Just about every business today has a website, and there’s a very good reason for it! When your direct sales business is online, you instantly have access to millions of people. This is something you can’t do through parties or cold calling.
But many people still shy away from launching their own website because they think that you have to be technological savvy or know their way around computer programming. That may have once been the case, but the good news is that today, anyone can have her own website. Even if you’ve never heard of Metatags, SEO, or HTML code before in your life, you can have a site!
Here’s how to make money from your direct sales with your own website.
The first thing you’ll need to know, of course, is how to actually launch your site. If you know much about the Internet and anything about programming or coding, this will be a cinch. But it’s easy even if you don’t have that knowledge. All you really need to do is find a great domain name for your site and find a website host. Most hosting companies will now set up your entire website for you.
Then, you just go in and enter content and information about your company and your products and post anything about your company that you want your customers to know.
So, what should put on your new site?
One of the most obvious things you can include on your own website is information about the products you sell. Post pictures and prices as well as detailed descriptions of each product. If you have a lot of products you want to sell on your site, you can group them into different sections. This will make it easier for your customers to find their way around and make it easier for you to keep everything organized.
Another great idea is to suggest other products when someone looks at something similar. For instance, if you sell body care products, post a suggestion for facial moisturizer underneath and on the same page as the body lotion. This will not only get you more sales but it will also remind customers what else they might need. And it will help them keep you in mind for future purchases if they don’t need the items right then.
But you don’t even need to sell anything on your website in order to profit from it. Your website is a great place to advertise your business. Post all your party dates, several ways to contact you, and even general information about your products. Imagine how much many responses you’ll get by posting info on your website rather than just tacking up flyers at the grocery store. (Although having a website is no reason to stop doing these things either!)
Don’t worry that not having product on your website means you won’t make money from it. If you have a successful website, you can make money from it even without a single product listed. Do this through advertising. Use programs such as Google AdSense or sell advertising on your site. This is a whole new way to make money for your direct sales business!
Owning and maintaining a website doesn’t take much time. And when you find how it increases the profits for your direct sales business, both by selling more product and by selling advertising on your site, you’ll wonder why you didn’t launch one sooner… even if you don’t know a thing about being a webmaster!
Obviously, the only way your direct sales business will grow is if you promote it. Without parties or presentations you won’t go anywhere in direct sales–or any other business. And of course, you started your business to earn a profit. To do so, start promoting it right off the bat.
Here are some tips and tricks that will help you promote your direct sales business both online and offline. Even if you take orders through your website only, you still need to promote your business offline. Some people may not know you have a website unless you tell them.
• Offline Marketing
Promoting your business offline is not as difficult as you may think. You do need to be creative and take some time to make it work. But that’s not hard.
Make use of the best offline marketing tools you can find. Put them to work for you so you aren’t wasting your money being in business without earning a profit. Invest some time into your offline marketing strategies for your success.
Consider these tools to promote your business offline:
1. Business cards
6. Product samples
There are several things you can do with these tools once you have them in hand. First, decide who your target market is and where they can be found.
For example, if your business focuses on moms and small children, then it would be a good idea to find ways to submit your marketing materials to them. If you focus on women in general, then you need to find them.
Once you figure this part out, you’re ready to start marketing. You can mail your marketing materials, hand them out, give them away, or include them in packs to be given out. Whatever you do, make sure you do it in a way that is not pushy or inconsiderate, of course
• Online Marketing
Online marketing is done on the Internet. There are so many different ways and places you can market your direct sales business online. Again, you need to decide where your target market spends time online and visit those places to market to them.
Here are some techniques you can use when to market online.
1. Graphic buttons
3. Text ads
4. Social media
5. Blog posts
6. Article marketing
Realize that some of the techniques listed above cost money, but others are free. In addition, the amount of money you pay to advertise on one site may be more on another site. Often the amount charged is based on the traffic and the content available on that site.
Social media is something that a lot of people use, and it’s a great tool if used properly. Just be careful when you use sites like Twitter and Facebook. You can lose followers and friends fast if all you post are ads for your business. Instead, post tips, tricks, and good information along with subtle ads for the best results.
With blog posts, and article marketing you’re building trust with your readers so you want to make sure that what you talk about and what you post will help them and be useful to them. For the best results, write things that will help your target market with problems they face or that will prevent the problems from happening in the first place.
