Basic Inbound Internet Marketing Terms

Getting started with inbound internet marketing can be intimidating for beginners. You are likely to find yourself bombarded with words and terms you have never heard of before. Finding your way through things and becoming familiar with inbound marketing is easier when you understand the jargon. The following are some of the words you will come across.

Website Traffic – is basically the popularity of a website. It is often determined by the number of visits and visitors to a website. Traffic to a site is important because it is what brings in the revenue. These are the people that you sell to or those who buy from the advertisers on your website. Website traffic can be generated in many different ways.

Search Engine Rankings – the position that your website holds when looking at search results. Normal rankings are from number 1 to number 10.

Page Rank – a numerical value defined by search engine Google. This weighting gives a rough estimate of your webpages importance as a whole. This term was coined by its inventor Larry Page.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This term refers to the method used to improve the visibility of your website in search engines. This is done using unpaid or natural search results.

Keywords – This is a word or phrase that people enter into search engines to find what they need. These are also the descriptive terms which may be attached to the content on a website.

Link – This is short for the term hyperlink, this is a reference to a different website or web page. These are like buttons which can take you directly to the information that you need. They are clickable and usually differ in color from the other text, are bolded or underlined.

Link Building – Is a process of creating appropriate links to your website in order to increase ranking. The links used are often from external websites. This aims to drive traffic into the website.

Backlinks – Is also known as inbound links, these are incoming links from other websites to your website. Search engines often measure these and use it as important criteria for rankings. Commonly, the more backlinks a website or page contains the more popular it is. This will also mean that the information in this page is more useful or important.

Anchor Text – Is a word or words that are used to create a link. Not all links that you will find in articles and websites are presented as a URL. When you have anchor text you will only need to click on the specific words to get to the website or page being linked to. Anchor texts also help improve ranking for the keywords you use.

Article Marketing – Is an inbound internet marketing strategy used by website owners to create incoming links and generate traffic to their websites. As a result of this, search engine rankings are increased. Article Marketing entails writing about a specific topic or field as an expert and inserting links to your website in the content.

Niche Marketing – Is targeted marketing for a small part of the market with unmet needs. It focuses on what smaller number of people need and want in order to bring in revenue.

Conversion Rate – This is the ratio of visitors in a website who actually buy a product or service after viewing the content. This is defined by the number of goals achieved divided by the number of visits to the site.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

MarketHive and the Alpha Founders Program.

What about MarketHive and the Alpha Founders Program.

MarketHive is an inbound marketing system for businesses. Inbound marketing is a communication process with respect to marketing and advertising, generally facilitated by an open, two-way dialogue, much of which is expedited by social media.

Market Hive is more than a social media model though.

Sure we use Facebook and other social media programs in the usual way we all know, by posting ideas and content to these established Social Media accounts. But the integration between the already established social media systems and our system is unique in terms of what the Market Hive system is all about.

Launched after 2 years of research and development, we boasts in that we have a number of tools that are way above the current offerings out there. Our marketing tools include: –

A state-of-art blogging system

Lead Capture Pages integrated with our own autoresponder design

Email Broadcaster is in addition to our autoresponder system

Group Blogging mixed with private blogs, so no limit in our Blogging System management

RSS Feeds for Personal Blogs and Group Blogs

Social Media integration

Powerful in-built SEO for all the content posting

A WordPress RSS Plugin for bringing your posts already in market hive into your own domain

Watch the Video NOW about using our WordPress Plugin.

https://plus.google.com/103289401809902951297/posts/g1AYTBkYyTw

In essence MarketHive is a complete system that allows you to replace your high end Marketing Company, make and link your Blogs together, post to Videos to YouTube and participate in Forums. All these assets are in Market Hive make us a truly a one-stop online internet marketing control panel.

Integrated Marketing Tools allow you to operate your business using the strength of the Internet helping you receive lots of "web traffic" filled with people searching for your particular product or service.

The ease of navigation makes the site a pleasurable experience. The tools are even better. You will have to grab a free account in order to get access to these tools.

Uh Oh — I almost hear you thinking that because the tools are free, it may not be real good.

So let’s get things straight — I am here to say that MarketHive is a power house of Internet marketing Tools on one site. If you pass this system up, you are missing the mark big-time!

This platform will be big thing on the internet. I have been working with the owners of this system for the past decade and they do mean business.

Begin now Take a look at the market Hive Alpha program

Article by:

Brian Walters – Board of Directors and Alpha Founder.

Market Hive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Draw Attention to Your Website With The Following Great Tips

If you have ever spent a moment's time looking for something on a search engine of your choice; you have seen the results of powerful search engine optimization. Everything that came up first on that list was placed there through careful marketing techniques. You can learn some of these same techniques by reading through the rest of this article.

