If you think you want to get involved with MLM, do your research first. The challenge with MLM businesses is that people at the top are most often the winners. The biggest majority of people at the bottom end up spending money and time to get involved and end up losing whatever they put in. Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing and distribution structure. People at the top sell to those below them, who in turn sell to those below them. The higher up you are in this structure, the more money you can make. Be sure to check with at least a few other people who’ve entered at your level (who you identify on your own, separate from people the MLM promoter refers you to), and see what they have to say. Find out what they have to say on how – and if it’s possible – to be successful.

There are advantages to Multi-level marketing. First, the start up cost is usually very low and that is a big plus to the work-at-home mom (for example) who has limited funds to launch an online business. It is a way to get started in an online business with a very small personal investment and that is a very appealing thing for many people. Pre-packaged tools and products are provided and that saves a lot of money and relieves the need for warehousing.

Also, sales techniques are given and for the newbie to Internet marketing this is a very attractive advantage.

There are also disadvantages to Multi-level marketing. Many (if not most) people lose money in MLM activities, because they can’t sell the product as effectively as they thought they could. And then there is the problem of credibility. It can become an issue, especially if you start treating friends like they’re customers.

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The Internet is the ultimate ‘equal opportunity employer’. Anybody can start a membership business on the Internet. All that is needed is a subject, a website and the tools to build the site. You can start a membership website business but the question is should you?

Many people that decide to start a home based membership website business are destined to fail because their motivation and expectations are completely unrealistic. Before you attempt to start a membership website business you need to do a reality check.

First, if you really think that you can build a couple of web pages, invest little or no money, time or effort and start making an income tomorrow, you are so wrong. Building a business…any business…takes time. It also takes a monetary investment, a lot of effort and energy, and, above all else, patience, passion for the theme of the website, and a drive for success.

Almost equally important is the need to have realistic economic expectations when undertaking a home based membership website business. A home membership website internet business provides many rewards such as working in the comfort of your own home, avoiding a stressful commute, being your own boss, setting your own hours, no dress code, etc., etc., but anyone that is also expecting instant riches is sadly mistaken.

Study the opportunities of a membership website business carefully. If you have the personal traits required to succeed then select the theme that seems to fit your own particular interests or talents. What is a good choice for one person may be a very poor fit for someone else. The common thread that applies to everyone is that you must passionately believe in what you are doing and anything less than total commitment isn’t enough.

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Affiliate programs are important to membership sites for a number of good reasons. An affiliate program isn’t really a program. It’s a business arrangement.
Affiliate programs are also known as associate programs, associates programs, referral programs and even bounty programs. Most affiliate programs are free to join. Affiliate programs are a way to earn money without producing your own product.

Affiliate programs allow a membership website to generate additional (other than the membership subscription) income by advertising products that are relevant to the site’s theme. For example, let’s say you own a membership website whose theme is golf. You would recommend products that you like yourself like golf books, magazines, videos and golfing gear. When you have an affiliate agreement with the merchants selling those products, they provide you with affiliate links which you paste into your site. Then when members click on those links and buy those products, you earn a commission. Affiliates programs can earn commissions in three ways: per click, per sale and per lead.

The members on a membership website are helped by the affiliate programs as well. They are given easy access to products that they would otherwise have to search the internet to find.

On the other side of the aisle, you can let other companies post your ad on their sites and pay commissions for sales of your product or memberships. Sure, you may give away 10 percent of your profit to an affiliate; but 90 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing. You’ll make up in sales quantity what you may lose in percentage of your own net. It’s quite worthwhile in the long run.

Use your e-zine to advertise your affiliate program. Always encourage your newsletter subscribers to forward the newsletter to a friend.

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You need to automate everything if you want to be successful in measuring customer satisfaction. Surveying your customers is a great way of measuring customer satisfaction but if they take too much time away from other important work, it will fall by the wayside. Automate both your requests for completing the survey and your collection and reporting of the data. Some help desk management software will do this for you. If yours does not, consider customization that will enable it — it’s worth the investment.

One of the best ways to find out how effective your customers think your help desk or forum is, is to take a survey…. ask the people who actually use the help desk or forum what they think about it. Asking for suggestions to improve your help desk or forum is a good idea. There are many approaches to surveying, but some are more effective than others.

Often times membership websites will send a customer satisfaction survey of their help desk or forum to their entire list. There are several problems with this approach. First not everyone surveyed will have used your help desk’s services. This will either make your percentage of responses low or add irrelevant responses to your data. Since you only request this information once in a while, you will be tempted to cram too much information into the survey. Often these surveys lack focus and do not give you a clear picture of performance.

A better approach to help desk or forum customer satisfaction measurement is case-by-case surveying. Each time a case is closed, meaning the problem was resolved and the resolution was already communicated to the requester, a short survey on the case is sent to the requester.

This is great information for continuous improvement and you can review the comments provided by your customers.

