If you want to grow your business online, chances are you’ve heard a time or two that having a list of names and emails is the key to big success.
And you may also have heard that enlisting the help of joint venture (JV) partners or affiliates to promote you is the way to grow that list.
But, the problem is, if you don’t have a list to begin with, it’s very difficult to find JVs or affiliates who want to play with you.
So if no one will promote you, how do you grow your list?
Frustrating, isn’t it?
But all is not lost! I’m here to tell you it IS possible to attract top JVs and affiliates even if you don’t have that elusive big list.
So to start, the first thing you have to understand is what JVs and affiliates are looking for when they agree to promote another entrepreneur’s products, programs or services. Typically, they’re looking for 2 things:
1. A check (affiliate commissions and maybe an affiliate prize — but since everyone offers affiliate commissions, this isn’t something you can really compete with — people are expecting to be paid).
2. Exposure to a new community so they too can grow their list, their visibility and their biz.
It’s the second one that’s the problem child — and most people view the JV/affiliate arrangement as tit for tat — you send an email to your list about me and I’ll send an email to my list about you. And if there’s a discrepancy in list sizes, then the one with the bigger list will probably bow out of the deal.
But, who says the only option to promote someone is via a list?
This is where it’s possible to offer someone exposure and visibility just by getting a little creative. And here are 5 ways to get you started (but by no means should you limit yourself to these; feel free to let your creativity soar).
1. Start a podcast, Internet radio show (like Blog Talk Radio), your own TV show on YouTube or a Google Hangout and offer to interview your potential JV partners. Now, important caveat: do NOT offer to interview them and then expect them to send an email out about their interview. Remember, this is YOUR substitution for sending out a list email. So YOU need to take care of the promotion — which is why I recommend posting your show on a platform like iTunes or Blog Talk Radio, because the platform itself can help you attract listeners. This isn’t you just hosting a call and interviewing someone; this is about you bringing a promotional vehicle to the partnership table.
2. Start an iTunes magazine. If you’re intrigued by the idea of publishing your own magazine, this may be perfect for you. iTunes has a digital newsstand, and you can digitally publish a magazine that you can read on your iPhone or iPad. Now this may be a bit more complicated (you’ll need a graphics person along with other articles) but this could end up being a great way to promote yourself along with promoting your partners.
3. Put together a compilation book for Kindle. Two of the hottest places to find ideal prospects is iTunes (which is I brought up podcasts and iTunes magazine) and Amazon/Kindle. So what about creating your own Kindle ebook and asking your partners to contribute a chapter? Now if you’re doing this for partnership I wouldn’t ask for money but instead ask them to help you promote it (unlike #1, it is possible to ask for some promoting help in return for being in a book because there’s a perceived higher value of being in a book). Now this will cost you too — you’ll have to get it designed and edited/proofed — but again there are promotional opportunities for you beyond simply promoting your partners.
4. Build a blog that rocks. Why not create a hot blog that gets great SEO (search engine optimization) and offer to promote someone on your blog? They can provide a guest article, or you could interview them, or a combination of the two. A lot of entrepreneurs really don’t have great SEO traffic to their site (they’re relying on other methods to build their list — paid traffic or JV launches or speaking) so this is something you can offer that’s not in their marketing mix and hence makes it more valuable. (Plus you can reap the benefits of building your own list with the traffic coming to your site.)
5. Create an amazing social networking community. Now when I say this, I don’t mean you have a few hundred followers and not much action when you tweet or post something. That’s what a lot of entrepreneurs already have and they don’t need that from you. What I’m talking about is having an ultra-responsive social networking community who listens and follows you, and who actually will click on links you post. That’s something valuable that potential partners will respect and appreciate.
So what are your thoughts? Did I get the creative juices flowing? Love to hear what this sparked for you and what you’re going to do to build a community.