Write titles suited for the search engine spiders as well as for your readers. Clever titles don't usually convey the content of the article. Instead of being cute, simply create titles that tell the reader and the search engine robots what the article is about. Your title should make it clear that the reader will get something good from the article.

Make sure to research your keywords before placing them into your content. Try using websites like Google's Keyword External Tool or Word Tracker to see what keywords are "hot" when it comes to your subject matter. By strategically using and placing keywords like this, you can raise your ranking in the search engine results.

You can easily learn SEO or search engine optimization online by using the many guides that are out there. Each search engine has a similar way to place the content of your website into a SEO type arrangement to generate higher rankings and visibility. The trick is to learn how to do it.

Obtaining your search engine optimization goals can be made easier by using graphics and images. Use low resolution images because high resolution images will increase loading time. Key words within the images themselves will be read by search engine spiders. People enjoy seeing images and graphics on a website and it can help describe your article, blog or product as well as produce search engine results for optimal traffic to your site.

Learn about the different types of external links that could increase your websites search engine rankings. The four main types are reciprocal links, directory links, paid one-way links and natural one-way links. Search engines rank each of these links differently, so educate yourself on the pros and cons of each before beginning your external link campaign.

Take the time and learn how to create a sitemap. Search engines have a much easier time finding links on your site if you have an included sitemap. It doesn't actually move up your rankings but it does make it easier for your content to all be found.

Focus on finding other popular sites with a similar idea and create an opportunity for inbound links. These inbound links will increase the incoming traffic from these sites and continue to boost your ranking on the larger search engines. You should never spam or harass other site owners, but most times they will not mind helping you set up as long as you are fair and link back.

If you wish to have your company, website, or blog listed among the top leaders when your topic is searched, you are going to need to follow some of these basic tips. After which, you can expand outwards and twist the marketing campaign. Hence, better suit your audience or niche. All it requires it time and will power.

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

10 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic

Content marketing is more than writing blogs. Way more

If you’re just getting involved in content marketing, the first thing you need to do is launch your blog and start writing.

Then, when your blog is established and purring along, try throwing in a new type of content. I predict that you’ll immediately see a difference — fresh traffic, targeted visitors, higher conversion rates, and better SEO.

But before I share the 10 types of content that will drive you more traffic, there are a few things you need to know:

You don’t need to try all of these examples – different content types suit different brands in different ways. If you don’t think that a certain type of content will serve you, no problem. This list isn’t about must-haves. It’s about maybes.
Don’t be afraid to try new stuff – I’ve found that some people shy away from new types of content because they think it will take too long, be too hard, or fall flat. I understand your apprehension, but I encourage you to try it anyway. Want to get started with a video? You don’t need to buy a green screen, editing software, or a pro-grade camera. Use your iPhone and your YouTube account. Start small and work your way up.

Pick one and put it in your schedule – if you use a content marketing schedule, slot one or two of these into the editorial calendar for the next month. If you don’t plan it, you probably won’t do it. I challenge you to pick one and give it a try sometime in the next four weeks.

This list is not exhaustive – I encourage you to think of content not in terms of types but ideas. The form that the content takes is secondary. The idea is primary. First, develop your idea. Then, determine what it’s going to look like. The variety of content is endless. Heck, you may even want to invent your own type of content.

So, let’s get started…

Content type #1: Infographics

An infographic is the presentation of information or data in a visual way. Its name sums it up — info + graphic.

Infographics get shared more, viewed more, and loved more than most other content types. They are a powerful way to get your information out there in an explosively visual format. One study found that infographics were liked and shared on social media up to three times more often than other content. The viral potential is there.

How to do it

If you have a graphic designer in your professional network, tap him or her to make an infographic for you. Some graphic artists specialize in infographics. If you have it in your budget, you can use a service like Visual.ly. Infographics typically start at $1,000.

When to use it

Infographics are perfect for communicating almost any idea or concept. Data, research, statistics, and findings work especially well.

Things to keep in mind

Infographics can be expensive. The amount cited above — a thousand dollars — is pretty close to the standard price.

Infographics used to go viral just by virtue of being an infographic. That doesn’t work anymore. Everyone is making infographics. Today, you have to make it really good to make it shareable.

Make a gifographic. Gifographics use the infographic model but feature animated gifs instead of the static images of a conventional infographic. You can check out an example here.

Content type #2: Meme

You’ve seen memes. They’re easy to make. They’re viral. They’re hilarious.

That’s one of the great benefits of memes — their humor. People love something that they can laugh at, share, and get a kick out of.

