There are different ways of selling on-line firstly I am going to talk about the kind of selling that is very popular at the moment - yet it seems to confuse a lot of people still - the type of selling I am talking about is selling by NOT Directly Selling
- Now that seems to confuse anyone who thinks the only way to sell it to "push their product on to leads" ( leads = sheeple = suckers)while it has been proven time and time again that yes, you can force people to buy using this method (not without negative effects) - but there is another way of selling that can sell products, and not leave you open to accusations of spam/hard selling/bad feelings - think about it do you want your customer to go away feeling ripped off/conned into buying something/hating you or do you want them to think wow, what a deal, I'm happy with my choice, what a nice person!.
Your old style sales person might say "I don't care if my customer likes me or hates me, it's there money that I am counting on, not their love!" - but you can't get away with that attitude so much these days as that customer can go a TWEET about your bad customer service and you could potentially loose customers. Bad sales people have less and less places to hide.
The new kind of selling is what we could call "true networking" - it involves not selling directly and shouting, not pushing your product, it involves two way communication - i.e you talk back to the customer as a normal person rather than just a sheep.
Lets look at what can be seen as "pushing your product" on a social network that could get you in trouble...
1. Pushing your product 2. how to do roughly the same thing using "true networking" so not get told off!
The Blogvert / Advertorial
1. A blogvert is usually an article that gives some information about your product and what it solves for example "have you heard of this great coffee ?", it may go into details about your product and how great you feel since using that product - and the end of the article is a link to either an affiliate website or you own website. this works fine on your own blogs on blogger, wordpress or a retail blog, youtube etc.
Now on some social networks you will get told off or called a spammer if you use these type of blogverts in blogs or specially on other peoples comments - because the people that read it know you are just trying to directly sell them the product you are speaking so positively about.
Now it should be pointed out that these blogverts are still useful and personally I allow them on my Ning Network (I pay $24.95 a month on my network so that you can blogvert your products there actually as they interest me!) - BUT on many websites like other Ning networks, Ecademy, Xing etc. - they don't allow blogverts and ban people that do them as spammers.
I don't see blogverts as spam myself, I see them as snippets of information about products that might help me or someone else - but that is my view and it is not widely accepted. So today the best place for links to your product/blogvert is on your profile page or better still your own website space - not in a blog on a network these days.
It's a tough one I know, especially when you are really excited about a product and you think everyone is crazy for not seeing how cool the product is, I probably still have blogverts floating abut the Internet since 2003/4 when blogs first became popular! - BUT again as a seller of a product you (and I) have to move with the times - there are solutions to this, it involves seeing your customer as a person, a potential "internet friend" a business contact or a mixture of both - this doesn't mean you have to share EVERYTHING with them, all your private details you share what you are comfortable sharing, you don't want them seeing your 'private life' then create a separate profile for internet friends, on facebook you can create a fan page for example.
Going into a network and looking for people
Firstly do your research on the network you are thinking of promoting on - if they have a classifieds section post your item there, or in a forum that says you can post blogverts or adverts as if you just launch into a sales pitch - most social networks will take it the wrong way, don't post your sales pitch on others profiles - unless everyone else is doing it - some networks are purely "banner farms" again if that is there purpose, use them for their purpose, they aren't harming anyone in my opinion, but you can't presume that all networks will let you use them in the same way! - for example I remove comments if they are just tons of banners as they bug my eyes/give me a headache!
Once you have established where you can post and what you are allow to post - you can decide how involved you wish to become in that community.
Note: any community that gets snotty/snobbish about you posting your own choice of links on your profile isn't worth bothering with in my opinion, your profile page - should of course follow basic rules of decency, but if you want flashy banners on your profile (which will put most people off buying your products, that's up to you!)
2. - A way to not upset the "true networkers" is to write your articles about a general subject in your niche but not promote your brand, product or service at all in that article - that mean's don't add a link, don't mention your product, you might be able to say ask me if you are interested in more information on this subject (or similar).
To a sales person this softly softly approach might sound crazy - but it's not really - as "true networking" is done by people taking an interest in YOU FIRST -
People have brains, and can decide if they want to know more about you by clicking on a link to your profile or them messaging you. Some places like Ecademy let you have a signature, you can add a link or two to your main website on that - rather than post it in your article.
To sum up:
Places a blogvert / advert is usually okay: - on your own website (i.e one that you have paid for), on a blogger or wordpress blog, on some classifieds websites, on eBay and sites that let you sell/promote your products, on-line marketplaces / shops.
Places a blogvert / sales pitch might get you in trouble/banned :
On someone elses Blog, web page, comment section, a community / shared blog,
Mass mailing to contacts on Networks - this is a tricky one as on facebook you can mass mail using superpokes and some slide applications, I've used this to mass contact and don't consider it spam - I also think that you should be able to mass contact your contacts - BUT - I get the impression that mass contacting on NING for example is pissing off more people than is worth the effort - I used to post a contacts message out twice a month to contacts - but I'm calling it a day with contacts.
With contacts on Networks you contact each individual, rather than in a big group - that is the best practice I recommend affiliates follow for the time being - as mass contacting is turning into a form of spam - because some people send out lots of mail everyday - when people abuse a system - as a professional you have to eventually step back and say OKAY I won't use that method any more on that network.
NING and ECADEMY don't like mass mailings/broadcasts - Facebook allow it with pokes - twitter allow it with tweets - but twitter and facebook are becomming a "SERVICE" in the big sense of the word - like hotmail did, like vodafone did.
So building optin lists, building membership sites and adding content of interest without pushing content is the way forward with sales - no going backwards, so best get used to it!
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