Powerful Marketing Tool or Compliance Nightmare?
Personal websites are one of the most effective online marketing tools independent direct sellers use today. These websites, which are separate from company-provided replicated sites, allow direct sellers to build a personal brand and utilize their marketing and communications strengths to attract people to their business. Written content, as well as how-to videos, work as lasting portals that can potentially send a steady stream of traffic back to their website. This can turn targeted visitors into loyal following customers and business partners.
Of course, allowing independent distributors to market products, services and the business opportunity through a personal website can potentially be a compliance headache for direct sales companies. How are companies handling it today?
Compliance Do’s & Don’ts
We reviewed several updated policies and procedures documents from both product and service-based companies. The consensus: most companies do allow distributors to market their business on a personal website, but with a few specific rules:
- The personal website cannot operate as an online storefront. All purchases and enrollments must go through a company-provided website/online portal.
- The site URL cannot include the company name, as not to confuse visitors.
- Any content on the website related to the company, products or services must be reviewed and approved by the compliance department.
- Corporate-approved marketing assets, such as product images or logos, must be used.
Policing these sites for any compliance issues can be as simple as combing over the content. Most sites have static pages, but others do post fresh content, such as a blog section, on a regular basis. However, one of the most effective strategies savvy independent direct sellers are using when creating online content is not to promote specific products or services directly, but to focus more on what their potential visitors want and need. This comes in the form of educational, value-based content created around specific keywords people are searching for online.
Content Should Educate First
For example, instead of writing about the key ingredients of a pre-workout supplement, a blog post might focus on five ways to get more energy for early-morning workouts. Or instead of writing about the latest makeup product line, a tutorial video might detail current face contouring techniques. A link to a specific product and/or company-provided replicated website can then be used as a recommendation or a specific solution to the topic.
Personal websites can be a great way for your independent sales force to attract people from outside of the industry who are searching for solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. This type of attraction marketing isn’t pushy or salesy, but instead aims to pull people in by providing on-going value.