How to do it

Memes don’t require graphic design skills. Meme Generator and Quick Meme are sites that allow you to add your own text to popular meme images.
Memes may not be the best type of content to share on your blog, but they’re primed for social media outlets. Twitter, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr (especially Tumblr) will help your meme to spread.
Memes are just-because content. When the mood hits or a funny idea strikes you, go ahead and meme it.

Things to keep in mind

They are adaptable. The great thing about memes is that they can be adapted for use in any niche. Your niche is neither too narrow nor abstruse to warrant its own meme.

Memes can be low value, so don’t overuse them. When misused, they can devalue the message or brand that you’re trying to promote.

Content type #3: Videos

There’s a world of variety within videos. I could write a whole separate post on different types of videos. No matter what type it is, however, a good video communicates a message in a succinct and memorable way. Done well, a video can be extraordinarily persuasive. This video on Crazy Egg helps to bring in $21k every month.

How to do it

Whether you create a video of an office tour, an explainer video, or a music video (it’s been done), you’ve got to get the script right. A video isn’t only about the moving picture; it’s about the words that you say or display. Check out a few more tips for making an explainer video.
Put the video on YouTube and Vimeo. Both of these video sharing sites are great ways to garner social signals for SEO and improved results for video search itself.

Things to keep in mind

Making a good video is not cheap. You can start small, of course, but contracting a video specialist or a camera crew can cost quite a bit.

Videos aren’t supposed to be long. Two to three minutes is a good length.

Content type #4: Guides

A guide is a detailed and fairly long piece of content. Think of it as an epic blog post. It goes beyond the length, style, and approach of an ordinary blog post. My Advanced Guide series are some of the most popular types of content I’ve ever created. When you check them out, you’ll discover that they have more visual flair and are much longer than my blog articles.

How to do it

Writing a guide requires a good writer, a good designer, and a good idea. The writer needs to produce top-tier content. The designer needs to know how to present that content in an attractive way. And the idea has to be something that your audience wants. You may wish to present the guide as a downloadable PDF.

Things to keep in mind

Guides can be a helpful bait for harvesting email addresses: “I’ll give you this awesome guide if you register your email address.”

A guide needs to look good. Make sure you recruit the services of a capable designer as well as a writer. Readability has as much to do with layout and presentation as it does with great writing style.

Content type #5: Book reviews

A book review is a simple discussion of a book plus your take on it. You recommend good ones, critique not-so-good ones, and share the value that you glean from them. Book reviews are great because they help to position you as a thought leader.

How to do it

A book review can be as complicated or as simple as you want. I suggest a short-and-simple 7-point format:

  • Introduce the book: 1-5 sentences.
  • Introduce the author: 1-5 sentences.
  • Summarize the book’s major points: 1-3 sentences per point.
  • Share what you liked in the book: 1-5 sentences.
  • Share what you didn’t like about the book: 1-5 sentences.
  • Recommend it (or not) to your readers: 1-3 sentences.
  • Provide a call to action: Link to the book.

Things to keep in mind

Book review content works best if you have a readership that is inclined to read books.
Book reviews are especially helpful for thought leadership if you’re able to review new releases or pre-releases or interview the author.

Content type #6: Opinion post (a.k.a. “Rant”)

This style of post is substantially different from your typical blog post, mostly due to its tone. You may be used to publishing a careful and researched discussion of a topic. The rant or opinion, by contrast, may be stronger and more expressive. The more vociferous your position, the more it’s going to get read and shared.

How to do it

Occasionally, write a strong first-person take on a hot topic or big issue. It could be your opinion on a major industry change. I did this when Matt Cutts announced the demise of guest blogging. When you address popular topics, you’re able to get stronger search potential and shareability.

Things to keep in mind

This should not be a daily thing. Someone who is constantly sharing his or her opinions or ranting about a topic can become odious. Use with caution.

Be civil. Don’t let your opinions degenerate into people bashing. “Rant” does not equal “angry.”
Be clear about what you’re doing — that this is your opinion, your take, your position — and be humble about it.

Content type #7: Product reviews

Like the book review, a product review can help establish authority and leadership in your industry. Every industry has its unique array of products, software, and services. When you engage key developers, manufacturers, or service providers, you gain recognition and respect. All you need to do is share your experience with the product and provide your recommendation.

How to do it

Here’s a pattern for the product review:

  • Introduce the product
  • Introduce the producer
  • Describe the product
  • Share what you like
  • Share what you don’t like
  • Provide your recommendation
  • Provide a call to action

Things to keep in mind

If the product is a physical item, you may want to have a video component to the review. A video allows you to take a hands-on approach to the product as you review it.

Content type #8: How-to

The how-to is one of the most popular types of content, especially in my niche. On my blog, I write a lot of how-to guides. How-to articles have awesome long tail search potential due to these popular long tail query introductions: “How to…” and “How do I…?”

