Four Ways the Internet Has Changed the MLM Industry

In today’s post, I want to share four ways the internet has changed the MLM Industry.

Let’s face it, the internet has changed the way the world does business. It has created global competition. It has allowed small businesses to compete against the giants. It has made people’s life easier and more convenient.

When it comes to network marketing, the changes have been amazing. Some successful reps have embraced these changes, while others ignored it and were left behind. I personally believe that you can embrace technology and grow your business, or ignore it and struggle.

In the paragraphs below, I’m going to cover four MAJOR changes the internet has had on our great industry, some good, and others bad.

Four Ways the Internet Has Changed the MLM Industry

Four Ways the Internet Has Changed the MLM Industry

# 1: Immediate Access to Millions of People

Prior to the internet, most network marketers were restricted to their local area. They had to build their network marketing business the old-fashioned way, belly to belly, by talking with friends, family and strangers.

If they lived in a small town, they were very limited to the people in the surrounding area. On the other hand, if they lived in a big city, they had more people to talk to.

Pretty much the only way to build a national or international network marketing business, back in the day, was to advertise in national newspapers, or sponsor someone you knew who lived in a different state.

With the invention of the internet, all distributors now have immediate access to a global audience. You can communicate with anyone from any country via social media, a blog, email marketing, SKYPE, Zoom, or a variety of other venues. For example, if you live in Canada, you can talk to your prospect live in Nigeria via the internet.

Of course, every other distributor can do the same thing. But, I do believe that everyone has a level playing field now, thanks to the internet.

Smart distributors learn how to leverage the internet so they can work smart and generate leads on demand. Successful distributors use both online and offline strategies to grow their MLM Business.

# 2: More Access to Information

People go to the internet to get information and do research.

There is so much information on the internet about just about any topic you can think of. There is good information and bad information, accurate information and false information. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.

Your prospect can go online and research the products, the company and YOU. Trust me, they will do their research, before they sign up or buy from you.

Back in the day, your prospect could take what you said at face value. That does not happen anymore. Now, your prospect will research everything (including what you say). Personally, I think this is a good thing.

The major problem I have with the internet is that lots of people think that if something is on the internet it is automatically true. Nothing is further from the truth.

There are just as many FALSE and misleading things on the internet as there are true things. Worst of all, there is no one to police this information. Your prospects might not know the difference between fact and fiction.

In addition, the vast amount of information causes information overload for many distributors.

There are close to one million or more network marketing related websites online, many with conflicting information. Every guru has their own system, strategy and secret. You really don’t know who to trust or listen to.

And, many of the anti-MLM websites have an agenda of selling advertising, promoting affiliate products, or generating traffic from negative reviews. Should you listen to them or trust them?

Every Network Marketer Should Have an Online Presence

# 3: Increased Competition

The internet has really increased competition in our industry.

Back in the day, you might have had four or five distributors in your home town promoting the same company and product line. Not so anymore.

Now you have to compete with EVERYONE who has an online presence with their business. There are hundreds of new MLM Companies that spring up every year (it seems like it anyway).

Additionally, you now have to compete with millions of other distributors who have a blog or understand internet network marketing.

Worst of all, you now have to compete with Amazon and eBay, who normally have your company’s products for sale at a cheaper price than you can get it for as a distributor.

This makes it hard to get customers and distributors when they can access these websites and purchase the products whenever they want.

# 4: You Can Build a Brand

My favorite thing about the internet is that you can build your our own brand. If you do things right, you can brand yourself however you want to AND create multiple streams of income, in addition to your network marketing income.

Could you do this before the internet? Of course. But it was much more difficult.

If you are smart, you will create your own brand and have your MLM Business as one of your income streams, not your only income stream.

With this website I have approximately 40 incomes streams and I make money whether people partner up with me in my MLM Business, or not.

Think of your MLM Business as one pillar of your business. Have a You, Inc. business like Mike Dillard talks about in his book Magnetic Sponsoring.

Promote your MLM Company, affiliate products, sell leads, sell information products and more. That way you can diversify your income, have added security and make even more money.

I personally think branding is very important, because most MLM Companies come and go! If you have a brand, you can build a diversified, long-term income producing asset. And if your network marketing company ever goes bankrupt you don’t lose all of your income overnight.

We are in sales. In order to make more sales, we don’t have to become a better salesperson but we have to work on our brand and marketing.

When marketing and branding are done correctly your prospects and potential customers come presold to what you have to sell. This is done because you have given them enough value that they have absorbed your message and understand who you are and what your brand does. ~ Marc Moves

Final Thoughts

There are many ways the internet has changed the MLM Industry, both good and bad. The internet is here to stay. As a network marketer, you must embrace the internet and learn how to leverage it properly, so you can work smart and make more money in your MLM Business. Or, you can ignore it and struggle.

Your key to success is APPLIED KNOWLEDGE. You must learn the ins and outs of online marketing and you must apply what you learn. You won’t achieve success overnight, but if you get started, learn from your mistakes and keep pressing forward, you will eventually reach your business goals. It took me about five full years to figure it all out, but it was well worth it.

As a quick side note, I’m not telling you to ONLY build your MLM Business online. I still believe the best way to build a network marketing business is using old school, face-to-face methods. What I am saying you should do is to increase your awareness about what the internet can offer you and LEVERAGE the internet whenever possible. Do online and offline stuff at the same time. Work smart, not just hard.

What are your thoughts? What do you think are the most common ways the internet has changed the MLM industry? Do you agree or disagree with what I said. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

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chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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9 thoughts on “Four Ways the Internet Has Changed the MLM Industry”

  1. I have mixed feelings about the internet playing a factor in the business. I feel that it is a source to keep many different communication gateways open to connect, but I also feel that it loses the personal touch. My most profitable customers are the ones that I am able to speak with face to face.

    Take for example when you receive a text from someone and because you are not able to hear the tone that when along with the “!” you weren’t really sure how to take the message, it’s the same way with customer service.

    When you are face to face with them you can not only hear the tone, but see the expression on their face as well as their body language to know what is really important to them and what isn’t. Using the internet as the only form of communication is hard to build trust and a relationship, no matter if it’s a customer or team member. If the internet is your only means because of distance I would recommend programs like Zoom or Google Hangouts so you have a greater level of communication.

    1. Great points, Kara. The personal touch, especially in network marketing, makes a big difference. We are a relationship business. You can build relationships online, but it is much easier face to face or via the phone. I simply combine high tech with high touch. I meet people online, but I use the phone and ZOOM to help add the personal touch.

  2. It is amazing to think how online marketing and MLM has changed since the boom of social media. You have pointed out very good tips here and I will be applying them to my blog. It is hard to get things going but it doesn’t have to be when you take the right steps!

  3. The MLMs I believe will take off and grow will be energy such as solar and even other forms. I also see MLMs coming up in web hosting and domains. I do believe the cell phone MLM systems will grow more and even health. The ones that I see will die away will be ones such as jewelry and clothing. Items that are too high priced will go away, but MLMs that can bring product costs down to near their counterparts will survive.

    Just my opinion.

  4. Eventually, I see the MLM industry dying off because of the internet, basically for all the reasons you said. While the internet has helped some people build a big business, it’s done much more harm than good.

    1. Personally, I disagree with that statement. The one thing I do see happening are new and different MLMs. I believe we will see more technology driven MLMs. I also do not think the tried and true MLMs will ever die off. I see companies such as Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Herbalife and others lasting for many years to come.

      I do think that as a network marketer, you need to do it the old fashioned way. The original MLM systems worked then, they will keep working!

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