Is the Internet a Good Place to Promote Your Network Marketing Business?

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Another AHBBO Article
Can A Network Marketing Business REALLY Be Run Exclusively Online?

For many people, the words "network marketing" or "MLM"
(multi-level marketing) conjure up images of hitting up your
so-called "warm market" (those two or three hundred people
near and dear to you as well as those unfortunate enough
to have crossed your path at some time in the distant past)
and pleading, cajoling, persuading, arguing and plain
pressuring them to join your program.  Or organizing house
parties and presentations to make your pitch to a captive
audience.  Or having to approach complete strangers while
standing in line at the supermarket. 

Any or all of these options may be unpalatable to you, and
for good reason.  They certainly were to me.  But what if
you ' have to do any of that?  What if there was a way
to have people approach YOU to join your business rather
than the other way around?  What if you didn't have to hold
face-to-face meetings at ALL?  What if you didn't have to
make a single approach to someone you know?  Or to
someone you don't?  Would you think differently about
network marketing then?

Well, there is such a way.  Running a network marketing
business using the Internet.

I've heard many people say that it's just not possible to run
a network marketing business exclusively online.  Well, I'm
here to tell you different.  Because I'm doing it and if I can
do it, so can you.

Before I tell you a bit more about how a network marketing
business can be run exclusively online, let me clear up a
couple of possible misconceptions.  First, running an online
business does NOT mean creating a website and then sitting
back expecting the business to run itself.  You will work every
bit as hard in an online network marketing business as you will
in an offline network marketing business.  This is just a
different method, that's all. 

Secondly, when I say "exclusively" online, I mean that's where
your lead generation and prequalification work happens, it does
NOT mean you will never have to pick up a telephone and speak
to a real, live person at the other end.

OK, so what's involved in running a network marketing business
online then?

The first thing to understand is that network marketing, just
like Internet marketing, is a numbers game.  It is for this precise
reason that network marketing is IDEALLY suited to being run
online.  Why?  Because ANY Internet business is a numbers
game.  Just ask anyone with a web site what their focus is when
their web site is up and running.  It's traffic.  It's getting as
many people to their web site as they can because somewhere
in the range of 2% - 4% of site visitors will click on a link that,
in some fashion or another, can generate revenue for the web
site owner.  Of those 2% - 4% of visitors who click on the link,
however, only 1% or so of THEM will go on to buy after clicking
on the link.  Ergo, with such tiny response rates, high traffic is
the name of the game.  The same principle holds true for your
network marketing business.

At its core, network marketing is a simple business.  It's all
about generating leads, qualifying those leads and then
following up with those qualified leads until they take the action
you want them to take (or tell you to stop) - either purchasing
product from you or joining your downline as a productive
distributor.

=> GENERATING LEADS

How do you generate leads?  This depends on your starting
position.  If you already have an established web site and
your network marketing business is a natural fit with that
existing site, then you will not need to do too much in the
way of additional lead generation for your network marketing
business other than including a link to your network marketing
company's web site from your existing site.

But if you don't have an existing web site, you're going to
have to start from scratch.  You're going to need to create
a web site (on a subject matter of interest to people who
would also be interested in your network marketing business
opportunity or products), link to your network marketing
company's site from that web site, submit your site to the
search engines (and employ all the myriad other ways of
driving traffic to it) and you're going to have to start
publishing an ezine (electronic newsletter) on a relevant
subject and on a regular basis and build a sizeable subscriber
list (again using a variety of different methods). 

To generate significant traffic to your site and subscribers to
your ezine is going to take time.  Lots of it.  Months, in fact. 
You should probably allow a year before it's at a size that will
make much of a difference.

In the meantime, you're going to have to generate leads in
other ways.  The two primary effective methods are paid
advertising (both for your network marketing business
opportunity and the products your business promotes) and
you can pay for leads.

=> QUALIFYING LEADS

Unlike the traditional, offline ways of generating leads for a
network marketing business, by definition, the leads you
generate online are prequalified.  For example, if you're trying
to generate leads offline, you're talking to everyone you can
at every opportunity.  You may be speaking with someone
ahead of you in line at the bank or supermarket, a young
mother you run into when picking up your kids from school,
and any other number of people you come across in your day
to day activities. 

The problem is, as you have no idea whether these people
are even remotely candidates for your opportunity, you can
waste a LOT of time talking with people who are poor prospects
for your business. 

On the other hand, if you've created a web site on a topic
of relevance and interest to the people who would also be
interested in your network marketing opportunity, by definition
your web site visitors are prequalified as, because they have
sought you out, they are likely to be interested in at least
learning more about your opportunity.

Placing paid advertising and paying for leads are other ways
of qualifying leads.  What these methods all have in common,
however, is that the lead COMES TO YOU, you don't go after
them.  If someone makes contact with you wanting to know
more about your opportunity, it's all of a sudden a LOT easier
to pick up a phone and call them isn't it?  Or to send them
information via email if that's what you and they prefer.

=> FOLLOWING UP UNTIL YOU GET ACTION

The other big, big advantage running a network marketing
business online offers is the ability to automate your follow-ups. 
Every time someone contacts you for information about your
opportunity, add that person's email address to your list of
prospects and then periodically send follow-up messages to
that list.  By employing autoresponders (software that allows
you to send prewritten follow-up email messages to defined
email addresses on a periodic basis), this process can be
completely automated, leaving you free to spend your time
on generating leads rather than administrative tasks.

As you can see, running a network marketing business exclusively
online is not an overnight project and it requires a LOT of work,
consistency, persistence and commitment.  But it most certainly
can be done.  If you're serious about making serious money from
an Internet-based business, network marketing is the way to go. 
It's where the big, secure money is.  But to earn big, secure
money, you need to invest big too.  You need to invest time,
money and sweat equity into building your business. 

Fortunately, however, network marketing online offers one other
HUGE advantage over starting any other sort of online business. 
An upline.  If you join a network marketing program that's suited
to being run online (and some aren't, by the way), AND you join
up under a sponsor who is part of a team that specializes in
running the business exclusively (or near enough exclusively)
online, you will have at your disposal a wealth of experience,
expertise and tools you will be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

So, think about it.  If you're looking for a way to make money
from your computer and you had, until now, thought network
marketing wasn't for you, maybe you should think again. 
Network marketing coupled with Internet technology and an
upline who knows what they're doing when it comes to running
a business online could very well be the answer to the financial
independence riddle you've been looking for.  Just don't expect
it to happen overnight.  There are no magic wands in this
business just as there aren't anywhere else.

_________________________

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Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

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