How to do it

First, identify a common problem. Then, come up with a solution. The model is simple:

  • Introduce the problem
  • Introduce the solution
  • Discuss each step of the solution
  • Summarize the discussion
  • Provide a conclusion

Things to keep in mind

The options for how-tos are inexhaustible. Think of one topic that reflects something you do on a daily basis. Next, write a how-to article based on that one issue. It could be industry specific or more general: “How to reply to every email in one minute or less” or “How to optimize your robots.txt for search engines.”

The more thorough your explanation is, the better. Diagrams, videos, and pictures can all help enhance the how-to blog.

Content type #9: Lists

Lists have endless appeal. We’re wired to love them. Chance are you’re going to see or read an article today that involves some sort of a list — “5 Security Breaches You Need to Know about,” “17 Ways to Rank Higher in Google in One Month.” Hey, you’re already reading an article with the title “15 Types.”

From the ancient Ten Commandments to modern lists of everything, numbered ideas are as popular as ever. You can’t go wrong with this content type. Even popular magazines use list appeal to sell issues.

How to do it

Pick a topic, then pick a number. You’re halfway to creating a list. A good example of this is this post on 7 ways to increase your rankings without leveraging content marketing.

When you write your list, use this simple format: introduce the topic, list your points, and provide a conclusion.

Things to keep in mind

The more detailed your list is, the better. Long lists are good too.

There’s no magic number for an awesome list. Odd numbers, round numbers, any types of numbers — they all work equally well.

Content type #10: Link pages

A link page is simply a post that provides links to great resources around the web. The great thing about link posts is that they spread link love to other sites, provide your own site with authoritative SEO signals, and assert your thought leadership within your field.

How to do it

A link page, often called a link roundup, is simply a list of links. Write down the title of the article, hyperlink it, and number it. Done.

Things to keep in mind

It’s helpful to add your own blurb or introduction for each link you provide. Although not necessary, it’s a good way to put your own spin on a topic or add a bit of value to the discussion. Besides, if a post is particularly good (or bad), you may want to point this out.


Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer MarketHive Inc.
markethive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

FTX: Vemma shut down for running pyramid scheme

Filed earlier this week, the FTC allege that through mandatory autoship, Vemma is nothing more than a $200 million illegal pyramid scheme.

 

Retail sales are believed to be non-existent, with the company’s affiliates instead trained to sign up for autoship themselves and then recruit other affiliates who do the same.

As we wait for a September 3rd hearing to decide the fate of Vemma, now a warning from the FTC to other MLM company’s operating in a similar manner.

Published on August 26th, the FTC’s warning was written by Lesley Flair, a senior attorney with the FTC.

Flair explains the finer points of the Vemma complaint, before going on to issue a direct warning to other MLM companies:

    Count I of the complaint charges that Vemma’s compensation program is based primarily on recruiting new participants, not on the retail sale of the drinks.

    Count II challenges as false the defendants’ claim that participants are likely to make substantial income.

    According to Count III, they failed to disclose – or failed to adequately disclose – that Vemma’s structure pretty much ensures that most people who sign up won’t earn big bucks.

    Count IV focuses on the promotional materials the defendants gave their affiliates to recruit more affiliates. Because they included claims the FTC says are false and misleading, the complaint charges that the defendants provided others with the “means and instrumentalities” to violate the law.

    The case was just filed, but if your clients sell business opportunities, the allegations offer insights into the kind of tactics likely to draw law enforcement attention.

“Clients” in this case I believe are either that of a lawyer’s clients (the MLM companies themselves), or affiliates in those companies (from a company perspective, the FTC are referring to affiliates as “clients”).

Either way, if you’re in an MLM opportunity and your commission check is mostly paid out of recruited affiliates making product orders (on autoship or otherwise), according to the FTC you need to immediately change the focus of your business.

Two prominent examples that are currently heavy on affiliate recruitment and autoship are Total Life Changes and Jeunesse. But they are by no means isolated cases. This problem is currently widespread throughout the MLM industry.

As a long time proponent of retail in MLM, all I can say is the sooner the focus is back on retail customers the better.


I have been an advocate for a real “Customer Centric” modeled MLM hybrid. Now the FTC and SEC are adding the pressure to push this industry that way. This is a good thing! What is a “Customer Centric” MLM going to look like? Good question and I have addressed that with this blog here:

https://markethive.com/marketing/blog/the-customer-centric-model#.VeiX9JdSkd0

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Google Adjusts Algorithms!

Social MedaiGoogle will always be adjusting its algorithms!

That action is as predictable as buying fresh bread tomorrow. Nobody knows when Google updates happen, except Google. Everybody is on board though trying to grab whatever piece of return they can from Google Organic results. Hey, it’s free, what else do you want?

