’m working on. If you have never heard of Jeff, he is the father of the Product Launch Formula, a proven model for launching virtually anything online.

I interviewed Jeff to learn his entrepreneur’s journey, like most of my interviews, so it wasn’t specifically about the launch formula.

I’ve been a long time supporter of Jeff and his course. His system is actually one of the first places I learned about and saw put into action many core marketing techniques like reciprocity, social proof and scarcity (he’s about to reopen the course – for like the 8th time! – starting today I think with the prelaunch).

Jeff’s early days were all about his very first online business, which began with a stock market email newsletter in the mid 1990s. Ironically he started the newsletter so he could put the experience on his resume in the hope of re-entering the corporate job market. Jeff’s stock market email newsletter business took off and became a testing ground for what would later become the launch formula, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.

At the end of the interview I asked Jeff to highlight the most important takeaways from his story, as they relate to a person just starting online with nothing much more than enthusiasm and a desire to make a living from an online business. He talked about a few things, but one aspect he discussed, which was highlighted again and again throughout his interview, was the need for relationships.

A Crowded Marketplace

Leslie, Gideon and I just wrapped up a launch for our Become A Blogger 2.0 program. Leslie is taking over the business so Gideon and I can focus on our other projects. He is very excited about the opportunity and is focusing all of his energy on growing BAB and making it the best blog training resource available online.

This year has been all about Leslie completely revamping the BAB course so it’s up to date, and then conducting some opening campaigns to bring in a new group of members. We’ve pretty much completed this process and Leslie is well and truly the man in charge of this brand and business.

We started with an internal opening campaign with a live Webinar earlier in the year, bringing in a nice core group of members. Just last month we wrapped up a public release to give affiliates the chance to promote too.

One of the aspects of the public launch was the need to recruit affiliates to promote the free videos Leslie was producing in the lead-up to the opening. Gideon and I went to our existing affiliate email lists, and I mentioned the affiliate program here on EJ. We also knocked on a few doors personally, asking if certain people could promote for us.

I’ll be blunt – we pretty much failed miserably at this job, at least compared to previous years.

We didn’t get a whole lot of affiliate support and no affiliates with a large audience promoted for us during the launch campaign. The big boys (and girls) when it comes to affiliate launches are very important. Without them we didn’t hit a home run, however we still welcomed another group of members, albeit a small group, into the Become A Blogger family.

I can’t tell you exactly why we didn’t get a lot of affiliate support, because you never really know for sure, but I have some pretty good hunches. Here they are, at least from my perspective (I should say Gideon and Leslie may not agree with me).

  1. We began contacting affiliates way too late – less than a month before opening is not enough warning. You have to book people in about 3 months in advance, and it might take the entire three month’s worth of reminders to convince them to support you.
  2. We haven’t stayed in touch with affiliates. I haven’t mailed to my affiliate list about my own products for over a year because I haven’t had a product on the market. My list is cold. I also haven’t stayed in touch with the bigger players like I used to. In short, I haven’t been fostering relationships.
  3. The industry is way more crowded nowadays and many people just don’t want to promote anything that is a “launch” style promotion. Despite how effective it can be, many bloggers and marketers are focusing more on their own internal products and projects and don’t want to send their hard-earned subscribers to a person who will then bombard them with 20 emails in one week (fair enough!).

Despite point number three and the potential for “launch fatigue”, there are obviously still many people who spend a lot of energy on affiliate marketing and make good money doing so. The launch process works, but you really need to be talking to the right people – the right affiliates with the right audience they can reach.

Some of my peers in the blogging and IM space won’t promote launches, but are happy to do personalised webinars (more on this in a moment). Others just want to review the product on their blog or conduct a podcast interview with you and mention the product at the end.

Some internet marketers are still very actively engaged with launch promotions, but getting on to their launch calendar is difficult. You need to know them personally, usually promote and make sales of their product and even then that’s no guarantee of support for your product.

A launch, as it always has, requires coordinating a lot of people. Figuring out how to handle the affiliate portion of the promotion is just as much work as making the product and launch materials. To really succeed, you have to work within the requirements of each affiliate, and again, this all comes down to the relationship you have with them.

Affiliate Relationships

Leslie just completed a once-off special promotion for an affiliate who has a big audience – Adam Short from Niche Profit Classroom. I’ve been a long time supporter of Adam and his training program (which is solid), so he naturally was willing to reciprocate because of our relationship.

