IS PERSONAL BRANDING RELEVANT FOR INTERNET MARKETING NEWBIES?

by bolaji
23 replies
Okay, check it out, Warriors.

I've been noodling on this one ALL CALENDAR YEAR.

Since January, my efforts have gone back-and-forth between building a personal brand for myself, and pursuing affiliate promotions before first establishing a real relationship with the potential customer.

There are people who are successful with both methods, to be fair.

People who launch products: FRANK KERN, MIKE FILSAIME, JEFF WALKER, RUSSELL BRUNSON, ALEX JEFFREYS, RICH SCHEFREN, etc. etc... these guys have all built solid followings for their personal brands.

So much so, that whenever one of them has a new product to offer, the can almost predict what percentage of their subscribers will buy. Regardless of the product details.

But they don't just talk a good game: They support their personal brand by delivering consistent quality.

On the other end of the scale, you have super affiliates, and many other very successful Internet Marketers - doing their thing in relative anonymity. But still making a killing.

So my question is:

IS PERSONAL BRANDING FOR INTERNET MARKETING NEWBIES:
- Useful but not necessary,
- Highly recommended,
- Absolutely necessary, OR
- Largely unneeded???


I specify newbies. because after you're a full-time Internet Marketer, you can easily be successful with either building your personal brand, or being a relatively anonymous super-affiliate.

But as a newbie - can you afford to put in the time necessary to build a personal brand, before generating income? Will you have the credibility necessary to be seen as a credible personal brand?


IS PERSONAL BRANDING FOR INTERNET MARKETING NEWBIES:
- Useful but not necessary,
- Highly recommended,
- Absolutely necessary, OR
- Largely unneeded???

WHAT SAY YOU???

Thanks!
#branding #internet #internet marketing expert #list building #marketing #newbies #personal #personal branding #relevant
  • Profile picture of the author Ty Wagner
    Personal branding will be more important as time
    goes on if you want to be an internet marketer that
    deals with other businesses and professional. I think
    anyone these days would be better off having a web
    presence than not having one. (Only if this is your goal.)

    As a very experienced affiliate and successful CB vendor, I
    know what it feels like to be behind the scenes without
    anyone having any knowledge of who you are, and what
    you do. There are advantages and disadvantages to this
    method depending on what direction you want to take
    your business.

    Some people don't want the attention and may not feel
    comfortable with having there face all over the internet.
    Others simply don't think it's necessary. They figure that
    they are making a killing online without being a public
    "guru". So why bother?

    Then you have the people that want as much
    privacy as possible...

    You don't want the "creeper" on your list to knock on
    your home door at 5am asking for a refund...

    Do you?

    ;-)

    As a newbie it will be hard to brand yourself as
    an authority figure because credibility is missing.

    No Income
    No Traffic To Websites
    No leads
    No sales
    No Fancy Car, home, shinny bells and whistles
    No proof of anything!!!

    I think newbies might be better off documenting
    their newbie experience to success? Then when you make
    "guru" status you have a well documented history of failures
    and success that led you to become the person you wanted
    to be. I think this is a better idea for "newbies" that don't
    know much about their niche but would still like to connect
    with people and other businesses.

    It's hard for people to follow someone that doesn't know how
    to lead. It's crazy to learn from someone that doesn't know
    anything about the subject.

    Show people your success along the way and give them
    free content.

    Preferably for free.

    I digress...

    Yes & No, personal branding could be useful for newbies.

    It could showcase their current knowledge in Internet marketing.
    This could lead to joint ventures and being great friends with other
    internet marketers. By sharing your success & struggles with other
    marketers that share the same experience, a connection is formed.

    As the world becomes more socially connected through
    online activities, it would never be to early to get your
    name out and show examples of your work.

    Sometimes it boils down to who you know and the
    friendships you've created along the way.
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    • Profile picture of the author bolaji
      Originally Posted by Ty Wagner View Post

      As a newbie it will be hard to brand yourself as
      an authority figure because credibility is missing.

      No Income
      No Traffic To Websites
      No leads
      No sales
      No Fancy Car, home, shinny bells and whistles
      No proof of anything!!!

