In my previous article (“Internet marketing techniques alone will not get you ahead of the pack”), I stressed that your network relationships is one of your key competitive advantage that can pull you ahead of the pack. If you can form strategic alliances with important people or brands in (or related to) your niche, it can provide a turbo boost to growing your business.
One of the ways to do that is to foster relationships with experts. Once you have established strong relationships with them, good things can happen. For example, you can make mutually beneficial deals. Or they can lead you to other people who can help you. Or they may propose joint venture with you. Or… you get my drift…
To do that, the first step is to initiate contact. But I can tell you, chances are, you will be ignored, especially if you contact via email. So, what can you do? One good option is to buy their product, or in the case of a service business, be their client. As their customer, you are instantly elevated in the level of importance in their world. When that happens, your queries and contacts are more likely to be responded (no guarantees though).
Even better still, if you can show them that you have some level of influence, clout and authority (e.g. you own a blog, have lots of followers in your social media profile), they are even more likely to respond. They have to consider the possibility that if you become a disgruntled customer, your complaints may become viral through your followers in social media; your critical review of their products/services on your search-optimised blog can become a permanent black mark on their business on the Internet. Conversely, if you become one of their happy customers, your glowing praise of their business may spread further through your influence. Therefore, in your communications with them, make sure that you are able to show your level of influence conspicuously—it can be as simple as a link to your Facebook page on an email or some innocuous reference to your “followers” or a passing mention of your blog. If they are well-versed in Internet marketing, they will know that your experience with them will form the Zero-Moment-of-Truth (ZMOT) of their future clients or customers. But please bear in mind that the purpose of parading your influence is not for manipulating or making threats. Instead, it is to help you not to get ignored so that you can form positive and mutually-beneficial relationships with them.
In short, sometimes, it is worth buying products just to foster a relationship with an expert.