Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Successfully Promote your Direct Sales Business

Lets face it, having a successful direct sales business can be challenging, but everyone has the opportunity to be successful.  A new direct sales business is like an infant that must be nurtured and grown in a supportive positive environment.  If you join up and expect buyers to flock to you without putting forth much effort you may find yourself discouraged and feeling like you've been misled.

The truth about life, applies here as well, you'll get out of it what you put in.  To save you time and energy, I've outlined tips on how you can promote your business one day at a time.  I hope this information will help you to stay on track, stay motivated, and feel a return on your efforts.  These tips are not intended to be completed one day after the next.

Once you have joined a direct sales company it's time to get the word out and advertise you business. Word of mouth among your family and friends is great, but there is much more you can do with minimal time and effort-- the best part of all is most of these ideas are free!

You want to expose your business to as many people as possible, but how?  Here are some suggestions on things you can do by simply devoting 30 minutes per day to advertising.
DAY 1

Create a FREE email Signature Tag, and attach it to every email you send!  Email tags are easy to set up and every email has one.  Each different email program will have different  instruction on how to set up your signature...  if you can't figure it out on your own, try doing an Internet search on "how to set up an email signature on_______ (hotmail, Gmail, outlook, etc)  Some programs will allow you to attach an image and some just text.  No matter what your email providers restrictions, something is 100 times better than nothing.

Order your business cards.  Vista Print provides great business cards at an affordable price.  You never know who is going to be a potential customer.. or a potential recruit so you'll want to try to mention your new business to as many people as possible.

Update your answering machine or voice mail to let callers know you represent a particular company.  Great way to always keep your business on the top of mind with everyone you know.
 
Day two:

Establish an external website.  FIRST be sure to check with your direct selling company to make sure you're not breaking any rules.  External websites are a great way to increase your exposure online.  It gives you a voice to share why you love your company and what new and exciting things are happening... promotions, sales, new member benefits, rewards... etc.. the list can go on and on.  If you're not technically aware of how to design a website from scratch there are plenty of free resources on the web, but it's just as effective to start with a blog.  http://www.blogger.com/ is free, and user friendly.  It's okay to start with a blogger template... the most important things is to get started, post regularly, get links.  With a blog, the easiest way to create links is with your "blogs I read" list, or creating a "websites of interest" list on your blog sidebar.  For an example, you'll see mine to the right.  Ask your fellow team members to link to you, and return the favor by linking to them.  Everyone wins. 

Day 3

Register your website business on every FREE search engine you can find.  There is a bit of debate over this on the Internet.  The argument rests with submitting your site manually to all the search engines out there, verses instead getting your site linked to high profile pages, such as popular blogs.  Google, and several other search engines are popularity driven, meaning the more links your page has, the higher your listing will appear in a related Internet search.  I would strive for a combination of both to see the most immediate success.

Day four

Search and join online work from home, work at home moms, and direct marketing forums online.  Join, and PARTICIPATE.  Participation is key.  Be careful not to dive straight into promoting your business on every post as that will be seen as rude and socially ill-mannered. Get involved in the discussions and get to know the people on the forum. Post about your business in your profile, and mention your business in forums when appropriate.  Many of these forums will have specific forums to promote your business and recruit.  Be sure to read the forum rules before you get started.

Day Five

Go to other peoples personal websites and blogs and sign their Guest Book or leave comments, make sure you include a link to your blog in your signature so they can find your site too.
Contact other webmasters or blog owners and offer to exchange banners with them! If you do a online E-Zine or Newsletter swap banners with others and place them in your online newsletter and have them do the same!  A banner is simply an image embedded with a link to your website.  Here's a free site (one of may I'm sure) that can help you get started.  http://www.wix.com/flash_websites/fish

 Day Six

Another great way to drive business to your site and expose your business is become an online editor.  Write articles that praise the benefits of your business or product and submit them to online publishers.  The articles go into a database and can be used for free by people writing newsletters, articles etc.  To created useful articles you'll want to leave specific mention of your company and product to your signature only and make your article informative and educational.  The rules set by the online publishers generally require anyone who uses your article to use it exactly as written and they must credit you as the source, INCLUDING your signature line.