If you are a business owner who has jumped into the online waters, I’m sure that you are frustrated as hell hearing a million ideas and million methods from a million people. And you also know that there’s no such thing as “free advertising” in our world, at least not yet. So until then, you might want to keep on reading.

“The secret to SEO” This is a boring title basically because of the fact that it sounds like a generic get rich theme that we, all of us who own sites on the Internet are subject to on a daily basis. So calling all business owners and work from homers must listen up.

THERE’S NO SECRET TO SEO. It’s very basic and I’m sure you have read this in a lot of places; it’s content. But many sources fail to mention that it has to be relevant content. I tell each of my clients the same thing and it has 4 major clauses; 

1-            Original Fresh Content

2-            Popularity of your site

3-            Maintenance

4-            Existence

 Original and Fresh Content is not as easy as it sounds. We are talking about unique information that will move people to your site. See, the problem with many companies showing up on the top page today is that their pages are optimized for Google with a combination of nonsense sentences and keywords. So, my approach is, why not build a website that actually is optimized for humans?

When you do this, you are automatically taking care of the optimization for Google. Come on people, we all know that Google has game and they’re increasing their technology every day finding ways to get rid of this “optimization” deal. Google is always on the side of the users and never the advertisers keep that in mind.

Guess what, once you have original and fresh content, people are going to want to visit your site and link to your site. Hey, we just took care of Popularity as well. I’m not saying you do not have to work on the link exchange thing but promise me that it will be minimal. Also you want to stay away from link farms, link exchange offers and paying for links.

So I hear that question, how else am I going to bring links to my site? The answer is content. Write articles, submit it to article sites. Prepare a PR, submit it to Prweb.com. Believe me; all these will bring links to your site. All you have to do is, mention your website at the end of these articles and make sure you link to your site with your advertised link text.

Now you are thinking, “That’s it; I have the content and the links, I’m the king of Google”. That would be wrong. Always remember that while you are doing content and popularity, there are a million competitors doing that and more. So you want to Maintain your content. You want to update it every week so every time Google spiders come to visit your site, they find new useful information. Keep up with daily life and updated news.

For example, if you sell farming supplies and the price of grain goes up, you should write an article and put it in your site. Also publish those articles on other articles sites. You can find these sites easily with a “article submit” search on Google.

And the last but not least would be Existence. I don’t want to get all philosophical on you but you have to have some type of existence online. Try to search for your company name on Google and see how many results you get; that’s your existence. You could also name this one “Brand Recognition”.

You want to increase that so when somebody searches for farming supplies, they must see your name. You can do this easily by writing articles and Press Releases on a weekly basis. The more you write, the more circulation you will get.

If you have a great piece of article or information, acquire a list of media outlets such as local and national newspapers, and fax it to them. They just might bite pick it up. Always remember to include your website at the end as a source and you might have yourself a million dollar makin’, traffic gettin’ website, Google top rankin’ website !!!

Brian-Walters-online

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Time for some orientation and sharing of thy wisdom?

This week we are going to begin at the beginning to integrate your WordPress blog with the power of Markethive, the rss cocktails, the groups, the ability to track, manage and build a huge SEO presence backed up by a huge social net.
 

Markethive offers the most sophisticated and powerful platform for building huge blog clouds, capture pages, press releases, forums, that all work in concert, complementing the entire portfolio of assets, utilizing chaos structures, that Google and other search engines reward because it is all following their good practices.

And it all begins here, at this first web based conference. These lessons will be recorded and published within the MarketHive and on our YouTube channel too.
 
Picking up where I left off over a year ago, with my Establishing A Credible Hive Part #1. You can watch it here or in the MarketHive.
 
 
 
This week, WordPress is the word, and Markethive is the engine to build the content and drive your campaign.

Check the Calendar below for the appointed times in our conference room.
 
 
Access the conference room via the Blog
 
 
CYA There,
 
Thomas Prendergast
CMO Chief Marketing Officer

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Customer Centric Model

 

The Customer Centric Model

It has been my agenda for nearly 20 years to reform an industry that is for the most part has been built upon a shifting and unreliable foundation that has always been broken and is heading for total annihilation. If you have attempted to build a business in MLM you will relate to what I am addressing.

For over a decade this vision has grown in urgency and definition to help direct a broken industry towards developing a customer based centered direct sales model.  All of this was originally inspired by a maverick move towards customer acquisition by a company called Trivita. In 2001. I was introduced to this new direction in MLM by the simple statement, “just buy your customers”. I had already been engaged in the MLM industry for nearly 10 years at that time. My first exposure to MLM was in 1992 with the first to market consumer (customer) based ISP, nationwide dial up Internet access for $20 per month.