Adam couldn’t promote our launch campaign because of timing clashes, but he was able to help out if we did a training webinar for his subscribers, with a special offer at the end for our course. That’s Adam’s preferred method of affiliate promotion, and it worked well – everyone got some value and we welcomed new members.

The world of affiliate marketing has always been about relationships. Leslie is going to continue to build relationships and conduct personalize promotions because that’s just what people prefer today in our market. It also happens to convert well, so it’s probably worth testing in your market too (try webinars with special once off scarcity offers just for people who make the webinar).

Leslie plans to attend and speak at events in the USA (he lives there, Gideon and I are in Australia) so he can meet people in person and stay an active voice in our little make money online niche. This is so important because without the top-of-mind social proof that comes from being a “known” person in your industry, it’s hard to develop the kind of relationships that lead to a “yes” when you ask for an affiliate promotion.

Relationships Matter Most

If we take a step away from affiliate promotions and look at more every day aspects of building an online business, relationships are still key.

If you want to write a guest post to help increase exposure for your blog and build links for SEO, some kind of relationship with the blogger helps increase your chances of an affirmative response. The same can be said for landing an interview, or convincing someone to parter with you in a project, or speak at your event. If people know you and like you, generally you get more of what you want.

Relationships are very dynamic things, driven by personalities, so trying to control this aspect of your business is challenging. What you can do, as with all types of relationships in life, is focus on how you can help others.

Being helpful and cheerful, despite circumstances being negative or positive, is the path to opening doors with other people. Working with your strengths obviously makes this process easier, so try and help people by doing things you are good at.

Currently I see the word “platform” being talked about a lot. A platform is an asset that positions you in people’s minds. It gives you a means to first attract attention and then build – you guessed it – relationships, so when it comes time to ask for anything you have enough people paying attention and caring about what you say to get a result.

That’s why I have said, and always will say, that having a blog is a must for any business person. It’s not something everyone has the time or energy to produce, but as a relationship building tool online, and a platform to present yourself and your ideas to others, there is no better resource.

Thanks for reading,

Yaro Starak
Relating

Photo courtesy of Victor1558

About Yaro Starak

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13 Comments

  • Hmm,,,if i look my journey, i’m still a one man show businessman.
    My brother have some affiliate and they did decent action and make decent money, but when become smarter they become our competitor.

    They are now superior, so now i’m not into to have affiliate and train them how to make money, maybe 1 or 2 as my right hand.

  • Yes, I do believe that helping others is important for building Relationships and that your Relationships Network can actually be an Asset that can even have an Impact on your - Networth -

  • This is really powerful. I haven’t heard much good lately about affiliate programs. I could also be looking in the wrong places. Anyways, the concept of building solid relationships is pretty much the key to life and definitely in business.

    Being able to be on the same page with the right people will literally be able to change lives. I’ve witnessed it happen over and over again. And I am sure this “small” group of new members would please anyone in this business, but is not as large as expected.

    Thanks for sharing!
    -Gabe

    • Tom Southern

      Hi Gabe!

      If you’re looking for great affiliate programmes to get started on your journey with, here’s what I’ve found to be true value for money, more so in many cases. “Start A Blog That Matters” by Corbett Barr at ThinkTraffic.

      Gives you strategies for making you find your passion, and then turn it into a business that creates a community centered around a common bond. Perfect compliment to Yaro’s “The Blog Profits Blueprint” and “The Membership Site Masterplan”.

      Check them out.

      Tom

  • Very correctly said relationship is the key to any successful business. And when you help you actually make a deposit and when you ask a favor you are actually withdrawing, without deposit you can not withdraw so help others and build relationships.

  • You’re so right about how important it is to have people feel like they’re helping out someone they like vs. doing something purely for the money.

    Reaching out to start a relationship with an affiliate is something I know scares the hell out of people so I very quickly wanted to share some guidelines on how to do it in a way they appreciate . . .

    Belly to Belly or a Personal Introduction:

    This works best at conventions, seminars, or other gatherings. Or, this is where a juiced in affiliate manager earns their weight in gold when they connect you with the perfect partner.

    Provide Value in Conversations in Forums:

    The rule here is no pitching. Only helping. If you’re helpful it’s inevitable that someone’s gonna ask you what you do and then and only then can you talk about what you do.

