Beware Of The Temptation Direct Selling Brings

Direct sales business offers a lot of things that other businesses normally cannot offer. Be your own boss and determine your own salary. Set your own schedule and earn as high as you want. Drop your day job and earn millions instantly.

Really… who wouldn’t be tempted with all these, right? A lot might even actually quit their day jobs without even thinking twice!

If all of these truly apply to everyone, imagine how the rest of the world will just quit their jobs and start venturing on direct selling! Wouldn’t everyone want to be their own boss, drive a new car they didn’t have to pay for, and work only at the time they want to and still earn the income they desire? Who in their right minds would not go for such?

Well, let’s admit it. We would all want that for ourselves, but we have to be reminded of what they say, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Thus, before we take the power of freedom to choose our own schedules, income, and everything that goes with it, we must be reminded of the responsibilities attached to it.

Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

o Success doesn’t come to the impatient. This goes out to all the businesses out there as well. Success, for sure, doesn’t happen overnight. You just can’t expect to sleep over an idea or a task and wake up with six figures in your bank account when you wake up the following day. It takes more than just hard work. It takes a lot of time and dedication, too.

o Customers are not easy to find. It takes beyond just establishing who your potential customers are. You have to actually reach them. What better way to do that than REALLY finding them? That’s what advertisement and phone calls in the world of business are for. If you don’t like the extra effort of doing that, you might want to look for another job because this surely isn’t for you.

o You need to have a system of keeping your records. Good record keeping skills are necessary. Records need to be organized right at the very start. You should not put it off at a later time, delaying will cause you more headaches than you think. So if you’re not in the habit of keeping records, you either ask for help or start a new habit.

o There’s more to direct sales than just holding parties. Whoever said that parties are the only time you have to work at your business certainly just wants to recruit you only for their benefit and not yours. Just like any other business, direct sales need hard work and time. Holding parties is only a part of direct selling and not the whole of it.

Normally, one will be tempted to purchase and have every product the company offers. If you’re a big fan of perfume and eventually become a rep for a perfume company, you will typically be allured to have every single scent there is. Although it is true that you do have to know your products and you have to know them well, you do not have to spend your income just to do so. Companies do have their samples to be given away. You have to take advantage of that instead of buying every scent you would want for yourself.

While it is realistic to assume that you can quit your day job anytime and work fulltime on a direct sales business, you might not want to do it as soon as possible. You can do it EVENTUALLY, when you have already made your business stable and profitable enough to make you want to quit your job. In the mean time, you might just want to use only your spare time to make your business grow. And when it does, that might be the highest time for you to bid you day job farewell.

Having all these in mind, never be blinded with the false offers you just might want to believe in. Everything takes time and won’t happen in an instant. If you want to be part of a direct sales company, it’s not just important to start now, it’s more important to start right.

12 Grass Roots Marketing Ideas For Businesses

Guerilla marketing consists of marketing efforts that are defined as a localized strategy to promote a product or business. Guerilla marketing efforts require imagination, time, and effort instead of a huge marketing budget. Not all businesses can use all of these ideas due to local laws, but most can, and should use these low-cost and effective methods of advertising for their business.

Signage -The majority of your customers will visit your store because they are “drive-by” or “walk-by” customers. Put an “OPEN” neon sign in your window and have it lit when you are open for business so people know you are open. This is an important traffic driving tool in your arsenal.

Store Front -You should always keep your door open, weather permitting, to create a welcome feeling. More customers will come through your door if it is open. Another way to create a welcome or warm feeling for customers is to put balloons outside and inside, as well as streamers, music and other party items. Nothing draws attention like a party. Also put out sky dancers, big balloons on the roof, and other collateral items. Have gift certificates pre-printed in a convenient business card format, stand outside of the store and pass them out. Remember motion creates emotion!

Sign Walker -A sign walker is a person who stands on the sidewalk with an arrow or other sign that advertises your promotions as well as shows the way to your store. The sign must be clear in its message..and simple. The simpler the sign, the easier the customers can read it quickly. The sign should have your store name and a call to action. Research the times and days when traffic is heaviest in nearby intersections. You will also need to research where the best visibility will be for on-coming motorists.

It is a good idea to hire a sign walker through a temp agency so that you are not liable for the insurance requirements. The sign walker must be energetic and carefree and not embarrassed to sing, dance, jump around and talk to cars. Set these expectations with the temp agency to help them find a person who will be the “right fit” for your needs. Set specific parameters before you hire the sign walker. For example, where the person must stand; that they must stand the entire time; that they must point the arrow at your store; that they must turn around to be seen by on-coming traffic when the light changes; and that they cannot sit on the sidewalk and appear lifeless, etc. Make sure to give the person appropriate breaks and check on them about once an hour to make sure they don’t need water or to go to the restroom and that they are doing their job.

A-frame Sign - Put an A-frame sign, or sandwich board, on the sidewalk in front of your store and attach balloons, especially if you are on a busy street. This will grab foot traffic attention.