I have been an entrepreneur my whole adult life and a good portion of my teen years as well, with my first business started at the age of 14. Prior to my exposure to MLM, I was and still am a traditional business entrepreneur. Therefore to say, I found the MLM model of exclusive distribution to and consumption by distributors and only motivated to this action by pursuing profit; alien, illogical and disturbing. Let me explain:

My introduction and very successful sojourn to this day with Trivita helped me discover the stark contrast between the artificial economies of a distributor based sales company in contrast to a customer based sales company.  I studied this comparison for many years and it became painfully clear, the reason traditional MLM fails, regardless of the compensation plan, regardless of the motivational speakers, regardless of the training to sell the “Hope and Dreams” as that is the only way to promote when the products and or services are frankly, always overpriced and usually underwhelmingly ineffective. There are very few exceptions.  So the glaring difference I found in Trivita was the fact that for every distributor I recruited, I averaged 100 customers. Then the fact, I did not have to sell Hope and Dreams and instead, the pitch was just buy customers. The reaction from the potential distributor was always extremely positive and the close rate of a distributor was very high. When you factor in that every distributor usually meant 100 customers, the potential success was superior to anything else like it.

 This was just a company that offered co-op acquisition of the leads and customers Trivita acquired via their infomercials and not much else. Even Trivita’s products lacked true demonstrability and the pricing was not very competitive. The only viable benefit regarding being customer centric was the fact you could just buy customers, that for the most part, only about 20% stayed a viable reorder over the years.

Because of this one aspect with Trivita, I have enjoyed a significant income for over 10 years with little attention, a true residual income. Over the years as a vendor to the MLM industry, occasionally getting involved with a few companies because I was promised they were going to offer customer centric solutions (all deception from short sighted pitch men). None of them ever did and in my opinion, the super majority of MLMs are run by handicapped captains, that understand the game and that being the 3 month rule. They build their businesses to inspire, motivate and separate their new distributors from as much money and contacts they can quickly. They know their business model only attracts distributors seeking some semblance of financial success therefore they lay their snares with grand claims of Hopes and Dreams. I consider it borderline criminal. Now we finally arrive to the meat of this article, that being what is a true Customer Centric direct sales company look like. Being that there really isn’t any yet, we have to go to the imagination and vision that to some part is guided by good business principles and look at some of the true customer centric businesses on the scene today.

Amazon could easily be the epitome of customer centric. 

 

Wow. “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.”

That is big, it’s bold, and it’s risky for a brand to make the promise to fulfill on that 24/7 every week of the year.

Service recovery design pays off

Of course the shopping and purchasing experience on Amazon has been exceptional for years. But what if a customer has a post-purchase problem? A big part of customer experience design is a focus on “service recovery,” or designing and refining the process when something goes wrong for the customer. Beloved brands like Zipcar know this is a critical opportunity for delivering moments of delight.

READ MORE:
http://delight.us/earths-most-customer-centric-company/

It is all about Customer Satisfaction.

Let me repeat that, “IT IS ALL ABOUT CUSTOMER SATISFACTION”!

The latest results from the American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals Amazon.com as the reigning and undisputed champ in both Internet retailing and across the entire department in overall customer satisfaction. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos perhaps more than any business leader has taken the philosophy of truly caring for the customer and ushered it into the digital era. Bezos has built a company from the ground up purely based off of the unbending, unyielding philosophy of serving the customer across all departments. With a 164 million Amazon customers, few would argue Bezos as the key architect of building an authentic, customer-centric company.

Pointers from the article 7 Customer Service Lessons from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2013/06/jeff-bezos-lessons.html

1. Don’t Just Listen to Your Customers, Understand Them
Everyone has to be able to work in a call center.”

2. Serve the Needs of the Customer
“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.”

3. The Empty Chair: The Most Important Person in the Room
“Focusing on the customer makes a company more resilient.”

4. Never Settle for 99%
“We’re not satisfied until it’s 100%.”

5. Respect Today’s Customer
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000.”

6. Strive to Create a Customer-Centric Company
“If we can arrange things in such a way that our interests are aligned with our customers, then in the long term that will work out really well for customers and it will work out really well for Amazon.”

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Apologize
 “We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.”

Over the past nearly two decades, Amazon has held a steady pace of positive press due to their industry-altering company and great customer service. However back in 2009, the foundations of the online book mogul were shook when they remotely deleted copies of the books “1984” and “Animal Farm” from users’ Kindles. The incident prompted an outcry of Internet users to see the dark, “Big Brother” side of Amazon – one that Bezos had worked hard to steer clear of. Amazon quickly made an apology with the usual dry and inhuman statement from the press team. But what really turned people back towards Amazon, was an informal and heartfelt apology from Jeff Bezos:

From “MLM” (Network Marketing), to a sustainable Coop Customer based Marketing Platform!
Now the vision for a better kinder direct sale company

I have run MLM companies, built them, serviced them as a vendor and engaged with them as a distributor for more than 20 years. I have touched and serviced and influenced over 100 million associates over this period of time. The following is my agenda to change this industry to service the little guy and gal, offering a real solution to build a middle class sustainable income for everyone, not just millions for the elite few, we know as “leaders” in their respective company.

