Learning and Building Through Relationships – By Patrick Vesperman

by FeedFront Staff on April 16, 2010

In March of 2009 I was asked by the Marketing Manager here at MagnetStreet, “How would you like to start and run an affiliate marketing program?” My response was, “What’s affiliate marketing?”

He handed me Geno Prussakov’s book, “A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing”, and said, “Read this.” So I did. And, I was hooked. Accordingly, it was the beginning of our program and my entry into affiliate marketing.

One year later, I reflect on the program and all that I’ve learned about affiliate marketing and can boil it all down to one thing: relationships. If it weren’t for relationships, I wouldn’t be actively leading an affiliate program. Rather, I’d most likely be passively watching it fail.

You see, right after I finished Geno’s book, I was inspired to call him and ask for help as I knew I couldn’t start a program by myself. That initial conversation spawned a valuable relationship. To this day, Geno helps me by answering questions, providing suggestions and even warning me about potential mistakes. Although Geno is the primary contributor, I can tell he still values our relationship.

After a few months, I was at a point where I wanted to continue to improve our program but didn’t know how. Melanie Seery with Affiliate Advocacy ended up reaching out and providing me with ways to progress. After talking with Melanie on the phone, we met at Affiliate Summit West. She came right up and gave me a hug. A HUG! Who does that, except someone who values relationships?

Around this same time I met Matt McWilliams at Legacy Learning Systems. I was looking for advice and he responded to one of my questions. He could have emailed me and that would have been that. Instead, he called. He didn’t have to, but because he called, Matt and I continue to correspond and find that we have more in common than just our roles as affiliate managers.

Next, I decided it would be a good idea to ask my affiliates for advice (many of them know much more than I do!). Ratna Venigandla, from RedTagDeals, responded. While at Affiliate Summit West, I met with him and he shook my hand like we were old friends. Ratna provided me with a great perspective as an affiliate. He is a very genuine person and understands the importance of relationships.

Many marketing and business “experts” suggest leveraging your relationships. Don’t. Leveraging is a form of exploitation. Don’t take advantage of your friends; engage with them. Call them. Hug them. Ask for help and provide help without expecting anything in return.

Relationships are more than being Facebook friends or Twitter followers. It’s reaching out with assistance or being humble enough to ask for it. We are created to be in relationships. Human interaction (whether a hug, a genuine handshake or phone or face-to-face conversation) is vital to success in life.

I challenge you to stop leveraging your relationships and start valuing them.

Patrick Vesperman is the Affiliate & Social Media Manager at MagnetStreet and was nominated for Best New Affiliate Manager in 2009 by ABestWeb.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 10 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/29057000/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-10
FeedFront issue 10 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2010/04

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan April 16, 2010 at 11:42 am

Nice article…Relationships are everything in getting affiliate’s to promote your program. Speaking on the phone with affiliate is the best way to really bond and build the relationship. Of course you have to be able to speak knowledgeably and impart effective online marketing strategies when having the call. Affiliate really respond when you can analyze their situation and provide helpful suggestions on being a more effective affiliate marketer.

Patrick April 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for the kind words Evan…you make some good points.

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