Beginner’s Guide to Online Prospecting

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Do you want to finally lay off your 100 person list and stop chasing down leads for your business?  Do you wish there was some way to find the good leads, the ones who are actually interested in what you’re doing and who will actually take action, without sifting through all the duds?

Good news!  You can do this with online marketing.  By building a strong personal brand online and driving the right traffic to your content, you can create a lead-generating machine that works for you day and night, and by the time you actually talk to a prospect, you know that they are interested in your business and they are motivated to actually do something.  But how the heck do you do that?

This guide is intended to show you how to build your network marketing business online, step by step, starting from zero.  I will show you what you need and why you need it.  If you build your system right, it will pull in highly qualified leads for you 24/7.

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Step 1: Creating You, Inc. - Your Personal Brand

The first thing that you need to know when beginning your online marketing adventure is that you need to brand you.  Your brand is not your company; it’s YOU.  Why is that?  Because network marketing companies go out of business all the time, they pull out of certain areas or regulations change, and representatives change companies.  If you brand you and not your company, then you have the freedom to change or add to your business later on.  You can also build a more authoritative and trusted presence if you brand you and not your company.  

What is a personal brand?  A brand is more than just a logo and a slogan.  It’s a set of values, a mission statement, a philosophy, and a set of ideas, feelings, or concepts that you want your audience to associate with you.

So remember: you are not just a representative with a certain company.  YOU are your brand.

Step 2: Register Your Domain Name

Once you’ve decided on your personal brand, you need to register your domain name.  Your domain name is your “.com”  This can be  your first and last name, “yourname.com”, or it can be a brandable phrase.

My go to source for domain names is Name Cheap.  You can get a domain name there for about $10/year.

Step 3: Set Up Your Blog

This is perhaps the most tech-heavy part of setting up your online prospecting and lead generating machine.

If you use a program like Wealthy Affiliate (for affiliate marketers) or Elite Marketing Pro (for network marketers, entrepreneurs, and brick and mortar stores), you get a blog that is virtually done for you (you just have to customize it and add content, but it is otherwise set up and ready to go).

If you want to go the DIY road (this will cost less money but will be significantly more time intensive), you can use a platform like WordPress, Weebly, SquareSpace, HostGator, or Just Host.

Each of these platforms will have instructions to set up your blog on their websites.

Two tech tips:

WordPress offer by far the most option for customizing your blog.  If you want to use custom CTAs, sidebar opt-ins and ads, and pop-overs then you cannot beat a blog with a WordPress back end.  I use both Wealthy Affiliate and Elite Marketing Pro, and both use WordPress blogs.  I will never go back to something that’s not WordPress on the back end, as it simply allows me so much creative control over my blog.

However, WordPress.com does not give you creative freedom over plug-ins, opt-ins, ads, etc.  Wordpress.com offers a super simple interface that is easy to use.  If you want more creative freedom, however, you need to go with either Wealthy Affiliate, Elite Marketing Pro, or install your own WordPress back office through WordPress.org (or have it done for you) through a hosting platform like Host Gator or Just Host.

Weebly and SquareSpace, while offering significantly fewer options for customization, are much more beginner-friendly if you are building your blog on your own.  Both offer a drag and drop interface that makes it super easy to create a clean, professional-looking blog.

Check out this blog post for more information on Wealthy Affiliate and how to set up your FREE account.

Check out this blog post for 3 rock-solid profit-producing blogging tips that you can implement right now, plus a FREE 10 day attraction marketing bootcamp from Elite Marketing Pro.

Step 4: Set Up Your Social Media Accounts

Your social media accounts are how you are going to drive a lot of your traffic to your blog.

With social media, the key is to be on as many platforms as you can handle without getting overwhelmed.  For some of us, this might be only 1 platform at first.  Maybe it will be 2 or 3 or even 4.  Do not take on more than you can handle.  Begin with 1 social media platform, master that, and then more on and add another.

