MLM Anyone?

Multi-level Marketing (MLM) or Network Marketing is very popular. It is used to sell vitamins, beauty products and many others as well. It generally requires face to face selling but some people use the internet to gain a down line.

Many people are attracted to the possibilities of large dollars to be made. Unfortunately, that is the exception and not the rule. Most people are not good at sales and aren’t aggressive enough and stick with it long enough to build a self sustaining downline. In fact a self sustaining downline is almost a myth because there is so much attrition. Other than a few companies that have been around for decades, most of the companies don’t last that long.

In fact one article claims that only around 50 MLM companies have lasted 10 years or longer. What happens is that when they have found as many suckers (I mean customers) as possible and have saturated the market, a new company gets started. Everyone likes to get in on the ground floor because that is where the money is made. The movers and shaker with big downlines get brought in and they bring as many of their prior downlines as possible and clean up. The people below them make a bit more for a while and them max out. So, on to the next company.

Funky Math

The problem is the math. It is not exactly a Ponzi scheme, but close enough. When you look at the compensation plan and figure out what it would take to make $100,000 per year and then look at the number of people you would need in your down line and how much they would need to buy, it is daunting. But, if you have any integrity, you want the people in your downline to succeed as well. This is where the problem with the math comes in. You discover that to have a number of your downline succeed as well, you start needing the entire population of the United States to sign up. It just isn’t sustainable.

One positive though is the comradery and the positive reinforcement that can help some people get out of a rut and succeed in life even if it isn’t at MLM. On the other hand, there are a lot of garages and basements full of unused product.

In terms of internet marketing, many companies require that you use the websites that they provide for you. You aren’t allowed to set up your own independent site. That makes it very difficult to use the internet effectively.

Sell the Knowledge, Not the Product

One person came up with a different solution which is typical of good internet marketing. Give information away for free to get people hooked and then upsell them. She now sells something called the Renegade Network Marketing System. She started out by putting up a blog with nutritional info. People liked it enough that they told friends and she started signing people up to her nutritional MLM company. But then she found out that people liked the product but couldn’t duplicate her on the business side.

So she decided to teach her system and sell that. She developed a free ebook to get people interested and then sold her system. So now she can sell to people in all the MLM companies. Pretty smart. Kind of like in the California gold rush. Do you know who really became wealthy during that time? It was some of the people with stores that sold jeans and shovels and things like that. They became some of the major corporations in California and a number still exist to this day.

What is Organic Ranking?

It is ranking that isn’t paid for. There, that was an easy post. Done.

Ranking

If you would like a more in depth explanation, keep reading. First, what is ranking? That means the position you are listed in when you do a search online. So if your website shows up at the top of the list on the first page, then you are ranking number one.

Page Organization

We will talk about a Google search since the majority of searches are done on Google. The top listing on the page does not have the number one ranking. If you notice, in a small yellow box, it says Ad. So that company has paid the highest amount of the advertisers on that page. There are 3 ads above the organic listings and another set of ads in a column on the right side of the page. The ads in the right column are less expensive to buy.

Not always, but generally there will also be the map listings. The map and the map listings move around somewhat. Sometimes it is between the top ads and the first organic listing and other times it is further down. The map used to have 7 marks on it and 7 listings below it. Now the map usually has more dots on it but only 3 listings below it. However, you can click on More at the bottom of the 3 to see others.

Organic Listings

Finally we come to the organic listings. There are typically 10 per page. It is important to be on the first page because most people never look on the second page. In fact, most never look past the first 3 listings on the first page. Getting to be on the first page is the point of search engine optimization. It requires doing a number of different things which are full discussions in and of themselves. You need great, authoritative content and lots of it. You need other people to like your website and show it by linking to your website. It also helps if you are listed in the search engines, directories and any other citation sites you can possibly get listed on. You also need to have the website easily readable on mobile devices.

Search Engines use these criteria because they want the user experience to be as good as possible so people will keep coming back and doing searches. They don’t want to have a one page site that is poorly put together with lots of misspellings and lousy content to be the first thing someone sees. They have software that looks at a number of factors about each website. The better the website and the more relevant to the search, the higher it will move up in the rankings.

One last point. Ranking depends on a lot of things. You might do one search and a website will be number one. But with a different search it might be on page 2 or not be found at all. So ranking is very keyword specific.

Online Mistakes Businesses Make

Most companies know their business backwards and forwards. Many have a handle on marketing. But a great many don’t yet understand digital marketing. Here are a number of mistakes that companies make.

