8 Meaningful Ways to Connect with Your “Competition”

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Yesterday we talked about why you want to make your competitors your friends and we promised to be back with ideas for making more meaningful connections, so let’s get to that. It’s time to forget “Likes”, “Shares” and “Retweets” (they’re superficial communication)…we’re talking real relationships.

The key here is to step up to offer REAL help to your fellow online business rather than ask them for a favor or to get stuck in the rut of the usual social media banter. And most importantly, when you’re ready to offer that help, come with a plan to the table…don’t just ask how you can help them? Do your research, anticipate their needs and offer them a solution.

First Things First…Never Go Blind!

We can tell you, from personal experience, if you don’t have a plan, you’ll get ignored. We get a lot of requests from people we have never heard of. We’re happy to work with new people, but if they simply ask us, “How can I help you?” or say something like “I really think we could work well together,” without any specifics, they’ll get passed up.

By asking your new connection to figure out what it is you should do together, you put the onus on them. You’re asking them to do the work when, if you want to create a new relationship, you should already have the solution.

So do your homework. Understand your new connection’s business, get to know their audience and understand what would be helpful to them. Once you have that figured out, use some of the following ideas to connect…

1. Guest Post

Don’t just say you want to write for their blog. Read their blog, know what makes their readers tick and create a post just for them. Having a completed and polished product that they can post right away makes it easy for your new connection to say yes. And the more targeted the post is for their audience, the more grateful they’ll be for your help.

2. Interview Them

Got a podcast? Invite them on as a guest for more exposure. Or put together a special webinar, showcasing their expertise. When you interview, be sure to offer your guest the full rights to the audio and transcript, so they can use it in their own products, share it with their audience and more. Not only do you give them more exposure through the interview, but they have quality ready-to-use content they can use how they see fit.

3. Offer a Bonus

Look at the products they’re selling and see if you can create a very targeted and valuable bonus for their customers. The bonus will be branded with your information and the product seller gets to beef up the value of their product and wow their customers.

HINT: You don’t always have to start from scratch and you may have something you can offer, but do take some time to cater it specifically to your new friend’s target customer.

4. Provide a Viewpoint

Show your new connection that you’ve put some thought into what they have to say and that you appreciate the hard work they put into their content. Leave meaningful comments that engage them in a discussion. Create new posts on your own site that link to their content and provide a new perspective. When people see that you have something to say and are able to look at ideas critically, you’re more likely to get their attention.

5. Attend an In-Person Event

Whether it’s a seminar across the country or a local Meetup you sign up for (can’t find one, make one!), meeting people face to face is one of the best ways to solidify a relationship. Get out there and be active.

6. Do Well in their Affiliate Program

One of the first things to do when you want to develop a new relationship is to join your connection’s affiliate program – but that’s NOT enough. Work hard to sell their products. Send out emails, add promotions to your autoresponder, add them to your back end and more. Product sellers notice when someone new is bringing in a nice stream of sales.

7. Offer Free Valuable Stuff to Their Audience

If you’ve got a terrific product that you think their audience will benefit from, why not give it for free? If your product line or funnel is in place, you can afford to give it away and then sell them more products on the backend. Your new connection will be happy to make such an exclusive offer for an awesome product to their audience.

Can’t afford to give it away completely free to everyone? In that case, you could do a contest or sweepstakes…just make sure the prize is very valuable.

8. Invite Them to a Mastermind

Do you belong to a mastermind group? Invite them in.

Don’t have a mastermind group? Why not create one?

All you need is a small group of like-minded people, a place to meet (online is fine) at regular interviews. People like to be a part of something exclusive and the implications of a mastermind group is that only the best of the best are invited.

Make it a Habit

The key is to do these types of things regularly. Make it a goal to do at least one per week and you’ll be growing your connections immensely in no time.

Just realize that just doing a guest blog post for someone doesn’t make you BFFs. However, it does open the door for more conversations and working together in other capacities. So do follow up and keep in touch…it’s how relationships grow in the real and virtual world.

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