Community Marketing For Affiliates

Community networking is all about promoting your business/product/service in a community setting in online communities like Ryze, Yahoo, Direct Match, My Space, Circle of Friends and other forums that have like minded people and marketers in them. You can do community networking in just about any online group. Your goal, plain and simple, is to talk to people about what you have to offer.

You can find people by doing searches and contacting them based on the information in their profiles. It sometimes takes a bit of work to find people’s e mail addresses, but with Googling and cross checking on the Net, the people you would like to talk to can be found. If you know they are already online marketers (or not), and then gage your approach accordingly.

Community networking can accomplish business development, sales, general marketing, recruiting, job-hunting, knowledge exchange, strategic alliances, joint ventures etc. Business development and community networking are closely related.

Community networking is about partnerships. You are striving for a coming together, or meeting of the minds. You want to explore the relationship to see if it can be mutually beneficial, and if the answer is yes, then you work together to make that happen. It is always easier and less threatening to talk about partnering rather than purchasing something.

The relationships you are working on developing are an end, not just a means to an end. However, despite the relationship aspects of your approach to your prospect, your ultimate goal is still a sale of some sort.

The traditional point of view for the sales relationship you have with prospects is that the success of any sales person is measured in sales, not relationships. That’s what’s wrong with most traditional online marketing approaches. The relationship part is missing. People delete marketing messages from people they don’t know, and don’t have a relationship with. If on the other hand you do have a relationship chances are they will always open email from you. That is why your focus needs to be on the relationship itself and not just the short-term objective of a sale.

What other things can you be doing to establish a relationship while you are community networking? Research your market, and listen more than you talk. Marketing groups are usually really candid with their opinions about things. This is valuable information for you.

Be viewed as an expert in your field and this will give you more social standing and greater access to your audience. Speak up and out in a forum, blog, mailing list, and reach untold numbers of people. Talk about what you know the best, and if you make it original or thought provoking, you’ll be quoted and linked to. That is great exposure! By the way, while you are at it, include your business name/site/blog link in every signature in every email, every Web transaction your do and in every profile you create. Invaluable exposure.

Word-of-mouth spreads like wildfire through social networks. Make use of that fact when community networking and you will soon have the world beating a path to your door to find out what you have to offer.

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