When it comes to marketing for direct sales and network marketing, the landscape has been drastically and unexpectedly changed in 2020. While many people anticipated an increase in online marketing, there was probably no one who thought it would be because in-person marketing would become impossible. If you built your business or relied in any way on home-parties, vendor events, boutiques, or any other in-person strategies, you’ve probably felt pretty hard-hit by the shift in the world.
First, you should know that you’re not alone. Many people find moving into the online space difficult, and actually becoming successful at it is a whole different story. Add into the mix the endless amount of information about how you should market online, and you may find yourself wanting to stay in bed with the covers over your head #amIright?
Part of the reason there is so much information available is because there isn’t one right answer. So before you become completely inundated with more information than you can possibly sort through, you need to ask yourself HOW you want to move your business online. It’s not enough to simply jump on a platform and wait for the sales to roll in. Online marketing doesn’t work that way.
Our expertise is in online parties, so that’s what we’re going to cover. If you’re interested in moving from in-person parties to online parties, these tips will be helpful to you.
Treat Online Parties the Same Way You Treat In-Person Parties – As a Social Gathering
Everyone can run a party online, but not everyone runs successful parties online. The first rule of online parties is to treat your party like a party. If you would do it in-person, do it online. Let’s look a little closer at this idea, so you see what we mean.
Imagine you had a friend who had previously expressed interest in hosting a party for you, and together you picked a time and date for the party. On that day, shortly before the party, you simply show up. You haven’t given your host any information or direction about the party. Luckily, this host has been to other direct sales parties before, so they at least knew to invite their friends.
You set up your table in their living room, and their guests start to gather. You don’t say hello; you don’t greet the guests, introduce yourself, or get to know them. When the last guest arrives, you launch right into a spiel about your company and your products. When you’re finished, you hand out catalogues and tell everyone it’s time to order.
How does that party sound to you? #awkward Do you think it will result in many sales? Maybe a couple of sales because of the in-person pressure to buy, but definitely no bookings and most people will try to get out of there ASAP.
Now, let’s look at another scenario. The same host agrees to have a party. After you set a date, you send them a hostess coaching package that tells them what to expect as a host. It includes information like what you need them to do, what kinds of rewards they’ll earn based on their party sales, and what you’ll do for the party. It even has a place for them to create a wish list of the items they’ll earn because they’re going to be an amazing hostess.
When you arrive at their house, they’re excited to get the party started. As their guests start arriving, they introduce you to each of them and you spend a minute saying hello and getting to know them. Once everyone is settled, you introduce yourself formally and express on a personal level why you love your company. You share some products, play games, answer questions, make jokes, and have fun with the party guests. When you’re finished, you hand out catalogues and tell everyone it’s time to order.
How does that party sound? More enjoyable and a whole lot less awkward? Probably a lot more sales and bookings too, right?
This story may seem a little silly, but believe it or not, it happens online ALL THE TIME. Consultants set up a party, give their hostess no information, and bombard the guests with nothing more than product posts. What is supposed to be a party turns into a giant online commercial. And those few sales you would get from an in-person party aren’t going to happen because that pressure to buy doesn’t exist online. In fact, you’ll be lucky if they stuck with the party long enough to get to the shopping link.
When you focus on the social aspect of a party, you bring fun, entertainment, and engagement into your party and you build relationships with the guests. It’s how you convert a potential customer into a paying customer.
Understand Your Special Offer
This is also very important because unlike a vendor event where they only allow one of every business to attend, when you move into the online space you have direct competition, and a lot of it. It becomes critical to find a way to stand out from all of the other consultants for your company in the online space.
When you move online, you lose the advantage of being face-to-face with potential customers perusing the aisles of a trade show. You also lose the advantage of proximity (i.e., trade shows are usually local to you, as are the people attending them). On the other hand, online parties mean you can gain the advantage of growing your customer base outside of your local area, which opens up your potential customers exponentially.
So your task becomes figuring out what your unique offer is and sharing that with your party guests. Now here’s the thing – your “offer” doesn’t have to be something of monetary value. It can be, but it doesn’t HAVE to be.
When we talk about your unique offer, we’re talking about the thing that makes people want to choose you instead of anyone else. Maybe it’s that you offer free shipping on every order or a customer loyalty program, but it could also be that you have a great sense of humor, you’re the go-to meme gal, you do online product demos every week, you send out secret family recipes to your email subscribers, your parties always have a theme, or you have a monthly virtual dance party. The point is that it doesn’t matter WHAT your offer is, only that you have one.
You see, when you sell online, it is as easy for someone to shop with you as it is for them to shop with any other consultant or even directly with your company. They are already online, going through the same process either way, so WHY do they pick YOU to make their purchase from?
Understand that and you’ll be on the fast-track to sales. And when you discover your thing, circle back to the paragraph above and remind yourself that your party is a social gathering. If you were at a party in person, you would share what makes you special with the party guests. Do that online too!
Recognize the Subtle Shifts in the Industry
This one has less to do with the parties themselves but is still an essential part of shifting online. If you recognize and understand the shifts the network marketing industry is seeing, it makes it possible for you to make the most of your online parties.
Having confidence in yourself and your business can be difficult when you’re working through such uncertain times and trying something that might be very new to you. Knowing why parties are a good choice right now can help you stay focused and succeed.
One of the really unique opportunities for MLM’s at this point in time is that there is a tremendous backlog when it comes to big business. Companies that are often our biggest competition (ahem – Amazon) are so backed up and low on stock that they are quickly eliminating themselves as an option for shoppers.
We used to have to compete with free shipping, less expensive product options, and ultra-fast delivery. Now that they are unable to keep up with demand, consumers are looking for alternatives. And while they’re looking for alternatives, you have the opportunity to share your products, get people trying them, and let them experience first-hand why buying from you is so much better.
What else is unique in the industry right now? People are losing jobs like crazy, which means the MLM opportunity is becoming a more appealing option for some. We’ve shifted from direct sales being a “side-hustle opportunity” to a “real job opportunity.” That’s a really big deal for them and for you. But this industry comes with a reputation. A reputation of being spammy and gross and it can be hard to get past the stigma.
When you run your online parties in a way that focuses on the social gathering aspect, shares what makes you special, and actually demonstrates that you can build a business in this industry the right way and right now, your potential to successfully recruit becomes endless. You show them that the stigma doesn’t have to be their reality.
Shifting from in-person parties to online parties might be a little bit scary but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If your parties combine getting to know each other and having fun while sharing your products, you have a recipe for success!
If you want to create your own virtual theme party, check out this blog post.
If you want to try one of our done-for-you theme party scripts, grab your free one right here.