      I think newbies might be better off documenting
      their newbie experience to success? Then when you make
      "guru" status you have a well documented history of failures
      and success that led you to become the person you wanted
      to be

      Show people your success along the way and give them
      free content.

      Preferably for free.

      I digress...

      Yes & No, personal branding could be useful for newbies.

      It could showcase their current knowledge in Internet marketing.
      This could lead to joint ventures and being great friends with other
      internet marketers. By sharing your success & struggles with other
      marketers that share the same experience, a connection is formed.

      As the world becomes more socially connected through
      online activities, it would never be to early to get your
      name out and show examples of your work.

      Sometimes it boils down to who you know and the
      friendships you've created along the way.
      Whatup, Ty!

      I must say, this is a brilliant and well thought-out response. Thanks very much for taking the time.

      One thing that newbies struggle with, is standing out from the crowd.

      When they start out, they're:
      - Offering the same affiliate products,
      - Using the same language learned from the same gurus,
      - With the same blog widgets, and same methods of driving traffic (article marketing, social media, videos, and to a lesser extent, PPC)

      As soon as they get people to opt into their lists, their are pitching these same affiliate offers, without first establishing a relationship with the individual...


      And the question then becomes:
      What value are you really adding as a newbie, if you're the same as all the other newbies in your niche?

      And as you pointed out, JV partnerships: Why would a more experienced marketer partner with you, if you not only lack experience and results, but also lack a unique voice, and a unique value add?

      Food for thought.
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  • Profile picture of the author eQuus
    If you have a unique product then personal branding is possible. If by personal branding you mean giving yourself exposure to the masses, then that would be difficult without a unique product, experience, and style. All these take time.
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    • Profile picture of the author bolaji
      Originally Posted by eQuus View Post

      If you have a unique product then personal branding is possible. If by personal branding you mean giving yourself exposure to the masses, then that would be difficult without a unique product, experience, and style. All these take time.
      Whatup, eQuus:

      I love your emphasis on needing to have:
      - a unique product,
      - experience, and
      - style

      I'd venture to say that Experience takes time.
      Style, you should have right off the bat (just being who you are, as a newbie)
      And a Unique product, you can have as a newbie.

      As Ty pointed out, it would probably center around your adventures as a newbie (since you won't yet have expertise in any IM area).

      OR, it could bring your offline expertise to bear in the IM space. That's another path newbies can take.

      GREAT COMMENT!
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie888
    I feel that personal branding isn't needed or required for IM newbies, simply because in order to brand yourself, you need to have some results or something significant to show first. Until and unless you can produce some fairly quick and impressive results as a newbie, trying to brand yourself is futile, and can even be detrimental to your reputation, especially when it's still pretty obvious to everyone that you're still "green".
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    • Profile picture of the author cashcow
      Originally Posted by paulie888 View Post

      I feel that personal branding isn't needed or required for IM newbies, simply because in order to brand yourself, you need to have some results or something significant to show first. Until and unless you can produce some fairly quick and impressive results as a newbie, trying to brand yourself is futile, and can even be detrimental to your reputation, especially when it's still pretty obvious to everyone that you're still "green".
      I totally agree. I think if you try to "brand" yourself too early you will only be known as someone who does not know what they are doing.

      Also, I think it depends on what your long term goals are. Do you want to be known for providing value in the IM community and make a name for yourself, so to speak? Do you want to deal with all the support and responsibility that comes with that? Then obviously you would need to start branding yourself as soon as you have something of value to offer.

      But, it is not necessary to brand yourself in order to make money. Certainly there are many people who make a ton of dough online that you have never even heard of. Fellow Warrior LMC comes to mind - he recently posted a huge post about his 500 niche websites that make him (I think he said between $4 to $50 a day each).

      Lee
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      Gone Fishing
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  • Profile picture of the author Fun to Write
    My feeling is that if newbies are simply learning IM in order to make extra money, then they should remain anonymous.

    However, they can still build an authority website or have a blog that has a strong brand identity. For example, a site that reviews specific niche products can become well trusted without people knowing who is behind the scenes.

    If the newbie intends to focus their online activities around their own personal products and services, then yes, they should start off slowly building up their reputation and brand.
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    • Profile picture of the author KatyaSenina
      Depends on what niche you enter. In the IM niche it would be hard to come across are very credible, because as someone already mentioned above, you don't have much success yet yourself.

