Advertising On Forums: Tips and Tricks

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Learning how to advertise your direct sales business online can mean a definite increase in sales for your business. The thing that you need to keep in mind, however, with direct sales is that there is often a different set of rules for online advertising. Here are some tips and tricks for advertising your direct sales business online through forums.

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First of all you want to decide on your target market (or markets). Are you hoping to target stay at home moms? Maybe you are hoping to contact real estate companies in hopes of getting them to buy gift baskets that you have put together. Once you have determined who exactly you are trying to get to purchase your items for sale you will have a better idea of where online you are going to want to be advertising.

Forums can be a great place to advertise your business. You can participate in the forums –offering genuine support and advice when needed, which not only builds trust among the online community you are participating in, it is just simply fun to do. Then when someone is looking for a product that you may offer, you can casually mention that you are a rep for a company that carries what they need and the person will be encouraged to make a purchase from you since you have spent the time and have built that level of trust. Make sure to follow the rules and regulations of the forums that you would like to potentially advertise in. You do not want to be reprimanded for spamming.

If you are not allowed to post advertisements on online forums, then look into the possibilities of signature advertising. All you need to do is create a catchy tag line to encourage people to click on your link and hopefully make a purchase. You could also implement signature advertising in emails that you send too, that way each time you correspond with someone you are advertising your business.

These are just a couple of ideas that you can implement while advertising online. Just be aware of the rules whenever you are advertising so you do not end up spamming. This way you’ll be off to great sales in no time.

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Rules of Direct Sales Businesses Online

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Direct sales companies abound.  Look around and you’re likely to see someone advertising how you can lose weight or make money from home.  The opportunities all sound good, but how do you decide which one to buy into?  Determining the rules of any direct sales company, especially when it comes to selling online, is critical if you would like to make use of the internet to do your business.

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It wasn’t that long ago that direct sales companies only had a website that explained their opportunity and how you could join their team.  That has changed dramatically within the last ten years.  Not all direct sales companies have the same rules when it comes to selling online.  In fact, some may not allow their associates to sell online at all.

Most direct sales transactions are completed person-to-person, face-to-face during a party or demonstration.  Some people don’t want to wait for a party to get what they want, however, and will often turn to the internet.  If the parent company has a website, the prospective customer will likely find what they want.  However, if they want to develop a relationship with the company, they may also choose to find a consultant.

How do you know what a direct sales company’s online sales rules are?  Of course, the easiest way to find out is to ask, but not all companies may be forthcoming with their information.  You may have to ask for additional information by signing up on their website, but be prepared to be approached and encouraged to “sign on the dotted line”.

If at all possible, refrain from joining any direct sales company until you’ve had ample time to thoroughly read over their materials.  Know ahead of time what their compensation plan is, how they help you succeed in a business, and also what online marketing you will be able to do.  What do you do if they won’t give you this information?  Thank them for the opportunity, but tell them you’re not interested and you’d rather not be contacted again.

If the company will allow you to have an internet presence, don’t settle for using just the website that they provide.  You can create a separate website, with your own domain, which will link to the main company page.  Having a personal website gives you much more freedom in meeting your prospects’ needs, as well as those of your team members.

Remember, if you’re looking into a direct sales company, don’t be afraid to ask questions – particularly about their rules for running your business online.  If you don’t get the response you would like, consider a different company.  You want to find one that will support your interests and success as much as their own.

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Blogging About Your Direct Sales Business

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You’ll want to employ every available option to promote your direct sales business, whether you do it online or offline. One of the most effective online ways to promote your business is by blogging about it. This helps you get the word out about your product and what it does as well as present you with new recruiting prospects. Blogging can help your business reach a whole new level.

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Don’t make this a personal blog except when it comes to sharing positive experiences regarding your product or products. Keep to the rules of your company so that you don’t get into trouble. Invite people to comment on your blog with their experiences. Remember to post regularly so people keep coming back.

If you’re selling a product that improves something, you may try making your own video of before and after results when your product was used. This works particularly well with cleaners, makeup and kitchen products. The results can be viewed clearly.

Make a list of your goals for blogging. Consider what your readers will be like. Design your blog with those people in mind. Focus on a single area and build your blog from that.

You can share things with your readers such as specials or new products that will be coming up. A sneak peak can be offered before they’re on the market. Talk about things indirectly related to your business. For example, cooking products lets you blog about recipes you’ve tried using your product. Most of all, blog with your readers in mind.