    Personalized Emails That Make Love To People’s Eyeballs With Promises Of Riches:

    Canned messages that you’re just cutting and pasting their name into will get dumped. And trust me, they know when it’s cut and paste. You want to do you research and give them a specific reason why you think they’d be the perfect affiliate for this offer. You want to know what they’ve accomplished specifically and compliment them on what you sincerely appreciate about that.

    Affiliates Love Chat More Than Email:

    This could be Skype or any number of other tools you can use to chat. You gotta remember these guys live in front of the monitor so you want to meet them where they’re at.

    Phone or Fedex:

    1 in a 100 people are gonna answer the phone cold. The only way I’d recommend going for phone contact is after you’ve got their attention on a Skype chat or some other chat tool and they’re interested in hearing more about what you offer.

    But for sure one of the ways to break through all the digital clutter is to hit someone with a package. A Fed Ex – The one thing you can guarantee will always get opened. If you’ve got an address this is a sure way to get a look. But make sure what they see when they open the box is enticing. You can give them your product, you can give them a gift, something of that wows them.

    You want to be creative and you want to be persistent. This a common trait of affiliate managers. They don’t quit. They rejoice in the fact that all the other chumps coming at these guys/gals will quit after not getting a return call or email on their first try.

    The one thing that I believe can’t be focused on highly enough is the part you mentioned Yaro about being attentive to their marketing calendar. One of the things you could do is put together a hit list of affiliates you want to go after and send them all a request for their marketing calendar for the year. This shows consideration on your behalf and will save you a TON of time and effort because it prevents you from spending any time going after an affiliate who couldn’t mail for you, even they wanted to because they’re hitting their list with another offer that week.

    These are all things I wish I hadn’t had to learn the hard way and hopefully they’ll prevent at least one person here from being scarred for life as a result of having failed miserably at recruiting affiliates.

  • Hey Yaro,

    Always awesome to see your posts; I’ve followed you for quite some time and I’m always excited about seeing your progress.

    Jeff is an amazing coach; I studied under Alex Jeffreys myself who I’m sure you probably know, also was a student of Jeff, too. It’s amazing how the top IM guys like yourself, Jeff and Alex have real business knowledge and leverage relationships like they are supposed to be leveraged in business.

    I think at the moment there are too many IMers who are using technology to surpass business; and this most of the time will fail. Using common business sense like you have demonstrated and other millionaire marketers demonstrate, is the real key to success in the business.

    A superb way to develop relationships is creating good content for your readers. Readers will appreciate it, and want to follow you because you can provide real value. This is important! This is creating a strong sense of trust and a working relationship between you and your readers, and this will lead to bigger commissions all the time.

    So yes, business to business relationships, as well as business to consumer relationships, are oh so very important to success in this industry.

    Good post.

  • You’ve touched on a very important subject. Thought-provoking, thank you for sharing.

  • Tom Southern

    So true! It’s just another way of putting yourself out there for others.

    Successful blogging is about building community. It’s also about filling the gap between where your community is, and where they want to be.

    Many bloggers starting out forget this second part. But, they’re missing out. Once they do recognise how important filling this gap is, they’re often at a loss as to how to fill it.

    It’s easier than you think.

    If you’re serious about being successful in business, not only do you need to build your community, you need to build it around people with whom you share a big problem with. People you can hang out with and swap frustrations and gripes with.

    Then, you can start to offer that thing that makes *you* the person they need to stick with: The *solution* to that big problem. That means having a solution to offer, and one that you know fixes the problem.

    Next, you need to show them how they can use your solution in the best way for them.

    You need to stick with them too, leading them through their problem into your solution, and out the other side into the success they’ll have using your solution.

    This will help you build your community through relationships that are powerful.

    Tom

  • Yaro

    I’m definitely looking forward to your new product. Yeah every point you state here is what its all about building relationships with solid people. Thats why have me what I call my Network contact book.

  • You are truly right Yaro! Building relationship is the number one key to survive especially if your doing an online business. Through blogging you can reach various people around the world and sharing your expertise, knowledge, encouraging and serving as an inspiration to others are keys to hit their “sweet spot. Cheers:)

  • I love the insight on how internet businesses do launch releases. From my personal experience finding the early adapters for any niche will help. This is a strategy I see alot of internet startups using.

  • Hi Yaro, thank you very much for this article. I think it’s very interesting and useful. Greetings from Barcelona

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