If you’ve studied affiliate marketing for any amount of time, then you’ve probably notice that most courses focus on teaching you how to pick a hungry niche, get ‘em on a list, and then give them what they want.

That simple advice will go a long way in helping you become a good affiliate. It’s solid advice. But there’s one thing that many courses and many affiliates overlook…

And that’s the relationship and level of engagement you have with your prospects.

Now I’ve said elsewhere that positioning yourself as an authority is important. However, the second psychological component that triggers sales is based on how much your prospects LIKE you.

You’ve heard people buy from those they know, like and trust…  and that’s absolutely true. Sometimes they even choose to follow people based solely on liking, even if that person otherwise wouldn’t be their first choice as an expert or leader.

Take politics as an example. Political consultants spend a lot of time and energy transforming their candidates into likable people.

You see, it doesn’t matter if the candidate has the best policy ideas, is a strong leader, and has the management skills needed to be effective. If the candidate isn’t likeable, there’s a good chance he or she won’t be elected.

So suddenly you see candidates dressed in jean and work shirts with their sleeves rolled up. You see photos of them drinking a beer with the locals, or playing some sport. You might even see them volunteering at a charitable organization. And all of these things are done for photo ops, to humanize the candidate and make people like him or her.

Point is, this stuff is important. And once you really take it to heart, you’re going to see your affiliate checks grow.

Let me give you a couple real life examples of people who cashed in on their likability and the engagement they have with their audience…

Take Oprah Winfrey as an example. Whenever she announced her new pick for her book club, the author of that pick become a bestseller overnight. Likewise, anyone who sold a product that ended up on Oprah’s “My Favorites” list was assured of making a huge bundle of cash, because Oprah’s recommendation moved products like crazy.

Now we have Mark Zuckerberg doing something similar. He launched a book club in 2015, and right off the bat his very first pick went temporarily out of stock on Amazon because of high demand. Like Oprah, Zuckerberg’s influence can generate gobs of sales on any product he recommends.

One more example… when the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton wears a particular dress or hat out in public, that clothing style sells out and the designer becomes famous overnight. She doesn’t even have to recommend it. All she has to do is wear it or carry it, and she creates a flurry of sales.

Now here’s a little mindset tweak I want you to consider…

A lot of people who become familiar with an influencer like Oprah start thinking about how they can get Oprah or Zuckerberg or some influencer in their niche to recommend their website or products to these influencers’ massive audiences.

Imagine Zuckerberg posting your link on his Facebook wall. Imagine what would happen if Oprah tweeted your link to her tens of millions of followers.

That would be cool, right?

For sure.

But let’s turn this idea on its head…

Imagine instead if YOU were the Oprah or Zuckerberg of your niche.

That’s right, YOU’RE the one with the engaged audience. You’re the one everyone seeks out because you can turn products into bestsellers with just one tweet. You’re the one with all the power and respect.

Instead of seeking out influencers to lift your business up, now you’re the one whose star power lifts everyone else up when you choose to do so.

If that sounds good to you, then listen up as I share with you a few tips for creating this sort of awesome power for yourself…

First, you need to build familiarity. That’s because liking and familiarity go hand in hand. A good way to do this is to use multichannel marketing so that you’re everywhere your prospects visit in your niche.  You’ll also want to publish your newsletter and post to your blog at least weekly. Keep yourself in front of your audience to build familiarity, and liking will be a natural end result.

Second, you need to give people access to you. People can’t really like you if you hide yourself behind corporate logos.  Don’t be afraid to post your photo online, use your real name, post videos of you talking about something, and interact with people on social media. You can even share your passions, hobbies and other tidbits from your personal life with people.

Take a look at Virgin founder Richard Branson. He makes himself available and even shows vulnerability by sharing some of his mistakes. Same with Oprah, as she revealed her past which was colored with pain, poverty and abuse. Or look at entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who’s blog is very personable. Another good example is Seth Godin, who doles out marketing advice on his blog.