For example, If my direct sales company specialized in beautiful customizable home decor made in the USA, I would want to write articles such as:

  • The benefits of buying from US manufactures.
  • What makes a gift meaningful and memorable.
  • Changes and developments in the direct sales market.
  • Why direct sales companies are thrive in a down economy.
 If I do mention my company in the article, which I would generally not recommend, it should from a third party, independent standpoint, not associated with you, for example a quote from the owner of your company, with reference to their title.

Your signature should be posted in the following format:

Camille S. McClelland
Rendi Independent Stylist - Leadership team
www.camille.rendistyle.com


Day Seven

Run a Contest on your site for registered customers/newsletter members ONLY and then list your contest at all the FREE Contest & Sweepstakes Web pages!  Give away a free product, discount, etc...  just remember the more appealing the benefit of your giveaway the more participants... and leads... you'll get. 

Day Eight
Start thinking about your target market... and target them.  For example, if your direct sales business would be a great benefit to busy executives who don't have a lot of time to shop, of would make an incredible wedding gift start searching for forums or alternatives to reach out to those groups.  Consider advertising on a bridal forum, or contact a company with lots of busy executives and see if you can set up in their break room for an afternoon and share what your business has to offer. Target small companies and point out how they can earn free items for their company.  Once you begin to brainstorm the possibilities are endless.   

Day Nine

If your direct marketing company doesn't offer one, consider utilize a service like Aweber to create a database of online clients.  Create online bi-monthly or monthly email newsletter. Once you have an online customer base built up consider doing a print version  to hand out at promotional opportunities like parties, or events.  Keep your customers informed of new products and promotions, and well as constantly marketing the business opportunity.

Day Ten 

Exchange business cards or fliers with other work at home business owners from non competing companies. Use these as "bag fillers" for your party guest orders or party takeaways and have the others do the same. You both get FREE advertising!

Day 11

Networking with other home business owners can be invaluable.  Check for Home Business EXPO's locally in your area.  If there isn't one, consider planning one with the help of other interested business owners.

Day 12

Hold a Mystery Hostess Open House party! 1. Send out invites to everyone and post fliers every where! 2. Offer door prizes, and refreshments.  3. Tell everyone who comes and orders they get one entry, if they bring a friend they earn a bonus entry.  4. If they book a party at your party they get 3 more entries and so forth....  you set the rules.  5. At the end of the party, draw a name and the winner becomes the hostess and earns all the hostess credits for the party!

Day 13
Referrals!  Give friends who contend they don't have time to do your business the opportunity to refer business to you.  Offer them free products and discounts for bring buyers your way.  As they see how easy and profitable your business can be they'll become your strongest recruits. 

Day 14
Donate items or gift cards to fundraisers.  Schools, and non profit organizations are a great option.  The expense to you is at wholesale price, and most organizations will give you full credit and reference your website if your donation is of a certain retail value.   

Day 15

Contact local business owners and ask to set up a small table display. Offer them a personal discount or a freebie for allowing you this business exposure or swap "bag filler" business cards with them.

Day 16
Distribute fliers and business cards to apartment complex rental offices along with a free or loaned product sample. New tenants are almost always interested in making their new space personal.  You could also do this with real estate agents, or real estate home loan offices... etc!

 Day 17
Advertise yourself as a free personal buyer on grocery store memo boards, school teacher lounges, church directory memo boards, senior centers, nurses & doctor lounges etc. So many people simply hate to shop, but don't want to disappoint their loved ones.  Provide an out, that keeps them in.

Day 18

Contact your local hospital and ask them if they give out the FREE new baby bags filled with gifts etc to the new moms in their hospital.  Ask if you can add a flier, business card, coupon or catalog to the mix.

Day 19
 
Register to be a vendor at a local job fair.  The expense is minimal and you'll meet many people looking for great business opportunities.

Day 20
Host parties for friends, co-works & family members who would like to give a bridal shower, or baby shower. Great to do if you sell memorable gifts, home decor, kitchen baby products, invitations/stationary companies or lingerie companies!

