One of the big mistakes made by many when they become Affiliate marketers, join a Network Marketing business or start a new venture is that they forget the importance and value of building their OWN brand.
That brand is you / your current business – and people deal with you because they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST you!
The value of your brand can not be underestimated as it drives repeat sales and referrals.
In fact, once you’ve gained someone’s trust, they will more than likely buy almost anything from you ahead of someone they don’t know.
Building your OWN brand is something you cannot ignore – because you / your brand are the most powerful asset you have, the one thing others cannot easily copy.
The starting point in today’s wired world is YOUR website. It’s critical as you would have noticed when you meet someone new and among the first things they ask is “do you have a website”? It’s your calling card, a chance to impress someone about your business and credentials!
I’m not referring here to a Facebook Fan page or similar on a social network. Those services are not in your control and still very much at an evolutionary stage. Instead, you need to create your own website – a “homebase” which continues to evolve and survive regardless of what happens elsewhere, a website you can refer your social media friends to no matter which service you are on.
Twelve Steps To Get You Going In The Right Direction…
- Avoid referring people elsewhere. You need to keep your customers / visitors with you for as a long as possible. If you refer them elsewhere, all you are doing is helping someone else on the off chance that you may get a return. Wherever possible, drive as much as you can through your OWN website.
- Make your website as sticky as possible. Don’t settle for a 6 page electronic brochure – that’s a thing of the past and it certainly won’t create the trust and credibility you need to generate sales, repeat business and referrals. If you’re an Affiliate marketer, try to focus on offers which you can promote from your site whether that’s via a review, original sales page or a detailed summary. If you’re a Network Marketer, make your site the entry point for your clients to the main site of the company you are representing.
- Keep your website vibrant. Get into the habit of adding new content on a regular basis so that your visitors have a reason to return. A simple Blog article, a special promotion, a new product, the benefits of joining your group, etc – they can all contribute to an enhanced relationship.
- Expand your portfolio / solution mix. Big companies do it and so should you as your customers have needs in many areas. They are going to spend money on those areas and if you – someone they know like and trust – can help them, then the chances are they will buy from you.
- Develop secondary income streams. eBooks, info products, etc are wonderful secondary income streams, so develop your own portfolio or acquire distribution or resale rights. You need to do this even if your primary focus is a network marketing program or affiliate offers – so you can value add and create a point of difference, a reason for people to deal with you rather than others promoting the same product / service.
- Maintain longivity. Develop content / products that have a long shelf life so that when your visitors come back looking for something they may have seen 6 months ago, then it’s still there. Dead links on a website impress no-one!
- Focus on quality and margin. Always promote / feature quality products and services rather than building your business around cheap stuff. One sale which produces $100 profit is a lot easier to fulfill and manage than selling 20 products which produce $5.00 profit each.
- Give more, get more. Provide free direction, advice, walkthrus etc, as people expect that nowadays. A word of caution here: don’t let the free mindset dominate what you do as your end goal must always be to generate cash flow.
- Don’t limit yourself to one medium only. Some of the most successful online promoters multiply their returns by as much as 10 times through integrated marketing (i.e. manage online generated leads through direct mail and call center operations.)
- Avoid using hype. Always present yourself as a solid, ethical business to deal with. Place focus on customer service because it’s the surest way to ensure longivity and repeat sales.
- Be social. Be as active as possible online through social networks plus in REAL LIFE, especially if your customers are local. Remember, people will always prefer to deal with someone they know like and trust.
- Segment your mailing / client lists. In the old direct marketing days, companies always protected their best customers and only exposed them (via list rentals) to a select few external clients. If you segment your list and only mail them “external” affiliate offers which are relevant, the likelihood of an unsubscription is minimized.
Some Affiliate and Network Marketers may challenge some of the points above.
However, please bear in mind that 95% of Affiliate Marketers and 98% of Network Marketers fail , and that’s often because they fail to build their own brand – i.e. no website or a very poor website.
I have been operating and managing Affiliate programs since 2005 and I can unequivocally state that the most successful Affiliates I have dealt with have all built a strong online brand and therefore, when they endorse an Affiliate offer, their clients and readers trust their judgement and hence positive results flow.
Plus, whilst I am not directly involved in Network Marketing, I have met some very successful people in the sector and know that have their own websites and focus on building “their” brand. (Many are involved in multiple programs and so establishing their own brand is imperative.)
When you focus on building your OWN brand, you are building an asset which can deliver short term returns plus the opportunity for a healthy exit at a later date.