These people are worth millions and even billions of dollars, and yet they are accessible, and at times even vulnerable to their audiences. It may just be this accessibility and vulnerability that helps cement their likability.

The third tip for helping build an engaged audience is that you need to create a brand and then build brand recognition.

The point here is that you need to put out a consistent message, and building a brand will help you do this. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time getting that likability factor if you seem scattered and unpredictable.

Secondly, a good brand is built on emotion. When people look at your brand, they feel something. This is an important part of the sales process, which is why a familiar brand can help with engagement and sales.

Third, a good brand builds trust. And as you already know, people buy from those they know, like and trust.

Another good way to build an engaged audience is to make people feel like they belong.

Psychologists know that people like to belong. In fact, this is a deeply ingrained part of our psyche. Going back thousands of years, we all needed our tribes to survive. If you didn’t belong to a tribe, you’d probably die in the jaws of a hungry bear or at the hands of an angry tribe after you made a joke about the chief’s mama.

Today we still deeply crave a feeling of belonging. Take a look at what’s going on around the world – kids who’re bullied commit suicide. That’s because they feel like they don’t belong.

I don’t care what you’re selling, you can tap into this desire to belong by creating a group based on your brand, where your prospects and customers feel special simply because they belong to this group.

Sports fans are a good example of this. They even dress themselves up and advertise that they belong to a particular group, such as their favorite basketball, rugby or football team.

Another example of this are brands like Chevy, Ford and Ferrari, where enthusiasts are very passionate about their car, to the extent that they wear clothing advertising the brands.

Other examples include religious organizations, political affiliations, and those who’re members of a hobbyist group. Just look at gamers – they have an entire culture. Or look at people who smoke e-cigarettes – they do meet ups just to get together to talk about their hobby. Another example is the science fiction fan who lives and breathes sci-fi all year long, but especially during conventions.

So here’s the point…

Don’t sit around and wait for your prospects and customers to organize themselves into groups, or you might be old and gray before it happens. Instead, encourage them to organize by providing an online spot for them to get together, such as your website or a Facebook group.

Let them know how special they are to belong to this group.

Give them an identity, such as a special name for them. 

For example, Oprah refers to the spiritual segment of her audience as Supersoulers. Another example is the marketing forum called the “Warrior Forum,” where members are referred to as Warriors.

Another thing you can do is create traditions or cultivate a culture based on belonging to this group. For example, you might use some jargon known only to your members. Knowing this jargon makes people feel special and gives them that sense of belonging they crave.

Finally, one last tip for engaging your audience is to entertain them with funny, unique, controversial, conversational, or otherwise entertaining content.

This is where authority and liking come together to create great results.

If you have authority in your niche, then people will check your blog often to see what’s new. Now if you entertain your audience, then people are more likely to like you. And when they like you, there’s a better chance they’ll buy something from you… even if they really didn’t intend to buy something or if they didn’t even want to buy something.

Have you ever had someone you really liked, a good friend, talk you into buying something? Maybe they talked you into going out for dinner with them, going to a movie you weren’t all that thrilled about or even joining a gym with them.

In some cases you may not have wanted these things for yourself, but when someone you really like talks to you about them, you listen. And when you listen, you can be persuaded.

Same with your audience. If they like you and respect you, they’ll listen to you. If you entertain them with engaging content, they’ll hang on your every word.

Together, these factors make it a whole lot easier for you to persuade folks to buy your thingamajigs and who-zee-whats-its.

Now here’s the clincher…

If you’ve created a culture and a sense of belonging among your prospects and customers, then they’ll buy your recommendations just to continue feeling like they belong.

Take a look at Apple as an example of this. Some people who purchase Apple products purchase them to the exclusion of any other brand. There is a cool, hip culture of belonging associated with Apple. So every time Apple puts out a new product, people snap it up because they want to belong to this culture of Apple fans.

See the power here? Create belonging, create liking, build respect… and you can become the powerful Oprah or Mark Zuckerberg of your niche.

I’ll let you go now so you can ponder this for awhile, because these simple ideas you just learned about are game changers.

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