Thursday, August 23, 2007

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 :-).

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1 comment:

ankur said...

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