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Online marketing may have developed a sudden surge these past few years, but many in the know how have felt its rise even from way then. As more internet based businesses are put up, the need to develop new marketing skills and knowledge based on this new medium have arisen. More and more marketing strategies are being discovered and developed to cope with the changing face of business the business world.  

 

The demand for online marketing tips and strategies have drastically grown and a new form of business has been born, internet marketing strategies. While there are companies that are all too eager to help your site and business build a clientele for a fee, there also many ways that can spread the word about your sites subsistence in a more cost free way. One of this is Opt-in email marketing, also known as permission marketing.  

 

Opt-in marketing requires the permission of a willing customer to subscribe to your marketing materials, materials that take form in newsletters, catalogs and promotional mailings via e-mail. The more opt-in marketing mail is sent, the more chances there is to bag sales and more sales. To do this, you must build a list of all those who wants to subscribe to your opt-in marketing list.  

 

From your list, you will get your targeted customer, this is a good list since they already have shown interest in what you have to show and sell since they have willingly signed in for your list. These are the people who have liked what they have seen in your site and have decided they want to see more and maybe even purchase what ever product or service your company and site has to offer.  

 

Many people would think that building their lists would take hard work and a lot of time to build and collect names and addresses. This is not so, it takes a bit of patience and some strategies but in doing this list, you open your site and your business to a whole new world of target market. Take the effort to take your business to a new level, if traffic increase and good profits are what you want, an opt-in list will do wonders for your business venture.  

 

There are many sources and articles in the internet available for everyone to read and follow in building a list. Sometimes they may be confusing because there are so many and there different ways. Different groups of people would have different approaches in building an opt-in list, but no matter how diverse many methods are, there are always some crucial things to do to build your list. Here are four of them.  

 

1) Put up a good web form in your site that immediately follows the end of your content. While some may say this is too soon to subscribe for a website visitors application, try to remember that your homepage should provide a quick good impression. If somehow a website visitor finds something that he or she doesn?t like and turns them off, they may just forget about signing up.

 

A good web form for subscribing to an opt-in list is not hard to do. Just write a simple short statement about how they would like to see more and get updated about the site. Then there should be an area where they could put in their names and e-mail address. This web form will automatically save and send you the data?s inputted. As more people sign in, your list will be growing.  

 

2) As mentioned in the first tip, make your homepage very, very impressive. You need to have well written articles and descriptions of your site. Depending on what your site is all about, you need to capture your website visitor?s fancy. Make your site useful and very easy to use. Do not expect everyone to be tech savvy. Invest in having good programming in your site, make your graphics beautiful but don?t over do it.

 

Don?t waste your time making the homepage too overly large megabyte wise. Not all people have dedicated T1 connections, the faster your site gets loaded, the better. Go for a look that borders between simplicity and sophisticated knowledge.  

 

3) Provide good service and products. A return customer is more likely to bring in more business. Even then and now, a satisfied customer will recommend a business always. Word of mouth and recommendations alone can rake in more business than an expensive ad. As your clientele roster grows so shall your list. With more members on the list, the more people will get to know about what you have new to offer.

 

4) Keep a clean and private list. Never lose the trust your customers have entrusted you. If you provide e-mails to others and they get spammed, many will probably unsubscribe to you. Remember, a good reputation will drive in more traffic and subscribers as well as strengthen the loyalty of your customers.

Whatever the theme of your membership website is, it should always be your main focus. Every piece of written content, audio content or video content should be about the main theme of your membership website. Little side trips into very closely related fields is alright but even very closely related subjects should never detract from the main focus of your site.

When you chose the theme for your membership website, you chose it because it was something that you knew a lot about and/or were (and hopefully still are) passionate about.

I saw a sign in a convenience store not long ago that said something like….we strive to always be kind, considerate and helpful. However, it is hard to remember that the main objective is to drain the swamp when you are up to your ears (cleaned up) in alligators. That is true for owners of membership websites. It really is hard to stay focused on your objectives when you have so many things to distract you from doing what you need to do to keep your website focused on the main theme.

No matter how many distractions you have, you must still keep new, fresh, relevant and timely content on your website that pertains to the theme of your site.

Your ezines and newsletters need to be filled with helpful and useful information. Be sure to continually check for new products that would be helpful to your membership. New products come out daily and you don’t want to fall behind.

You need to make full use of your autoresponder to keep your members informed and to keep them focused on the objective, as well.

Your blog, forum or message board topics can become unfocused and off-topic very easily. They must be monitored daily…maybe even several times each day.

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Improving and improving again your membership website is what will keep it dynamic and making a steady and reliable income. It is a law of nature (and the Internet) that everything either grows or dies. Constant improvement of your membership website will insure it grows and lives.

The content of your membership website needs to always be kept up-to-date with relevant and useful information. Keep your eyes open and all of your feelers out for information that your subscribers will find interesting and helpful. If you have always relied on only print information up to this point, try adding some audio or video. People today prefer to hear or see information rather than just to read information. Setting up audio or video feeds to your website isn’t very difficult and can make a huge difference in the traffic and membership.