Special Events - Special events are also a must to draw in business. Purchase a large EZ Up tent to use at your convenience. Get everyone in your center involved. Have them hire or split the cost of radio stations, face painters for kids, etc. Get clubs and other free organizations to participate (i.e. Habitat for Humanity, the police station, etc.). Decorate your store and make it inviting. Have a different theme / activities each time you do these events, and have giveaways and prizes customers can enter to win. Contact your local chamber of commerce to hold events at your store as well. Speak with everyone who comes to your store.

Wrapped Vehicle/Banners – You can also put an upright arrow on top of your wrapped vehicle that points directly to your store. Other signs can also be put in the grass leading up to your store – there are many ways you can do this, but keep them simple. You can put one word per sign as attention getters. Banners out front are also a great way of letting your customers know what is sold in your business.

Online Sites – There are also other ways of marketing your store with online sites such as Yahoo, Google, and Facebook. Some store owners post on Craig’s List under the category “Items Wanted.” Ensure that your branding message is the same on all sites you advertise / sell on to get your branding message out to more people.

Local Publications -Design an ad for specific publications that focus on your neighborhood or town. Have this ad published in the month/week you are planning to open your store or have an event. Research what publications are popular or most often read. At the very least, cover ads (either front or back) will more likely be seen even if the publication is thrown away.

Direct Mail -You can try a direct mail campaign in your immediate area and then gauge the results after 2-3 consistent monthly attempts. This is effective in some areas but not in all. Postcards 6X12 are an excellent size to stand out amongst everything else.

Fliers – Fliers are also a great inexpensive way of getting the word out about your business and what you offer while avoiding expensive postage fees. Hand-deliver at least 1,000 fliers a minimum of two times a week before your business opens and once a week thereafter within a 3-5 mile radius. Check local laws on mailbox access and entering private property. After 2 – 3 months of consistent flier deliveries you can gauge the effectiveness of this program.

With ads for direct mailers or fliers, create a sense of urgency and set in print a timeline or cutoff date as to when the offer ends, such as one week after the piece hits homes. Provide contact information (i.e. store phone number, address, directions, intersection with small map, etc – but keep it clean). Pay attention to drop or publishing dates. Advertisements should hit homes when they have the potential to have the most impact such as a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and verify that they in fact went out. Finally, be sure your advertisement or call to action is easy to understand and the customer can “get it.”

Neighboring Businesses - Networking with neighboring businesses can be extremely effective to get customers into your store. For example, you could put fliers on pizza boxes, post coupons on the back of grocery receipts, offer free Starbucks coffee with a certain type of sale, etc. Be creative!

411 Directories -Registered your store with Yahoo and Google. Some online 411 directories are free and easy to set up.

Affiliate Marketing Without A Website

Having your own website to promote your affiliate products is a good option. But it is not necessary. There are many methods available that can be used to do your affiliate marketing business. The list is long, but the most important methods are email marketing, writing articles to e-groups, joining online discussions etc. Let us discuss some important methods that can be used to promote your affiliate products without having your own website.

Email Marketing

In this method you can promote your affiliate links and you don’t need your own website. People can click on your affiliate links present in your emails and can go directly to the merchant website to purchase the products.

Your email should contain the introduction about the product you are promoting and your affiliate links. Try to make your emails interesting and brief.

Try to expand your contact list. Use as many methods as you can to grab the email addresses of new people. Use online forums, chat forums etc to make new friends. Your email list must contain a few hundred contacts, at least. But don’t spam. Don’t send emails to the people who don’t know about you or who don’t want to receive your emails. Otherwise they will just block your emails and you will lose your contacts. As I said, your emails should be interesting to get the reader’s attention.

Offline Promotion

You can use the offline methods of promotion, like the classified ads, flyers etc. The best choice is the classified ads because its exposure is largest.

Writing free e-books

It is similar to email marketing. But in this method you will write the informative and interesting e-books and will send to the people via their email address. These e-books should be easy to read and helpful for their readers. The topics should be related to your affiliate products so that you can recommend the products in the body of e-books. Alternatively you can add a brief note about your affiliate products and affiliate links for promotion. If the readers like your e-book, they may visit the merchant website and make a purchase.

Writing in Forums

Search for some forums, at least three, that are related to your product and have high page rank. Register on these forums and start some discussion in the forum where maximum people are involved. Just post your questions there or answer some questions of other members. But don’t add any promotion text in the body of your posts. You are allowed to put your signature at the end of your post. Here you can write you name and your affiliate links.

When you become an active member of this forum then you may get some traffic from these forums to your merchant website through your affiliate links. This will ultimately result in more sales of the products you are promoting.

Writing Articles

You can write articles and publish them in the free article directories. You can embed your affiliate links in the text of your articles. If your articles are well formatted, informative and the article directory has large traffic then you can expect some good traffic to your affiliate links. And you know that more traffic on your affiliate links will result in more sales through your affiliate links.

Conclusion

The use of a website to promote your affiliate products is a good idea but it is not necessary. You can use the alternate methods to promote your affiliate products and links. The most popular among these methods are email marketing, writing to forums, article writing and offline promotion like classified ads. The main idea is that instead of promoting your website you will directly promote your affiliate links and people will directly go to the merchant website by clicking your affiliate links to purchase the products. This way you do not have to pay extra for your website creation and maintenance.