A Tale of 2 WAHMs

Ramblings of 2 WAHMs - Anita DeFrank and Kara Kelso. Partners in business discuss how we manage successful websites and young children at home.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Getting Creative with Promotion

Just creating the Direct Sales Kit was only half the battle so I figured we should keep you updated beyond just the creation. (Sorry, I know I’ve been lacking with updates!) Hopefully this will help anyone else starting a new project or any other campaign. (Warning this is very long! But, I hope that there is enough valuable information here that’ll be worth your time.)

We’ve been trying to get as creative as possible. Besides, everyone knows (or should know) that creativity is your best friend! The idea is to make your product stand out among anything else available that might be even remotely similar to your own. You need to let everyone know WHY they need/want your product.

Here’s a few things that we’ve done throughout the process and are starting now and the reasons why... (Yes, there is a method to our madness!)

Some things you might have picked up through the creation process but are worth repeating... Of course you’ll want to get creative yourself even if you use the same techniques that we’ve used because unless you’re planning on writing a book on direct sales your plans are going to have to be different, lol!

1) We created a survey specifically for woman in direct sales.
This helped quite a few different ways. Of course being in direct sales ourselves we know what we had difficulties in and had to work through but, just because we had a problem with something doesn’t mean someone else has and vise versa. So, this definitely helped in the creation. We were able to actually find out what was on the minds of others in direct sales and what help they were looking for. This was a great way to gather the information that was needed all in one spot. This also of course started a bit of a buzz about the project we were working on.

2) We created a newsletter to be distributed each week specifically targeting direct sales (Direct Sales Helpers News & Tips). Again, this helped many ways. We already know that a large part of the work at home community is in direct sales but not all. Our regular ezine - Mommy’s Helper - Mom’s Market Ezine - targets moms in business/work at home moms but we try to keep the content general without focusing too much on one “branch of the tree”. We started another newsletter so we could use that one to focus on one particular niche. Again, this helped create some buzz also. Plus, now we have a group of people who are in direct sales and are interested in more help for their business. We also are able to use this group as “proof” that we do know what we are talking about and are qualified to offer quality advice. Another thing we can do with this is build an actual relationship with our subscribers. Which would you rather take advice from? Someone who you don’t know and have no idea what they teach or someone you’re comfortable with and hear from each week? I don’t think that’s too hard of a decision.

3) As most of you know ... we had a great team of experts helping us through the creation of the kit. (You can meet the team here.) We decided on this because we wanted a wide-range of advice. We wanted to not only share our experience and advice but also what has worked for some other successful direct sales representatives. In my opinion this really adds value to the entire kit. We’re not just offering the expertise of just two but the experience of ten of us.

We knew we wanted an affiliate program available for this but, we also didn’t want everybody and their sister recommending it. Not that this is a bad thing but, we first wanted the recommendations to be from those who knew what they were talking about. Those who have actually read it. Part of the compensation we offered to our team was one a free copy and two the option to become an affiliate and earn commission from the kit itself. We also hand-picked a few of our own to offer the affiliate program too. This limits the number of affiliates. Again, this way we know those who are recommending our product know exactly what they’re recommending AND it makes it more fair to the affiliates. This makes it easier for them to make a commission on a more personal level. This also helps us in promoting the kit.

4) I myself had written a press release for the kit. I may be able to write but sales copy and press releases are definitely not my strong points. Kara worked on the sales copy and promotion of mostly everything involved here while I worked more on the content of the kit. First of all you need to find your strengths. Know what you’re good at and focus on that. Don’t be afraid to hire someone else who has more experience in a certain field. If you can’t afford to hire someone maybe you can find someone to barter with. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you can’t do something in particular. As I mentioned writing Press Releases is not my thing so, I showed it to a very good friend of mine Dee from VirtualWordPublishing.com and she helped create a much better press release. Not only that we’ve already discussed with her about writing our sales copy for the same project but to a different audience that we’re planning on working on. If you can’t do something ... find someone who can. You’ll save yourself all the time and energy plus if you’ll probably end up with something better than you might have been able to create.

5) Writing articles. Yes, I’m going to say it again...and most definitely again and again and again. You’ll never experience the true benefit of article writing until you actually give it a try. Article writing is one of THE BEST means of branding yourself as an expert in your field. We’ve written many, many articles on different issues of direct sales. Having a website such as MomsEzine.com we decided to put it to good use. We turned it into an ezine directory. Listings were free only requiring a link back to MomsEzine. This of course helps those who list some added exposure and we get the exposure of MomsEzine which also lists our ezines. Everybody wins! With this we were also able to create a list of ezines/newsletters that accepts articles. (Accepting Publishers List) What does this do? This for one helps us have a great list of places to submit our articles to and once again, a little more exposure for MomsEzine.com and in turn again for our newsletters also.