With teleseminars, webinars, chats, and conferences you’re teaching things to your listeners, so you want to provide them with detailed, useful and easy to understand information that they want.
Direct sales businesses are fun to work, especially if you choose a company whose products you absolutely love and that you want everyone you know to enjoy. When you use both online and offline marketing to grow your business, you will reach levels you never thought possible in your business, so get started right away!
There are so many ways to spread the word about your direct sales business, products and business opportunity. The key is to continually look for new methods of promoting your business so you can increase sales and add new recruits. Here are some ideas you may not have thought of yet.
• Buy a large bag of miniature Payday™ candy bars and add a label on the back that says, “Ask me how every day can be a Payday!” and include your phone number and website address. Give one to everyone you meet. Leave one on the table with your tip at restaurants. Give one to cashiers and bank tellers.
• Buy miniature candy bars to give out at Halloween. Include a label on each piece with your direct sales company name and full contact information. It not only makes parents feel safer letting their kids eat the candy, it’s great advertising for your business as well. Mom and Dad eat a lot of candy the kids bring home on Halloween!
• Create advertising filler packs and give them to every person you meet, everywhere you go. Take several with you when you go to a ball game, run errands, get your hair cut, go to a restaurant. If you’ll be around people–women, in particular–take some filler packs with you and hand them out. Need fillers for your packs? Get them from non-competing direct sales consultants and other small and home based business owners, and give them yours for their filler packs.
• Create mint books. These are cardstock designs that look like just like matchbooks only they have a mint inside. Print your direct sales company information, website address and a discount code on them. These are great to hand out wherever you go or include in your filler packs. You can even keep some in a bowl on your kitchen counter and encourage friends and family to take some and share them.
• Cut out tulle circles, place a few Hershey’s Kisses™ in the center, and tie with a ribbon. Attach a business card to the ribbon and distribute to secretaries in area offices along with a catalog and a word of appreciation for all they do.
• Donate a prize to a local radio station. In return they’ll mention your name on-air when they give the prize away. Or better yet, bake a batch of brownies or cookies and take to the DJs. Include a card of appreciation for their hard work, and be sure to sign the card with–not only your name–but your business name as well.
• Donate discontinued items to a local women’s shelter. When the women get back on their feet–and many of them will!–they’ll remember you. You might even find some recruits there if your business opportunity is flexible and doesn’t cost much.
• If your direct sales company will allow it, register a domain name and start your own website, aside from the company site. Even if you have to link to the company site to sell products, you can offer free articles and information about your company and opportunity on your site, which will typically allow you much more flexibility in promoting your business.
• Join together with other direct sales consultants and home based business owners to create a welcoming committee for new neighbors. Have each member contribute fillers and samples to create welcome gift bags. Then keep an eye out for people moving into the neighborhood. When they do, drop off a gift bag and let them know you’re glad they moved in.
• Print labels with your direct sales company name, website address, email and a discount code. Stick one on the back of every single envelope you mail. You’d be surprised how many people–postal workers included!–will see your URL and visit your site.
• Put an ad in your local high school yearbook. These are typically inexpensive and will last virtually forever since most everyone keeps their annuals and looks at them again over and over!
• Send out a postcard to your entire mailing list whenever your direct sales company comes out with a new catalog or brochure. Have them printed with something like, “Call me for a New Catalog and get a 15% discount off your first order!”
• Sponsor a local restaurant’s menus. Offer to pay for a portion of their menu printing cost, or their carry-out menus, in return for an ad for your direct sales business on the back cover.
• Start a local business networking group with one representative from each company. Meet every week and share business leads, business building tips and referrals.
• Submit your website URL to search engines, directories, online shopping malls, and anywhere else you can. Also take part in link exchanges and free advertising to get the word out about your website.
• Teach a seminar or class at your local library. Design a class based on your direct sales business. Make it fun and informative. Don’t try to sell! But be sure to provide plenty of flyers and business cards so students can contact you for additional products or more information.
• Offer one-on-one classes. This would work the same as a class you would teach at the library, but you’d provide it to individuals who prefer more specialized training, or who don’t learn as well in a classroom setting. Create a “kit” of products that will complement the class outline and let your students know that the class is free when they buy the kit.
