Overview

As a network marketer, your success will depend on your ability to get and keep others involved in your team and organization. If you can help others accomplish their goals, they’re likely to continue to do business with you even when a particular company is no longer doing business. The key in this is opening a line of communication to your team, your prospects, downline and upline.

However, now in this age of information, there are likely to be people connected with you in different parts of the world on fully different time zones. How do you make the most of your time by communicating things once, ensuring it can be retrieved, while at the same time getting information to the most vital of your stakeholders?

Some have turned to social media for this function. Since people are already on sites like Facebook, isn’t it best to leverage them? The answer is yes and no. In some cases, there will be people who don’t want to be on the platform. Do you want to turn them away because they’d rather not join the social network?

Second is the distraction of ads, personal issues and entertainment. While this can be to your advantage as an advertiser, it could work against your best interest if you want to hold your team’s vital information there. This means that you can still find a use for having a website that you own and control. That website will be central to your business without the distractions that social media brings. Also, social media content is not easily retrieved; website content is.

You’ll also want to customize the website as your business changes. To have a website that allows you to customize it without having to know the technical aspects of coding, you can use the WordPress Platform. This course will focus on the use of WordPress as a tool to help you to communicate in ways that help you to build your network marketing business and your personal brand.

Your Website as Home Base for Your Business

As a network marketer, you will find that some of the opportunities that you choose to be involved in are well positioned for success for the long term, providing you with a stable residual monthly income. Others take time before they provide the kind of income that you can rely on.

  • In some cases, this is due to the nature of the company and how successful the network marketing company is in making money for its members.
  • In other cases, it’s due to the associate’s level of effectiveness with the company.

In other cases, a company may even cease to operate, whether you and other team members see the writing on the wall or not. The constant in all of these cases is the following, brand and reputation you build with other networkers in the industry. This means that if you haven’t started doing so already, you’ll want to build assets that you can use regardless of the stage a particular company is in that you choose to work with.

For example, you may find that you’ve used a certain company’s convenient tools for training, tracking prospectsand communicating information to your team. Because the tools are typically easy to use, you rely on them for working with your prospects and team members. But as was indicated above, a company can cease operations just as quickly as it begins. This could mean that the time that you have invested in learning, using and even teaching the tools that you’ve operated may no longer be available to you in the same way.

The solution to this kind of dilemma is to operate, maintain and update your own website. This would mean that regardless of the company you’re working with, prospects and team mates will know to visit your personal website to keep up with the activity you’re involved in. The problem with doing this is that you may be good at both selling and recruiting people into a team, just not very technical when it comes to creating and maintaining websites.Also, depending on where you are in your journey, it may not be practical or cost effective to hire out the changes that you need to make from day to day.

As you probably have already discovered, network marketing is a dynamic profession and is constantly changing on a daily basis. That means that your efforts need consistent updating so that you can communicate properly to the people that are depending on and following you. The activity on your website will need to reflect that and will probably need to be updated on almost a daily basis.

You’ll need, then, a website platform that is easy to:

  • Apply updated information• Apply different functions
  • Apply different appearances

WordPress will fit all of these parameters.

  • It is easy to update with new information, once you understand its basic functions.
  • It is easy to add different functionality and customization to the site through its plugin system.
  • It is easy to add and customize its appearance through its theming system.

Having your own easy to customize and update website means that you can operate your business with yourself, instead of any one company, as the center and hub. At the same time, it allows you to keep your activities focused and separate so that you don’t confuse prospects and team mates.

Using your website as “Home Base” for your networking business makes it easy to brand around the trust you build with the individuals within the various opportunities you may work with over the years. It will allow you to generate leads that aren’t specific to any particular opportunity, so that you can help the individuals you resonate with find an area in which they might be most successful. It will allow you to create additional income opportunities for your business through the individuals searching for helpful tools, tips and training.

Of course, this would be true of any website platform that you find through your webhost or even another network marketing company. It’s important, then, to discuss why WordPress will be a good alternative for as long as you’re involved in the network marketing industry.