These problems could be solved if they would hire someone, either an outside consultant or a full time employee or a part timer to handle some or all of what is covered below. Internet marketing is so key in today’s world that it is amazing that so many companies do it so poorly. Continue reading “Online Mistakes Businesses Make”

Leveraging Adwords while Reducing Cost

You might call this a stealth keyword strategy. In some niches where there is not much competition, it doesn’t matter too much. In others, with higher competition the cost of keywords can become quite steep. What to do?

In a competitive niche, when you ad new keywords, frequently your competitors will be copying you in a week or two which negates the new keywords you have added, or at least drives up the cost.

By doing the following strategy, it will be much harder for your competitors to see what you are doing. Even programs like Keyword Spy and Spyfu won’t be able to figure out exactly what you are doing.

This strategy will give you long tail keywords and typically they have the benefit of being cheaper and converting at a higher rate than the main keywords that are shorter.

Rather than going after the keywords that everyone else is going for, go for the ones that they aren’t. For example. When you enter Cosmetics the top results of the keyword tool are

  • cosmetics
  • perfume
  • bio oil
  • makeup
  • beauty
  • shiseido
  • lush cosmetics
  • mascara
  • eye makeup
  • lipstick

So rather than compete for the top 10 keywords, let the others fight over them. Instead, do a general broad campaign using  +cosmetics. Then you exclude the top 10 items on the list as follows:

  • -[cosmetics]
  • -[perfume]
  • -[bio oil]
  • -[makeup]
  • -[beauty]
  • -[shiseido]
  • -[lush cosmetics]
  • -[mascara]
  • -[eye makeup]
  • -[lipstick]

Even after excluding the first ten, there are hundreds of keywords. Here are a few:

  • bourjois
  • makeup tips
  • beauty supply
  • concealer
  • skin care
  • makeup brushes
  • airbrush makeup
  • makeup organizer
  • makeup artist
  • elf makeup
  • cosmetic surgery
  • skin care tips
  • natural makeup
  • cosmetic

And the list goes on and on. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

 

Keys to SEO

What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization? It is the idea of doing things that will help get your website ranked and found when someone does a search for a product or service that your provide. Who cares? You should because it can mean a huge difference the number of leads and closes you have.

Like they say with the lottery, you have to play to win. Well, the first most basic thing you need is a website which many small businesses don’t have. If you don’t have a website, no one will find you on the internet. (There actually are a couple of ways but if you don’t have a website it makes the chance of your being found very unlikely.)

So you may say, great, I made it over that first hurdle, I have a website. But, how good is your website? But wait, before we get into that, let’s step back and take a look at the search engines for a second.

The biggest of the bunch of course is Google. Then you have Bing, Yahoo and others. They want people to come to them to search for what they want. If you do a search and you don’t find what you want, you might try some other search engine and not come back. So they have an incentive to give you the best results possible. How do they do that? They look for certain indicators.

The first and one of the most important is the website. How much content does it have and how pertinent is it. If your competitor has 20 pages and you have 2, the search engines will see your competitor as the better site. So you need lots of content, at least the same or more than your competitors. Then you need to use keywords and keyword phrases. These are words and phrases that people are likely to search for when they look for your product or service. You need to have these throughout the website. But not just randomly. They need to be used naturally in normal sentences and not just lists of keywords. The search engines downgrade you for that.

Pictures help your customers but not the search engines. They can read and evaluate text, but not pictures. Naming the pictures and captions helps some, but you need the text.

The next thing is citations. That is mentions of your website and its name, address and phone number. It is important that these are consistent across the citations. Citations are the equivalent of the phonebook for the internet. Just like TV has gotten lots of channels, the same with the phone book/citations. There is yellowpages.com, yelp.com and many more, some specialized for your industry. Some companies / websites have several hundred citations, but most have many fewer. Your goal is to have the same or more than your competitors.

Then the are the social media platforms. With Google my business, bing, yahoo, and others there is a way for businesses to get listed and verified. This greatly increases the chances of your business showing up on the map when a search is done. It also helps the website ranking.

Another key factor is links or backlinks. They are called backlinks because rather than your site linking out to someplace else, other websites link to your website. The more of these links the better as long as the links are from legitimate websites and not spam websites. Sometimes you pay for SEO services and they will point a lot of links at your site, but they will be from places selling mail order drugs, or viagra, or porn. These are not links the search engines will appreciate. It is also good to have powerful sites link to your site. One link from Wikipedia or NBC can outweigh 100 links from small websites that don’t rank well.

So in a way, the search engines are judging as if it was a popularity contest and also how hard you are trying. If you have spent the time or money or both to have a lot of content, then the site is likely of more interest to their searchers than a tiny website. If there are a lot of citations, a lot of people listing your company and website, it indicates that other people think you have something of value. Same with the backlinks. If people go to the trouble to link to your site, it is essentially a vote of confidence.

All of these factors matter in SEO and will make a difference in leads and sales which is really what is important.