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Making Your Direct Sales Website Search Engine Friendly

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It’s time to “surf the web”. What do you do? You go to a search engine and type a target phrase into the search box. Within seconds you receive a list of websites. You begin to click on websites that interest you. Before long, you’ve found what you’re looking for. If you’re wise, you’ll make your direct sales website search engine friendly in the same way, so that you can be found when someone begins their search.

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How do you make your website search engine friendly? Following are some hints to make your website easier to find.

1. Submit your direct sales website to the largest directories and search engines. Concentrate on the Yahoo! and Open Project Directory directories. Google and AOL would be good choices for search engines to target.

2. Submit just the main page of your website, not each individual page. The other pages will be found by following the links from the main page. Creating a “site map” might help the search engines find all of your links, but there’s no guarantee.

3. Choose keywords that are as specific as possible. If your direct sales companies sells educational toys, you’ll do better by using “educational toys” than you would using “toys and games” as your keywords.

4. The more websites you have linking to yours, the better your site will rank on the search engines. To get links back to your website, consider a “link exchange” campaign. Find other websites in your same niche and ask them if they would exchange links with you. If they do, both websites should benefit.

5. Your title page tag is the first thing a search engine displays, so you’ll want yours to be good. Take your time and come up with something that will explain your website.

6. Search engines, while important, are not the only way to drive traffic to your website. Consider adding a signature line to your outgoing email that includes your business email address. Write articles and submit them to various free article sites; make sure to include a bio box with your URL at the bottom. Find and post at related forums, posting your link in your signature line, if it is allowed.

7. Don’t forget about offline marketing. Have pens, business cards, and flyers printed with your direct sales business email and website. Bumper stickers might be another good bet, as well as magnets.

Creating a website isn’t that hard to do. Take some time, think things through, make a plan, and then follow it. If you have problems, you can always ask at different forums for ways to improve your search engine results. People are generally willing to help make your direct sales website search engine friendly.

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Controlling Your Personal Search Results

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While direct sales takes several important things to make successful, it all really comes back to the age old skill: Building Trust. With new technology, your ability to build trust with your clients goes far beyond your direct conversations with them. They are now one Google search away from knowing a lot more about you and your products. Are they going to see your glowing testimonials, or will they find the ravings of the one unhappy client that you’ve had in 10 years? Will they learn about your vast experience, or see deal-killing tweets about possibly making a move to a bigger company?

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This new openness that the internet provides could definitely crush your business…or it could take it to a new level. Below we will go through a few “must haves” that everyone in direct sales should incorporate into their portfolio to help strengthen your business.

1)      Wikipedia Page

I’m sure most people thought that #1 would “a website”. The truth is that while we will definitely mention a website on this list, a Wikipedia page is much more important. Wikipedia is arguably the strongest website in the world, which means that if you create a page for yourself it will almost definitely rank in the top 1-3 spots for your name. It also allows you to give your bio/resume as you would like it to be seen.

The best part about a Wiki page is that even if you have a common name, Wikipedia will still be stronger than the other websites that might be owned by people who share your name.

2)      Digital Resume

This could be as simple as creating a free 1-2 page website on Weebly.com or Wix.com with an introduction and summary, and then a resume. The best part about an online resume is that it’s never going to be the “official” resume that you turn into employers so you can do whatever you want with it. If you’d like to showcase your portfolio, or make it visual with graphs and show how much money you’ve made for your clients.

If you are smart, you will even include additional lead forms so that you might get some leads just from people who happen to stumble onto your digital resume.

3)      Social Business Pages

The biggest thing told to college students nowadays is to make your social pages “private”. Well yes, you should definitely do that…but why would you ever stop there?

Take your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and go ahead and make additional business pages. This can really just be another profile page for yourself but just focus it entirely on your business.

The nice thing about these pages is that when you make your personal pages “private” over time the search engines will usually display your business pages when people search for your name.

4)      Public LinkedIn Page

This is something that everyone should already be doing anyway. Believe it or not, while LinkedIn usually ranks well it’s probably not ever going to be the top result for your name. However, it might usually be the first thing that people click on. Because LinkedIn is such a well-known social site, a LOT of people will skip over the first few results and skip right to your LinkedIn page. While this is just another digital resume of sorts, it will receive quite a bit of traffic.

5)      Write Articles about your industry

While “Authorship” in search results has gone away, your articles still have quite a bit of strength. If your articles are published on a high quality site, with your author bio, then that’s the main thing.

