If you are interested in pairing your informational product with one or more physical products, chances are you will need to find products that can be easily ordered over the Internet, and also have a clear and concise connection to your information product.

For example, if your information product has to do with conducting business meetings, you would want to partner with vendors who provided services that had something to do with the meeting process.

For example, you may want to consider becoming an independent agent for an audio conference call bureau. Along with marketing your own informational product, you could also pick up teleconferencing clients who visit your site, like your product and find they would like to try holding meetings via an audio conference.

Many conference call bureaus offer agents a customized URL that will take prospects to a sign up page that is associated with the agent. Thus, the client gets to set up their own account with the conference bureau, but you as the agent get credit for the sale and any resulting commissions from their activity.

At the same time, you may also find that an alliance with a vendor who supplies conference room tables and supplies might be a good fit. Once again, creating a branded link from your advertising web site over to the vendor's online store will help generate traffic for them, and you will get credit for the sale.

Another potential vendor alliance would be with companies that produce conference room audio equipment. Many of these vendors also make good use of vendors and can easily create customized links that can be dropped on your web site.

People read your information, order it, and then notice that they can also be redirected to a site to look at speakerphones for a conference room. You may money with the sale of your information product, and also realize a return off the sale of a speakerphone via the branded link.

Finding all these wonderful vendors who want to set up a marketing strategy with you will take some careful investigation.

First, you need to be able to establish the legitimacy of the vendor.

What type of track record does the vendor have with processing orders in a timely manner?

Does the vendor sell quality products?

What can you find out about delivery methods?

How does the vendor provide quality customer support to people who purchase products from them?

Keep in mind that your reputation and your credibility will be tied back to that of any link that is found on your web site and associated in some manner with your information product. Shoddy products, poor customer service, and limited shipping options will all reflect not only on the vendor, but also on you.

For this reason, you want to find out everything you can about the vendor before you ever begin to promote any type of relationship between you and the supplier.

Of course, there are also a number of private branding opportunities to be found on the Internet as well. You may find that you want to gear your information products toward a particular sector of the retail consumer market, such as in the case of health foods or herbal supplements. Along with your written products, you may want to offer the convenience of a privately branded online health food store.

There are actually several vendors who offer this type of arrangement. With most of them, you are able to take a generic store front that is already stocked with products, use the owner control features that are granted to you as part of the total package, and set your own retail rates for the items included in the store. Orders placed online are routed to a central fulfillment house, which handles the preparation and shipment of the order, as well as processing the payment.

In return for marketing the online store through your web site and other means, you get the difference between the retail price you set for the item and the wholesale price that is charged by your vendor. Generally, companies who offer this type of private branded online store also provide the reseller with online access, so it is easy to monitor the number of orders and get an idea of what items are selling well.

One of the easiest ways to begin your search for these types of opportunities is to conduct a keyword search using phrases such as "online store," "agent," "reseller," and a keyword that is closely associated with the subject matter of your information product. This can help you find opportunities that will be worth investigating.

As part of the process of your evaluation, make sure to look for online consumer reports about the parent company that handles the order fulfillment and stocks the shelves of your online store. Just as with agent opportunities, you need to be concerned about how the standard operating practices of your retail vendor partner will reflect on you and your efforts to build a viable business.

Look for companies that appear to have a high level of customer satisfaction, are not the frequent subjects of complaints, and appear to provide features that will allow you to easily develop a marketing campaign to promote the store.

It is important that you take your time in researching these opportunities. Don't be lured in by gimmicks that offer you some extra incentive if you sign up today. In the long run, that can be costly to both your reputation and your finances.

Instead, do your homework and create a list of potential vendor partners whose products you can represent and offer with full confidence.

Then, do some market testing. Begin with a simple effort, such as having friends or family check over the product offerings and get their opinions about the pricing, sizes, and range of products that are offered. What you are looking for is not only positive feedback, but also constructive criticism. Chances are that if your friends spot some liabilities associated with the product offerings, others will feel the same way.

This may be enough to convince you to look for other opportunities. However, if you feel strongly about the chances of succeeding with that vendor product line, you at least will have the chance to address those concerns in any information products you create that speak directly or indirectly to the product line.

Before launching an official and public relationship, you may also want to place a few orders yourself and see how things go. This will help you get familiar with the ordering process, so that in the event you are contacted by someone who is interested in how to place an order, you can respond based on your experience.

Second, this will allow you to inspect a few of the products first hand, and thus be assured of the general quality of the goods that are sold. Last, you will have the opportunity to test drive the vendor partner online tools, make sure you understand how they work, and can interact with their customer support team on any questions you have.

If you find that the responses you get are either both canned and ineffectual, or that there seems to be an unacceptable lag in how long it takes to get a response to any of your queries, this is a sure sign that you need to sever the relationship and look elsewhere.

You can rest assured that if the vendor takes a casual approach to communicating with a partner, there is not much chance of them being in a big hurry to interact with anyone who purchased goods from the online store.

The main rule of thumb about locating potential vendor partners for online sales to support your information product is to keep your focus. Make sure that whatever arrangements you make with a vendor; their offerings have a clear and supportive connection to your product.

Also, make sure you select a vendor partner that knows how to deliver both the goods and high quality customer care. If you manage to find all these qualities, then there is an excellent chance of consistent and continual success for both you and your partner.

To Your Success

Tony Markx

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  1. Anonymous October 28, 2008 at 7:47 AM  

    Great post man, lots of detail and very solid tips.