Network Marketers: Are You Destroying Your Company’s Image On Facebook?

I received an interesting message last week from a Facebook contact of mine, someone who knows I coach/speak within the network marketing profession and that I’ve worked very closely with the top leaders in one particular company for almost 10 years.

She shared that she had been “friended” on Facebook by a few different reps from this particular company. Once they were part of her network – these individuals promptly added her personal info to their email lists (without her permission) and proceeded to bombard her with promotions related to their products and business.

Not only is this practice a big on-line “no-no” (known as spamming) but these consultants also neglected to include an “opt-out” link or any easy way for my friend to get OFF their email list (another big no-no) – which of course, only compounded my friend’s frustration. She reached out to ask if I knew whether reps were being “encouraged” to use these tactics by the leaders in the organization, as it appeared several of them were doing so.

Knowing the company in question (and both the corporate and field leaders to be total professionals with the utmost integrity) I assured her I was certain this was NOT a policy encouraged within the organization, but rather the result of some overly enthusiastic (and likely under-educated) consultants excited to make some new sales.

I shared there were undoubtedly reps from numerous other network marketing/direct sales companies making the same mistake, and encouraged her to not let this experience reflect badly on the organization as a whole. Nevertheless – the damage was done.

My friend removed these reps from her network and confided in me she would never do business with them or the company. Frankly, I can’t say I blame her. Although a relatively “minor incident”, it does make me wonder just how frequently is this kind of business-building behavior happening on sites like Facebook, and how costly it is to a network marketing company’s image overall?

I’m sure we all agree that the internet (and social media sites) provide ENORMOUS power. You can spread a positive message about the value of your products and business opportunity to thousands of people (who might never hear of your business in any other way). When your prospects and customers have a wonderful experience – the resulting “good press” can spread like wildfire, boosting a company’s image and attracting new sales and business for everyone.

On the flip side, when someone has a crummy experience (as did my friend) the compounding effects of bad press on the internet can cause exponential damage. Bad news seems to travel faster and be repeated more on the internet – so even a few instances of “poor business practices” by even a handful of consultants can rapidly tarnish your company’s image- costing EVERYONE in the process.

The internet provides a massive magnifying glass – accentuating the positives (or the negative) aspects of any organization to the world. For that reason – I strongly encourage ALL network marketers to get educated about “best practices” on-line. You can create enormous value for your prospects, build positive PR for your company AND still make lot of sales and money if you truly understand some fundamental keys of “on-line marketing”.

Here are a few important keys to know when networking on Facebook and growing your business on-line.

1. Gathering People’s email Addresses and Blasting Them With Unsolicited Information is Illegal

Otherwise known as “spamming” this practice is illegal and monitored closely on-line. The CAN-SPAM Act is enforced by the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Department of Justice has authority to enforce criminal sanctions (and fines up to $11,000) for each instance. Ouch!

One of the most common spamming violations involves “harvesting email addresses from websites or web services” and then using these to contact individuals for commercial purposes (which is exactly what you are doing if you are taking people’s email addresses off their Facebook profile, website or business card – and then adding them to your own email list without their permission)!

Besides the obvious legal issues – you also risk having your own email address or system being “shut down” by your provider. Both internet providers (like your local cable or DSL service) AND email systems (like Constant Contact, AWeber, etc) carefully monitor spam reports and complaints, and if there are too many associated with your email account, they will shut you down making it impossible for you to send and receive ANY email (even legitimate ones) to your contacts, customers and team.

Considering how much time and hassle it is to set up a new email address and notify all your contacts (not to mention the leads and business you’ll lose in the process) this situation is just too costly to your reputation, bottom line and business growth. Don’t do it!

2. Blasting People With Emails They Haven’t Asked to Receive is Highly Ineffective

How do you feel when you scan your inbox and see a handful of spam messages? Most of us feel a sense of annoyance, quickly delete them (or mark them as “spam”) and move on. You can be sure your contacts will do the same. If you are blasting your contacts with email promotions and messages they didn’t ask to receive, you can be sure they will ultimately ignore and delete your messages (but not without first connecting some of those same negative feelings to you and your company in the process).

A smarter (and much more profitable) approach is to create an “Opt-in” or “permission based” email list, consisting of qualified leads which have WILLINGLY given you their emails and contact info. This is the PROVEN way to build a network of prospects on-line that actually covert into paying customers (and even business builders).

These contacts WANT to receive information from you – and generally respond very positively to product offers, etc. A small list of these kinds of prospects will generate many more sales and higher returns than a LARGE list of “spammed” contacts every time.