Why WordPress

One of the most attractive features about the WordPress platform is that it’s free to use. Some marketers use the free hosted platforms that WordPress provides through its WordPress.com site. This platform, since its hosting is free and shared by millions world-wide, is somewhat limiting in what you’d be able to do to customize the look and function.

However, if you’re willing and able to invest in your own hosting, you’ll be able to use free software to build out your website platform. WordPress actually maintains the platform through its centrally located hub, sending updates to users to keep your sites safe from spammers, hackers and identity thieves. Instead of saying it is “free,” it is probably more accurate to call WordPress an open sourced platform. This means that programmers with the source code can design different looks (themes) and functionality (plugins) for users that have specific goals and problems. These developers are able to create a wide range of applications to the platform that they can either give away, sell or provide lead generation versions (lite versions and pro versions).

So, developers are constantly solving the problems that individuals have, so that just about anything that you need a website to do has already been provided or can be developed. Doing a simple Google, Bing or Yahoo search for WordPress themes or WordPress plugins will yield millions of results. In most cases, WordPress will not requirethat the person who is updating the site know or understand any coding.

If a user can write, type and operate a mouse, this is more than enough skill required to operate a WordPress site successfully. A user that already has learned such skills as creating hyperlinks, using font effects and placing images will find that they’re able to control a great deal of the activity of the site. Due to the nature of available functionality and ease of use and its basic free cost, you have a platform that’s flexible enough to handle the dynamic nature of your personal and business relationships in the industry.

Using WordPress to Create Your Unique Brand

When you decide to ask someone to check out your new or existing opportunity, you want to have built some level of trust with the person prior to doing so, if at all possible. You want the person to have found you, read aboutyou, listened to your training, your philosophy and your values before they join your team. This will often set you apart from others in the industry and even within the same opportunity. This is made easy when you have an existing website that you can direct people to or that they can find themselves through a search engine or social media.

Your WordPress site can help you to communicate this brand consistently.

Use WordPress pages to continually craft the way that you want your team to do business.• Use WordPress posts to demonstrate this through updates on:

  • Your training
  • Your team’s successes
    • Your awards
    • Use WordPress media uploads to post links to multimedia content from platforms like iTunes andYouTube
    • Use the comment area to be transparent in your interactions with team members, leaders and prospects.
  • Posts photos that reinforce the things your team is doing to achieve success.

With WordPress you have the flexibility of making this kind of content opportunity specific or usable for all opportunities you’re involved in. Your WordPress site should display without you having to state it, why someone should join you over any other opportunity. This can work to weed out those that join strictly on the basis of price of the entry fee, monthly fee or special fees.

Ultimately, you want people to have seen enough of what you’re about to know if they’re willing to work to yourstandards. You also want to have it in writing exactly what your expectations are so that you can direct everyone that becomes part of your organization to read it. When changes must be made, you can do so in seconds rather than waiting for an “assistant” or outsourcer. Having this information available about you and the way you do business can be the difference between having congruent team members or not having them.

Using WordPress to Create Additional Income

Because you will be inviting both prospects and customers to your website for basic information, team information and for updates you will have a captive audience the longer that you stay involved in network marketing. That means that you will have a built-in source of traffic to your website, even if you do nothing with SEO, social media or paid advertising. Not everyone that comes to your website will be ready to join your opportunity.

However, they’re obviously on your site because they’re interested in generating more income, whether online or offline. You can and should use your WordPress site to make tools and training available to them that will help them to develop as an entrepreneur. These can be tools and training that you have personally created, or they can be hand picked options that you can attest that will help them.

You can use some of the built-in features of WordPress to remind your site visitors of these options when they visit the page. Use WordPress widgets to allow website visitors to see options in the sidebar regardless of what page they may visit. Use WordPress posts to tell your visitors about new tools and training (created by others) that you believe will be helpful to them by providing them your affiliate link to buy them.

