Can A Network Marketing Business REALLY Be Run Exclusively Online?
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
For many people, 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 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 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 didn’t have to do any of that? What if there was a way to have people approach YOU to join your business rather than 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 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 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 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 range of 2% - 4% of site visitors will click on a link that, in some fashion or another, can generate revenue for web site owner. Of those 2% - 4% of visitors who click on link, however, only 1% or so of THEM will go on to buy after clicking on link. Ergo, with such tiny response rates, high traffic is name of 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 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 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 search engines (and employ all 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.