Day 21
Give a product from your company as a gift as much as possible! Not only does someone really appreciate the gift but its FREE advertising and you are helping your own sales. Always check with a tax consultant, but generally advertising is an acceptable tax write off for your business as well. Why buy something elsewhere and get NO sales credit for it or any free advertising! Works GREAT for all Holiday Gifts plus birthdays, anniversaries, wedding and so forth.

Day 22 
Leave your business card behind every where you go. You can also do this at restaurants, bars, clubs etc. Anywhere you might leave a tip behind!

 Day 23

Contact your local Welcome Wagon Group. Ask if you can add your business card, flier, or catalog to the Welcome Wagon Package in your area. If you have samples then donate one to their package.

 Day 24 
Contact local kitchen & cabinet tradesmen and home builders in your area. Ask to set up a display in their show room about your business.  They get free staging, and you get free advertising.

 Day 25

In this day and age it's sort of a bit of a treat to receive anything personal in the mail.  Create and print postcards advertising your business on one side and blank on the other.  Send out lovely postcards letting previous buyersknow you appreciate their business, and potential buyers that you were thinking of them.  Make it personal and thoughtful, not just a plug for your business.
  
Day 26
Personalized giveaways.  Invest in getting some printed refrigerator magnets, snack bag chip clips, post-it note memo pads, pens, pencils with your business information.  They make great party freebies, and are perfect for events and shows.

Day 27

Design your own hostess promotion.  On top of what the company already offers, add something extra.  A half price item or product credit for getting a certain number of guests to the party...  The important thing is to incentivize areas you feel your parties are struggling.  The extra sales and commissions will more than make up the minimal cost to you.
The same concept could be applied to your team.  Offer your own incentive for recruiting, top party sales, or where ever your team may be struggling.

Day 28

Create and send a marketing mailer to small companies in your area advertising your products as business marketing opportunities.  This is especially effective if your products can be customized.  Offer to handle all the time consuming work involved in the order personally as a free service. That's a huge benefit to a business who may be ordering holiday gifts for clients located in different geographic regions.
Day 29

Get and stay organized.  As your team begins to grow it's important to keep track of where each of your downline is in terms of their goals, sales, and areas they excel and struggle.  Remember, you recruited them, it's up to you to lead and train them to be successful. 

 Day 30

Get yourself a self inking or rubber stamp made up with your website URL and contact info on it! Stamp everything. Not only does this save you time but you will be more apt to stamp everything and anything if it ONLY takes a second to do it!


Finally, Don't forget to stay positive, and keep working on your business. 

Best of Luck!

xoxo Cam

29 comments:

Randie Pospical said...

Hi Camille,

I love the tips you shared about promoting your business. I've shared these tips on my website. I hope you don't mind!

Thanks so much,

Randie Pospical
Independent Consultant - Premier Designs High Fashion Jewelry
http://turquoisejadeandsilverlinings.blogspot.com/

Jennifer Bentahir- Thirty-One Gifts Consultant said...

Thanks for such a great article. I'm new to the direct sales market. I am excited to get started after reading your article.

Jennifer Bentahir
Thirty-One Consultant
www.mythirtyone.com/88280

Kalyn said...

I'm pretty new to this as well. So far it seems really overwhelming, but I'm also really excited about it!

kalynbrooke.uppercaseliving.net

Avon Specials said...

Thank you for all your wonderful and helpful tips! I can't wait to get started and follow these steps. I hope you don't mind if I share this=) thank you again!!

Jaylynn Boyer
Independent Associate
ViSalus Body By Vi-Health Nutrition company
Http://www.jnrboyer.bodybyvi.com

CamsMommy said...

Future Silpada Representative!
Thank u for posting these tips I will definitely use. I read every single one. I cant wait to see the return on my future business.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the wonderful post! I am going to share your article with my $5 Paparazzi Accessories team!

Marie
$5 Paparazzi Accessories independent con #1239
www.ringsnbling5.com
earn 45% Commission!

whatswithdiane said...

Thank you for the advice. Winnie & Max is a ground floor direct sales home trunk show company and we will share your blog with our StartUp StyleMakers.