• Use your answering machine to tell anyone who calls you about your business. Include your website address or information about upcoming specials or sales.
Have other ideas that work to promote your direct sales business? Leave a comment and share what works for you!
Sometimes it’s difficult to find sales promotion and marketing helps for specific direct sales businesses. Here are some ideas to help direct sales consultants whose business is selling beauty and skin care products.
• Invest in business cards that are die cut in the shape of a lipstick tube, eye make-up case or hairbrush.
• Spritz a bit of cologne on your business cards so they pick up the scent.
• Use your own skin care and make-up products, then when people comment on how wonderful your skin looks, you can tell them they could have the same results using your products.
• Print “You Are So Beautiful!” with a photo of some of your beauty products or your company logo on note card forms from the office supply store. Use them to thank your hostesses and new customers.
• Print “This Business Can Beautify Your Life!” with a photo of some of your beauty products or your company logo on note card forms. Send them to prospective team members with details on your business opportunity.
• Put a sample lipstick in a small zipper bag and staple it to a business card.
• Give your weekly ezine a title that relates to your business such as “Beauty Tips & Tidbits” or something similar rather than just using your company name. It reminds people of what you do every time a new issue arrives.
• Give skin care and beauty products as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and more to anyone and everyone you know. Try to choose products the recipient will enjoy, but let it be known that you love your products and assume everyone else does, too.
• Offer free makeovers to local customers. Have them invite their friends and make a “spa day” or do one-on-one beauty and skin care consultations.
• Host a monthly drawing for a free skin care product. Have people sign up on your website. Be sure to include a current catalog and business opportunity flyer when you send out the prize.
• Write articles about how to care for aging, dry, or oily skin, how to use eye make-up, the difference between skin care products, how to make money selling beauty products, how to make beauty products last longer, what to do with broken lipsticks, and more. Submit them to article directories and publish them on your blog and website.
• Offer to give free classes on beauty tips and skin care at local clubs, senior centers, libraries and churches. Provide plenty of catalogs and business opportunity flyers for participants.
• Donate discontinued skin care products and fragrances as prizes for drawings on other Websites or at local businesses. Include your company literature, of course.
• Offer a discount to area salons and hairstylists who would allow you to leave your brochures and catalogs in their shops.
• Take part in church bake sales and craft sales where you can rent an inexpensive booth and set up your product display. Hold a drawing for a free gift so you can collect names and addresses for your mailing list.
• Partner with other direct sales representatives in non-competing companies to market your products to each other’s customers. For instance, find a home decor consultant or candle sales representative and have her promote your beauty products to her mailing list while you promote her products to yours.
• Host an online candle party filled with beauty tips and tricks. Play games, chat, and have fun while selling products and booking other shows.
• Get a web decal or vinyl cling printed with your company name or logo, a lipstick graphic and your website address, and display it on the back of your car.
• Wear a pin-back button that says, “My business is Beautiful!” or “Free Makeover! Ask Me How!”
While there are many more ideas to promote your direct sales beauty business, these should help get you started thinking about creative ways to beautify the world around you.
Often when searching for direct sales promotion and marketing help, you can only find general tips and generic information. Wouldn’t it be great to have specific ideas to help you build your direct sales business–whether it’s related to beauty, home decor, kitchen items or toys? Here are some ideas to help you if your business is selling candles and candle accessories.
• Invest in business cards that are die cut in the shape of a candle.
• Rub a strongly-scented candle on your business cards so they pick up the scent.
• Keep candles burning in your home and office all the time.
• Print “You’re the Light of My Life!” with a photo of a candle or your company logo on note card forms from the office supply store. Use them to thank your hostesses and new customers.
• Print “This Business Can Light Up Your Life!” with a photo of a candle or your company logo on note card forms. Send them to prospective team members with details on your business opportunity.
• Put a few wax chips in small zipper bags and staple to a business card.
• Sell discontinued items on eBay or Craigslist. When you ship, be sure to include a current catalog and business opportunity flyer.
• Make use of every catalog you buy. If you can’t get them passed out before they expire, slap a “Call for Current Catalog!” sticker on the front and pass them out, anyway.
• Give your weekly newsletter a title that relates to your business such as “Candle Craze” or something similar rather than just using your company name. It reminds people of what you do every time a new issue arrives.
