June 05, 2008 | Debbi A. Ballard | Comments 8
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MLM, Affiliate Marketing, or Both? What’s Your Preference?

copyright, 2008, Debbi A. Ballard, MLM Consultant All Rights Reserved.

MLM and affiliate marketing are causing quite a stir online. Millions of home-based business people are competing to sell products and recruit others into MLM and affiliate marketing programs.

The days of only a few good home-based business opportunities with low entry fees offered by a small number of direct selling companies are over. As the number of marketing opportunities online explodes, so too does the number of people engaged in a home-based business increase. With that comes an acceleration of online marketing activities by the home-based business population.

As an MLM consultant , I get the pitches. They come in fast and furious.

They come in all forms…

email marketing, banner ads, anchor text links in articles pointing to websites touting certain products/services, online training membership clubs tied to certain opportunities, content laden websites designed to attract a certain target audience, promotional videos, Google adword campaigns, squeeze pages whereby you sign up for someone’s news alerts or info relating to a certain topic, social networks like MySpace and YouTube, and much more.

Affiliate marketing has an even stronger presence online than MLM . Why? Affiliate marketers typically do not have the more demanding online marketing restrictions like the ones governing independent networkers as imposed by their respective MLM companies .

MLM network marketers want to enjoy the benefits of recruiting and gaining new customers online like many affiliate marketers are doing. The smart networkers know that to do so, however, they must conduct those marketing activities in ways that don’t violate the policies and procedures of the MLM companies with which they are associated. To do otherwise would be foolish since they would risk termination.

(As I continually emphasize, it is always important to operate in compliance with the agreement and policies and procedures of your MLM company in all your marketing efforts.)

Any reasonable person who surfs the Internet knows…

that making prudent choices regarding the best home-based businesses is not an easy task in this world of abundant choices.

So what do you do? Just work with an MLM company , or only work as an affiliate marketer …or do both?

Picture this…

A person gets into an MLM company, starts working it, but then gets pitched on a product whereby he/she can earn 50%, even 75% direct commission immediately as an affiliate marketer . In some cases, he/she might be able to also sponsor others to sell and make bonuses on their sales. Even though the payout might be only on one level of independent affiliates, the person still likes the hot new product with the immediate big upfront commissions.

Now all of a sudden the individual asks….

Do I stop my MLM activities and instead focus on affiliate marketing ?


Do I try to work as an affiliate marketer AND continue working my MLM program?

If I try to juggle the two am I going to fail at both since I then won’t have enough time to devote to each one to really make any monies in either one of them?

What if my MLM downline finds out I am also working an affiliate program? Will I lose my credibility with them?

Is there a way to successfully combine the two?

Some networkers have already dealt with these issues and in their own ways are forging ahead to make their marks amid the clutter.

Some are working both types of opportunities, MLM and affiliate marketing.

Others are staying solely with MLM because of the greater long-term income potential due to the nature of mainstream MLM compensation plans that pay on many levels of networkers. They are also choosing MLM because of the greater support systems in place and the "familial" ties that can be created with their uplines, downlines and respective MLM companies.

But even a segment of the latter are tapping into the Internet to enjoy the benefits affiliate marketers have in selling and recruiting efforts.

They are creating niche websites that are related to their MLM businesses.

The sites might be focused on home-based businesses in general, health oriented topics, beauty tips or whatever else might be related. The smart networkers fill the websites with great content (not mediocre) and visitors are asked to sign up via a squeeze page (or another type of opt-in form) to join the person’s list to receive special info that is emailed to them on a regular basis.

Many use an autoresponder service whereby a series of messages can be developed so that once someone completes the opt-in form, a thank you message can automatically go out along with a request to confirm the opt-in, and then other follow up messages can go out on various days selected by the person who owns the list. A reputable autoresponder service is one that is reliable, provides many marketing oriented features, has great support and works hard to help keep its customers in legal compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.

There are several top autoresponder service providers. Consider selecting a company that is widely recognized as one of the best autoresponder service providers, one that is used by many online marketers.

