How do you succeed with an online business program when 5,000 other people are promoting exactly the same opt in page..?
The number of Direct Sales business opportunities on the Internet is growing continuously. For more information on how they work I wrote a Squidoo Lens.
But the question in many people’s minds is this: if we are all promoting the same page won’t we be swamped by the big boys with the big budgets?
The answer in my mind is: yes, maybe.
But there are pros and cons to this. The fact that thousands of people are promoting the same page raises general awareness. That means that if someone lands on your page it may have already been seen several times before – not your specific page, but the same page belonging to another member of the same program.
If the visitor is already aware of the program, or at least is familiar with the page, by the time they land on your specific page they may be ready to opt in, and you would pick up a new member.
In that case you would benefit from the promotional efforts of others. And, similarly, your promotional efforts will benefit others.
The downside of the ‘awareness’ factor is that that people generally buy from people.
Stating the obvious, I know, but what I mean is this: People are more likely to make an investment and get into business with someone they ‘know’ and trust, than with someone they don’t. I put ‘know’ in quotes because knowing someone on the Internet personally is statistically highly unlikely!
Which brings me to personal branding.
By differentiating yourself you’re making yourself stand out from the crowd. Differentiating yourself allows you to stamp your own personality onto the opportunity. Visitors will get to ‘know’ you as a person and will (hopefully!) come to trust you. That, in my experience, will increase the likelihood of them signing up with you, rather than with someone else.
I took this view some time ago and I’ve spent a lot of time since then creating a personal brand. (I’m still at it, by the way, this is a continuous, ongoing effort!)
The downside of this is that if you’re starting from scratch it takes time and effort to build up momentum. And that means that you’re not going to pick up the ‘bonus’ opt-ins that I referred to above, because people will not be familiar with your page.
So what do I mean by personal branding?
Creating a brand for yourself takes planning, work and consistency. My first introduction to branding was many years ago and my mentor at the time used this example: if you took all the text and names off a BMW ad you would still know it was a BMW ad. (They didn’t show pictures of the entire car at the time!).
The BMW branding was so strong that the style of the photography, the colours used, and the type of images used made it instantly recognizable, even with no reference to BMW.
So how do you translate that to the Internet?
By making sure that every presence you have on the Internet uses immediately recognizable characteristics. Not every presence needs to be the same, but they all need the same recognizable characteristics.
That means that all your blogs, all your websites, all your profiles in Web 2.0 sites (Apsense, Direct Matches, etc), all your Squidoo Lenses, all your HubPages hubs, all your auto-responder emails, your signature line on emails – all of your postings on the web must have consistent and instantly recognizable characteristics.
Use the same style of writing. Introduce yourself in the same way. Use the same image. Make the layout as similar as possible. With the Web 2.0 sites this may not be possible, because they have a format you have to fit into, but get as close to your style as you can.
Where you’re designing and building your own web pages use all of these and, additionally, make sure your pages are laid out in the same way: navigation is in the same location, your image is in the same location, the style of your page is recognizable.
And, by the way, that does not mean all your pages have to be exactly the same!
Those BMW ads were not the same, but they were instantly recognizable because of the layout, colour schemes, images used, etc.
Creating a strong, personal brand on the web takes a lot of time and effort.
But over time it will create a momentum that will make you stand out from the crowd, allow people to come to ‘know’ and trust you and, as a result, increase your opt-in and sign up rates.