How to Build An Online Business (a must-read for Direct Sellers!)

I love the internet.  I got my teaching credentials online, I met my husband online, I taught high school online, and then I became an entrepreneur and built my network marketing business online.

We have such a huge advantage these days as business owners and network marketing professionals – not only can we work from wherever we want, but we can connect with potential customers and business partners from all over the world!

My husband is the one who taught me this – he owns one of the fastest growing internet marketing agencies in the country and helps companies everyday expand their online reach.  He lets me pick his brain and the best part is, once you learn some of the basic of what to do it is actually EASY to implement!  I’ve also done a ton of research on how to specifically use the internet and social media if you are in direct sales/network marketing and I can’t wait to share these tips with you.

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I’m going to share exactly how to build an online business based on what I’ve done and continue to do so that you can too, especially if you are in Direct Sales, Network Marketing, or a small business owner. 

By using the internet to my advantage, I’ve built a team of over 100 women all over the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK from my computer and phone; I’ve helped customers who I never would have met in person – through my incredible company I’ve earned a car, a paid trip to Costa Rica, and am having a whole lot of fun, thanks to WIFI!  I’ve done this 95% online and want YOU to be able to do the same because let’s be honest, the internet is kind of a big deal these days!  And if you could bring in MORE business just by making a few smart tweaks online, wouldn’t you want to?!

(Want to learn more about my company specifically?  Click here and type “I’m interested!” and I’ll give you exclusive access to some resources you are going to love.)

Maybe you have been hesitant to jump into direct sales because you fear that you will have to do a bunch of “parties”, or spend every weekend opening up your home for shopping hours or searching for vendor events.  Maybe you are a small business owner on Etsy and are trying to expand your reach.  Maybe you LOVE the in-person events and sharing your products while out and about but are looking for a way to enhance your business using the internet.  No matter what your preferences are in how you run your business, learning how to make the internet work FOR you so that you can expand your reach can only help.  Keep on reading to learn all about how to build an online business.

Facebook is Your Friend

With over 2 billion users, it is safe to say that most of your potential customers and business partners are on Facebook.

Use this to your advantage!  I wasn’t super into Facebook before I started my direct selling business but once I realized how many people I could connect with and potentially serve, I saw that not only is it a great business tool, but it is truly an awesome way to genuinely engage with and re-connect with others.

 

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How to Build an Online Business – Facebook

There are several ways you can use Facebook to build an online business:

  • Facebook Groups: Groups are a great way to show off your products, and business opportunity.  These are interactive spaces where your customers can interact, get updates from you, and hopefully have some fun.  The key is to create value in these groups – you don’t want your group to be one big commercial for your products.  Educate, inspire, entertain with valuable content, and then sprinkle in your product posts and you will begin to create a thriving space online that others WANT to be a part of.
  • Facebook Pages: Pages are the voice of your business on Facebook and a huge tool in how to build an online business.  These professional spaces can be used to attract new customers, inform, generate sales, and more.  There are tons of tools within Pages you can use to promote your business and Facebook makes it super easy to do so.
  • Facebook Events: According to Facebook, 550 million people use Facebook events each month – that is a whole lot of event-ing going on!  I love Facebook events to show off products to customers who live out of state, or who live down the street but prefer to shop in their pajamas like me.  Facebook events are an awesome way to launch your business online, or to throw virtual “parties” – I prefer events to groups because you can “invite” others to join, and they get to RSVP how they see fit.  I even have a sample virtual event that includes graphics and posts that I share with my teammates so that they can launch their business online easily within their first month of getting started – contact me directly to learn more about that!
  • Your Personal Profile:  What does your personal profile have to do with your business, especially if Facebook does not want you using your personal profile to run your business?  A lot.  People join people, not businesses, and your customers are going to have lots of other consultants/distributors to choose who they purchase from but they will choose you because you are YOU.  We have have our own awesome unique traits and your personal profile is a place where you get to share who you are with others.  As others begin to know, like, and trust you, they become more willing to learn about your business.  So even if you aren’t directly promoting your business on your Facebook profile, it is a great space to build a positive online reputation, to connect with others, to network, and again to provide value, entertainment, and educational content to your Facebook friends.  Business aside, it is fun and fulfilling to connect with others!