• Give candles as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and more to anyone and everyone you know. Try to choose a scent the recipient will enjoy, but let it be known that you love candles and you assume everyone else does, too.
• Host a monthly drawing for a free candle. Have people sign up on your website. Be sure to include a current catalog and business opportunity flyer when you send out the prize.
• Write articles about how to care for candles, how to use candles safely, the difference between soy and wax candles, how to make money selling candles, how to decorate with candles, what to do with broken candles, and more. Submit them to article directories and publish them on your blog and website.
• Offer to give free classes on candle safety or decorating with candles at local clubs, senior centers, libraries and churches. Provide plenty of catalogs and business opportunity flyers for participants.
• Donate discontinued candles as prizes for drawings on other Websites or at local businesses. Include your company literature, of course.
• Print colorful flyers and post them on local bulletin boards to promote your products and business opportunity.
• Leave a couple catalogs everywhere you go including the doctor’s office, dentist, hairstylist, etc.
• Offer a discount to area realtors who would like to give their new home buyers the gift of a candle. Attach your business card to the package.
• Take part in church bake sales and craft sales where you can rent an inexpensive booth and set up your candle display. Even if you don’t make many sales that day, you can host a drawing and collect names and addresses for your mailing list.
• Partner with other direct sales representatives in non-competing companies to market your products to each other’s customers. For instance, find a beauty consultant and have her promote your candles to her mailing list while you promote her beauty products to yours.
• Host an online candle party. Play games, chat, and have fun while selling products and booking other shows.
• Get a web decal or vinyl cling printed with your company name or logo, a candle graphic and your website address, and display it on the back of your car.
• Wear a pin-back button that says, “My business is Hot Stuff!” or “Free Candles! Ask Me How!”
While there are many more ideas to promote your direct sales candle business, these should help get you started thinking about creative ways to light up the world around you.
While it’s easy to get involved in online marketing, a successful direct sales consultant needs to make the most of offline and local marketing as well. Here are some ideas for advertising and promoting your direct sales business in your local community.
1. Sponsor a sports team.
Dozens of little league baseball teams, adult and youth softball teams, soccer teams, football and basketball teams, bowling teams and more are looking for someone to sponsor them.
While this could involve paying the team’s entrance fee into the league, or buying full uniforms, it often involves buying only T-shirts or bowling shirts. That can make sponsoring a team affordable for almost any direct sales consultant who’s serious about her business.
The goodwill generated in the community along with having your company name on the backs of 10-12 team members two to three times every week can be a real boost to your business.
2. Place an ad in a local newspaper, magazine or newsletter.
This is especially affordable if you live in a small town; advertising in big city newspapers and magazines can cost as much as national publications. But even then, you might be able to find local print newsletters published by computer user groups, gardening clubs, home associations and others who would allow you to run a business card size ad for a very reasonable price.
Locate potential publications by searching online for “newsletter advertising” (with quotes) and include the name of your hometown. Or ask friends and families if they know of any possibilities. This could turn into one of your best marketing methods ever.
3. Advertise on a billboard.
If you can find a privately owned billboard, in particular, the cost may be less than you think. And often, billboard ads are left up long past the expiration date of the ad. The price could be out of your range but it’s worth a few phone calls to find out before you write off this advertising option as totally unaffordable.
4. Have magnetic signs or window decals made.
You can get a pair of magnetic signs for under $50, and window decals are much less than that. While you may not receive any traceable orders from the signs, getting your name out in the community and letting others know what you do will pay off. Put a set on every vehicle you own, if possible. You may be surprised at how many people call you and say “I’m so glad I found you. I’ve been looking all over for a consultant!”
5. Use pin-back buttons.
Another very low-cost option, pin-back buttons are an excellent advertising option. Instead of only printing your company name and phone number, however, try something like “Ask Me for a Free Catalog!” or “I Have a Free Gift for You!” People will see the pin and comment, and there’s your open door for sales and bookings.
Have buttons made for anyone you know who’ll wear one as well. Your spouse, kids and other family members can wear a button that says “My Mom / Dad / Sister / Daughter sells…” (with your company name or products). Successful direct sales representatives almost always have help from their friends and family. Make the most of all the help you can get!