As a relationship is built with the reader (or "subscriber") due to the valuable content being provided online and in the emails, then the reader is given a link in an email that can give him/her information about the MLM product and/or opportunity.

Note that some in MLM who also choose to work affiliate marketing programs, will then utilize the emails sent to their lists to promote their MLM and affiliate products while providing the important content they promised. Understand that if you do this, when a person subscribes to your list, you must be honest in providing them with the information you indicated when they subscribed. You can’t tell them they will be receiving beneficial information on health related research reports and then not provide that but just pitch your health related product offerings.

Let’s say you are working an MLM program that promotes nutritional products, you might also become an affiliate for a company that sells health related books. You might even want to become an affiliate for Amazon and then promote certain health-oriented books in your emails. Note, however, that Amazon does not pay big percentages so you might be more inclined to work with a publishing company that offers better affiliate commissions. However, many online marketers are affiliates of Amazon due to the amazing variety of books they can market.

In upcoming discussions, I will tell you about other ways those in MLM network marketing are tying into various affiliate marketing products/services and/or otherwise tapping into the power of the Internet.

(INLC is an affiliate for the autoresponder service mentioned in this post.)

copyright, 2008, Debbi A. Ballard All rights reserved.

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Filed Under: MLM and Affiliate Marketing


About the Author: MLM Consultant, Expert Witness, Author, Blogger, Speaker and CEO of International Network Liaison Corporation...but more importantly, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

RSSComments: 8  |  Post a Comment  |  Trackback URL

  1. Your blog is very interesting & you make it for people who have little knowledge about MLM very interesting.

    I noticed that we are very much into the same interests so I wanted to drop by and say hello. My name is Reginald & I am into this kind of business too. I also work for the Federal Govt but I look forward to
    retiring really soon.

    The economy is really bad these days but unbeknownst to many, they can have financial stability thru MLM. Sadly, a lot of people think most MLMs are scams. If only they they’d open their eyes & try to understand MLM & its concepts better…I’m sure they’ll be on their way to financial freedom.

    I hope more people will be educated about MLMs thru your blog.

    Please Drop by my site & say hi!

    I look forward to connecting with you.


  2. It is my opinion, after reading your article, that a well placed affiliate program may compliment your MLM program. I do agree that honesty and ethics should come first and foremost. Use one to balance (enhance) the other.

    Great article! I am bookmarking your blog.

  3. Very informative blog. I will revisit often!

    Any small business owner would be well advised to incorporate as many income streams as possible into their business plan.

    Of course there is a right way and wrong way of going about marketing online whether it is retailing MLM products, your opportunity or affiliate programs.

    As illustrated in your example you want to ensure everything you choose to promote is in line with your overall business plan. Too often people indiscriminately promote anything and everything they think they can make a little money off of.

    As long as you have the best interest of your target market in mind making recommendations that are valuable to them can actually improve your credibility.

    I agree with Spencer. Great Article.

  4. Hey Debbi,

    Honestly I prefer to use both MLM and affiliate marketing. Yes you earn money from your primary program, but you can also earn more money from promoting affiliate products (that actually benefit your leads). Integrating affiliate products was the best thing I could have done for my business because I was able to generate a positive cost per lead and better optimize my ad campaigns. This was a good post, thanks for sharing.

  5. Really, this blog is interesting and informative.
    I like this post. In my opinion we should go with both MLM and Affiliate marketing. This blog is so useful for me to know more about MLM and Affiliate.
    Thanks for sharing this nice blog

  6. Hey Debbi,
    Great post.. my personal opinion on the topic is to offer what ever your
    a) feel comfortable/ passionate about
    b) what’s going to help out the highest number of people.

    For that reason I’ve opted to do both.. but I can also see the other side of coin coin of there being great value in having focus!

    So, I guess it’s up to the individual :)

    Thanks again!


  7. Hi Debbi! Teriffic post that adresses a real issue for new and experienced marketers alike. Thanks for pointing out the benefits, perils, and food for thought!

  8. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about mlm.


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