Use the easy to edit feature to add in a YouTube video with a demo of how the software can be used to help them to accomplish specific goals. Add photos and illustrations to the post that show the site visitors exactly how they can benefit quickly. Use the text field to update with additional bonuses until you find that your visitors are buying the product that you are promoting. Use WordPress pages in the very same way to give site visitors advice on what they need for success in network marketing. Do you have a list of books that you can sell…whether you wrote them or you have an Amazon affiliate link for those that others wrote? Do you have a growing list of recommended resources on tools and infrastructure such as:

  • Autoresponders
  • Domains
  • Hosting

You can use WordPress pages and widgets together to provide constant reminders to your existing team members and customers to upgrade their membership or associate levels. What many marketers do is to use the tools available from the companies they’re working with such as online banners and images. They will then post the image in their WordPress widgets (so that everyone can see them regardless of what page they visit). Those links will then lead to a page where the marketer explains the real benefit of upgrading or even to a version of the company presentation.

Bringing the people to your site and giving them options to make purchases that will benefit them means that you will be maximizing your effort and earnings with your existing customers before expending energy, time and resources on new ones.
Using WordPress to Build a Database/List of Prospects and Customers
As a network marketer, it is likely that you will be involved with more than one company over the course of your life. Because of that, it will be your responsibility to maintain your database of contacts as you recruit and sell. Even while you are working in a profitable opportunity, you can be a great leader with excellent training and youwill still lose some people. You must maintain a constant flow of prospects into your business if you’re going to notonly maintain your business but to grow it also. This means that you’ll want to always be in “list building” mode. You’ve probably encountered contact database companies like Aweber, GetResponse and Constant Contact. These companies hold your contacts and keep you in compliance with Spam laws by making them available for emailing when they have confirmed their intentions to receive email from you.

Typically, this occurs through a process called double opt-in.

  • A prospect puts their name and email address into a form on your website.
  • They’re then sent an email asking that they confirm they want to receive email.
  • They click a link to confirm and then they are added to your contact list.

This process normally takes place on a special page called a squeeze or opt-in page. WordPress makes creating these pages easy through the use of its themes and plugins. Marketers can purchase either a WordPress theme or plugin that will allow you to use pages and posts to create opt-in forms.

Using one of the various plugins and/or themes, you can connect to an autoresponder to make certain lists available. This process is important to understand. This process normally takes place on a special page called a squeeze or opt-in page. WordPress makes creating these pages easy through the use of its themes and plugins.

Marketers can purchase either a WordPress theme or plugin that will allow you to use pages and posts to create opt-in forms. Using one of the various plugins and/or themes, you can connect to an autoresponder to make certain lists available.

This process is important to understand. First, you can create different opt-in pages for different occasions on the calendar. Second, you can create different opt-in pages for different opportunities. Third, you can create different opt-in pages for special training and/or special purchases.

By keeping track of the prospects and customers that come in contact with your brand, your email list becomes one of your most important assets. For example, if you were to have to start over in a new network marketing opportunity because the one you’re in suddenly decides not to do business, you’d want to contact team mates to let them know. And if you’d spent time and effort training these team members, it would be in their best interest to keep in contact with you. Furthermore, if these contacts were the source of your profit, then you’ll want to tell them what you’re doing so that they can join you in whatever you’re doing next.

So there are several things that you can do to use WordPress to assist you in the process of getting people into your contact database. Use the widgets to keep an opt-in offer in front of your visitors every place they go on the site. Make menu items available that promise your site visitors some benefit when they visit the page where your opt-in page is. Answer comments with links to free reports that you have available on the site. Create new posts routinely that solve the major problems people have in your market and share them across social media. Use your category pages as an opportunity to invite people to tell you a problem that you can solve, then give them a free report with your solutions.

Using WordPress for Collaboration

One of the ways you can get more exposure to your marketing funnel is to leverage the followers of other network marketers and internet marketers. You can do this through joint ventures and affiliate marketing methods.

A joint venture is work that you do with another marketer to produce a specific product or service to sell. Affiliate marketing is a product that you offer that another marketer can promote to their list of subscribers. When that marketer makes a sale, you’d pay them a sales commission since they did the work of attracting the actual buyer. Affiliate marketing also works the other way…you can promote the work of another marketer, and they pay you the commission. This discussion will focus primarily on joint ventures. WordPress offers a good alternative to marketers who want to use their site for collaboration. You can give another person the ability to create posts and/or pages on your site with their own content. In the industry, this is called guest blogging.

