Direct Sales and MLM

MLM Marketing Tool: possible solution for a challenging problem?

By
Kevin Thompson

< src="https://dev-thompson-burton-wpms.pantheonsite.io/wpmlm/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/empowerkit-logo-600-300x51.jpg" alt="" width="300" height="51" class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-146" />This is a new kind of post for me. I’ve agreed to allow an entrepreneur, Navid Safabakhsh from Freshout Media, a San Francisco company, to write a guest post about a web platform called Empowerkit, which enables MLM companies to offer distributors unique and personalized replicated websites. Built with franchises in mind, Navid saw a similar demand in the MLM space and contacted me for my thoughts. I think he offers a good and creative solution for some of the challenges faced by MLMs today.Disclosure: I’ve agreed to receive an affiliate kickback for any sales this post might generate. It’s not much but as I preach on this site, if there’s a financial opportunity for the presenter, it needs to be fully disclosed. I would never recommend a service unless I truly believed it was a good solution for companies and distributors.Without a doubt, the Internet offers an incredible opportunity for network marketers to spread the word about their exciting products and compensation plans. The web provides a seemingly infinite number of marketing channels, and oftentimes these channels are free - i.e. Facebook, Youtube, blogs, Twitter, etc. The ease-of-use and far-reaching capabilities of the web are great things for companies. It’s never been easier for individuals to get their message in front of targeted audiences. Simultaneously, the ease-of-use and far-reaching capabilities of the web can prove to be disastrous. The web is a company’s greatest challenge and their greatest opportunity. Today, companies are trying to strike the balance between giving distributors flexibility to leverage the tools available while at the same time providing limitations to ensure the products are marketed legally.As an example, suppose Cindy Cancerino is in a MLM that sells a juice with anti-inflammatory properties. She has cancer, she uses the juice for four months, her cancer goes away, she starts a blog and incessantly writes “My MLM cures cancer, does yours!?” Now suppose there are 100 people like Cindy on the web talking about the curative properties of the supplement. See a problem? Unless the supplement is approved by the FDA as a drug, it can't be marketed as something that can mitigate or cure a disease (i.e. cancer), which means the company has to create and enforce policies preventing distributors from making those claims. With so many people all across the web making aggressive claims (innocent mistakes), it's a challenging task for any compliance department to monitor the claims made across the Internet. So what’s the solution? It’s a tough issue. The answer is not with replicated sites. Replicated sites are built to process orders and provide static information, nothing more. They’re really not created to be marketing tools, which means the prospects have little reason to engage with the business owner and re-visit the site. They’re better than nothing and they serve a great function (facilitating sales). But distributors are also looking for ways to brand themselves, engage with prospects and generate leads. Those objectives cannot be accomplished with a standard, vanilla replicated website, in my opinion.Enter NavidWhy did you create the platform?We initially identified the need for Empowerkit in franchising, but quickly realized the same need existed in direct selling among distributors, on a larger scale. Franchisees, unhappy with the websites provided by corporate, would launch their own independent websites or blogs and begin marketing themselves online. They'd struggle through the process of having to create a website, only to have corporate ask them to remove the site based on questionable content and trademark issues. This resulted in a lot of frustration and money being wasted.Companies would then build proprietary platforms from scratch, or purchase sub-par software solutions in an effort to solve the problem, only to find that their independent business owners wouldn't use the systems because they were too difficult to manage and ineffective. Again, more time and money wasted and business owners still lacked what they needed - websites they could easily manage and leverage to drive business.We developed Empowerkit to fit this exact need.What makes your service unique?There simply isn't another service on the market that strikes an effective balance of meeting the needs of both the direct selling companies and distributors. Empowerkit gives distributors the ability to easily manage a wide variety of content on their own website - including a blog, photo and video galleries, social media feeds, testimonials, promotions, and more - using a completely visual editing system that anyone can use. At the same time, MLM companies can set the levels of control and available content options, while managing the brand look and feel. Since all of the sites are run from a single platform, companies have direct oversight throughout the whole processUnlike most software solutions currently on the market, Empowerkit is actually easy and fun to use and requires no initial fees - we have clients up and running within days.Can you list some current clients our readers might recognize?We've just started marketing Empowerkit to the MLM industry, and we're excited to have Rastelli Direct on board as our first direct selling customer. They've been in business for over 30 years and have had great success with their direct selling channel allowing independent partners to sell their meats and food products. In franchising, we mainly work with service-based companies and have clients such as Junk King, Cybertary, Spoon Me, Hospitality International, and Creative Tutors.What got you thinking about offering this platform for MLM companies? What made it really clear to us that there was a need for Empowerkit in the MLM industry was hearing straight from distributors that they were unhappy with their replicated websites and wanted something better that allowed for more personalization. Through researching extensively, we saw that no other suppliers were putting much focus on improving replicated websites. And we also recognized that the direct selling companies were looking for creative ways to improve retention by allowing their distributors flexibility to market their products online, create personal brands and generate leads from their own platform. It was clear to us that Empowerkit would be a great fit for the MLM industry.What's the average cost per user?Prices are always negotiable depending on volume. The average cost is roughly $4 per distributor per month for the basic version. If a distributor wants more personalization (i.e. a personal blog, integration with their social media feeds, private domain, email campaigns, analytics, photo galleries, etc.), the fee ranges from $9-15 per month per distributor during our current promotion. It’s important to note that we support direct distributor billing.Exit NavidNavid Safabakhsh can be contacted via email at: navid@empowerkit.com.

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