Free Up Your Time by Pre-Scheduling Posts Using CinchShare

You might be thinking okay, Facebook does sound like a great way to market my business but I don’t have time to be posting all the time.

Me either!

I started my business when I was a high school teacher, manager of the house (aka laundry doer and dish washer), and my kids were 6 months old and 2 years old.  In figuring out how to build an online business, I’ve found every hack there is so that you can be more productive and efficient in LESS time and CinchShare is one of my favorites.

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How to Build an Online Business – Save Time with CinchShare!

CinchShare is a website/app that allows you to pre-schedule posts on Facebook and Instagram.  You can schedule posts to your personal profile, groups, pages, and even in events.

There’s more…You can even preview what your Instagram tiles are going to look like by dragging and dropping pictures in a grid view to re-arrange them how you want.  You can add links, pictures, and more to your Facebook posts.  CinchShare is literally a tool that has changed my online business and makes it so easy to connect with my community without me being attached to my phone.  Set aside a small amount of time each week to pre-schedule your posts for the following week, and use all of that extra time you have to continue to build your business, interact on social media, spend time with your family, or whatever you want to do 🙂

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How to Build an Online Business – CinchShare for Instagram

If you’ve decided CinchShare is something you want to use as a tool for how to build an online business, try out CinchShare for 5 FREE weeks by clicking here and typing in code CSfree.

Build Your Brand by Making Your Own Graphics with Canva

I’m telling you….even if you are the least creative person out there – Canva is such a magical easy-to-use website that you will totally be able to pass yourself off as a graphic designer.  You can use this website to make graphics for Facebook posts, to make fliers, newsletters, invites, You Tube thumbnail photos, Instagram posts, documents, presentations, business cards – the list is endless.

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How to Build an Online Business – Canvva

How does making your own graphics and creating a brand for yourself help as you are figuring out how to build an online business? It sets you apart.  With access to so much information at our fingertips, chances are there are plenty of product info. fliers and cutesy graphics that you can borrow from someone else to repost.  What happens when you do this though is you simply get lost in a sea of other direct sellers and small business owners.  Why should someone do business with YOU specifically?  This is where your branding and original content comes in.

With Canva, you can select your favorite colors and fonts that you’d like to use over and over again, and you can create a little theme for all of the graphics you create.  When you start doing this, people will begin to recognize your brand and next time they think of where to buy XYZ, you specifically are going to be in their brain!

Funnel Business to you Using those Pretty Graphics by Pinning them on Pinterest

If your business has a product, Pinterest is a gold mine.  Even if you offer a service instead, people can’t resist clicking on a cute picture that describes that service!  Using Pinterest as part of your strategy for how to build an online business is so incredibly simple and fun.

Here’s the biggest and most important tip when using Pinterest for Business: Post original content and when uploading your pin, make sure to type in the web address that you want anyone who is clicking on your pin to redirect to.

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For example, I might post a collage I’ve made of various lipstick colors and the web link redirects to my store where customers can then purchase those colors.  What happens when another distributor re-pins my collage because they like it?  Anyone who now visits the pin on their page and clicks on it is still redirected to MY store.  Great for me, but not so great for the other direct sellers in my company.  What could they do to better build their online business?  Create their own original content, pin it, and redirect it to THEIR store.

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Lips by Nic Pinterest

People also love to go on Pinterest because it is fun and they can get great ideas and inspiration from it, so feel free to re-pin non competitive content that you think your potential customers might enjoy as well.  Anything that has to do with YOUR specific business, make your own content and original pins, and then re-pin other interesting and relevant topics that relate to your industry too.

If you really want to learn how to master Pinterest, you HAVE to check out this Sassy Suite course called Winning with Pinterest – it is incredible!!  I went from 5,000 monthly views to over 100,000 monthly view after implementing the tips I learned from this training.  You will LOVE.

Instagram – Another HUGE Visual Social Media Marketing Platform for you!

As you learn how to build an online business, you start to notice that you can re-use a lot of your content on different platforms because you will likely attract different followers on each.  Someone might not be active on Facebook but LOVES to shop on Instagram.

What’s cool about Instagram is that potential customers can search through hashtags to find the accounts and products that might interest them (that’s actually how I found the company that I’m currently with!)