6. Have business cards professionally printed.
While you can use cards that you design and print yourself, nothing says “professional” like a well-designed, professionally printed business card. For the minimal cost of a box of business cards, you can’t go wrong with this local advertising option.
Post cards everywhere you go, leave them on counters, tables, on the sink in the ladies room. You never know where someone will see your card and need what you have to offer.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking about marketing and advertising your direct sales business locally. Hopefully, your increased sales and exposure will help you see that it’s well worth the time and money you spend to improve your local marketing efforts.
Whether you’re starting out in direct sales or have been running your own direct sales business for years, getting consistent referrals is a key component of your success. Referrals, or personal recommendations from others, is one of the best ways to build your direct sales business. A referral means that your friends and customers trust you enough to tell others about you. What could be better than that?
Of course, the goal then is to get as many referrals as you can. But how do you do that? Here are five ways that work:
1. Business cards will bring referrals.
In the world of online marketing, business cards are becoming almost extinct. But these little babies are still worth their weight in gold (and then some!). Have some business cards printed with your full contact information including name, title, company, phone number, email address and URL. You can include your physical address, but unless you have customers coming to your home, there’s really no need.
Begin the day you get the cards from the printer to share them with anyone who will take one. Drop a few in the teller’s box at the bank. Leave a couple on the table for your server when you eat out. Stash one in a book or two at the library. Staple one to a small sample or goodie bag and give them to day care moms, cleaners, cashiers, and anyone else you talk to. Business cards are a tremendous, low-cost marketing tool that will do a great job of getting your name out in your local area.
2. Reward anyone who gives you a referral.
Offering a small gift, a discount or a special service to anyone who gives you a referral, lets others know you value word of mouth marketing. An easy way to get referrals is to write something like “10% Discount for Every Referral” or “Free Gift for Every Referral” on the back of your business cards. Add a line that says “Referred by…” and give a few to everyone you know. Encourage friends and customers to write their names on the cards before they hand them out, and see how quickly new referrals start coming in.
3. Ask everyone you know for referrals.
If you approach someone to host a show and she declines, ask her if she knows anyone else who might be interested. The same is true for prospective customers, recruits or anything else. Make asking for referrals a habit, and the number of referrals you receive will increase dramatically.
4. Trade referrals with other direct sales consultants in non-competing businesses.
If you sell beauty products, trade referrals with a home decor representative. Or if you sell candles, trade with a pet products consultant. Be cautious that you trade only with consultants you know won’t abuse your customer contacts. Better yet, offer to send a letter to your customers referring your consultant friend and ask her to do the same thing for you.
5. Give referrals to others.
Know the adages, “Give to get,” and “You reap what you sow”? Those phrases contain a lot of truth! If you want others to refer business to you, begin to refer business to others. It doesn’t even have to be the same person, but the act of sowing generosity by promoting others will return to you in the form of referrals for your own business.
6. Brag about the referrals you receive.
Let prospects and customers know when you receive a great testimonial or recommendation. Post it on your website, print it in your newsletter, include it on a flyer. Authors do this when they print those blurbs on the back of their books. No reason a direct sales consultant can’t do the same!
Sometimes as direct sales consultants, we end up with extra catalogs that we couldn’t use before the expiration date. Maybe we ordered too many for an event, or just didn’t get them handed out like we thought we would. Whatever the reason, catalogs are money in hand, so we certainly don’t want to just toss them out! Here are some ideas to make the most of your expired catalogs and hopefully, get some added exposure and sales from them.
• Print up some stickers with your contact information, including email and website, that say “Contact Me for a Current Catalog!” Put one on each expired catalog before you begin to distribute them.
• Give them to sub-sellers at no cost. This is especially good if you typically charge your sub-sellers for catalogs.
• Leave them on a table in your local library. Our library actually has a table set aside for people to drop off used magazines and books. I’ve picked up catalogs for several direct sales companies there.
• Drop them off at local doctors, dentists, chiropractors and other offices where people have to wait.
• Leave one in the dressing room when you try on a new outfit.
• Cut a circle of netting or sheer fabric (or buy circles ready-made at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby). Place 4-5 Hershey’s Kisses® in the center of the circle and tie with ribbon. Attach one to each expired catalog and drop them off around town in any office that has a receptionist. Consider car dealerships, insurance offices, contractors, etc.
