More Meaningful Marketing, Part 9

We're on to the last two topics in this series. Today is affiliate marketing.

An affiliate is just a person or a business that you connect with short or long term and each of you benefit from the process. An example on the Internet is like the left side of our blog where there are links to some companies that we use and enjoy and so we help promote them on our site because we use them and believe in them and they also send us a small commission if a person clicks and buys. Fair trade. We promote our favorite partners, they reward us if someone comes to them through us. Simple. These are on most Internet sites and especially apparent on large draw sites like MSN or AOL. Google does it as well. The more traffic to your site, the bigger the potential is.

What I am referring to for the dealer, is not the Internet, although this can certainly be done on dealership websites. What I am referring to is partnering with other suppliers that can create a sharing of prospects and ultimately sending business to one another--on purpose. We wouldn't be looking for a commission from them for a prospect we send them that buys, but we would love to have them sending us interested prospects that buy from us. There is the exchange of value.

We get into legal issues in the car business in certain states where paying other people money for a referral is concerned. I'm not suggesting this. Instead, they are just referring people to us as an affiliate; that is, like a happy customer would do, only on purpose as part of doing business. So, some examples might be in order.

I would suggest that companies that are either suppliers to you now or are in associated products would work best. An example would be a boat company. Work out a deal where you put one of your vehicles at the boat place to show off their products and promote yours and the same at your place. You actively promote each other as part of your own selling strategy. This is not just a static product display, but more along the lines of a partnership in marketing. Think of how many partners you could have in this. Get four, five, six of these going and the word spreads nicely. You get to show off your product, they get to show off theirs in a different way as well.

Here's another: What about your favorite camper shell, truck accessories dealer? You can put a sweet looking truck on display with a nice shell and carpet kit and they can create a marketable display on your lot. Most shells just clamp on, so there's no holes being drilled. It's a great trade.

Here's an even bolder idea with the truck accessories dealer. Create some great space in or near your retail parts area and work a deal with the accessories dealer to partner in selling much of their product through your operation. They supply the inventory and training, you get commissions on the sales--but the real key is not making the money on the product, but creating better relationships with your customers and finding new ways to serve them. In addition, it is a way to create new customers that may come in for an accessory and end up buying that raised 4x4 you've got all decked out on the showroom. The ideas are endless of what you can do here.

Another is the commercial trailer dealer. There's a lot of business to be shared here. It makes a great deal of sense with your commercial truck operation.

Think of some other businesses that you can create affiliate marketing with. Think of the prospects and relationships you're building for the future. It is another way to create business that is not coming into the dealership on their own. That's a good thing.

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