After that, make sure that you are linking to your article(s) and sharing them on social media to increase that strength.

These articles let you showcase your knowledge of the field, and give you a level of credibility that most professionals in your field might not have.

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Author Bio:

Patrick King is the Search Engine Marketing Manager for Premier Laser Spa, a company with over 22 locations around the country. When he’s not managing the dozens of websites that Premier has, he is avidly exploring the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

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Five Ways to Motivate your Team

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If you have built a multilevel marketing sales team, you have probably noticed that their performance increases when they feel more motivated. Here are five good ways to light a fire under your sales team to increase revenue for everyone.

Send motivational letters and emails.

One great way to keep your team motivated is to share stories with them of others in the direct sales business who have been successful. Everyone feels more confident when they see that other regular people who they can identify with can achieve something great.

Encourage some friendly competition.

Offer a gift or bonus to the first team member who reaches a particular goal if you want to foster a sudden growth spurt. If you’re trying to encourage long-term growth, set a date in the future and offer the reward to whoever sells the most by then.

Meet with team members one-on-one.

Make the effort to meet with each of the members of your sales team individually so you can get a feel for their specific strengths and weaknesses. Listen to their concerns and try to get to know them. Some direct contact with the leader can help build a good rapport and increase their desire to be successful for both of you.

Break up your team into smaller groups.

If you have a bigger team, it might be helpful to break the group up into mini-teams so each member has a very close network of support.

Create performance charts.

Compile data from all your team members and create charts to show growth. You may want to do this anonymously if protecting sales figures is important, or attach names so the top earners can feel more rewarded. Most people find that viewing data graphically gives a better feel of the big picture and it can become a sort of “game” to try to make the chart grow.

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Keeping in Touch With Your Customers Using Technology

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When you are involved in direct sales, keeping in touch with your customers is an excellent way to ensure that they will book parties with you and purchase your products on an ongoing basis. The Internet provides those who run direct sales businesses very simple and convenient ways to stay in touch with their client base. So just what are some ways that you can use the technology of the Internet to keep in touch with your customers?

Blogs

You can start a blog to keep in touch with your customers. A blog is basically an online journal and a great place to inform people of your business. With your blog, you can include informative articles relating to whatever product you maybe selling, keep your customers informed of product specials that both your company and you personally are offering and allow them to make comments about your posts should they have any questions. Blogger.com is a popular place for many to start blogs.

Forums

You could start your own online forum to communicate with your customers. It is really quite simple to start your own message board. You can start different forums to deal with customer questions on specific products, customer complaint issues, product specials and even a forum where you can chat with your customers about any topic.

Yahoo Discussion Group

Starting an email discussion group like the ones available through yahoo is yet another way that you can keep in touch with your customers. You can make your group available for discussion or use it to release a monthly or even weekly newsletter to inform your customers about your business.

Mailing List

Starting a mailing list is yet another way that you can use the Internet to keep your customers informed about the goings on of your business. Just make sure that before you start sending out information about your business to your mailing list that you pay close attention to what would be considered spamming.

These are just some of the great ideas for using technology to keep your customers informed about your business. Utilizing the convenience offered by these tools is a smart way to build up your business.

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Effectively Using Social Media in Direct Sales

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Social media is definitely one of the most powerful tools that a marketer has at their disposal, and an even better tool for direct sellers because like direct sales, start-up costs are either free or very minimal. Utilizing social media means that you have the ability to reach thousands or even millions of people at no cost. The problem is that 99% of the time, social media is being used inefficiently, and it just ends up being a waste of time.

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So the question becomes: “How to use social media efficiently and effectively in direct sales?”

1)      Choosing the channels that are most effective for your product

One of the most common mistakes is the idea that more is always better. Many people in direct sales embrace this philosophy and think that if they scream their message through 10 social media channels instead of 1, that they will be 10 times more effective. The truth is that while using more channels isn’t always a bad thing, just using more channels for the sake of having more is definitely a bad thing.

Each social media channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, which will help you select the right social networks to use. For example, if it’s a product that you need to demonstrate or show a visual proof for (for example a guitar or instrument), then Youtube is going to be a great option. If it’s a product set like a clothing line that is constantly releasing new products, then something like Instagram is going to be a better fit.

So first, analyze the products you are selling and the market you are selling to and focus your time on the social channels that are going to produce the best results.