Each e-zine or newsletter should be filled with vital and timely information so that your subscribers eagerly await the next issue. Spend as much time and energy as you need to insure that your e-zine or newsletter isn’t just deleted when it hits the in-box.

Use your autoresponder to your greatest advantage. You already use it to send out emails and ezines and newsletters. Now use it to send out vital NEWS FLASHES. Make the autoresponder get the attention of your subscribers.

If you don’t already have a blog, forum or message board on your membership website, then set one up as soon as possible. Members like to have input and you will benefit greatly from constructive member input. You can ask them what they would like to see on the website and then act on suggestions that are viable.

Invite a guest who is a guru in the field of your website theme to participate in an online chat discussion. Set a specific starting and stopping time and be sure to outline the discussion topics.

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The people who have paid to join your membership site depend on you to provide relevant and timely information. It is their right to expect that information to be updated on a regular basis because they may be depending upon it to make decisions. When a person joins your membership site they should be told what your publishing schedule will be so that they know when they can expect to get fresh information. Adhering to that announced schedule is vitally important.

Deciding what your publishing schedule will be for your website is important. Keep in mind the kind of information you will be supplying to your membership. Information that changes hourly will require a RSS feed. Information that needs to up-dated on a daily basis will most likely require a content management system. For weekly publishing of content, you can do that yourself but a content management system can make it a lot easier.

When you are planning your newsletter, you need to decide how often your ezine or newsletter will be sent out to your subscribers. Basically, you need to create a schedule and stick with it. But how often should you publish? How much is too much and how often is not enough? When it comes to frequency, the usual choices are daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Daily – that means 365 newsletters a year. You could wear out your welcome even with your most devoted members.

Weekly – that is still a lot of work…52 letters a year…a little over 4 a month. Would your members appreciate that much mail from you?

Bi-weekly – Publishing an e-zine twice a month is just often enough to keep you fresh in your subscribers’ minds but not so often that they become annoyed with you.

Monthly – doesn’t seem often enough. Your members may forget about you and where your website lives on the Internet.

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The modern variation of the practice of paying finder’s-fees for the introduction of new clients to a business is a popular method of promoting Internet businesses called affiliate marketing. An affiliate marketer is paid for every visitor, subscriber, or customer provided to an Internet business because of his efforts. The affiliate marketer earns compensation based on a certain value for each visit (Pay per click), registrant (Pay per lead), or a commission for each customer or sale (Pay per Sale), or any combination.

You can see where an affiliate marketer would be sorely tempted to send out email advertising the products he makes money on for promoting. This resulted in so much SPAM being generated that anti-spam laws were enacted. Spammers are severely fined and the newest twist in the anti-spam laws are that the merchants whose affiliates spam are being held responsible for the spamming as well. So caution is well advised to merchants.

Merchants who are considering adding an affiliate strategy to their online sales channel should research the different technological solutions available to them. As affiliate marketing has matured many affiliate merchants have refined their terms and conditions to prohibit affiliates from spamming. Some types of affiliate management solutions include: standalone software, hosted services, shopping carts with affiliate features, and third party affiliate networks.

Spamdexing or search engine spamming is the practice of deliberately creating web pages which will be indexed by search engines in order to increase the chance of a website or page being placed close to the beginning of search engine results, or to influence the category to which the page is assigned.

Right now there is a lot of debate about the affiliate practice of Spamdexing and many affiliates have converted from sending email spam to creating large volumes of automatically generated web pages each devoted to different niche keywords as a way of search engine optimizing their sites. This is sometimes referred to as spamming the search engine results. Spam is the biggest threat to organic Search Engines whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users.

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Whatever you call them – member only, membership, subscription, or mentor websites, they all have one thing in common. They are bringing in steady and constant cash flow for their owners, month after month, from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The array of the topics of these websites is endless.

Some of these paid membership sites provide mentoring or coaching, others publish useful articles or information in a particular field or product. Still others publish the results of tests and studies or product reviews. Some membership sites provide specialized service or act as a meeting place for people with a common interest and then there are those that provide step-by-step instructions for such things as painting or music.

All these sites have one thing in common: to access the website (or the best information on the site) you have to pay for it! Which begs the question…why would anybody pay for information on the Internet?

The answer is simple. People buy information that they could probably find for themselves if they looked long enough and hard enough, because they want to save time or because they think the information will be better or more specialized or because the information just isn’t available to them unless they pay for it.

Just a few short years ago it was almost unheard of to charge for access to a website and almost no one was doing it. Today, however, it is the norm and not the exception. Actually we have Internet dating sites to thank for this huge money making opportunity.

The Internet dating industry began with free membership sites that were mostly populated by nerds, weirdoes and perverts. It was quickly discovered that ordinary people would gladly pay to have access to lists where the posters had been screened even just a little. Now people actually expect to pay for access to valuable information.

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