1.       1. A Viable and Competitive Product

First and foremost, the “company” must offer a viable product and or service that does what it says and better than any of their competitors and better yet, have a product or service that has no legitimate competition. I could go into great detail here about the MLM industry and their underwhelming and over priced products with many making spurious claims to eventually be shut down by the FDA, etc. but I won’t.

2.       2. The Virtual Warehouse

This may be putting cart before the horse. “Inspired by Amazon’s virtual warehousing” for their merchants selling in Amazon, it is time the MLM industry moves forward with a similar solution. Storing your monthly product commitment in your spare bedroom, garages or den has been the standard for decades. With today’s technology and database management abilities, there is no excuse to not move toward a virtual solution for distributors. This can be done in house by the company, or, use Amazon’s virtual warehousing that is available on a global scale.

This one upgrade to this industry will make reselling, shipping and distribution automated and easy for every distributor, regardless of location or available storage abilities. Bottom line is a doubling or greater movement of product.

3.       3. Customer and Lead coop acquisition

This is where the company marketing people run ads, campaigns, etc., driving vertically targeted prospects to an 800 number or website, acquiring quality pre enrolled prospects or customers who have purchased or at most have enrolled into an auto ship. The distributor’s contribution enhances the company’s budget and the “partnership” enhances the customer’s retention. The company also makes available to the distributor mailing lists to their “enrolled leads and customers” to assist in the continued purchases etc. It is a win win situation and is a proven technique as proven by Trivita.

4.       4. Becoming an E Retailer (automated back office shipping)

Now that the distributors have their inventory, products and samples (if applicable), online, in an offsite virtual warehouse, the process to send product or samples becomes effective and easy. As simple as logging into the back office of their respective MLM company, designating the product (pulling from existing inventory and/or auto purchasing additional inventory), quantity, and drop ship address, with a simple click, the product or sample is easily on the way, while the distributor is still talking to their prospective client, prospect or distributor on the phone. This seamless process makes the potential growth of the company and distributor 100 times greater than the typical cumbersome processes today.

5.       5. 800 telemarketing service platform

Today’s technologies not only make this proposed service affordable, but extremely effective. Typically, new distributors are assigned an ID# number. The number resides within the servers database to track sales, commissions, etc. of the distributor. Thus the hardest part is already done for an 800 sales number.  [A little explanation of current tech] 800 number technology software interfaces display the originating number, or forwarded number.  IE: If the distributor develops a radio commercial with a phone number (toll free or not) then forwards that number to the company 800 number, all he or she needs to do is register that number (via the back office) or calling it in. This way the telemarking operators receiving the incoming calls, know who originated the call and the orders are taken and assigned appropriately to the distributor.

It can be as simple as the distributor takes a call from an ad, the prospects decides to buy the product. The distributor can easily 3 way into the 800 platform and assist the sale. It can be as easy as an ad running offering a product with the company main toll free number offering free shipping and handling with the special pin number. It can be very easy to build.

Imagine the projected results with the distributors taking the initiative, no more need for mentors, no more lead for upline leadership, no more need for motivational events, because the motivation is found in the system and the results. Imagine!

6.       6. API (Application Programming Interface). Distributor selling on Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba, etc.

Basically, the MLM company has an API developed that interfaces with Amazon, Ebay, etc for the distributor. This allows the distributor to develop an online store on Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc, driving and supporting the prospects and customers, but the sale interfaces through the company. Thereby the company controls the pricing, collects the money (connected to the distributor) and ships the product. All the collecting, shipping, tracking and commissions paid out is done by the company.

API: In computer programming, an application programming interface (API) is a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building software applications. An API expresses a software component in terms of its operations, inputs, outputs, and underlying types. Basically allows the company to remotely control pricing, merchant collection, shipping and communication via the distributors Ebay, Amazon, etc. account

More about Amazon API:
http://support.getdropstream.com/customer/portal/articles/1233046-configuring-amazon-marketplace-for-third-party-order-fulfillment-

More about Ebay API:
https://go.developer.ebay.com/what-ebay-api

7.       7. Retail Sales Only Sites (Widgets and actuals)

Traditional MLM companies give a distributor a self-replicated web site that is upfront and focused on selling the Hopes and Dreams of the opportunity, the money, the comp plan, the hype and flash of it all, designed to recruit more distributors. This is death to a retail customer.  Very few MLM companies even consider a dedicated self-replicated retail sales only site for their various products.  I have yet to even hear of any companies making a simple widget that allows the distributor to have the retail site hosted via the widget on their own domains, much less the ability to add any customization to it. Below is one of the first and recent MLM retail sites I am aware of. It sells the coffee, offering one off sales or a discount and free shipping with an auto ship order.

