While you likely decided to embark on the journey of setting up your own e-commerce site to be independent, you will never be completely alone in any business endeavor, or in life, which is a great thing! Having business relationships with affiliates can help your business grow, and can also be used as networking to pull in future customers. Affiliates are everywhere: the companies and people you buy supplies or inventory from, the banker you use for your finances, and so on. Finding loyal affiliates is essential and sometimes tricky; below are three of the best ways to find and keep loyal affiliates.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
With a few exceptions, sometimes getting your supplies from a huge warehouse is not always the best option. If you buy your inventory complete and you aren't hand-making or assembling anything, the same is true. For instance, in the jewelry business, Fire Mountain Gems is a huge warehouse and they are a truly great resource for quality, cost effective jewelry supplies. However, the chances are that they probably don't know you by name. The bead store down the street run by members of the community, though, will shake your hand and say "the usual stock?" when you walk in. While being cost effective is certainly key, you have to think of the big picture, too. If you are purchasing supply or inventory at a low cost but from someone who doesn't know you from the next customer, you are only saving money at the time for your purchase. However, when you purchase from the small business down the street, they know you, and since they're in your industry, they know other customers in the industry and can send business your way. This is invaluable. When searching for truly loyal affiliates, start small and work up from there. Some of the smallest suppliers will be your biggest allies and champions.
The Flattery Factor
The best thing you can do when you find a good affiliate, be it a supplier, a banker, a tax consultant, or your broker, is to refer them to someone else you know. If your supplier is just outstanding, refer them to another small business owner who could use their services. Did your tax consultant save you a lot of time and trouble? Refer them to another small business owner you know. Referring others to your affiliates is a great way to build that relationship, and it's also a fairly good guarantee that they will also refer business your way. Connections are everything, and the best way to obtain loyal affiliates is to be loyal to them first and refer others to them.
On Facebook, of course. Linking to your affiliates that have a social media presence is the best thing you can do. Why? Because everyone in the industry that is closely related to your line of work that they know will now be able to see you, as well. Social media is a great way of connecting to potential clients and customers, referring business to each other, and also to keep up with your affiliates. When you are connected via social media, and you take the time to keep up with them, at least a quick glance per day, it builds a relationship with them so that you become almost like a friend. This is the best thing you can have happen, because we all want to help our friends out, so referrals to your business will likely come from these affiliates. Keeping them loyal and being loyal in return can be facilitated in a large degree by social media. It also allows you to walk into the store or place of business the next time you see them and say "Hey how did your mom's vacation go?". When affiliates know you are interested in them, they are likely to be loyal to and interested in you and your business, as well.
Regardless of the nature of your online business, you will have associates of some kind. Don't just limit these relationships to business relationships that only deal with your area of expertise. Your nail and hair stylists, your friend who is a real estate agent, and many of the people you see and deal with in your personal life can be great generators of business, as well. Additionally, having the friendships and relationships you can build by using these tips is so beneficial. Working from home, or on your own, can get a little lonely at times, and keeping yourself connected to loyal affiliates and friends is essential to keeping in touch with the "real world". After all, that's where your customers and affiliates comes from! Stay connected and watch the loyalty grow!
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Lina Stakauskaite works at Click2Sell (www.click2sell.eu) Affiliate Programs Network. Click2Sell.EU provides you all the merchant tools with a built in affiliate network to sell your digital, material or subscription based products. Run affiliate program, 100% control and manage all your affiliates. Accept payments, control refunds, customers and run your affiliate marketing business successfully. Sell Downloads at Click2Sell (www.click2sell.eu).
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