When I was finishing up my undergraduate work about five years ago, I kept hearing the same word: Networking. To be honest I kind of grew sick of hearing it and ultimately thought that I was above networking and that my degree would be all I needed in finding a job. The swift lesson I learned soon thereafter was that my thinking couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The bottom line is this:

The success you have in your professional life is forged by the people you know and the relationships you build

Do you have to know Bill Gates to get a good job in the high tech sector? No, but the point is that it never hurts to make a contact and get to know someone. By maintaining good relationships with lots of people in your field you put yourself in a better position to be more successful.

How Does Networking Apply to Affiliates?

Networking might be one of the most important things you do as you enter the world of internet marketing and affiliate programs. As a beginner you will need the input of experienced veterans to steer you in the right direction. Their advice is valuable and a relationship forged with someone like an experienced affiliate can be priceless. Most likely, as you begin your endeavor as an affiliate, your mind is full of ideas and things that you hope will make you money. Some ideas are great and worth keeping quiet, while others need to be talked about and critiqued. Many times you’ll find that you’re not the first person to come up with a particular marketing strategy. So why not harness the power of experienced veterans to help you refine and perfect your idea?

Where Do I get Started with Networking?

Despite its vital importance to your overall plan as an online marketer, the very nature of the business you have chosen makes networking relatively easy. The Internet will be your most powerful tool in successfully networking as an affiliate. A great place to start is right here at affiliateprograms.com. The forums on this website are home to some of the internets best marketers and affiliates. These and other forums like it will be your frontline for affiliate networking. The only way to learn is to jump right in and start reading and posting. As you read others posts and put up posts of your own you will start to learn about the other members and see how they can help you build your affiliate business. Here are a few tips for using popular affiliate forums to network:

  1. Read as much as you can: Before you start posting questions and seeking relationships, take some time to really dig into the forum and get some information about the members. You’re not only seeking information on the members, but you’re taking in vital information that you will need to be a successful affiliate. Most topics you can think of have probably been covered on a forum at one time or another.
  2. Search for topics you have questions on: By searching the forum for topics that you are interested in you will start to build a picture of other marketers who might share your interests and have experienced the same things. The posters you see while searching for topics of interest will provide you with a good idea of who you might be able to look to in the future for advice or help.
  3. Be courteous and professional: Although you may not be to the point where Internet marketing is your sole source of income, many people who post on affiliate forums have reached that point. This is how they feed their families and it is no different than a job at Microsoft. Remember to be professional and courteous in all your postings and messages. Trust me; it will pay off.
  4. Use private messages to ask questions and forge relationships: As your knowledge of affiliating grows and your business grows, you will want to speak directly with experienced affiliates. The private message feature of most forums is a perfect way to get more information than a forum post alone could provide. Most affiliates are driven people that love to share and exchange ideas. A professionally written question to an experienced member will almost always get a very helpful response and more importantly, a chance to really get to know someone powerful in a field you are interested in.
  5. Create a signature: A signature is something you create or modify in your member settings at each forum. It allows you to create a small message that will display with every post you make. Signatures are important because you can use them to show other members what you have to offer. For example, if you have a degree in English you may want to put in your signature that you provide proofreading services for a nominal fee. Certainly an excellent way to build relationships with other affiliates and a great way to make some extra cash in the mean time.

What are some other ways I can build relationships as an affiliate?

You will find as you begin your career in Internet marketing that there are many important people that keep popping up. “Affiliate manager” might be a term you that you keep hearing. The reason you keep hearing about affiliate managers is because they are your direct contact at each of the affiliate programs you are enrolled with. Whether you are an affiliate for dating services or for motorcycle parts, there is most likely an affiliate manager for the various companies you are affiliating for.

It is crucial to form a positive and informed relationship with your affiliate managers

Affiliate managers are vital to your success as an Internet marketer. They have a vested interest in your success as an affiliate. They are usually very experienced as internet marketers and are a true wealth of knowledge. Your affiliate managers are also important in that they can provide you with pretty much anything you need to help your promotions and marketing efforts. If you are promoting a dating service and can’t find a banner that you like or you need some HTML written for a text link, your affiliate manager can almost always help in these kinds of situations. Never be afraid to email or call your affiliate manager. Remember, their livelihood and success as an affiliate manager is tied directly to your success! In addition, your affiliate manager can be an excellent place to start if you are looking to talk with other affiliates in your industry that may be able to offer a helping hand.

Here are a few other people to build relationships with:

  • Other webmasters: Obviously you will run into a lot of webmasters by being an active member of various affiliate forums but that doesn’t mean you have to limit your contact to just those. A well written professional email to a webmaster certainly can invoke a response and if done properly the results will almost always be positive. As you grow your business, relationships with other webmasters will be critically important. They can provide vital linking partnerships and could be potential partners for future projects
  • Local business owners: Never be afraid to bring your online marketing efforts to the grass roots level. Local business owners are usually willing to hear you out if your idea is sound, professional and most importantly mutually beneficial. Here is an example: Let’s say you have a website that provides information about home owners insurance and you promote various insurance products on your website. Ask the local home improvement warehouse if they would be interested in receiving some free flyers or promotional mailers if you could simply put a small ad about your website on them. Offer to cover the costs of the mailers and come to the table with some good promotional ideas for their business.
  • Friends and Family: This one is obvious but shouldn’t be overlooked. You don’t have to sell things to your own family but there is no reason to keep it quiet that you’re an online marketer. Spread the word about your new career path and I can almost guarantee you will find that there is someone you already know that can in some way or another help out your online marketing efforts. Whether they simply tell some more friends about your business or actually know someone who is involved in your industry it can only lead to more contacts and more opportunities to network

Almost anyone who has become successful as an online marketer will tell you that they couldn’t have done it by themselves. Somewhere along the way they have met someone who offered immeasurable help to their affiliate business. The point is there is no reason to try and do this by yourself when there are so many successful affiliates out there who are willing and ready to help you out. If you seek out relationships with the right people, ask the right questions and maintain the utmost in professionalism, you can’t go wrong.