More about widgets here:
http://alexmarandon.com/articles/web_widget_jquery/

8.       8.Social Marketing Aps and systems

Marketers, merchants, etc. need a portfolio of tools, to get the message out, to build awareness, to build a sphere of influence and to build a customer and distributor centered loyalty program. Very few people, even entrepreneurs have all the skill sets to achieve this. However, automated marketing, email auto responders, social broadcasters, coop advertising, blogging platforms, materials and videos are necessary tools for the entrepreneur. First these tools are expensive and the various costs ad up quickly. When you do not supply these types of tools in a controlled environment, the message being broadcasted may not meet the criteria of the company nor abide by regulations.  There are solutions and Markethive is one of the best options. http://markethive.com  Markethive supplies all of these tools and more, integrated and easily configured and controlled within the communities vertical structures built for DSA companies like yours. It is called the company Directories and within a company portal in Markethive, your distributors will find all they need; Broadcasting platforms, self-replicating personalized PDF documents,  Coop advertising systems, blogging platforms, email auto responders, everything needed for marketing, in one place.

9.       9. Training and videos

I do not mean motivational speakers and cheer leading. I mean, real world training how to build the businesses. Daily classes offered by competent experienced teachers, so the distributors develop a strong understanding, expanding their customer territory and acquisition and operate like a real business.

Summary;

With the accelerated market place awash in innovation and technology, technology that puts the human element right into the center of the equation, you can understand why you see the MLM industry sluggish and many companies dying on the vine and others falling flat on their faces with their much heralded launches. Entrepreneurs (distributors) that once upon a time, a flashy video, a charming pitch man, and a compelling comp plan, worked to explode the next greatest MLM launch.

Not today.
It is only a matter of time a young bold, innovative entrepreneur launches the first true customer centric MLM similar to the framework I have discussed here. And when they do, the world will quake, the swamps will empty and the first multi trillion MLM enterprise will rise to stand head to toe with the great innovations today like Facebook Google, PayPal etc.

Written by:
Thomas Prendergast
CMO: Markethive

 
 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How to Create a Customer-Centric Culture

What makes the great companies so great? It’s the service and experience the customer receives when doing business with them. The companies that get it are customer-centric. They put the customer at the heart of decisions, ideas, marketing, system design and more.
 
customer centric companies
 
 
It is definitely not the product. The product can be truly amazing, even a lifestyle changer, but that’s not what makes a company great. Take for example, cable television. Cable TV is truly amazing. When I was growing up, there were only four channels from which to choose. Today we have hundreds of channels to choose from with amazing high-definition clarity. We can record shows on the cable box to watch later, or watch movies and other programs ‘on demand,’ whenever we want to watch them. This is an amazing product. However, the cable TV industry, as a whole, delivers an abysmal customer experience. One of the less-than-customer-friendly policies: Asking a person to stay home on a workday to meet the cable TV installer during a four-hour window. That hardly seems customer-centric.
 
 
On the other hand, there are companies that sell the same products as everyone else, but the customer experience they offer really does set them apart. Ace Hardware is one of the best examples of this, having been awarded the JD Power award for highest customer satisfaction in its industry eight years in a row. These smaller, independently owned hardware stores compete against big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s and sell many of the same items as the big stores. 
 
 
However, many Ace Hardware stores are only one-tenth the size of one of these larger stores. Imagine an 8,000-square-foot store going up against an 80,000-square-foot store. And, these larger stores outspend Ace Hardware in advertising dollars by 30 to 1. Yet, Ace Hardware thrives in this competitive environment. So, what does Ace Hardware have to offer? The experience, which comes in the form of helpful customer service. As an Ace customer in Seattle put it, ‘Even though the prices can be, but are not necessarily, higher, the convenience and help are worth it.’
 
 
Ace doesn’t promise ‘friendly’ service. It promises helpful service, and there’s a difference. It’s the way Ace stores engage their customers, provide knowledgeable employees who help them with their projects, and deliver a higher-level customer experience.
 
 
Consider several reasons to create a customer-centric culture. I’ll argue that customer service can make the difference between a company’s ultimate success or failure. It can mean the difference between having loyal, repeat customers or one-time-only customers. And, it can mean the difference between customers’ rave reviews or online rants.
 
 
Steven Hodgkiss
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Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Social Media Expert