3. How to Create a Permission-Based “Opt In List” That Builds Good Will and Generates New Sales and Biz Opportunities

My own “opt-in” email list of targeted prospects (which has been the foundation of all my marketing efforts over the years) has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales for me, this is a system you can create too! In one of my current coaching programs, I’m helping network marketers to implement some of the same strategies I’ve used to build a qualified email list and set up a system to generate new sales and income.

There are TWO cardinal rules to keep in mind when using this approach:

~Invest in Building Strong, Personal Relationships With the People On Your List.

People do business with people, so make it your #1 goal to build strong personal relationships with the contacts on your list. Engage them, share about yourself, be authentic and always operate with integrity. Do this well and your contacts will learn to know, like and trust you in a way that leads to long term sales and business opportunities for you and your company!

~Create Value First!

The most effective way to sell products and find new business partners is to CREATE ENORMOUS VALUE for your contacts in the process. This approach doesn’t only “feel good” – it builds a very positive image about yourself and your company while drawing many more leads to you (who, in time WILL buy from you and become more interested in your business opportunity).

The fastest and most effective way to attract qualified leads to opt-in to your email list is to give them something of value (for free!) in exchange for their contact info. My students do this in a variety of ways, including offering:

a) Samples of free products. You don’t want to break your bank account obviously, but people love to get free (or great deals on) cool products! If you can afford to give away some “juicy offer” (a simple sample or great discount on products) you can use this kind of offer to attract qualified leads to join your email list (where you can continue to build a relationship with them, add more value, etc)

b) A FREE subscription to your a monthly newsletter (or ezine). This is a proven tool many network marketers are now using to build strong relationships and provide on-going value to the contacts on their email list. In each edition, you can share some brief personal news, include some useful and relevant tips AND generate some new sales with additional promotions related to your business.

c) Give away valuable and relevant content. People are constantly surfing the internet looking for great “how to” information. One of the most effective methods to build a targeted list of ideal prospects is to offer valuable free content on a certain subject.

You can compile a simple report such as… “3 Common Mistakes Women Make That Age Their Skin Prematurely”…or “3 Weight Loss Myths That Keep People From Getting Fit and Being Healthy”… – tips and resources that would be of interest to your ideal prospects AND give you an opportunity to educate them on the value of what you have to offer too.

You can then create a simple “opt in” form on your website where your leads can join your list to receive the report. Once on your list, you can continue to build a relationship, add more value (such as providing additional tips, your monthly newsletter, special discounts and offers, etc) all while continuing to educate your contacts on the value of your products and business.

Several network marketing/direct selling professionals are already using strategies like these to build a large email list of qualified leads (people who actually WANT to receive your information!) and set up a system that converts them into new customers and business builders.

The Best Internet Marketing Training Program Online

Are you wondering what the best internet marketing training program online is? Well I have to say, being an internet marketing consultant, I’ve came across a wide variety of programs out there. I’ve being practicing online marketing since 2004, so I’ve seen the old school gurus, and the new school heroes of today’s current time. And I can honestly say, the program quality is VASTLY different.

The old school internet marketing training programs aren’t as software and technologically driven as today’s programs are. Back in the day, you would learn hard hitting strategies that really improved your website sales immediately. I want to share a personal story about a free internet marketing program I came across while I was in college – and it changed my life completely.

So I was in college trying my best to make money in between classes, and I was doing the direct linking method of marketing. Back then you had traditional pay per click advertising search engines such as Overture, MSN Adcenter, and Google AdWords. Those were the top 3 – before Yahoo and MSN (currently Bing) merged. So I was in college linking directly to my ugly sales letter page, and getting no results. Well actually, the only results I was getting was bad results.

I read every single article you could think of, and I came across a guy named Terry Dean. I read his article, was intrigued, and saw a link for a free book he had. The book was called something like, “10 Quick And Easy Ways To Boost Your Website Sales In A Week” (or something like that). I read it, and it changed my entire marketing completely.

1 week after implementing his ideas and applying changes to my website, I got my first 2 sales ever. I fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it. I said this “internet thing” is real and I wanted more. Now fast forward to this day of age and the internet marketing training that I see is ridiculous. Everybody has a new secret or a new technique. Everybody’s trying to get rich overnight WITHOUT a website.

There are a lot of internet marketing training programs these days that teach people to get started with affiliate marketing and just “share” their link on Facebook, forums, and search engines. This doesn’t work, and the old school marketers look at these promotional tactics and authors as if they are scammers. Why do I use the word “scammer”? Well it’s simple.