      But in some other niches, like dating, dog training, golf etcetera you're more likely able to establish yourself as an authority if you're an expert on the topic already.
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  • Profile picture of the author JDArchitecture
    Originally Posted by abonje View Post

    WHAT SAY YOU???
    I was going to reply but I get so nauseated when I see that phrase I lost all interest.
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    • Profile picture of the author bolaji
      Originally Posted by JDArchitecture View Post

      I was going to reply but I get so nauseated when I see that phrase I lost all interest.
      LOL!!!

      Glad to have brought some sunshine into your life today, JDArchitecture.
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  • Profile picture of the author tandren544
    Personal branding is only going to come into effect when you want to be a leader in your market. You don't need a personal brand to sell affiliate products, but you do need it to sell yourself: your information, for example.
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    • Profile picture of the author bolaji
      Some really great responses from experienced IMers here. Thanks folks!

      I think it would be useful, for any newbies reading this thread, to talk about the path to success as an "anonymous" affiliate marketer.

      Of course, the general formula is:
      1 - Get an offer (affiliate product, in this case)
      2 - Drive traffic to that offer (free, or paid)
      3 - Improve your conversions

      - Repeat, until you have a successful system. At which point, you start to build expertise

      Newbies, I think, get tripped up on #2 a lot.

      Your thoughts? (I won't say "what say you", so as not to tick off JDarchitecture again.)

      THANKS!
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by abonje View Post

    IS PERSONAL BRANDING FOR INTERNET MARKETING NEWBIES:
    - Useful but not necessary,
    - Highly recommended,
    - Absolutely necessary, OR
    - Largely unneeded???
    I say (e): none of the above.

    It's entirely unneeded, not just "largely" undeeded.

    I've never done any "personal branding" at all, nor wanted to, nor planned to - and especially not when I was a newbie. It wouldn't have helped me at all.

    The only way it would help a newbie would be if s/he were promoting things a newbie shouldn't be promoting anyway.

    Personal branding might be of value to me if I were writing and selling an article marketing guidebook or something (and a newbie can hardly do that!), but it's of no interest at all to me regarding my own marketing in the cauliflower soup recipe niche and all those other ones from which I earn such a good a living without even using my own name at all.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gary King
      Originally Posted by paulie888 View Post

      I feel that personal branding isn't needed or required for IM newbies
      I usually agree with you Paulie, but I've got to raise my hand here...

      It's not required to make money true.

      However, it WILL follow you. What we do now is part of our "permanent record" on the Internet and with social media in play and negative move by someone can be scattered across the word in seconds.

      IMHO, even people's actions on the forum are taken into account when their WSO goes live or their sig file gets updated.

      So it's not necessarily important to "brand" yourself early on, or at all if you are doing all behind the scenes stuff.

      That said, we are ALL "branding" ourselves with each and every action that can be observed by others.


      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      It's entirely unneeded, not just "largely" undeeded.

      I've never done any "personal branding" at all, nor wanted to, nor planned to - and especially not when I was a newbie. It wouldn't have helped me at all.
      But you do everyday, multiple times per day, right here on this very forum.


      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      ...but it's of no interest at all to me regarding my own marketing in the cauliflower soup recipe niche and all those other ones from which I earn such a good a living without even using my own name at all.
      You've just revealed the HOTTEST niche of 2011!!!! Now I gotta build more backlinks.

      Gary
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

        That said, we are ALL "branding" ourselves with each and every action that can be observed by others.
        Yes; here you have a very good point.

        However, one could contend that "observed" necessarily implies a connotation of " ... in an identifiable way", in order to carry any significance, couldn't one? Not so much, perhaps, for a niche affiliate marketing campaign done under a pen-name? (Or at least, not with any "observability" beyond the confines of one's activities in that specific niche?).

        Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

        But you do everyday, multiple times per day, right here on this very forum.
        Well ... with one small, arguable, exception of an individual product in a niche in which I'm otherwise entirely uninvolved, I'm not selling/promoting anything under my real name (which I use here) - I haven't even taken on a new writing client for nearly a year, and to that extent I don't really think of my posts/chat here as "branding myself" at all. For example, I've never even had WSO or a Classified listing. I do take your point, though.