Diane Prince Johnston
www.winnieandmax.xom

Lori Wood said...

Thank you! I'm new to direct sales and I'm trying really hard to come up with new ideas to get clients. I'm going to start leaving my business card places.

Lisa Monson said...

I love the idea of new baby bags at the hospital. Usborne has fantastic books for babies and toddlers, so that one was a perfect fit. I have calling the hospital on my to-do list now.

Lisa Monson
www.usborneoutlet.com
www.polkadotbooks.com

KatieA said...

These tips are amazing! Especially love the advertising at hospital! I cannot wait to start using these tips!

Katie Aslan, Independent Designer
Origami Owl Custom Jewelry
http://katiea.origamiowl.com
www.facebook.com/OrigamiOwlByKatieA

Connor and Tyler's Mommy said...

Thank you so much for the great tips in this article! I have bookmarked it and will refer to it as I build my own business. South Hill Designs is a new jewelry company that I just signed up with and I can't wait to share these ideas with my growing team!

Connie Clair
South Hill Designs Independent Artist #2044
www.southhilldesigns.com/connieclair

Megan Lett said...

Thank you so much for this article. I have been doing my best at searching for ideas to help motivate myself and my team. Your artical has already been bookmarked to my home screen! Some of your tips I have done before on my own and some I havent. I have already added those to my to do list! Thank you so much!!


Megan Lett
Independent Thirty - One Consultant
www.mythirtyone.com/mlett
Megan.lett@gmail.com
636.299.3859 (call or text)

Aaislinn Teel said...

Wow! What great tips and advice on where and how to market next. This will help me get over my hump since I have used up my warm market and needed help in where to go next. Thank you!!

Aaislinn Teel
Independent consultant for Pink Zebra
www.pinkzebrahome.com/907sprinkles

Melissa's Creative Space said...

Thank you so much for all of this wonderful advice! I can't wait to get started!!

Melissa Brown
Younique - Founding Presenter #271
www.youniqueproducts.com/melissabrown

Melissa's Creative Space said...

Thank you for all of the great advice! I can't wait to get started!!

Melissa Brown
Younique - Founding Presenter #271
www.youniqueproducts.com/melissabrown

{ Abby K } said...

Thank you so much Camille! I realize this is from a while back, but they are great ideas/tips! :)

Abby Hake
stella & Dot Stylist
www.stelladot.com/abbyk
www.littlemissmartha.blogspot.com

Becky said...

I just found your blog! Thank you for some awesome tips. Already started on these and hope they pay off!!!

Becky Thackston
www.mythirtyonegifts.com/beckythackston
www.beckythackston.origamiowl.com

Kate Meier said...

These tips are great! I am excited to try some of them. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to decide if I want to go into direct sales and I think your post gives me a place to start.

I am excited to look at your other posts as well. It looks like you have some great advice to share!!!!

Jessica Brooks said...

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Mia Lisia said...

This is a great list of tips - very thorough! Thanks so much! Sharing!

Lloyd Carringtonjr said...

GREAT!1

Heather Ryan said...

Thanks for all of the awesome tips!!

Heather Rose
Pure Romance by Heather Rose

Leading seller in Bath, Beauty, lingerie, and adult novelty products

http://heatherryan.pureromance.com

Kayla Coates said...

Thanks for all the awesome tips!


Kayla
http://www.pinkpapayaparty.com/kaylacoates

jerry smith said...

Nice blog and thanks for sharing. In additions you can also promote your local business with the help of water bottles in which your business description and other information to be display.

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Mary Stratton said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips you have provided for promotion of the business. It is really great to read this post.



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Ella Baker said...

After reading your article I am speechless. But according to me small business can also be promoted through local events, in event you can give own customized water bottle to your audience. The water bottle label contain your business info, services and more

Katie Isaak said...

Great tips. Thank you so much! Will be sharing with my team members!

www.southhilldesigns.com/kisaak
kisaakcharmedshd@outlook.com

Patricia Lobitz said...

Thanks for the tips!!

Patricia Lobitz
Jewelry In Candles Independant Representative
www.soynjewels.com