Many network marketers are missing the boat when it comes to effectively marketing online. Networking online is much like networking in person: it is about building relationships first and about selling second. When you focus on relationship-building, you'll find that some people want to do business with you or get involved with your business opportunity because they want to be connected to you.

When marketing online, there are seven powerful activities you can participate in as a way of growing relationships and thus growing a vibrant business. I describe these strategies with the acronym V-I-B-R-A-N-T, each letter representing an essential facet of online marketing.

V is for Video Marketing

Video is the most effective way to connect with your audience, as they can both see and hear you. These can be "welcome to the team" videos, product knowledge videos, business-building tips videos, and even business opportunity videos if they are in compliance with your company's regulations.

There are several options for creating web video. You can use a camcorder or your computer's webcam to create a talking head movie where your viewers see you on the screen, talking. Another option is screen capture video, in which you select a portion of your computer screen to show, typically with a voiceover track that lets you verbally share your message with your viewing audience. JingProject.com is a powerful free program that works with both types of video.

I is for Information Marketing

Information marketing refers to the practice of using existing written or recorded content in new forms or formats to create a variety of different products, also known as repurposing. For example, you might take an audio recording of a team training call, have the audio transcribed, and then repurpose it into articles, blog posts, or an e-book.

Information products are fantastic for increasing your credibility and reaching more people. By making your content available in a wide variety of formats, you also address multiple learning styles and grow your reach. You will create a community of loyal fans who see you as a team player who cares about their success.

B is for Blogging

Your blog is the hub of your online empire. This is where you build community and credibility. It is where you share your message and, if your company allows it, where you can post team trainings and announcements.

One way to grow your following, reach new audiences, and become known as an expert is through guest blogging, where you share blog posts on other blogs or host guest bloggers on your site. Imagine the boost to your credibility you can garner by providing relevant training to your team by hosting professional experts as guest bloggers on your site.

R is for Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is all about building relationships first and marketing second. We all want to do business with people we know, like, and trust. Relationship marketing produces fans who not only rave about you but also refer you to others without your even asking. It is about building a strong community of people who come to see you as a go-to person because they know that you care about them and that you are knowledgeable.

An extremely effective relationship marketing strategy is to connect with your online contacts offline. You can grow powerful relationships by showing appreciation and sharing recognition in person with your team as well as with your clients. Another way to connect offline is through a good old-fashioned greeting card.

A is for Article Marketing

Article marketing is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog or website and to become known as an authority on your topic. Posting your articles on an article directory such as EzineArticles.com offers a significant benefit. Blog owners and newsletter publishers have permission to use articles from these directories in order to provide more content for their readers. This is great advertising for you, because they are required to credit you for the article and include live links to your site. Think of the leveraged opportunities available to you by using article marketing.

N is for Networking (as in Social Networking)

Social networking is a powerful way to grow your network, your brand recognition, and your business. The purpose of social networking is not to constantly promote your business but rather to be seen as someone who interacts and offers value to the community. Initiate and participate in conversations related to your interests and your company's offerings.

You can grow an effective social networking presence in as little as fifteen minutes a day. The trick is to schedule this time into your calendar. This way you'll stay focused and prioritize your social networking as an important business building activity.

T is for Teleseminars

Teleseminars, also called conference calls, offer one of the most powerful ways to build relationships. On a teleseminar, people hear your voice, feel your enthusiasm, and get a tangible sense of who you are. Teleseminars are a perfect platform for both team training and (if your company allows) opportunity presentations. What's more, by recording your teleseminars you can collect ongoing material for a team training library as well as audio content that can be repurposed into written materials.

From developing an online hub with your blog, to producing videos as a way for people to see and hear you, to developing a strong social media presence, relationship marketing can be your secret to success by setting you apart from your competition and helping you to create a strong community of raving fans.

D'VORAH LANSKY, M.Ed. is the author of several
books, including
Connect, Communicate, and Profit: Build
Successful Business Relationships Online and a contributing
author in
Chicken Soup for the Network Marketer's Soul.
D'vorah has been a network marketing and online
marketing leader since 1994.