Thursday, August 23, 2007

Online Marketing Survival Skills for the MLMer

We've all heard stories about the teenage kid who builds an online marketing empire. Overnight. In his bedroom. In between playing XBox 360 and doing his homework. Or the network marketer who builds a massive organization from zero in just 90 days using the internet. (Funny they never say HOW they did it....they just "showed the plan" more). Like other eager beavers, I entered online marketing with visions of massive opt-in lists in just 30 days....generated for free! It didn't happen quite that way.

Your web presence builds if you keep at it. Online marketing is absolutely the best way to build your network marketing business for the long term. Not everybody wants to do the old "warm market" thing. Not everyone has a Rolodex of contacts. Marketing MLM online levels the playing field.

Here are a few things I learned in navigating the online marketing jungle.

When it comes to marketing online, remember that the 'net is like a river. Go with the flow. Things change. HOW you get the word out will change. Bet on it, and don't get locked into any one method. Some folks use off line advertising and use their website or system just for presenting and training. Others prospect online exclusively. Most do a combination of the two.
Outsourcing (paying someone else) may be very wise. Almost every type of online marketing can be outsourced. Buying leads is a form of outsourcing.

There are some things, like article marketing, blogging and forums that keep your link alive for years. You can pay to have others write your articles and blog entries - some go as cheap as $8/article. You still have full copyright privileges.

Things like social networking (thousands of sites for that) are basically the same kind of prospecting and meeting people online that you do offline. The only downside to some of these sites, is that it's you and a zillion other network marketers fishing in the same spot. The communication often becomes trading opportunity pitches. Still there are hundreds of thousands of forums. Find one you enjoy. Share. Participate. Build relationships and trust. Your customer and distributor base will grow.

Most MLM companies offer replicating websites for their distributors. Most are poorly designed, difficult to navigate and don't have capture forms. In short, I wouldn't market my MLM replicating site. Instead I would build a capture or landing page for that replicating site.

What about SEO? Most network marketers rely on replicating sites athat aren't indexed by the major search engines. Yes, page 1 of Google is the most important piece of real estate in the world for your keyword. Absolutely. So if you can build a good site and get a handle on SEO or pay big bucks to a webmaster, go for it. The key in MLM is duplication. I personally don't think that teaching SEO to my team is duplicatable. I know several successful online marketers that don't even rely on SEO as a primary means of driving traffic to their sites. They do some, but it's not their main focus.

I don't build my own websites. HTML code fries my little brain. I do build capture pages, blogs and my Squidoo page. Building websites is too time consuming for me. I've done it out of necessity, but would rather have a webmaster. I use replicated marketing systems that handle all of those website details for me. I give up control of content for ease of use and freeing up my time for prospecting. The key in MLM is duplication. I personally don't think that teaching SEO to my team is duplicatable.

The name of the game, no matter what you do is this: Build the biggest opt-in list you can. PERIOD. Drive as many of those as you can, on your list to the website of your choice . It is the website's job to convert that traffic into customers or distributors. That's it in a nutshell.

The Good news is that there are lots and lots of ways to get traffic to your sites. The "bad news" is there is not a universal starting point for everyone. Here are some things you can do, in no specific order. For best results, do as many as you can manage.

1) Article marketing
2) Blogging
3) Social Networking
4) Newspaper ads and other offline advertsing
5) Business cards
6) Email marketing (this is the opt-in list)
7) Calling people on the phone
8) PPC (pay-per-click- VERY competitive and $$ if you use Google or Yahoo) but there are other search engines
9) Link exchange
10) Forums
11) Safelists - these come in a variety of forms
12) Traffic exchanges (better for capture pages and freebies like free reports)
13) Decals on your car
14) Buying targeted leads
15) Link submitters (some are good, some are bad).

Note: some directories like DMOZ won't take ANY network marketing sites or anything related to MLM or any MLM distributor...probably a way around that. I submitted this blog , MLM MANIAC...we'll see.....

16) Offering a free report in exchange for contact info (see
17) Even a T-shirt or baseball cap with your web addy on it!
18 ) Viral marketing- someone loves what you do and tells the world about it.

OK where do you start??? Pick just one technique and learn it. Offline advertising directed to your capture page is probably the easiest. Then join a couple of networking sites and forums. Learn to master one technique and then add another. Then another. Pretty soon you will have several avenues that are driving traffic to your sites, and yes, the search engines will probably pick up your site. Just start somewhere!!!!!

For More tips and ideas, subscibe to my Ezine:
"Online Guerilla Marketing Tips for MLMers"

About the Author:
Karen Hurd is a mother of 5. She built her business during the kids'
naptime, and now she makes money while she sleeps. She has a passion
for helping people to succeed. Her favorite home based business can be
found here:

Does Your MLM Ignore Internet Marketing?

It's absolutely mind-boggling that network marketers, especially those in established companies, need to defend their online marketing efforts to their peers and corporate partners. Every marketing survey, every market indicator is pointing to the internet. "Home party", or "party-plan sales" is the lease searched for term in the home business category.

The biggest? "Online home business".

You would think that the home business/network marketing industry would take the hint, seize the trend, and provide serious training to allow distributors to maximize their efforts. As a marketing professional I am apalled, frankly, at the resistance I have met in established network marketing circles to building online. It's nothing less than incredible.

The truth is most MLM companies do not promote online marketing largely for 3 reasons:

1) MLM or network marketing is a relationship one-to-one business. The internet was perceived by old-timers who built the industry as anonymous and impersonal. Hmmm. Impersonal? Tell that to all those people who use online dating services, and those that have met their spouses online. Internet marketing facilitates relationships. In many instances it is better than belly to belly.

2) Virtually all proprietary MLM products are trademarked. Companies are afraid they can't control the use of their trademark online, opening themselves up to all sorts of liabilities and possible legal issues.

3) The is no "best-way" to start. The net is vast. Advertising opportunities are everywhere! Home parties have simple formulas - make a list- find a host/hostess- do the party-collect orders. I don't believe that there is a basic "one-size-fits-all formula" for online marketing. Not so easy to teach and potentially full of legal landmines for MLM corporate attorneys.

We will save the issue of poorly designed corporate-owned MLM distributor sites for another day.

If you are marketing a nutritional product, the FDA monitors websites for claims or perceived claims. The FDA is extremely broad in its definition of a "claim". If a distributor makes a claim, even telling their own story, it could generate a rebuke from the FDA. Companies did not want a bunch of FDA warning letters showing up in their mailbox because of distributor website content that they had no control over. That puts a damper on a lot of things.

Personally, I feel that the internet must have a substantial place in a network marketing business. I detail some of those reasons on my Squidoo page:

Enter lots of network marketers like me, wanting to harness the power of the internet, "yesterday!". I was shocked to find out that marketing online is not always as fast and furious as I had thought. I was surprised that there is no one way that is the agreed upon place to start. It all depends on your budget, time constraints, personal creativity, goals, offering, marketing system.... and who mentors you online. Emphasis on the mentor!!!

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful way to build your network marketing business. Online marketing skills are becoming increasingly important to any business. Network marketers who ignore the net do so at their own peril. And those prospects will find someone else who does build online. Maybe me :-).

Learn how to market your MLM online. Subscribe to my newsletter:
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