5 Internet Tips Every Direct Sales Consultant Should Implement

If you’re starting a new direct sales business and feeling overwhelmed with web 2.0, you’re not alone. You’re already busy setting up your business and now you’ve got to think about having an online presence too. Where do you start, right? I can relate because I was trying to implement everything at once and felt so burnt out. To be successful, you don’t need to do everything i.e. pay per click, article marketing, video marketing, social media, and so forth. You can always add on. Keep it simple and implement a few things.

Keep your focus on mastering a few things like setting up a blog or web site. It’s better to be an expert on a few topics rather than being a generalist and doing everything with mediocrity.

Here are 5 tips to have an online presence:

Set up a Blog

There’s a ton of online resources on blogging. Whether to choose WordPress or Blogger, why blogs increase more traffic then a static web site, and so much more. You will find more info than I could offer in this short post. However, here are three tips: narrow your topic to a few “niche” ones or on topics that you have a lot of knowledge in. You cannot be an expert and cover everything! Concentrate on writing great content and continue learning copy/ad writing. Plan on adding at least 2-3 posts a week to beef up the content of your blog. Until you have enough content, some blog search engines like BlogCatalog won’t accept your blog submission. Some excellent blogs to check out are: Copyblogger, Problogger.net, and Dailyblogtips. Commenting on other blogs in your niche market is a really good way to build rapport with other bloggers and learn from them too.

Syndicate Everywhere

Content is king and so is syndication! The importance of syndicating your blog will increase your search engine rankings and create more visibility for your blog. If you’re not indexed by search engines i.e. Google, Yahoo, RSS directories, or blog search engines then you’re not being found by your prospects, customers, and potential business partners that are looking to join your business.

Tip: think keywords and search words or phrases whenever you’re writing but don’t fill every single line with keywords either. Balancing strong keywords and writing in a way that’s engaging to your audience. Don’t write just to fill up space.

Social Networks

If you do a search for social networks, your head will spin because there are so many. Invest in building genuine relationships on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Facebook to me is more friend-ish and Twitter can get you spammed by a ton of peeps promoting their business opportunities and products. I’m becoming a huge of LinkedIn and the potential of LinkedIn’s groups. Sometimes smaller niche social networks will give you greater visibility in reaching a more targeted audience.

Tip: Don’t get sucked into socializing because it will be counter productive. You can be productive and socialize by keeping it to 30 minutes a day on social networks. With Twitter, focus on Retweeting if you find something valuable and use @reply to engage with your followers and start having conversations. Do NOT spam your followers or constantly promote your products or business opportunity.

Niche Social Networks

Niche social networks can be a great resource to meet people in your niche market. Ning offers thousands of groups and LinkedIn is excellent and has huge potential. There are forums for direct sales and network marketing entrepreneurs. Groups are also a good place to meet people that are selling similar products or share similar interests. For example, WAHM forum has thousands of members that are in direct sales and network marketing. If you’re in the clothing or fashion business, you might check out Stylehive, which has a community, tags, and group for like-minded people. Social bookmarking sites are underutilized and quite effective!

Leverage a Community

Start commenting on other blogs in direct sales. Add their blogs to your Blogroll, link to their posts often, syndicate by Retweeting or share with your Facebook friends. Your direct sales pals will appreciate it if the content is relevant and valuable. Reach out to your team members and uplines that have blogs. Ask them to link your blog to theirs and network with fellow consultants. As long as your goal is to help build each other’s business, the collaboration will enhance your business and you’ll develop new friendships too.

Has the Internet Killed Off the Direct Mail Baron?

Over the past 30 years, direct mail has been responsible for generating vast amounts of money for businesses and individuals alike, but is it still an effective means of marketing?

The short answer, in the short term, is yes. But the Internet has without doubt diluted the power of pen on paper and will continue to do so, until only a few die-hard individuals and the glossy brochure brigade, are left to pick the bones of an industry once plump and ripe for plucking and plundering.

