Network Marketing – Is Your Business Legal

One of the biggest challenges facing the network marketer is the poor reputation the industry has earned over the years. Most of this reputation has been created by illegal and fly-by-night businesses that have been created with the express purpose of fleecing their distributors by running illegal pyramid schemes.

Most people, when approached about joining a network marketing business, do not know the questions to ask. They tend to apply what they know about conventional business to network marketing. Unfortunately things that make sense in conventional business are very often either unethical or illegal in network marketing. Many states have enacted law specifically designed control network marketing businesses. Typical examples are:

High entry cost. – Business cost money to start so a fee of hundreds or thousands of dollars does not seem unreasonable.
Large inventory purchase. – “You need something to sell don’t you.”
Making commissions for signing up new distributors or making profits from volume sale to new distributors.
“We will pay you $50 for each distributor you sign up in your front line” or “All you need to do is buy $3000 in inventory and sell the same to your new distributors.”
Over the years while contacting people about my network marketing business I have found people who had been recently approached about joining a network marketing business. I always suggest that they contact the Direct Selling Education Foundation for their publication “Pyramid Schemes: Not What They Seem!” to determine if the business they are considering is legitimate. Some of the suggestions are:

Start up costs should be reasonable. Entry costs for legitimate network marketing business should be relatively small. The fees may include the cost of a sales kit sold at or below company cost.
Companies that require inventory should have a “buy back” policy for distributors that wish to quit the business. Many states and the Direct Selling Association require buybacks of at least a 90% of the original cost.
Are profits made primarily on the sale of product to the end user. Pyramid schemes make their profits on volume sales to new recruits.
Take your time. Never be pressured to sign up right away. Ask to meet successful distributors.Find out about the company.
Find out where they are located. Who are the officers of company? What is their history?
Are they members of the Direct Selling Association and have subscribed to the Code of Ethics of the DSA.
Network Marketing is one of the most effective ways of starting and running your own business. With effort and the willingness to work hard you can develop a strong secondary or primary income. Just make sure that the opportunity you are investigating is a legal business.

Use On-Demand Postcards: The New Easy Way To Market Your Business Fast

When marketing your product or service with postcards, you need three competitive advantages to succeed. The postcard must get attention, it must be fast, and it must be cheap enough to fit in your marketing budget over the long term. Small businesses can t afford to pay for marketing that does not stand out or get noticed. If the postcard mailing is too expensive to mail more than a few times the power of the message will be lost on the potential customer. The faster a postcard gets in a customers hand the faster they can buy your product or service.

3 Keys to Postcard Success:

1. Get attention

2. Deliver fast results

3. Inexpensive so it can be repeated (often!)

These three ingredients are important for traditional postcards.

But used in conjunction with on-demand postcards, your results will accelerate many times over.
Because a postcard doesn’t need an envelope, your message has a head start at getting the
recipient s attention. Today’s full color, digitally bright postcards practically jump out of your
prospect’s stack of mail. With on-demand postcards, you can send a second mailing the same
day you analyze the results from your first mailing — how s that for speed?

Postcards are less expensive than other types of mail. Using on-demand postcards means
smaller run sizes and more refined testing. You don t have to buy 50,000 postcards to get a price
break. It is just as economical to print and mail 50 postcards as it is 5,000. With smaller mailings
you can target potential customers better and bring results that can match, in revenue, that of an
expensive print or broadcast campaign.

Goals of a postcard campaign

First figure out what you want your postcard to achieve. What results do you want with each
mailing? Once you know your objectives, measure your results and adjust your mailing
accordingly. Are you looking for leads? Do you need to get more people into your store or to your
web site? Are you trying to boost sales of a featured product or service? Some of our customers
use postcards for:

Open house

Just sold

Just listed

Special sale announcements

Classes

Thank you

Grand openings

Tradeshow notices

New locations

Your postcard’s main message needs to be simple and direct. Create a sentence or two that
zeroes in on your main objective. Postcards are excellent for conveying a simple one-part
message– Buy this, Just Listed or Now Open in Your Area. Consider sending a series of
postcards if you want people to do more than one thing. Each card can concentrate on motivating
readers to do a different task.

For example, one of our customers ( Scott ) uses postcards to increase attendance at his oneday
training class. The full color on-demand postcard is sent out two weeks before the class to a
list of 5,000 potential customers in his local area. Targeting like this can increase response by 40
percent. The postcard focuses on a single item, learning how to trade stocks for a large profit.
The results of the mailing have been very positive. Over 250 people sign up for each class
yielding over $60,000 in lifetime value for a cost of less than $2,700.

Targeting Customers

Your potential customers can be split into one of two broad categories, consumers or businesses.
When you target consumers, consider the ways of breaking down your audience into
subcategories: location, income range, ages, men or women, and type of dwelling are common.
Targeting a business is a bit different. Business-to-business audiences can be classified
according to industry, number of employees, annual sales, and industry groups they may belong
to. Once you have identified the appropriate subcategories, then it is very straightforward to
purchase a list of mailing addresses. It is even possible to instantly download mailing lists from
websites such as http://www.zairmail.com.

