Here’s the gist of a response I gave to a question the other day on how to market an MLM online.
Before we get into some ideas, let’s get firmly fixed in your mind that if you want to generate income from marketing your MLM online you’ll need to work at it!
Please ignore all the hype you probably heard prior to signing up about how this is a ticket to a 6 figure income because of the power of leverage etc, etc.
The truth is: it takes work. Lots of work.
OK, so firstly consider your business model. Many MLM’s encourage you to go after your friends and family. Not only is this often discouraging, it’s also not a sustainable business model, if only because you have a limited number of friends and family.
If you’re serious about this, what you really need to do is to build a sustainable business that does NOT rely on your social circle.
So how quickly do you need to make money on this…? If earning fast income is important then you’ll need to look at paid advertising channels through which to promote, at least initially.
Please be sure to check out your MLM Terms & Conditions carefully and understand what you’re allowed to do with regard to promoting your product, because some MLM’s have restrictions
Among paid channels, then, Pay Per Click is one of the most effective ways to get targetted traffic quickly.
But beware! It can also be very expensive, particularly Adwords, unless you’re good at structuring a PPC campaign so as to get targetted traffic at the lowest possible Cost Per Click.
That’s not as easy as it may sound, and choosing the wrong keywords can bring you a lot of clicks but few (if any) sales. And the cost of your clicks can mount up frighteningly quickly.
Always remember: traffic is easy. What you actually want is targetted traffic and that’s a lot more difficult. So if you go with Pay Per Click, and you’re new to PPC, be very sure to get help and support so that you can structure your PPC campaign properly.
There are lots of other paid advertising channels, but in my experience the most effective are solo ads (email messages sent to subscriber lists of people who have opted in for them), and paid ads in relevant newsletters or ezines.
This is because you’re directly addressing a group of people who have an interest in what you’re promoting (as long as you select the right subscriber lists or ezines) and who’ve indicated that they’re open to receiving promotions.
A good place to start looking for ezines, many of which also offer solo ads, is the Directory of Ezines.
There are many, many sites that offer paid classified ads. A Google search will bring you more choices than you can shake a stick at. While these are cheap, they have never produced an acceptable return for me.
But it is worth testing out some of the better sites, such as the paid options on USFreeads, InetGiant, AdLandPro and others. Test using cheaper options and see how things go. Just because they didn’t work for me it doesn’t mean they won’t work for you, and there are a lot of people who have had great results through these channels.
You can also check out expired domain redirects. This is where domains that have existed for a while and, therefore, have an established presence online, have expired for whatever reason.
Because they have an established web presence they’re still popping up in search results and, therefore, receiving traffic. There are companies who find these expired domains and intercept traffic going to them. They then match this traffic with your keywords or niche, and re-route relevant traffic to your website.
Although it sounds like a high potential source this, again, has never produced a good return for me. However, it’s worth a try because it’s not expensive (as long as you do a test on the cheapest option first) and I suspect it will work better for some products or niches than others.
A Google search for ‘expired domain redirects’ will bring you a whole raft of options.
You also have the option of buying leads. This, again, has not worked for me in the past. I’ve found it to be expensive and frustrating! However, if you’re a good phone jockey this is something you may want to try. Again, test it out on the cheapest package before jumping in with both feet.
Other than those, you can use free advertising sites like Craigslist, Backpage, USFreeads (free options), free classified advertising sites, and don’t ignore off line advertising.
Craigslist, in particular, can drive lots of traffic very quickly to your site, but be careful with both Craigslist and Backpage: be sure to read their terms and conditions carefully because it’s easy to fall foul of them and end up cutting off a strong source of traffic.
If, on the other hand, quick revenue is not so important then my suggestion would be to start building authority. Be aware, though, that this takes time and effort.
What do I mean by building authority?
It’s the process of establishing a powerful web presence where you’re known and trusted as a source of valuable information. This will cause people to bookmark you and link to you which, in turn, will raise your profile to the search engines – bringing you increasing amounts of search traffic as a result.
Here are some ways to build authority:
Set up and run a blog.
Make sure you post content regularly that’s consistently focused on your target market so as to attract potential customers as readers. You will be able to promote your MLM through ads in your sidebars as well as directly in your blog articles.
But a word of caution: make any direct promotion in your articles very low key or you’ll drive people away.
Also: be sure to set up your own blog on your own site – don’t use one of the free platforms. My recommendation would be WordPress, but there are other platforms available as well that you may want to check out.
WordPress is free to install and set up, and many hosting providers now offer 1-click set-ups, but you’ll need to pay for hosting fees and a domain name
With WordPress there are lots of plugins that you can add that will greatly increase the visibility of your blog to the search engines, resulting in more search traffic more quickly. It’s one of the reasons WordPress is so popular with the IM crowd.
Join forums that are either focused on your target market or on marketing online.
Create a link to your blog in your signature (that’s generally the only promotion you’re able to do on forums) and respond to forum questions professionally and with valuable information.
People will click on the link in your signature line if they find your answers to be valuable.
Forums are also a great place to get ideas for blog posts. You’ll soon see a trend of frequently asked questions coming out and you can use your answers to these as the basis of posts for your blog.
For example: this article was triggered by a question I saw in LinkedIn.
Set up accounts with other Web 2.0 sites.
Create a Squidoo lens, a Hub Page, a Pownce account, a Tumblr account and a Twitter account, and use RSS to syndicate your blog posts among these sites. Be sure they all contain links back to your blog.
Squidoo and Hub Pages will require a reasonable article with good content. On the others you can get away with shorter articles as long as your RSS is set up to import your blog posts.
Create accounts at social bookmarking sites.
Initially go for Digg, del.icio.us, Mixx, Reddit, Stumbleupon plus any others that you’re either a member of or know about, and create links to your blog posts there.
Be careful on these sites, though! You need to actively participate in the communities, not just push your own articles. If you just push your own articles you will quickly be categorised as a spammer and may end up being banned.
As you become familiar with the bookmarking sites you can join more of them. Plus, new ones are popping up all the time, so keep an eye open!
There’s a heck of a lot more you can do to create authority, but if you haven’t done it before that’s enough to get started with!
For more information check out the Authority Blackbook from Jack Humphrey. It’s free to download and goes into a lot more detail on specific steps to take.
The benefit of creating authority is that you will establish a strong presence online, become trusted and known and, as a result, get people linking to you. This will begin to attract a lot of targetted visitors to your blog from the search engines.
By definition, these will be from outside of your social circle and this will make your MLM business model way more sustainable.
Although this type of traffic doesn’t cost much money, it does take time and effort to get the train moving – but once it’s moving the momentum is powerful.
And, of course, using advertising and building authority are not mutually exclusive. You can start to build your authority in parallel with running advertising programs to promote your MLM.
What other channels have you used to promote your MLM? Leave a comment and let us know!