Like I mentioned above, you can pre-schedule your Instagram posts, and you can even link your Instagram Business account with your Facebook Business page and link your posts.  There’s a cool new feature that also lets you tag products from your Facebook page directly to your Instagram pictures.

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How to Build an Online Business – Instagram

Like other social media platforms, Instagram is meant to be social so to organically grow your following, make sure to be commenting and interacting with other accounts that you love too!  Make your account public, use hashtags, interact and post content that your followers with find entertaining, informative, and valuable.

Stop watching Cat Videos on You Tube and get your Business on You Tube!

Think about where you go to find information these days.  Let’s say for example you want to learn how to frost a cake.  You might find an awesome recipe on Pinterest, and then watch a cool tutorial on You Tube that takes you through each of these steps.  So many people want to SEE things in action and You Tube is the perfect space to help build an online business.

You don’t need to have perfect lighting or a perfect backdrop – get it out of your head that you need to be a model or actor to put an awesome video up on You Tube.  Instead, go make a quick video on your phone using Viva Video that either showcases how to use one of your products, or talks a little bit about your business or your story, and post that thing!!

(Here I am on You Tube – proof that you don’t need to be a videographer!  Made this quick tutorial on my phone, in my bathroom – added a cute little thumbnail from Canva and done!)

Ta-da.  You just became a real person who others can relate to and your company now has a face to go with it.  Want to get real fancy? Use the Canva You Tube Thumbnail template to create your own customized thumbnail for your video.

Guess what else? You can post You Tube video links directly to Pinterest!!!  Winning!  Add You Tube to your strategy for how to build an online business, share your videos with others, and have fun with it.

Blog to Provide Value to your Community

You certainly don’t *need* to blog as you build an online business.  In fact, if you hate writing I’d stick to some of the more visual ways you can build and grow your business because to be honest – you are more likely to accomplish the tasks that you enjoy as well.

However, you don’t need to be a professional writer either to have an awesome blog.  You do need to think about what topics you could write about that will attract your potential customers and business partners while also providing VALUE to them.

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How to Build an Online Business – Blog

You can start a blog through WordPress like I have here (it is super user-friendly), you can use Tumblr, you can even publish articles on Linked In.  I do find having a blog very useful when talking to my customers and potential business partners because if they have a question, and I have an article that answers it, I can simply send them the link without having to re-type my thoughts out (like I said before, if I can find a way to do something more efficiently, in less time, I do it!)

And then if you do go the extra step and make sure your blog is well written and optimized for the internet (check out some awesome tips here), your article might even start ranking on Google which in turn will mean more business and leads for you.  All because you figured out how to build an online business from the comfort of your couch.

The Fortune is in the Follow Up – Manage your Contacts and Don’t Leave them Hanging!

There is a reason this phrase is so popular in sales – because it is simply true.  Most people do not follow up with potential customers or business partners; we get busy, we don’t want to “bother” anyone, we forget.  Do not make this mistake!   If you want to know how to build an online business, you need get comfortable with reaching out to others by e-mail, phone, messenger, etc.

If you can get a simple system down so that you are staying in contact with your leads and network, you are going to stand out against the many people who don’t take this small extra step.  You are not bothering someone by following up – you are being a professional and sharing information until that person has the answer they need.

 

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How to Build an Online Business – Contact Management

My absolute favorite system is called the FTR System.  It keeps your contacts organized in folders that you create, and you can create follow up tasks for your contacts so that you never forget to follow up on time.

You can also create fantastic e-mails and even e-mail campaigns to stay in touch.  For example, I often am asked about how one of my products works – I have an e-mail saved in the FTR system that with one click I can send to my contact.  He/She receives a professional looking e-mail with information, videos, images, links – whatever it is you want to include.  You then get notified when your contact opens up your message so that you can properly follow up.

If you don’t already have a way to organize your contacts (leads, customers, potential customers, business partners, etc.) I highly suggest you try out the FTR System – click here to try for $1 for 7 days!

Thank you so much for reading about how to build an online business! I hope some of these tips help you 🙂 If you know anyone else who might benefit please feel free to share this post!  Questions? Contact me anytime by clicking here or e-mailing me directly at lipsbynic@gmail.com.

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Affiliate links are included in this post; I LOVE to recommend services that have helped my business so much with everyone 🙂

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