When advertising your business opportunity, blogging can be a valuable asset. More than just a way to “voice your opinion”, the use of a blog platform can be invaluable to certain types of marketing.

There’s a number of “squeeze page” models that current network marketer’s use. There’s the whiteboard presentation which consists of a simple Keynote or Powerpoint presentation with an opt-in form. There’s also the standard squeeze page which gives a brief overview of the business with an opt-in form. There’s the long-form page which is more of a sales letter with an opt-in form. And then there’s the blog which provides more information and details for the visitor.

I’ve personally found that all of these work, however, not all of them work with every type of marketing. For instance, the traditional “blind marketing” squeeze page or whiteboard presentation simply won’t fly if you want to do any type of Google Adwords marketing. Google checks for content and wants to ensure that advertisers are providing a good experience with updated relevant content for their visitors. Microsoft Adcenter, since partnering with Yahoo! Search has also taken a much more staunch approach to what they will and will not allow to be advertised in their network.

The best avenue for marketing with Microsoft (Bing) or Google is absolutely a blog format. My recommendation is to go with the Thesis Template for a number of reasons. First, it’s super easy to use and very flexible. The guys at DIYThemes who came up with Thesis must have understood the on-going frustration novice bloggers have experienced with inflexible and difficult to use templates. Hence, the Thesis template is outrageously user friendly and simple enough for anyone with a little basic knowledge of blogging to design a beautiful blog. DIYThemes has an excellent Knowledge Base giving you options for customization. And, because many of the internet “gurus” use Thesis, you can find a ton of tutorial websites that will show you how to further customize the site.

More than just the customization capabilities of Thesis is the SEO tools and utilities built into the theme, giving you advanced SEO capabilities without a lot of extra work.

When building your blog for the purpose of lead generation, there’s a couple of things you’ll want to do. First off, you want to set up your blog with two columns. At the top of the right column, you’ll use a text widget to add an opt-in form where visitors can opt-in to learn more about your opportunity. To obtain an opt-in form, use a system such as www.MarketingProPlus.com. Marketing Pro Plus is a lead management system designed especially for home business marketers. It’s a good idea to include a “freebie” – an e-book, video or e-course that provides real value for the people who opt-in. This will increase your opt-ins.

You want to set-up the main page of your blog as a “static homepage” that gives an overview of your business opportunity. This would be like a standard squeeze page.  To do this, go to the Settings:Reading. This ensures that every visitor gets the same information when they hit the main page of your blog. You can see an example by viewing my marketing blog at http://www.aHomeBusinessLifestyle.com.

The content on your blog should be relevant to the readers who are visiting your blog and provide real value as well. Because you’re using your blog to generate leads for your business, be sure to stay away from topics that are political, religious or controversial in nature. Don’t get to personal either – if you tied one on Friday night and have funky pictures of it, do NOT post them on your blog. Keep it professional and focused on what people would expect to learn about or know about by visiting your blog. Provide real value. If the value is there, you’ll get more subscribers and although they might not opt-in on the first visit, over time they may.

Using a blog is not only great for lead generation on Microsoft and Bing, but it also creates a unique personal experience between you and the visitor. Let’s face it: people looking to start a home based business are often overwhelmed with all the “junk” out there. So, having a blog that gives people the experience of who you are creates a warmer lead than a generic squeeze page with pictures of fancy cars, big houses and hundred dollar bills. It’s a well known fact that people buy from people.

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Shannon Lavenia

A former Biology teacher, Shannon started in home business in 2002 and quickly rose to the top of her field. Her and her husband, John Lavenia, grabbed the #1 spot in their company for 7 years, achieving million-dollar results. Shannon is recognized as an industry leader and trainer, specializing in helping new home business entrepreneurs expand their business and achieve their goals. She lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, daughter and dog Lucy.
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