For military spouses, stay at home moms, veterans, and other military community members, direct sale businesses are popular and transferable for frequent moves and flexible hours.
While they can be profitable for some, they are better for extra side income to busy individuals looking for an easy business to grow using low start-up costs. The struggle with any direct sales business is finding ways to market it to those you know (a large majority of your clients) without always spamming them with “support me” posts on your social media pages.
Below are ideas on how to market your business without being that “annoying friend.”
Build a Facebook Group
Facebook groups are an excellent way to remove the promotional statuses out of your main news feed (because we all get tired of those) and save them for a group specifically interested in being marketed to. These groups should include friends and family that you know would be interested in your product or service (remember, not everyone is your ideal client) and they should be given the option to opt-in (because nothing is more annoying than being added to a sales group randomly).
Have online parties
Inside your social media groups, on your platforms, or by forming an event online, consider hosting an online party. Friends are going to be more likely to support you if they don’t have to factor out a time in their busy schedules to go to an at-home party. As a consultant, you save time, money, and gas in going to set up for a party where you don’t sell enough to make the event worth your time. Online parties remove this overhead cost and is convenient for both you, the host, and party goers.
Ask for Models and Sample Testers
Direct sales can come off as scammy in nature if not done right, and therefore, consultants need to show that their products actually work. To sell a future product, make fans feel special by giving them a “title” (model, promoter, etc.) and a discount to try out the product (or better yet, have it be free!). Ask for a model or a product tester online and pick a couple people who would be a good fit. In return for the free product, ask for before and after pictures and some support promoting the product if they love it.
Talk About YOUR Success
The biggest issue I see direct sales consultants making is talking about how great the product is working for everyone else….except them. Using company success stories and corporate advertising images does very little compared to your success stories and before/after photos. If you want to be successful, share the actual benefits of the product. Those that do gain the trust of family, friends, and future purchasers.
One of my military spouse friends sells makeup. Most mornings, she posts her before and after photos. Wow – she’s gorgeous with and without the product, but boy, her eyelashes! The difference with her marketing was that I trusted her product because I saw her use it…and I saw the difference! You bet I tried that mascara – and loved it!
If you’re looking to market on social media, I have a free guide for military spouse and veteran entrepreneurs on my favorite social media platforms. You can access your guide here.
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.