Network Marketing and Nutritional Supplements Submitted by: Independent Marketer
(OPENPRESS) October 12, 2009 -- In good economic times and bad, people are looking to earn extra income from home. Sometimes a little extra spending cash. Sometimes a full-time income. And even the media has had good things to say about network marketing in this most recent economic crunch -- as long as you can find a legitimate company. I'll talk about that in a minute.
One of the most popular items to sell in the network marketing industry has been nutritional supplements. And why not? For one thing, these represent a fairly booming area of the economy. Selling supplements -- if they stand up to their claims -- means earning a living by making a difference in the quality of people's lives. And since "selling" them usually also means "using" them, one improves his or her own quality of life along the way.
Probably the biggest challenge to the industry, though, is that most people don't understand health or how these supplements affect us. They don't understand how to look past the hype to determine if a product is really worth the money being asked. So they go out to sell with all the good intentions in the world, and often they end up drawing money away from products that would have had a much greater impact on one's health for the same money or less.
Network marketers also tend to spend a great deal of money on their marketing efforts in hopes of hitting it rich; and too many of them end up disillusioned with the whole process as they watch their bank accounts drain rather than gain.
But there are solutions to these two issues, and I'll cover just the basics in this article.
CHOOSING A COMPANY
The first big challenge is determining what company to represent. In the past, I focused on looking at the product. Show me the product: if that's great, then the rest will fall in place. I didn't pay enough attention to those companies who made a big deal of who was running the show.
The officers and staff, however, determine the whole experience -- whether you'll have excellent marketing materials (including the website ) to work with; whether you'll have quality training and phone calls; whether you can anticipate worthy partnerships forming; whether they have money to last (if a start-up); and more. I think it's important not to jump into the hype of "never been a better management team"; but it's worth seeing a solid team in place. And it's worth validating the claims with a little background research of your own.
In nutritional supplements, the next challenge is picking products that will honestly make a noticeable difference in people's lives. I like to ask three questions:
1) Is it foundational? Does it help to optimize the body's most basic, most critical functions? For instance, the only network marketing supplement company I currently work with optimizes the body's natural antioxidant system, rather than just trying to stuff it full of supplemental antioxidants. (Learn more here: Glutathione product.)
Likewise, in the case of weight loss, I see many products claiming results, but I always want to know how many of them offer healthy results. There is a difference between losing weight and losing fat. Losing "weight" can mean losing healthy, lean body mass.
Too many products rely on thermogenics (heating up the body, aka speeding up metabolism) or appetite suppression (aka starving). Neither approach is healthy. In the end, the healthy option is correcting signals to the brain, which works with the body's natural function rather than tricking it into weight loss. (Learn more here: Weight Loss product.)
2) Where's the proof? Be aware that there's a big difference between an ingredient in something having been studied and having the product itself studied and proven. This doesn't mean you can't have great products that have never been studied -- studies cost a lot of money and not all companies can afford them. But understand this difference, and avoid the dangerous claims made by too many network marketers.
If you can find a company that puts its products through true, clinical testing, then you have results that you can rely on. You'll know what you're asking someone to invest in and what will typically happen for them as a result. You still want to avoid any commentary on medical diseases, but if a product is known to reduce inflammation by a certain amount, now you can point to proven results and feel confident that you're directing someone toward a good investment.
3) What's the value? Way, way, way too many network marketing products are overpriced. They don't need to be. If a company will simply take the money that would have gone into retail marketing and distribution, and they put that money into their compensation plan, then the end consumer can still get a good value without ever becoming a distributor. This is the ideal situation.
When I look at nutritional supplements, I ask whether someone can get a product with similar results for less. I spent two months learning about and assessing the glutathione product I recommend, and in the end, determined it to be the best value, dollar for dollar, of any glutathione product out there. (Most are unproven; most are theoretically useless; and those that are proven have far less potent results.)
The other issue for network marketers is figuring out how to market the product without breaking the bank. What's the ideal: marketing to the consumer, to opportunity seekers, or to both? Is it worthwhile to purchase a booth at a local event? Is it worth spending on posters? How do I go about marketing online, and is it worthwhile?
With a professional background in writing and marketing, guidance on how to market wisely -- and without blowing all your money -- is one of the central things I offer my business partners. For instance, I may produce things they can print from their own computers so that they're not always having to buy marketing materials. I produce sizzle calls as needed, so they can offer anyone a quick presentation even when they're still learning about a business themselves. Sometimes, I even have printed materials like business cards designed for them, so they can save on middleman costs.
And yes, I focus a lot on internet marketing. It's one area where people can put in time without putting in much money at all, and they can generate ongoing results. Often, I'll have pre-written autoresponders that they can use. I know about inexpensive lead systems. I can explain the whole concept of a "funded proposal." And I can point them to tools that allow them to talk to their teams or prospects more effectively.
One such tool, for instance, is a rising online star called PeopleString, which serves many purposes. First, as a free system, it eliminates the problem of investments that don't pay you back. Second, it allows you to send video e-mails, so you can speak face to face with prospects or teams; I like this because it adds a personal touch too often missing on the internet. Third, PeopleString itself creates an income stream and is designed to pay through a multi-level marketing structure -- even though it's free.
So it's a way to attract a team for free and start building an income before you've ever pitched your primary business. In this sense, a kind of funded proposal of its own. Plus, with a Facebook-style social network, it allows you to do more free, internet marketing with blogging, setting up groups, etc.
In my opinion, PeopleString can actually become a primary income alongside any other business because of its free and therefore viral nature. Having said that, for those who want it to grow to a meaningful income, I further partner with team members who opt for a paid upgrade. For them, I set up a custom website and promote them with a press release. I do this not only to get them started off on the right foot, but also to better teach them how to generate long-term traffic that will build any business they get into. To learn more about how to partner with me in PeopleString, visit www.PeopleStringProgram.com.
In short, I believe that network marketing is a powerful way for the average person to build up some extra cash. And marketing nutritional supplements is a nice way not only to experience better health for oneself, but to offer something meaningful as a way of earning.
But my hope is that the marketers themselves will start asking harder questions of their products before promoting them, in order to demand more value for both themselves and their prospective customers. I think that studies can play a major role in this, as well as a little research into how the body works.
I also believe that marketers need to exercise caution in how they market, in order to make sure that they're earning more money than they're spending. Early on, it's typically worth investing a little money, but you should do so along with as much well-directed time as appropriate to your schedule and your goals. And "well-directed" is key -- something that's easier to do when you work with someone who can help to point you toward your best use of time.
About the Author
Steve McCardell is a professional writer and marketer who spends time teaching about home business opportunities and how to effectively market them. You can learn more about him on his personal website at www.stevemccardell.com.