The most popular, and most profitable social media platforms to start with are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Linked In.  Other major contenders are Instagram and Pinterest.

My favourite social media platform by far is Facebook, because you can create a fan page for your business and you can advertise to your exact target audience.  This is the most powerful tool that Facebook offers us as marketers: the ability to create custom audiences.

Once you have a social media account up and running (note: for Facebook, you want to create a fan page, and not market your business on your personal page) your job will be to share your content and other people’s content.

The purpose of social media is not to make sales or recruit team members.  The purpose of social media is to draw a loyal and interested audience to you, and direct them to your blog.  Once on your blog, they will have the opportunity to opt in to your email list and this, the email list, is where you begin selling and recruiting.  (See below for ‘entry level’ email marketing tips.)

So here is what you do once you have your social media accounts up and running:

  • Share your blog posts;
  • Share other people’s blog posts or articles that are relevant to your niche market but not your direct competition;
  • Share inspirational photos, quotes, and stories;
  • Share personal stories that are relevant to your niche market.

Your job is to entertain, inspire, and educate.  If you do this, and you drive traffic to a blog that has good CTAs and subscriber opt-ins, then you will begin to build a relationship and build trust with your audience (this is a crucial step and absolutely cannot be skipped), and you will begin to see sales and team sign-ups trickle in from your email marketing campaigns.

Step 5: Create VALUE

This is by far the most important step in creating your lead generating machine.  Whether or not you add real value to your niche market will make the difference between building a profitable, sustainable business online that pulls in 5-figures, 6-figures, or even more, or falling flat on your face.

Your primary job, as an online network marketer, is not to sell, but rather to add value.  If you create valuable content that is not sales-y but is genuinely helpful, then people will come to like and trust you, and when they are in the market for your products or looking for a business opportunity, they will be much more likely to buy from you or join your team.  

Remember this: people love they buy; they hate to be sold.  If you are focused too much on selling, on pushing your products or your business, people will ignore you as a pushy salesperson.  If you create content of real value, they will see you as a trusted authority and they will keep consuming what you have to offer.  Eventually, some of those loyal followers will become customers and team members.

So how do you add value?

  1. Find problems that people are having in your niche market.
  2. Solve them.

It’s as simple as that.

If you are with an essential oils company, write about all natural DIY recipes for household cleaning, or making your own skin care products.  Do some research and write in depth features on specific oils: what are there benefits?  Who should use them?  How do you use them?  

If you are with a fitness company, create posts on how to target belly fat, how to build muscle without looking bulky; create 30 day plank challenges and make an infographic (properly shared on social media, this is something that could easily go viral); create your own high-protein recipes e-book, etc., etc.

When you write blog posts that add genuine value to people’s lives, they will naturally want more from you.  

Step 6: Drive Traffic to Your Content

This is how you add fuel to the fire that is your content-creating machine (i.e. you, as copywriter).  As you start creating content, you need to get eyeballs on that content.  Without readers, your blog will go nowhere.

So how do you get traffic to your blog posts?

  • Share your posts on social media.  Share to your Facebook fan page.  You can occasionally share to you personal Facebook page, but keep personal sharing to a minimum; that is what your fan page is for.  Share also on Instagram, or Pinterest, or Google Plus, or whatever other social media platforms you’re on.
  • Once you get more advanced and you get more comfortable with your content, start creating videos.  YouTube is the #3 most popular website worldwide, just after Google and Facebook.  If you can tap into some of those YouTube viewers and direct them to your website, you can add some real fire to your business.
  • Create Facebook ads.  Running paid ads on Facebook is one of the fastest ways to get highly targeted traffic to your blog.  One of the reasons that Facebook advertising is amazing is that you can target your niche market so exactly.  You can select your target audience’s age, gender, interests, and other demographics and put your ads in front of the exact right people.
  • Optimize your blog posts for SEO (search engine optimization).  By using some simple SEO strategies, over time you can get your blog content ranked in the search engines, so that when people look for one of your keywords, your website shows up.  What’s great about this strategy is that it gives you laser-targeted free leads.

