The term online network marketing gets tossed around casually by different people meaning different things. No doubt you came across the term (and search for it) because someone told you that taking your MLM business online was a guaranteed path to success. We’ll let’s be realistic, there are no guarantees (especially not in network marketing), but there are a lot of positive thing happening with online network marketing that you should be aware of so you can figure out it that direction is right for you.The term online network marketing really encompasses at least 3 totally different realms – Products, Lead Generation and Social Proof – and we will explore each of these separately. Contrary to popular opinion online network marketing isn’t just for online products and services. If you provide a physical product or offline service, keep reading to understand how online network marketing factors into your lead generation and can be used to establish credibility.Online Network Marketing: Online Products and ServicesIf you provide an online product or service you already know it. For everyone else, the types of MLM products that we are talking about in this section are products such as discount programs, travel programs, financial services or training programs. All of these products and services are intangible. There is no physical item to hold, touch and smell.If you promote an intangible product, you can use online network marketing techniques across your entire marketing, sales and delivery process. You can generate the lead online, explain the product online, close the transaction online and deliver the purchase online. An online product or service allows you to build a truly virtual company that you can operate from anywhere and that doesn’t require your physical presence. If you are an introvert or are tired of home-meetings occupying your evenings and weekends, an intangible product is the right choice for your online network marketing endeavors.With a physical product, you can use online network marketing tactics for lead generation, education and transaction processing, but there will typically be an intermediate in-person step. No matter how much online education is available, almost all new customers will want to taste any edible products, try on any fashion products or feel and home decor products. Note that we say “new” customers in the previous sentence. For existing customers and are familiar with the product quality or taste, online network marketing can be highly effective for reorders or introducing a new seasonal product line.Online Network Marketing: Online Lead GenerationNo matter what product or service you are promoting, lead generation is universally the central focus of your online network marketing program. One 2011 study found that 900 million people access the internet from a PC at home and a whopping 1.6 billion active mobile phone subscriptions. In his 2011 State of the Union address, President Obama committed to providing 98% of all Americans with high-speed wireless internet access in the next five years. There has been no other time in history where a new, solo entrepreneur could use technology and a little savvy know-how to reach a market of millions from their home.The power of online network marketing is best applied toward lead generation. You put your offer in front of hundreds, thousands or millions of people, they self-select in our out. You’ve probably heard your upline sponsor refer to the practice of “sifting and sorting”. The internet is the most powerful way to automate the front-end portion of this process. Allow automated systems to screen prospects and pass you only the most qualified leads for further personal follow-up.Online lead generation applies equally to product and service sales and to finding new downline distributors. While the message and the offer will be different, the concepts and technical aspects of the online network marketing system are the same. Once you learn online lead generation you can apply it to any company and any product line.Online Network Marketing: Social ProofThe unique role of the internet as a validator of claims is often over-looked in discussions of online network marketing. When people encounter new information and aren’t sure whether to trust the information (or the source) they look for validation from sources that they DO trust. Trusted sources might include impartial newspapers, research publications, parents, long-time friends or credentialed experts. The more reinforcement of the central message they get from the sources they trust most, the more they believe the original claim.But does the opinion of one expert really outweigh the opinion of 1 stranger. How about 1 expert versus 100 strangers. What about a 10,000 ordinary strangers all saying the same thing? At some point the qualifications of the source become somewhat irrelevant and sheer numbers take over.The internet can make or break your company or product based on social proof alone. This has nothing to do with lead generation or sales, this aspect of online network marketing is about brand reputation. Even if you are not generating leads online or selling online, you need to be aware of the online chatter about your company and its products or services and whether it is trending negative or positive.Online Network Marketing: Getting StartedWe have looked at three aspect of online network marketing to give you a sense for its diversity. While there are a handful of networkers that succeed 100% online, the vast majority are using the internet for specific strategic objectives which support their offline efforts. Some might use the internet for lead generation, others for social networking, others for team training and yet others for record-keeping and administration. In fact, the most effective business systems we have ever seen, combine online and offline methods to reach the prospect through multiple modalities.That’s why we have one primary online network marketing training system that we recommend. The creators of this program a wicked-smart about all the advanced online tactics, but are keenly aware that they are most powerful when combined with offline print, radio or mail strategies. Also, the creators of this online network marketing program were beginners themselves not long ago and are able to teach as if they were in a beginner’s shoes. If you are ready for advanced, that’s in there too.