But there is more to it than just writing. By giving people the opportunity to post content on your site, they’re likely to attract someone totally different than you ordinarily do. And because they’re able to create pages and posts, they can post just about any kind of content their most comfortable with including, written content, audio content and video content. In order to make it worth their time, you’ll want to give them permission to post links to their activity at the end of their post.

However, you can still use the tools in WordPress to pitch your product and opt-in opportunities. You can and should use a widget with your most successful offer which will appear on all pages including the guest post. You can also get WordPress plugins that will allow you to display the most read or most popular post to your visitors. This will mean that readers will always have the opportunity to see and experience new content that you create.

WordPress Basics

As a network marketer, you’ll want to know the basic function and purpose of a few things in WordPress even before you begin to start using them. Because it is flexible, customizable and open source, there are many options available that can be overwhelming and keep you from using it as a tool in your arsenal as a marketer. The technical aspect of WordPress is easy to understand how to use, but knowing what to do with the platform as a network marketer will keep you from getting side-tracked. It’s best to provide a discussion of the customizable elements that you’ll be using the most in your networking business.

In the dashboard area (some call your site’s ‘back office’), you’ll see an area for Posts. This is a feature that you’ll be using for updates, news and things that are basically non-permanent aspects of your business. You want to talk about a change in the comp plan…use a post. You want to talk about an upcoming training…use a post. You wantto talk about your thoughts on a particular way of doing business….use a post. Someone who reads your posts on aregular basis will know what’s going on in your business from day to day.

If you are a social media user and you understand the concept of a “newsfeed,” consider posting in your newsfeed information about your website and your personal network marketing brand. You can add any kind of content that you’d like to a post. You can write out your thoughts into a (blog) post. You can write some short thoughts and add in a video or audio. You can add in images and do a brief explanation as to the importance. If you can think of any kind of content, you can use your WordPress post to communicate it.

Typically, a visitor may see the titles of multiple posts so that they can find others they’re interested in. Posts are dated and a visitor will typically experience them in reverse chronological order (most recent will appear first). Posts are organized by categories, which you will specify when you create them and which users can search by and read them.

Because of the nature of the “newsfeed” aspect of posts, WordPress makes available a Comments area. Your readers can make comments on what you share in your posts and you’ll get notification of them in your email. You’ll be able to write or post a response to them on the actual site to which they will get a notification at their email address. This is great for social proof and can be attractive to prospects who want to know what it’s like to work with your team. It’s also a good way to keep your hand on the pulse of your team and prospects.

You’ll also see the Pages section inside of WordPress. This is where you’ll be communicating permanent to semi- permanent information about you and your network marketing business. You want to share your philosophy on how you do network marketing….use a page. You want to provide information about your primary opportunity…use a page. You want to tell someone about who you are and what you’ve been doing as an entrepreneur….use a page. You want to sell a training product…use a page for your sales letter.

Like posts, pages can hold any kind of content or information that you want to communicate. They can be organized by both the navigational menu and other pages. Since the pages communicate longer termed information, you’ll want to make sure that the information will make sense on your site in future months. Pages are un-dated and do say to your visitor that you’re communicating something that’s unlikely to change.

One more item you’ll see in the Dashboard is the Appearance Section. This is where you can customize the look of the site. You can change the entire Theme of the site in order to totally make over its look. WordPress has some free themes available. As you advance in your understanding, you can purchase a theme to use.

You can change the look of the individual pages by using Widgets. Widgets are ways that you can add in HTML code of just about anything within reason and will appear on all of the pages you designate. For example, do you want an opt-in form to appear on all posts and pages? If so, you can use a Widget for this purpose.

Finally, there is a Section of the site called Plugins. Plugins will allow you to change how your site works as well as what it actually does. A Plugin is typically created by a developer who understands WordPress and makes it available for a fee and/or even a limited version available for free. You can change the entire purpose for a site with just one plugin.