Step 7: Capture Emails

The way that you monetize a blog that is heavy on content and light on selling is through a killer email marketing campaign.  This is also the way that you get around any potential problems with compliance (i.e. operating within your company’s policies and procedures).

On each and every blog post, you want to make sure that you have a call to action (CTA) that allows your reader to opt in to your email list in exchange for some sort of freebie.  This might be a free e-book that you wrote, a checklist or a report, it might be a sample pack from your primary company, or an email series (e.g. how to detoxify your kitchen cleaning routine in 5 easy steps, or how to rev up your metabolism and start losing weight in 7 days).

You also need to make sure that you have a way for your readers to subscribe to your mailing list: a pop-over or a sidebar opt-in form, or a “hello bar”.  I personally favour that pop-over plus sidebar opt-in.

You can create clean, professional-looking CTAs, pop-overs, sidebar opt-ins, and hello bars with various plugins for WordPress.  (To see my recommended WordPress plugins for these purposes and more, head on over to my “Resources” section.)

As your readers begin subscribing to your mailing list, you then have a captive audience of your exact target market who have given you permission to market to them.  That is why email marketing and getting email subscribers is so important.  We’ll talk about what to do with those email subscribers next.

Step 8: Create an Email Marketing Campaign

This is where your big money is.  Once you have your target audience subscribing to your email list, you can then start marketing to your EXACT ideal customers.  These people are already interested in what you have to offer and they have said, “yes, please send me more content on this topic”.  This is your laser-targeted niche market.

It will take you a while to get comfortable with email marketing, but the best way to get good at email marketing is to just jump in and do it.  Practice makes perfect.  But before you start writing emails to your list, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.

  • Subscribe to other people’s lists who are in your niche market.  See what they are doing.  Do not copy them, but do take inspiration from what you like and make it your own.
  • Sell 10% of the time.  Educate, entertain, and inspire 90% of the time.  Like with your blog and with social media, if you are too sales-y, people will just ignore you.  The key to provide valuable content and then sell.  A good way to do this is to have a link to your company website or to a monetized offer in your email signature.  That way, even if you send out emails that are not selling anything, there is still an offer being made.  You can also have some of your emails be promotional: do product reviews or product features, run contests and giveaways once you have a big enough list and people are interacting with you, offer occasional coupons.  You can also write emails that educate on a certain topic.  Let’s take essential oils again.  Write an email post about the best essential oils to fighting the flu during flu season, and then link to your company website at the end.  If your company offers wholesale prices for members, you can have an offer along the lines of “Get wholesale prices on your essential oils for only $__(your membership fee)_/year.  No minimum orders.  Join now.”

Step 9: Watch Your Lead Generating Machine Bring Prospects to You

Once you have these steps in place, and you are regularly creating content, driving traffic to your site, and getting email opt ins (and following up with those email subscribers), then you can sit back and watch your lead generating machine chug away day and night.  Of course, this is not something that you can set up and then leave on its own.  You need to maintain it: you need to keep creating content, driving traffic, and sending emails.  But once your lead generating machine is up and running, the work of maintenance can come down to an hour or 3 per day once you are really efficient at what you are doing, and it can pull in a full time income.

In addition to creating content, driving traffic, and sending emails, you also want to be always learning.  Invest in courses, read blog posts, and watch videos on network marketing strategies, attraction marketing, blogging, etc., etc.  Learn more SEO strategies.  Learn more about paid ads.  Learn more free social media strategies.  The more you learn, and the more you implement what you learn, the better you will become at what you are doing and I promise you that you will see results in your business.  Once you’ve gone through these 8 steps, don’t just sit back and keep doing what you’re doing.  Get better at what you are doing.  We can always learn more from those that have gone before us and from those who are successfully doing what we want to be doing.