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2015 Communication Tools for Direct Selling Professionals

Article by: Tina Rawlins
November 20, 2015

Want to find out how many parties your teams are having next week? Are you wondering how to build your team to motivate them to sell? Email and text rarely inspire and motivate. Try instead to have a meeting and share a motivational story. Communicating with your upline and downline is essential to growing your business and there are many tools which facilitate different methods of communication. It is important to know the strengths of each communication tool and select the one that will be most effective for training, selling, and following up with your team.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular communication tools available online. There is some functional overlap between some of the tools listed below—more than one tool will allow you to video conference and more than one tool will let you publish your video conferences—but you may find yourself registering for more than one service to cover all of your bases. Consider the needs of your business as they are and as they will be as you read through these recommendations.

Email

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MailChimp

I love the popular drip email platform called MailChimp. They are small business friendly and offer a free version of their system for you to simply email out to your list. The paid version offers the power of autoresponder drip email campaigns. Imagine the time savings if you determined to set up three campaigns. The first for people interested in your products, another for those who are just contacts and want to stay in touch with you, and a third campaign for those who have signed up to your team and need support to build and grow in their first 90 days.

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I love MailChimp for one reason. It is easy to use. The parent company Aweber knew that there was a huge need for a new email marketing service that was easy to use and did not require weeks to build. In MailChimp you can set up and import subscriber lists, and use groups, and segments. Use subscriber profiles to target your messages for different audiences. Start by customizing an email template. Always test your email before you hit send to your list. Then review your email campaign results.

MailChimp also provides a sign-up form, integrates with social media, and engages subscribers in creative ways that encourage them to open your emails and respond to calls to action. In general, MailChimp requires little if any html coding. A good “call to action” might be a sale, invitation to host an event or meeting, or some sort of offer. A bad “call to action” would be any that is not clear on what you want the reader to do next.

Do you want to know how your recent email blast performed? MailChimp includes amazing analytics to help understand metrics such as open rates, clicks,

Key terms for MailChimp email marketing:

Contact Manager – A listing of persons and associated contact information

List Segmentation – A portion of an email list partitioned out using an email marketing feature that is available (ex. Recent Customers, Prospects, Customers that speak Spanish.)

Template Selection – a collection of hundreds of ready-made, templates including responsive templates for mobile viewing of emails

Template Editor – Drag and drop and HTML editing of an email campaign.
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Hosting – The custom images will need to be hosted on their server which you can include in your email messages, with maximum allowed individual image size of 1 MB

Social Media Marketing – Adding your social media links will encourage engagement from email readers.

Autoresponder – An automatic email send or series of emails triggered by a form fill online.

Surveys – Sending your customers and contacts an opportunity to fill out a survey from the MailChimp app

RSS Feed Integration – This feature allows for one to subscribe to emails using RSS technology from an RSS reader.

Google Analytics Integration – One advanced reporting feature is to include Google Analytics code into emails to then track behaviors of readers after they click on a link in an email to your website also hosting Google Analytics code.

And, if you find your subscriber list grows beyond the 2,000-address limit imposed in the free app. Here are the steps you will want to take to fully engage in MailChimp:

• Set up a free MailChimp account
• Add or import subscribers
• Modify email templates
• Send a test email campaign
• Send your first email campaign
• View reports
• Add a sign-up form to your website
• Manage your subscriber lists
• Improve your click and open rates
• Upgrade to a paid MailChimp account

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Are you using wordpress for a blog or website platform? If yes, you can easily create customized sign-up forms anywhere on your site. You might need a signup form for a newsletter, coupon and product alerts, or access to a special document or video. The plugin has over 95% positive ratings and is currently running on more than 200,000 sites.

Resources for using MailChimp:

WordPress plugin
iPhone app
Android app
Zapier integration
Asana integration
Everbrite synch
Desk.com integration

Phone

FreeConferenceCall

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Have you been considering web meeting tools that cost $500 a year or more? Do you think conference calls and web meetings could help you grow your business? Tammy Steele, a senior director from Mary Kay built her business using FreeConferenceCall.com.

This amazing tool for conferencing is available in 55 countries with unlimited use. The features of FreeConferenceCall.com include high-quality free HD audio conferencing, web conferencing and screen sharing, audio and visual recordings, customized greetings, security features, desktop scheduling and mobile applications – all supported by 24/7 customer support. Want to see how to use the tool? Check out this instructional video:

Using a well thought out conference call service can make a lasting impression on your callers. One of the tools’ best features is the custom greeting that welcomes callers to the conference call. It has a scheduled feature to allow for outlook and Google calendar placeholders. Free recording and playback is also currently available with this tool. You can also share and record your screen as you present on the call. The call size is up to 25 people. Paid plans for 50+ people or pre-recorded presentations are also available.