• Ask if you can drop off a few at your child’s day care center.
• Leave a few in the restaurant’s restroom when you go out to eat, and leave one on the table with your (generous) tip.
• Give one to your bank teller when you go through the drive-through.
• Leave a couple on the fabric counter in your local department store.
• Take a couple with you when you have your nails done.
• Ask your hairstylist if you can leave a few in her shop. Offer her a discount for any orders that come from there.
• Drop one off with the secretaries at your local elementary, middle and high schools.
• Leave several around your local college campus. You can also add a recruiting sticker to these since college kids are always looking for ways to make a little money.
• Leave a few in your local laundromat.
• Make up a coupon good for 10% off a first order (six to a page work well). Place one inside each expired catalog. Leave them anywhere else you can think of.
The whole idea is to change the way you think about expired catalogs. While they may have looked like money wasted before, you can now see them as potential orders and recruiting prospects with just a little effort and creativity.
When you’re first starting your direct sales business or even after you’ve established yourself you want to focus on getting the word out and maintaining momentum. Obviously you can invest in some paid advertisements, but there are some great ways to get the word out about your business that don’t cost anything but a little bit of your time.
Let’s take a look:
1. Sizzle Cards – Create business sized card flyers on your computer or use VistaPrint’s free business cards and advertise yourself with them. These cards aren’t your typical business card with just your name, business name, email and phone, but like a 30 second commercial in print on a snazzy card that you can give to any and everyone you see. Print a simple coupon on the reverse side to increase your chances of someone calling you to redeem it!
2. Flyers – put up flyers 1/4 page flyers any and everywhere you can (ask first). Think through your target market and ask to leave a stack at the front desk, cash register or on a bulletin board. As above, adding some type of “action” incentive or coupon will increase the chances of that flyer not ending up in the circular file somewhere!
3. Press Releases – spend some time crafting a press release about you and what you can offer to the community. Don’t make it a sales letter – the press is looking for relevant news stories, so stick to news or how you and your product might relate to what’s going on in the world today.
4. Articles – This, in my opinion, is the best way to market yourself for no cost at all. Write articles and publish them locally as well as submit them to internet article directories. Establish yourself as an expert in your field and refer them to your website for more information and specials.
5. Seminars – Offer to be a speaker at local seminars and business meetings – again, keeping it news worthy and not all about sales. For instance, if you’re in a food oriented direct sales business, offer to do a seminar on entertaining with food, or healthy holiday entertaining, etc.
6. Park District events – Similar to above, offer to teach a class through your local park district. They’ll print your information in their community guide that is sent to everyone in your local area which furthers your status as an expert in your field.
7. Online forums – actively participate in online forums that relate to your niche market. Again, don’t just give a sales pitch but be helpful and involved. This can be done with just a little time each day and can be very effective if done well.
8. Commenting on blogs – search for blogs that target your market as well and comment on the blog entries. No sales pitches here either -this is all about getting your name out there and branding you, not about other people thinking you are spamming your business, product or opportunity everywhere.
9. Local networking groups – Get involved in local networking groups and your chamber of commerce. Most networking groups will allow you to visit at least once for free and may charge a fee in the future.
10. Referrals – referrals are the backbone of any good business so make sure you’re asking your current customers to recommend you to their friends and family. Make it easy by giving them sizzle cards or other things to pass on to their contacts or better yet, reward your customers for the referrals they send you.
11. Partner up – work with another direct sales representative in a complementary but not competing business and work to promote each other with each event and party that you do.
12. Drawing box – put up “prize drawing” boxes at local restaurants where people can enter and win a free prize from you. This will help you build your local mailing list and get your name out as well.
13. Volunteer – volunteer at local fundraising events and offer to throw in a coupon or something as a door prize if you’re able.
14. Wear logo clothing – if you receive some type of “uniform” shirt or logo wear from your company as part of your starter kit, wear it often! If not, create a name tag or button to wear around. Don’t be shy!
15. Return address labels – add your business website or business email to your return address labels and use those for everything you mail out from now on. Or invest in a simple self-inking stamp that has the same information so you can stamp all over the envelope!
This is just the tip of the iceberg of ways to get your name out and start letting people know you are in business and ready to serve!