I think this is a great forum, and I've found some great affiliates and partners here. You tend to find the new ideas here, before other on-line forums about IM. Also, please note, this isn't really my own thinking - I've just brought it together. I've been lucky enough to work with some amazing business strategies, marketing strategists, and entrepreneurs, and I'm really riding on their coat tails.
My experts expect the financial 'bottom' to be either imminent, or January. These guys have an uncanny knack of spotting market turning points - they call them decision points. But the financial bottom precedes the bottom in the real economy by 6 months to a year...so we have at hand an unprecedented opportunity because the impact will drive wholesale changes to people's lives in that period.
So Here's the How-To (and I'll be 'Internet Brief'):
1) Test, test, test and then capitalize
I'm going to be blunt here, but I've got to squeeze it into one page: You can't tell what will work by looking at it - even if you think you can. Sorry to be the bearer of that news, but market responses are too complex.
So the best way to find out what will work for you is to test. Sign-up for a lot of things, and do tests - and obviously, when you find something that works, pursue it with vigour.
Make sure your sample size is big enough to be representative - so if you've got a list of 3000, try a random 300 to see how they respond. It's very important to track response metrics - how else will you know when something is working.
You can do this because your costs of running a test are close to zero (big business doesn't do this, because it costs them millions to run a test).
As early as you can, figure out what your action is worth in this market - for instance, we believe that in the Executive Rockstar launch a reasonably targeted list will yield $1.50 per contact. So if you've got 3000 contacts, well, you do the sum.
2) Match Message to Market
We're not the only ones thinking of making money in this market - at this time, but we are the tiny minority. Most people are worried about hanging-on to what they've got. Now here's the key: People are much more strongly motivated by fear than greed! So it's a sellers market, provided your messages match their needs.
Again, taken from Executive Rockstar, at the moment, we're not really selling to people about getting promoted - we're selling to people about keeping their jobs. We're not so much selling to entreprenuers about growing their business (except right here), we're selling to them about surviving the recession.
3) Offer Quality
This is even more important right now - especially as so much of what is pushed on-line is pure cr@p. (You know I'm not the first to say it!) It's probably because marketing on the internet has been focussed on the marketing process itself, rather than the lifetime customer relationship value.
Buyers may be highly motivated right now, but they have their rip-off radars tuned to full gain! So make sure that what you're getting involved with is a high quality product, from reputable, experienced people. You can tell from the marketing give-aways - you don't need the whole product. But if the marketing content is focussed on manipulation rather than proof, steer clear.
4) Get or Stay Agile
You hear the term 'learning curve' bandied around a lot these days, but few people actually know what it is, and what it really means - it's about how your capabilities grow by doing something - and the more you do it, the more you learn to do it well. So doing things at high scale and with high frequency have their own rewards to make you more and more capable...and successful.
5) Don't expect to become Partners overnight!
Work together first to see how working together feels. Make some money together. Make sure you see eye-to-eye.
I developed the partnering process for one of the big mobile handset manufacturers - they partner with people like Google and Kodak. Partnering is a process, not an introduction, and it's a process of building trust, establishing, gradually, the rules of the relationship.
And the best way to consolidate a partner relationship is a successful project.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject - all responses are welcome!