Another great way to use postcards is to target your existing customers. With on-demand
postcards you can segment your customers into groups, and send each group a different
postcard designed specifically for them. One postcard mailing can go to people who buy often
and in large amounts. Another postcard can go to customers who buy less frequently or haven’t
purchased in a while. Unhappy or one-time customers could comprise a third and fourth mailing.
Building your own house address list will be invaluable part of your overall marketing approach.

How to design your postcard

Like any marketing document, start with a headline. Begin with an action word. Promise an
irresistible benefit customers will receive when they buy from you. With postcards, the shorter the
copy the better, so cut out extra words. Headlines work best when they are black, bold type on a
white background. White on a dark background works well, too. Avoid colored type– it can easily
blend into the background making your headline less attention getting. Write in a mixed case (like
this sentence). Capitalizing The Beginning Of Each Word or PUTTING YOUR HEADLINE IN ALL
CAPS makes your headline harder to read.

Use a full-color photo to make your postcard look more impressive and stand out from other mail.
Templates are provided on our website that allow you to use Microsoft Word to generate custom,
professional-looking postcards that are ready to upload and mail.

Finally, take advantage of the different sizes of postcards that are available; 4.25 by 6 inch cards
are conveniently-sized and perfect for short messages. The larger, 6 by 9 inch card can hold
more information, attracts attention and can still be mailed at a reasonable cost.

Inexpensive, fast, and effective, postcards are a great way for a small business to gradually build
its customer base and sales. Postcards are also an effective tool to augment a larger company’s
print and broadcast campaigns. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your postcard gets
noticed and creates results.

Maximizing Your Options – Self-Directed IRAs and Real Estate Investing

The perception of retirement savings is that the money has to be invested in traditional avenues like CDs, bonds, stocks, and funds. However, there are a large number of non-traditional investment options that are available through an increasingly popular type of retirement account, called a self-directed IRA. Self-directed IRAs let the individual investor decide where to invest their money based on their own expertise – and one of the most common investments is in the opportunity-rich real market.

How Real Estate Investing through an IRA Works

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) make up more than $2 trillion of investment assets, about 20% of the total assets in retirement plans. While about 98% of these IRAs are invested in traditional areas like mutual funds and stocks, a large number of IRA holders are switching to self-directed IRAs, which let them decide where to invest their money. In fact, the amount of assets held self-directed IRAs has more than doubled in the last five years, representing tens of billions of dollars in assets.

Most self-directed IRA funds are spent in real estate, and virtually any kind of property is allowed for investment: land, commercial properties, office buildings, shopping and retail centers, single family homes, rental units, condos and multi-tenant buildings. The only limit for real estate investments is that they cannot directly benefit the account holder or a near relative (such as buying an investment property and then using it as your primary residence).

There are three different ways that IRA funds can be invested in real estate:

o By purchasing the property outright. In this case, the assets in the IRA are used to buy the property entirely.

o By supplying a deposit or down payment. The IRA fund can be leveraged to get a mortgage on a property, with the property used as collateral. This minimizes personal risk and can greatly increase the overall value of your investment.

o By buying a property as part of an investment group. As long as the property deed shows your undivided interest in the property, it’s available to your self-directed IRA for investment.

When using a self-directed IRA to invest in real estate, you select the property, negotiate the price, and find the lending institution, while an escrow account is created in the IRA trustee’s name and the IRA trustee performs the actual transaction. The property is then held as part of the account’s assets. This is analogous to picking a stock with great dividends and instructing your IRA advisor to purchase a certain number of shares.

What an IRA Trustee Means

The structure of self-directed IRAs provides a balance between independent real estate investment control and experienced investment professionals. For any self-directed IRA, there has to be a qualified custodian, or trustee, for the account. The trustee understands all legal and tax prohibitions on investments, manages the actual retirement account, handles administrative tasks and carries out all of the actual transactions. The trustee also offers professional advice as you plan your investment strategy, which is particularly important for long-term investing in real estate. All account funds are held in an escrow account managed by the trustee.

The self-directed IRA trustee has an integral role in whether you successfully invest in real estate with your IRA. Even major investment companies may not have experience with self-directed IRAs or real estate investing, and knowledge matters. For example, the profits from a self-directed IRA may be subject to unrelated business income taxes (UBTI) because of the nature of the investment, while depreciation and expenses for the property are calculated differently. (This is in sections 511-514 of the IRS tax code.) An experienced IRA trustee will know all the liabilities and incentives available.

Most importantly, ask about investment goals and options; get involved and be willing to take control of your investments. The most important asset the IRA trustee offers is strategic, experienced planning. Trust Administration Services specializes in IRA-funded real estate investing, along with other self-directed IRA investment plans, with billions of dollars in assets.