(Side Note: When advertising don’t always focus on the sale! Focus on building a relationship. This is advertising that will keep on giving and giving for a very long time. Next time you place an ad...place an ad for your free newsletter. No you may not make a sale right now, but you’ll be building a great list of potential customers who are starting to get to know you!)

6) We started weekly chats for direct sales reps. Yes, we’re giving away free information but, we are also creating a relationship with others who might not already know who we are or what we stand for. This is just an example to others of what we do have to offer in the means of coaching. Imagine it as a free sample. Consultants and reps can stop by our chats ask some questions, get some answers and get to know us before they take the leap to buy the kit or join the membership group.

7) Speaking of the membership site...At first we focused more on selling the kit and now we’re thinking better of that. (See, we ALL make mistakes!) The question has risen as to wether our kit is for someone who is new to direct sales or those who have been involved for a while. To that question we can’t really give a complete answer. Yes, this is definitely for the newbies...there’s no question at all there. But, is it for those who have been in direct sales for a while? My answer is yes, but I can’t tell you if the content is something you already know or not. That’s when you have to take a good look at the table of contents and see what’s involved. Another thing we did for this was to make a couple of sample pages taken directly from the book itself. (Sample Page One - Sample Page Two) This gives those interested a better look at what’s inside. So, we thought that we should make the membership site more available for those who feel as they pretty much know the content but are still looking for a little one on one coaching to become more successful.

8) Free & Low Cost Advertising List
Of course we are and have been on the lookout for available advertising for our kit as well as many others. We’ve all seen the message board posts...”Where can I advertise for free or low cost?” I know you’ve seen at least one of those posts, right? Well instead of having a post a mile long as everyone comes and posts the advertising they have available we decided to create our own list. We made it free and downloadable. By doing this we’re creating a viral effect as others will start recommending the list. Those who are listed of course and those that it’s helped. Not to mention it’s a great little referral for almost anyone. Guess what you’ll see on this list? Courtesy of DirectSalesHelpers.com. So, we created a helpful resource AND were able to help get the name of DSH out there! Again, it’s a win-win situation!

9) Creating another book
Yes, sometimes I think I’m crazy but I have mentioned that I really enjoyed creating the book part of the DS kit and plan on writing more. The one I’m working on right now (some details are being negotiated and are up in the air but) the main idea of the book is going to be this. First of all it’s going to be a free ebook. We’ll offer it to anyone who wants it absolutely free of charge. We’re going to have many other wahm resource sites offering it for free to their visitors, subscribers and so forth. Again, creating a viral effect where everyone wins. Other sites are going to have something of value to offer their visitors/subscribers/etc., we are going to get the added exposure of listing our website in it and of course the readers are going to get valuable information. What is this book going to include? This one is going to be on choosing a direct sales company. I won’t go too far into detail with this...it’s almost finished and you’ll be able to see yourself. Not to mention this is by far going to reach or target group! People who read it are going to be just starting out in direct sales or are looking to start a new company. Once they’ve read the free ebook and have chosen a company they are going to now know where to go to receive additional help if they feel the need.

10) Our blog...Yes, the blog you’re reading right now was also used as a promotional tool. We’ve created quite a buzz about our project with the readers of our blog. We’ve hit two birds with one stone. One we’ve created an interest in what we were doing and two we’ve hopefully helped some out that are looking to create their own product.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the things you’ve read including this tip has definitely been used as promotion...but that isn’t our only motive. We are wahms and we have been in these shoes for a very long time. Not only are these methods for promotion but also to help others. As you can see if you read over the above tips again, we don’t do a lot of these things just for the promotion aspect but also to help others. Let’s recap...

Us: This helped us know exactly what’s on the minds of others in direct sales and help answer questions.
You: We created a product with answers to challenges of direct sales reps.

Us: Helped establish us as experts in our field and build a relationship with our members.
You: Answered many direct questions and challenges of those who asked for help.

Team of Experts
Us: Helped us create a complete kit.
You: Gives more content/ideas/advice to the readers.
BONUS: Helped our experts establish themselves more and credit them for their accomplishments.

Article Writing
Us: Helped us get our name out there and helped establish ourselves as knowledgeable in our field.
You: Offers free advice to our readers.

Weekly Chats
Us: Again, helps to prove that we can offer sound advice and coach other direct sales in their business.
You: Free samples of what we do.

Free & Low Cost Advertising List
Us: Free advertising/promotion.
You: A free list you can use.

Free Ebook
Us: Free advertising/promotion.
You: (Or others) Free advice on how to choose the right direct sales company for that individual.

Our Blog
Us: Created interest and a great deal of buzz.
You: Created some free advice and information you can use.

Okay, I see this has gotten way longer than I had originally expected but, I hope that it helps others and it also gives you a real feel of what goes on in our little heads and the WHY we do what we do.

To your success!
Anita :)


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