For example, you could change the site into an Appointment Calendar with a Plugin. You could change your WordPress site into an online class marketplace or a real estate for sale site. There is no limit to what developers can come up with and what you’d have access to use. While there a few more things technical in nature that would benefit you, those are the basic functions of WordPress.

Anyone that has used a mouse or a keyboard will be able to navigate WordPress and change its content. The key is knowing what you want to accomplish in your network marketing business and using the tools that these basics provide to you. In many cases, purchasing business tools for WordPress such as OptimizePress (business and sales pages) and/or Wishlist Member (membership sites) make it easier to turn WordPress into a tool for monetization. But even you were to choose to use the tools in WordPress “as is,” you can use your site to maintain and growyour business.

Using WordPress for Private Team Interactions

Depending on how you work with your team, there will be times when you’ll want to make information easily accessible to them without the pages and/or posts fully public. This is because, you want to document the progress your team is making and to be able to show prospect that you have an active organization. You can use the tools in WordPress to do this without much specialized knowledge.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure that the posts or pages for a specific team as password protected. The password protection can be set at any time that you actually create the post. This can be done without additional plugins and third party software.

Another way to do this is to make your entire site invisible to the search engines. You can designate in your WordPress settings that you want to discourage search engines from making your content available. The upside is that all of your information will be private, but the downside is that you’ll forfeit all of the brand building elements of WordPress. Marketers who are willing to invest more time into their site can download “membership” style plugins like S2Member. These plugins force users to login in order to see content. However, they do require a fair amount of technical knowledge to start and maintain the site. There are also paid membership plugins like Wishlist Member and Membersonic, both which keep certain content private and certain content public.

Using WordPress for Documentation of Team Information

Keeping a chronicle of what your team did and accomplished can help you in a number of ways. It can serve as an encouragement for new team members to see where leaders started before their success. It can also serve as a blueprint when members of your team or downline begin to create their own organization.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to take the time to create posts as things are happening with you or your organization. You’ll want to make sure each post is categorized appropriately. This will keep people from being confused about different activities you’re involved in. You can make the posts private as discussed earlier by password protecting certain posts.

This will be especially helpful when your team is developing a method that you may later want to sell to the general public. The documentation process will aid you, if you want to take what you did and provide proof that your method works. This may be a case where you won’t want your comments to be public. You’ll want to respond to your team and downline through additional posts.

Using WordPress as a Training Tool

When you have new team mates or members added to your downline, you want them to have all of the information they need to be successful. Some of that information will be exactly what the company says about the opportunity. But often, you will have some insight on information that has not yet been written down and of course, you want your team to know about it.

You can use your WordPress site to make sure that your team and/or downline remains on the cutting edge of what needs to be done to grow their network marketing business. Whether you’re using a post or page, you can embed multi-media content into them. That means that if you’ve completed a training by webinar, all you’ll needis the embed HTML code to add it to your WordPress site. In fact, as long as the content you’re using has an embedcode you can even stream live right from your site.

So, for example, YouTube Live has an embed code for their live stream which means that you can stream their videos to your site visitors. This is important in that you can make other resources available (free or for sale) to help your team and downline to understand how to make the best use of the information.

WordPress can also serve as a time stamped archive of your training. Your posts will automatically be categorized by date. All you’d have to do is make sure that links to the replay were posted correctly. With the use of 3rd party plugins you can make additional training available to those that actually purchase content. The WordPress Plugin Download Express allows you to keep certain posts and their content private. So whether free or paid, live or archived, you can make your WordPress site into a training center for your team.

Using WordPress as a Tracking Tool

One of the things that you’ll want to do is to track your team’s activity by using your WordPress website. You’ll be able to view at a glance what the most popular information on your site is. You’ll also be able to tell how much of your site traffic is from those who are prospects vs. those on your team. There are a number of paid and free third party tracking tools, but the most notable is Google Analytics. Google Analytics has a paid version that they make available to people that want to track site activity. You can designate exactly what activity you want to track and have it sent to you on a regular basis.

