It's no coincidence that "Internet" and "network marketing" are a perfect complement to each other. Both terms derive from the word "network."

You may be surprised to learn that network marketing has been around more than half a century and that "the Internet" actually started in 1969. But it was the invention of the Web browser in 1992 which inspired early MLM pioneers to bring network marketing to this brave new online world.

Brave New World Wide Web

  The Internet is no magic bullet that will vault a rookie right up to Diamond status overnight. After all, the telephone is still considered by many to be the most effective network marketing tool ever devised.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the emergence of the World Wide Web expanded the Internet's dimensions a thousand-fold. The Web became the ideal environment for network marketing, an industry based on the timeless strength of word-of-mouth advertising.

Seasoned networkers understand that network marketing is a numbers game. The Internet has made it possible to cast a wide net, far beyond our back yard boundaries. As a result, locating the right partners and establishing a solid customer base for our network marketing venture has never been easier.

But the Internet is no magic bullet that will vault a rookie right up to Diamond status overnight. See it instead as a vehicle for enhancing, not supplanting traditional network marketing activities. After all, the telephone is still considered by many to be the most effective network marketing tool ever devised.

New technologies have also created the potential for widespread abuse. Rogue Web sites and the growing cancer of spam threaten to create huge legal setbacks and public relations challenges for respectable network marketing companies.

There is a saying that "abuse doesn't take away the use." Still, the Internet must be used wisely and with care. For example, word-of-mouth advertising works best between people who know, trust and respect each other. In the real world, you would never expect a total stranger to join your network marketing business or become a customer at your first encounter. Why should it be any different online?

The number one mistake of Internet newbies is to shotgun blast an unsolicited e-mail message to the masses, then sit back and wait for the applications to roll in. This lottery mentality may lead to short-term gain--and I stress the word "may"--but it will almost certainly lead to long-term frustration.

The number one mistake of Internet newbies is to shotgun blast an unsolicited e-mail message to the masses, then sit back and wait for the applications to roll in. This lottery mentality may lead to short-term gain--and I stress the word "may"--but it will almost certainly lead to long-term frustration. Why? Because very simply, you attract what you are. If you are a leader, you will attract leaders. If you play the lottery...then you'd better know your odds.

Human Nature is Human Nature

Marketing on the Internet cannot ignore basic human nature. "Why should I trust you?" is the key question on every prospect's mind. If you expect to gain that vital trust in the virtual world, then you cannot hide behind hype and phony aliases.

You can turn a carefully pruned newsletter database into a network marketing gold mine. Leverage your time--and let technology do those boring, repetitive, automatic tasks for you on a massive scale.

Using "opt out" technology--where your e-mail recipients are given a link to follow if they want to get off your mailing list--is already passe. The key to online network marketing success is in learning how to get people to "opt in."

How? Use traditional advertising methods to get people to your Web site in the first place. Then, give your visitors something of high perceived value, such as an informational newsletter, in exchange for their name and e-mail address. You can turn a carefully pruned newsletter database into a network marketing gold mine. Leverage your time--and let technology do those boring, repetitive, automatic tasks for you on a massive scale.

This will free you up to focus where it counts: one-on-one relationship building with qualified prospects who have jumped through the hoops and are waiting for you on your digital doorstep.

Successful online marketing means "turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers," according to Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing. This means you constantly need to put your mouth where your modem is. Once high tech has done its duty, it's time for high touch to take over--and take over it must.

Here's what that means to you: you know those people who just signed up online while you were surfing the web? It's time to pick up the phone and call them! n

ATTICUS KILLOUGH is a former school teacher and amateur songwriter with a twin passion for Web development and network marketing. He is founder and Webmaster of FreeLeads.com and consults to network marketing companies and distributor organizations.