Multi-Level Marketing Realities – Part 5
In part 4, I talked about the rudamentary marketing that I did for my web site that may have contributed to our initial success. As time went on, I improved the web pages by adding an information request form and a way to order online. I also slowly added more information for customers in hopes of giving them information where they could serve themselves rather than needing to call us.
At this point, I am not sure how to connect my work life and my business life as my memories are really a blur. I can say that for work I began learning JDE’s One World and moved to working on developing for our client’s needs on it. On the business side, we beefed up our customer service offering by having a six month money-back guarantee. I had been really impressed by all I read about Nordstrom and we were trying to emulate their customer service model.
On the recruiting side, we offered a free bottle of the dietary supplement to anybody who signed up and sent us a copy of their distributor application. This gave us a quick way of working with our new distributors and gave them an additional incentive to sign up. We marketed the business opportunity towards our customers by pitching the discount over buying from us. This was extremely effective. Later on we added all kinds of information that could be accessed online, including the distributor application itself.
No matter how much we offered online, though, the phone and fax machines never stopped ringing. At this point, we didn’t receive too many calls but it was slowly ramping up. Eventually, the phone would ring constantly during the day and often at various times of the night.
At some point in this process, we moved to having our own website at http://www.shrinkme.com. If you followed the comevisit link before this is where you wound up. The domain is now parked and owned by somebody else. After moving to the new domain, I continued improving the design and adding information and functionality.
We still did not take credit cards and our order volume was increasing slowly. I was getting a little worried about the time between ordering the product and getting paid by the customer. My American Express was probably well over $1000 per month at this point, perhaps closer to $10,000, and I didn’t want a default of any kind. I had good reason to worry about it because it wasn’t really my Amex. I won’t say any more than that though. However, I never did miss a payment on it and was well over $50,000 at one point.
We moved toward taking credit cards and checks over the internet, probably checks first and then credit cards. We could also do business by telephone with either. Checks were better for us because we had a very low default rate and credit card fees were so high. Most people were somewhat comfortable giving their credit cards on the internet and others had the option to call us. We also left the option to bill the customer on our website since it was so successful, and a few people did take the option.
I continued promoting our website for free on the internet, never even considering paying for advertising at this point.