Network marketing is far from a new concept and was around long before the Internet. Let's start by reminding ourselves exactly what network marketing is. In very simple terms it is a business based on team building, where you are paid on sales that you make but also on sales that your team make. It is also often referred to as MLM or Multi Level Marketing. The product you sell depends on the organisation you are a part of, but a good example of a more traditional network marketing company is Avon. In essence that is all network marketing is about but people very often get confused by complicated products or commission structures - let's just remind ourselves that the it's really about team building and the ability to lead and mentor.
The reason that network marketing has been and is so attractive to many people is the ability to leverage from the performance of the team you build. The ability to get paid based on the performance of others is a truly powerful concept.
In the past, strategies for building a team in a network marketing organisation have normally been related to your ability to sell, either face to face, or over the telephone. These are still valid strategies and they range from talking about it to your friends and family, otherwise known as 'warm' leads, to handing out flyers, to advertising in local newspapers, to holding meetings in local venues, to attending shows, to cold calling people on the phone to simply talking about the opportunity to people on the street! This is just a small representation of the kinds of strategies used, and they are all valid techniques that could still be used to build a team. The problem is that not all of us are adept at that kind of thing - we are not all natural sales people. It's also very limiting as it takes a lot of hard work to be able to reach out to all of those people, and is normally restricted to your local area. That is where the power of the Internet comes in.
The Internet opens the door to literally millions and millions of potential leads. And you don't necessarily need to have any face to face or over the phone interaction with your prospective team members. In fact, you can virtually automate the process of interaction, of bringing your leads into your team, simply by using the right tools. The most important starting point to building a business network marketing online is having a presence. I like to think of it as having a shop window. The most fundamental shop window to have is your own website or blog.
Your website is where you are going to achieve two main objectives. Firstly to generate leads for your business by using forms to gather names and email addresses. These are commonly known as 'squeeze pages' or 'opt-in pages' or 'lead capture pages'. Whatever you want to call them, they are an absolute must - no leads - no team! The second thing that your site should provide is valid, rich information. Great, honest content helps to build trust and to attract your potential leads into your primary business. Having your own website also allows you to earn other income above and beyond that earned through your primary network marketing opportunity, with the use of contextual advertising and the promotion of other people's products for one time commissions - also known as affiliate marketing.
You don't need to worry too much about building a website. It's not necessary to pay someone thousands of dollars to do it for you. There are plenty of tools and services available to allow you to produce clean and simple websites yourself in very little time at all. It is important to note that you will need to invest some money to achieve this, but the investment needed to build a website is quite small, especially given the potential income opportunity that it brings.
The other main reason for having your own site is perception, especially in network marketing. If you are going to be perceived as a leader, as an expert to a potential team member, having your own website places you as someone who knows what they are doing, who is serious about their business. That's what people are looking for.
So which network marketing organisation should you be joining? Well, I can't advise you on that, but what I can do is tell you to research, research, research! There are so many two bit companies around that you need to make sure you do some serious checking. How old are the company? Can you check their financial results - are they in debt? Do they have a reputation - can you find good testimonials about the company online? Be careful of the last point as people are too often ready to say bad things about a company to either just grab your attention to promote something else, or because they didn't make a million dollars in their first month with that company!
Once you have thoroughly investigated which company to choose (remember it needs to be one that offers their product over the Internet!), and once you have built an online presence with your own site, there are just a couple of small pieces of advice for you:
Invest in the right tools. You need to work smart. Spend time (and possibly a little money) in selecting tools to leverage you efforts and to make life that little bit easier.