Everywhere you go, everyone has a “new” way of doing something. Everything has to be faster, better, and more supreme than the proven way of making money. This is why so many people fail, because they think they can just put up a website, put their link into an autoblaster, and get rich overnight. It doesn’t work like that. Even worst is when people join an affiliate network, sign up to promote a particular product, and then just blast their affiliate link all over the place.

And yes, there are high priced internet marketing training programs that advise this kind of marketing. It’s frightening isn’t it? It makes new age marketers like myself look bad and frowned upon, because my methods work, and it doesn’t take a genius to implement them and see results. Whenever you come across an internet marketing training program, you have to keep an eye out for a few things.

You should look to see if the person has something free to offer you – to sample. This way you can “test drive” their expertise, and take a peek to see what they have to say. Then you should be able to take what you’ve learned from their free sample, and be able to apply it to your business. This is crucial, because just because you pay for an internet marketing program, doesn’t mean you’re going to learn the important stuff.

There’s a well-known marketer online (who’s name I won’t disclose) who had an online business program. He had tons of testimonials from people who used his strategies and were making thousands of dollars per month. Some of them were making thousands of dollars per day. Actually… some of them were making over $10,000 per day – and they attributed their success to this guy’s course.

So I bought the course for $39 (out of intrigue), and what did I find? I found a glorified sales pitch to purchase his $995 “advanced course” about making money on the internet. The material in the course that I bought only talked about why most people aren’t making money online, and how people promote products that they want to promote – INSTEAD of selling what people are looking for.

Who doesn’t know that? What business owner would sell something that nobody desires? This is simple market research. So I bought the $39 course and was highly disappointed, and quite mad because of the testimonials that I saw that were associated with this course. So these are some of the games and gimmicks some of the new age “gurus” like to play in order to boost their bank account, and take advantage of people.

So this was certainly not the best internet marketing training program I’ve seen. The old age internet marketer’s actually delivered when it came to value, and that is why they are legendary and are in the “hall of fame” of marketing. Nowadays you can go to YouTube and find over 100 gurus who have an internet marketing “success system” that is unique from everybody else’s. If you take a look at the ads, they all sound the same. And when you buy the products, most of them is just rehashed information.

There are a lot internet marketing training programs on the internet, and you can’t trust just anybody. If you’re going to follow someone, make sure they have a real website – and not just an ugly affiliate link. Make sure they have an email newsletter that you can subscribe to and learn from. Make sure they have training articles and free materials that you can learn from. Make sure you can reach them by email and via social media. And make sure they are current and on top of the latest trends in the internet marketing industry.

How To Do Your First Direct Mail Marketing

While direct-mail marketing might be one of the fastest and most effective ways to reach new customers, it is sometimes a tricky adventure. You have seen the letters and flyers come in the mail for products and services you do not want and will not use. Those are direct mail pieces. What do you do with those? Those go in the trash or paper recycling and the person who sent them will never know that you have seen them. Some of them catch your eye and you actually use them. This is the direct mail world you are about to enter.

Sales letters, brochures and postcards deliver your exact message the way that you want your customer to see it. It is important that you do your first direct mailing yourself to cut down costs and so that you will understand the costs involved in having someone else do it.

You can plan on mailing out 1,000 marketing pieces and getting 100 new customers. Why such a low result from such a high-cost marketing?

Take a look at the cost to get that mailing piece out in the mail. First, look at your client and prospect list and make sure you have complete mailing addresses for all of them. You will be literally throwing money away if you do not have a good address. If you have to call them to get the address, be sure to get their email address, too. Next, decide if you will have a three folded printed sheet with a white stick on mailing label. It’s pretty easy to do a mail merge from an MS Excel spreadsheet and MS Word so you’ll need to buy the printer labels. Keep track of that cost. If you are going to have a flyer custom printed, keep track of the cost of that printing.

Take your sample flyer down to the post office and ask them to put it on their scales and find out how much the postage will be for mailing out 1,000 of them. Is this a first class mailer or can it go out bulk rate? Get all the information you can and study it so you can make a decision to mail less than 1,000 or more than 1,000.

Printing your single sheet sales letter black and white at home:

Cost of white paper: $8.00

Cost of white printer label: $12.95

Cost of printer ink: $17.00

Cost of bulk postage: $22.00

Total cost of your first direct mailing: $59.95

Now figure out how many products or how many services you will have to do just to cover the cost of that first direct mailing. Remember, have a up to date mailing list, keep your direct mail costs down and learn as much about it as you possibly can.