Multi-Level Marketing Realities – Part 6

In part 5, I talked about improvements we made with the website and with the business to be able to handle the flow of business we were now getting to our new website.  I talked about faxes we were getting, but I never did say that we added a phone line and number for faxes so that people who didn’t want to order online would have the option of ordering via fax.  We sent out order forms that could be copied and faxed, which helped build our word-of-mouth business and distributed information about our website.

In addition, we already had an 800 number even before we started our business.  It was hooked up to our home phone number.  We had voice mail at home so we changed it over to a business greeting.  There were times when Chris could not take phone calls and the calls would go through to voice mail, then she would have 5 or 6 calls to return when she was finally able to talk.  We trained our kids to play quietly (with some degree of success) when we would get a phone call, but things would often get noisy.  We also had one of these remote control cars that the kids would play with, which would create all kinds of noise on our chordless phone.  We had to put it up.

We labeled all of the product we shipped with these little return address labels.  They had our company name, website name, and 800 number.  We also labeled the sample packs so that people would not lose track of where they got them from.  At the beginning this was fine, but as we got more business we had a hard time keeping up with the labeling process.  Especially when we had a ton of backorders and needed to ship product, once we got it, quickly.  Labeling then went out the window.

So Chris and the kids were at home trying to keep up with the phone, fax machine, getting orders and information out the door and I was working during the day and travelling.  She had the chaos of operating the business and taking care of three kids, and I had the stress of trying to keep everyone from being miserable.  Before we got on Yahoo, things were not this chaotic, although we were getting a regular stream of business that was reasonable to keep up with.

When I was happy with the website, I would promote it everywhere I could.  I would also try to build traffic by having a guest book, free for all links, forum, and adoption registry.  We found my older sister probably 5 years ago, but I thought I’d build and use traffic to look for her back then.  I also created another site in 1998 that was a multi-level marketing directory.  I linked from it to my shrinkme site to get business people to look at our site.  The directory got a ton of traffic but was also a lot of work.

I remember that we got on a freebee directory for our free samples, we were able to get on other search engines and directories, and then Yahoo listed us as the only distributor for our product.  We were on the directory with corporate as our only competitor.  And they sold for $8 more per bottle.

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