Today, the Internet offers the consumer a pure, unadulterated and convenient environment for buying goods, services, bill paying and browsing. And with more people logging on every day, it’s where businesses need to focus.

Compared to direct mail, marketing a business or service on the internet is simple, very cost-effective and can be just as profitable. If it’s the ‘right’ kind of business, offering the ‘right’ kind of product or service, it can prove to be overwhelmingly prosperous. And there’s many an Internet millionaire that will testify to that.

The big advantage, in terms of doing business on the Internet, falls right at the feet of the little guy. The one-man outfit, who has virtually no overheads and no employees. Better off still, is the little guy with no overheads, employees, products or services. He can make a phenomenal amount of money by selling other people’s products for commissions.

That’s quite difficult to do with direct mail and would likely prove prohibitively expensive to operate. And that’s another reason why direct mail is in decline. The overall expense of the operation.

When you add up the cost of stationery, printing, postage, mailing lists and the labor involved in the whole process, it’s clear to see that the ‘end is nigh’, for what was once a very lucrative marketing venture. That’s not to say that there isn’t still a place for some forms of direct mail. Some online businesses, especially the bigger companies, would do well to incorporate a direct mail strategy in promoting their online activities.

But generally, the opportunity of making a killing with direct mail is fading fast. So it’s goodbye to the direct mail baron and welcome to the Internet marketing guru. It’s the same animal but with different spots.

Boost Your Direct Mail Response Rates with Mapping Technology

On Superbowl Sunday, Domino’s Pizza delivered more than 900,000 pizzas–and mapping technology helped. How do 60,000 pizza outlets serving 3 billion pizzas per year compete in an industry where reputations and dollars are dependent on “fast, hot and delivered to the door?” Global Positioning System (GPS) technology!

Here’s how you can use this great invention to increase your direct mail results–even if you’ve only got one store with local customers.

GPS may be mapping from outer space, but desktop mapping technology can be a “weapon of mass destruction” for competitive marketers. With it, you can visualize your database information to see patterns that have a geographic component. For retailers and service businesses, that translates into “Which locations or neighborhoods am I best positioned in to serve my customers?”

Retailers typically serve a trade area of up to 10 miles. Service companies like to set up “routes” to maximize their travel time. By seeing a visual of your customer data, it’s easy to see where you should bulk up your marketing efforts and where you should scale back–neighborhood by neighborhood–instead of by zip code, which is the way most companies think of their target area.

Rather than sending mail to “everyone in a 3-mile radius,” marketers can use mapping to analyze demographic trade areas at a finer level, such as carrier routes, zip+4′s or Census Block Groups, to monitor their return on investment. Eliminate underserved areas, and you’ll decrease advertising costs and increase results!

Future mailings can suppress weaker or non-responsive neighborhoods and increase mailing quantity to “like” demographic areas, resulting in a mailer’s dream: Fewer mail pieces, more results. You can even overlay demographic information, such as home value, income, business population, etc., onto these newly mapped areas for an additional layer of intelligence.

Competitive Analysis

Mapping is also a solution for competitive analysis. By plotting yours and the competition’s store locations, then profiling the markets for age, income, home value, zip code penetration, etc., you’ll find kernels of truth that can lead you to an offensive marketing strategy or better site selection.

Mapping can be a valuable tool even when the business’s only marketing asset is a customer list of names and addresses without transaction (purchasing) information or anything else because critical geographical information can be appended and then analyzed. Franchisors and chain stores rely heavily on mapping technology to assign territories and drive customer traffic based on natural and man-made barriers (highways, rivers, bridges, etc.). Business marketers can improve “inquiry to closing” rates, plan sales calls more effectively, realign sales territories and measure sales force activities.

Mapping projects can be performed “in-house” with a relatively inexpensive software purchase of approximately $300-$400 or projects can be hired out for more sophisticated results that link back to spreadsheet or database information for ongoing analysis and can cost from $50 – $2,500. Whether your business delivers pizzas or manages a dealer network of 1,000 HVAC technicians, mapping technology can add a visual dimension to data analysis that is often more understandable than spreadsheets and graphs.