2)      Separate channels based on the messages you are sending

This is especially important for situations where you are trying to both sell products, and get people under you to sell products (so that you benefit from their sales as well). In situations like these, it’s important to realize that there are some people who might be interested in the products themselves but not selling, and others who might like to sell but have no desire to purchase the products.

To do this you need to split messages into separate channels based on what you are trying to accomplish. A lot people see their close friends as a pool of potential sales colleagues, so a channel like Facebook is probably better for recruiting efforts. This allows you to take channels like Twitter and Instagram that are less personal and really leverage those to make direct sales.

3)      Separate Your Personal Channels from your business channels

This is the single biggest mistake that direct sales professionals make. They spend time screaming on their social media channels about other companies, or idiot drivers they see on the road, or general bad experiences…and then they try to post about their products. There is absolutely nothing wrong with venting or posting personal feelings or experiences on social media, that’s one of the reasons it’s there. But if you want to be a highly effective direct sales professional, then every post, photo, video, etc. has got to be about building the brand in some way. There just isn’t room for personal posts mixed in with business posts. You will alienate people, lose followers and attention to the brand, and ultimately just waste your time.

These aren’t brilliant points that dive into the deepest depths of social media, or that will let you sell a million products this year just using these tips. However, these are mistakes that most people in direct sales make on a daily basis. If you can simply inject these 3 principles into your social media strategies, your direct sales business will definitely be more efficient and more effective than it is now.

Author Bio

Patrick King is a Search Engine Marketing Manager for Premier Laser Spa. In addition to that, he is a highly respected business consultant who works heavily with direct sales professionals in developing their start-ups and taking their companies to the next level.

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Five Tips For Talking to Prospects in Person

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When you’re a part of an MLM business, you need PEOPLE to help your business grow. The only way to get these people is to make them as wildly interested in your business as you are. This requires talking to them in the right way. Following are five tips for talking to prospects in person and turning them into successful recruits:

1. Put yourself in the prospects’ shoes. See things the way he, or she does. Consider what you’re hearing about their finances and other important factors that will affect a successful recruit.

2. Identify with the prospects’ interests. Be ready to explain what your prospect will get out of joining your company. This is the bottom line for them. They’re not interested in being sold on a business opportunity.

3. Approach prospects the way YOU would like to be approached. Think back to the person that recruited YOU. He, or she, must have said SOMETHING right or you might have walked away without looking back. Remember that when approaching each new prospect to increase your chances of a successful recruit.

4. Ask the right questions. If you ask enough questions, the prospect will be doing the majority of the conversation. Listen to what he, or she, is saying to you because, in essence, you’re being told HOW to successfully recruit this prospect.

5. Look your prospects in the eyes. Looking them directly in the eyes gives a feeling of confidence and helps you appear sincere and honest about everything you’re saying.

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Are Parties Necessary for Direct Sales Success?

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People who are considering a home based business in direct sales begin to think about companies that use party plans as a means to generate income. Party plans encourage prospective customers to host a party in order to earn free or discounted products. Are parties necessary if you want to work in direct sales?

Not all direct sales companies require their associates to conduct parties. In fact, some direct sales companies don’t require parties at all. You may want to look further into companies offering a different plan for marketing if you are not comfortable talking to crowds of people.

Melaleuca, Avon, and World Book, among others, do not require a party plan. So, are they necessary for success? Obviously, the answer is no. Even people that are associated with party plan companies can succeed by using other marketing plans. It happens every day, you just have to do some research and determine what the other options are.

Direct sales success really depends more on you than on the method of marketing the product to potential customers. If you don’t believe in the company and the product, it doesn’t matter what you do – you won’t be able to make your home business a success. Here are some ideas to help you succeed whether you’re using a party plan or not:

1. Familiarize yourself with the business manual you received in your start-up kit.
Make a list of questions you have and then contact your upline sponsor as soon as you can. Understanding what is expected of you, what you can and cannot do to market the product, and how the company will pay you will make all the difference in how you conduct your business.

2. Follow the instructions given to you during training.
Most likely you will be told to make a list of everyone you know. This will be your master list, the first people you will contact about your new business. If you don’t complete this task, you’re not going to do the rest. Swallow your pride and ask for your money back. This company is not for you.

3. Begin networking with other business owners.
Join the local Chamber of Commerce and get plugged into regular meetings. You must promote your business if it is to grow, and networking with other business people is a great way to let others know about your company.

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