Resources for using FreeConferenceCall:

iPhone app
Android app

Simple Voice Box

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Are you looking for a sizzle line? Try the new service (created by the same company as FreeConferenceCall.com) called SimpleVoiceBox. A sizzle line can create a marketing funnel that works for you 24/7/365. Users choose between options with or without an access code. You simply record a greeting such as a .WAV or .MP3. You suddenly have an unlimited amount of time to explain your business, your product, your services, and your vision. This service includes an upgrade for a private number that requires no code for just $4.95 USD per month.

One internet marketer made a video talking about the features of Simplevoicebox.com and calls it a “marketer’s best friend”. Here is his review of how he uses the tool:

The benefits listed are:

  • Give your best message every time someone calls into the SimpleVoiceBox.
  • Record your presentation for your targeted leads as the main greeting.
  • Turn your audio files into a podcast and allow people to subscribe using RSS features.
  • Private number option allows you to have a phone number that does not require a code.
  • Three types of accounts to choose from: Free Number with Code, Toll Free Number with Code, and Private Number.
  • Currently the outgoing greeting can be any length.
  • This tool is intended to have a free option always.
  • Upload .Wav or .MP3 files.

Video

Skype

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If you are managing a business that is growing in multiple states or countries then you may benefit from having a Skype account. You can Skype from smart phones, tablets, TVs, gaming consoles, home phones, and more. Group calls on Skype can host up to 25 people currently. If you purchase the Skype for Business option then you can host up to 250 people. Purchasing minutes from Skype allows you to call landline phones or cell phones not using the Skype app. There are international charges for these minutes but they are more economical than traditional international long distance. Group Video Calls and one to one calls and video conferencing are easy from a computer, tablet, or mobile device.

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I have used Skype for over 10 years and I find that they have a high level of support information to answer my questions when I have them.

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One of the features I love is the video conference call option. You must download the latest version to get the most out of video conferencing. One of the key features that I love is that during a call or video call you can choose to share your screen. As with all video conferencing, your quality of internet connection will determine the quality of your stream. For best results always have a hardwired connection.

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You should attempt your call ahead of time to check your settings. Here are the video and audio settings suggestions:

If you need the translation options, you should use the desktop Skype app for chatting internationally.

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Livestream

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Livestream is a basic account to create a stream of video meetings. It’s a little bit pricier than the other tools we’ve listed so far. Livestream hardware is recommended as well as a fast connection for broadcasting without a firewall. When you share a livestream presentation there are a few things to remember to make it a success. Have a strong opening. Know what transformation you offer to help people. A strong opener may be “do you know someone with ABC problem? I offer people a solution that does XYZ!”

Using a livestream service is best when you are constantly engaging livestreams and traffic. The hardware available for livestreams helps to give a flawless stream so long as you have a steady and unobstructed internet connection. Always use your fastest computer when livestreaming or use a hardware option.

A Livestream channel will host past presentations in a Channel format. After participating in 15 livestream events from hotels I quickly learned that most hotels have terrible internet connections and firewalls. If you are holding an event at a hotel the quality will suffer unless you have a full production team with backup people and extra hardware. Livestream has come out with a wireless Verizon module that you can use as an alternative but these will all have additional costs.

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Add Livestream to your Facebook page using this hack:

Google YouTube Livestream: https://www.youtube.com/my_live_events

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Do you have a video channel on YouTube? If you do, then it makes a lot of sense to build your YouTube content with some live broadcasts. If you are looking for ideas of things to broadcast you may want to check out the YouTube Live Channel. This channel includes everything from gamers, news broadcasts, concerts, and individuals sharing their hobbies. There does not seem to be any details as to how you get featured on the live channel but it does seem that most featured accounts have between 2,000 and 10,000 people watching live. If your live event is a way you hope to get discovered online then you may want to consider doing a multi-person event with some advertising.

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If you want to livestream a presentation you can. Yes, you may need a teenager to walk you through this one. Here is a video tutorial with all the steps.

Google Hangouts

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Are you looking for a new way to connect to your audience? You might want to create an online gathering that supports your business values and brand. Create a class and invite a few experts to share a skill or information. Create a gift such as a video or document that your audience will find valuable. Google Hangouts lets you video conference, share your screen, and more. There is a Google Hangouts App for Android devices and website access for your desktop or tablet.

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To use Google services to interact online you will need a few things.

• A YouTube account or Google+ page account
• Presentation slides or meeting outline
• Computer or tablet with video and audio
• List of guests
• An image advertising the event, date, and time, to share with colleagues and online partners.
• Reboot your computer before your test.
• Ethernet cord and hardwired computer internet connection for best output.
• Minimal distractions and good lighting.

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Google offers support for establishing your livestream options with YouTube and Hangouts On Air.

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Tina Rawlins

Tina Rawlins | Social Media and Internet Marketing Consultant 

Tina Rawlins is a highly respected and experienced eMarketing strategist....

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