Certain third party tools can give you information on links that were clicked as well as whether they interact with content or not. Because WordPress makes it easy by allowing users to place embed codes on pages and post, you can use Google Analytics or any third party tool. Many autoresponder companies like Aweber have tracking codes that you can place on your website so what you’ll be able to see the interplay between your email and your website. This is something that you’ll want to fit within the context of your business because there are technical aspects that can become a distraction to your core business activity.

Using WordPress as a Sales Tool

Whether you choose to sell your own product or you choose to sell the products of others as an affiliate, having appealing sales pages will benefit this process. Often this will require a third party tool like Instabuilder or OptimizePress. These are themes that will allow you to use your WordPress site to create individual sales pages that you can use to sell your products. These page builders are often intuitive when it comes to building a sales page, meaning that even someone new to online business could probably access the program and be able get started.

Page builders come with drag and drop capability of your being able to add in sales and marketing elements to:

  • Create scarcity (countdown timers)
  • Provide video (video players)
  • Provide list building opportunities (opt-in pages)

In most cases, the blog page creating aspect isn’t as strong as the feature to create sales and marketing pages. Each tool varies in complexity and you’ll want to make sure that you try to find the right one to use before you invest.

WordPress Specialized Functions

As was mentioned earlier, WordPress can be used to create a number of different kinds of websites that serve different functions for you. In order to figure out if you can either download or purchase a solution, you’ll want to use the following search parameters. Assuming that you want to turn your site into an appointment calendar, here is what you’d search in Bing, Google or Yahoo:

  • WP Theme Appointment Calendar
  • WordPress Appointment Calendar
  • WP Plugin Appointment Calendar
  • WordPress

Appointment Calendar

In some cases the solution will already be in the WordPress Library and it won’t cost anything to implement. When that is the case, you will need to be careful. This kind of solution relies on a open source model of support. That means that the user community may run into a problem and figure it out together. This could be valuable time that you spend doing something that may or may not contribute directly to your cash flow.

If the function is something you really want, your time will ultimately be more valuable than what you’d savegetting a free solution. If you can pay and get support, this may be the best way to execute the solution. You can then spend your time using the tool and marketing, rather than working with the technical aspects of getting it to work.

Here are some examples of different ways to re-imagine and customize a WordPress site:

  • Appointment calendar (plugin)
  • Survey mechanism, quiz mechanism (plugins)
  • Book writing (plugin)
  • Task manager (theme and plugin)
  • Project manager (theme or plugin)
  • E-Commerce (theme or plugin)
  • Business directory (theme or plugin)
  • Coupon site (theme)• Job board (theme)
  • Auction (theme)

One thing to note is that you can sometimes install WordPress on the same domain with different sub-directories. This would mean that you could set up a WordPress site on yourdomain.com and put an appointment calendar there. You could then also set up a separate WordPress site on yourdomain.com and put a book writing plugin there.

Should I Use a  Contact Form on My WordPress Website?

If you are going to sell things on your WordPress site, you may be considering using a “Contact Form.” In some cases, you can get a plugin that does this as well as a theme with the function built in. However, WordPress’ core functionality relies on your server to send email.

In some cases, this email is easily blocked by ISPs and ends up being undelivered. So, you’ll want to be careful about relying on a contact form using WordPress. This is especially true when you have prospects visiting your site and leaving messages.

There is a fairly technical setup that will allow you to use an email sender like Mandrill or Sendgrid. You can use these systems in conjunction with server based technology like OS Ticket. However, if this is beyond your technical desire it better to rely on some kind of cloud based help desk service such as Zendesk or Fresh Desk. This will ensure delivery and help you to keep a record of your contacts and help you to respond quickly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, as you can see, WordPress is customizable to what you need for communication in your business. You’ve seen specialized functions. You’ve heard the discussion on WordPress as a sales tool. And you’ve been given insight on using WordPress to train and track your team’s activity. Documentation for public and private interaction was covered. And, of course, a review was done of basic functions.

You now know how WordPress can help you in your network marketing business. Now, you’ll want to engage further so that you can learn exactly how to implement WordPress in your business.

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