        Originally Posted by Gary King View Post

        You've just revealed the HOTTEST niche of 2011!!!! Now I gotta build more backlinks.
        Jump in, I say: I bet it's an easy one to rank for ... (good luck finding profitable products) ...
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        • Profile picture of the author Gary King
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          Yes; here you have a very good point.

          However, one could contend that "observed" necessarily implies a connotation of " ... in an identifiable way", in order to carry any significance, couldn't one? Not so much, perhaps, for a niche affiliate marketing campaign done under a pen-name? (Or at least, not with any "observability" beyond the confines of one's activities in that specific niche?).
          Absolutely. And the pen-name will have it's own branding too.

          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          I do take your point, though.
          ... and that, combined with your thoughtful replies is why your branding here is good, even if you don't "use" it per se.

          Have an awesome day!
          Gary
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  • Profile picture of the author King Shiloh
    Banned
    I think that people often separate the message from the messenger. So, if you have a good product, branded or not branded, people will buy it inasmuch as it takes the pain away - yes, if it bleeds, it leads no matter where or who the solution is coming from.

    Don't bother yourself with branding yourself, but bother yourself with the quality of what you have to offer.

    The message is more valuable than the messenger.
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  • Profile picture of the author bigredrassler
    Branding can be useful, but I don't think it's essential, for newbies or veterans. I spent my professional career trying to convince business owners to build their brand, and develop corporate imaging. But in IM, results are more important than name recognition. If you can be successful and remain anonymous, why would you go through all the effort of creating, implementing, and maintaining a brand or image.

    The only exception I can see to this is if you desire to be a "Big Dawg" type, negotiating higher commissions and working with businesses directly. This could be a lot of fun and would require a strong brand, but I don't see it as that important for an IMer not pursuing this avenue.

    Note that this only applies to the person, most of your monetized sites and businesses should have a strong brand.
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    • Profile picture of the author Devid Farah
      I feel like branding yourself when you are a newbie only comes into play if you do not have a unique enough product - if your product is everywhere on the market, the only way to get people to choose yours is by personal branding. However,as a newbie, you don't have any good experience upon which to base your branding; also, starting with a nonunique product isn't a great way to go anyway. So my suggestion is worry more about your product and your marketing techniques than your "personal brand".
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  • Profile picture of the author RealExpert
    abonje,
    Thanks for asking this question. It's been on my mind for the better part of the year too. My scenario is somewhat related. I work full time in a day job where I work with computer (tech support).

    I want to become someone in the IM niche who will help people in achieving their goals, setting up an online business, teaching them the fundamentals etc.

    Now should I be branding my real name while in full time job? If I do, it will be found out by the employer and will probably be not looked at with kindness :-)

    How do I create facebook age for personal branding, a tough call!

    Looks to me that in the IM niche, the product (read courses, pdfs, memberships sites), personal branding seems to work and seems like a must.

    Say if you have written a software or service, then probably personal branding is not needed. Everyone uses Aweber, who know who owns, runs it? Who cares? Similarly SeNuke, ScrapeBox etc

    Also when starting out, beware of defining yourself too narrowly. It will later become a part of your identity. Say webaudioguy, I'm sure he wants to branch out in other areas but he has been labeled audio guy.

    I still haven't found how to go about it so I'm following this topic very carefully.

    Thanks for bringing it out in the open and hopeful some sort of concensus will emerge.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasonmorgan
    No. It's not important.

    Go to the mall and ask people if they have ever heard of FRANK KERN, MIKE FILSAIME, JEFF WALKER, RUSSELL BRUNSON, ALEX JEFFREYS, RICH SCHEFREN, my guess is nobody will have a clue who they are or even care. But I'll bet you most of the people you ask have bought something online.

    I don't care who any of those guys are and I've never purchased any of their products. I'm only aware of them because some of their names tend to pop-up here weekly.

    Personal Branding is something that is over emphasized within certain circles (like this forum) because it's packed with people who are trying to establish themselves as THE GUY.

    Establish yourself as an expert and the sheep will buy up your products, no questions asked. It's not a new concept and works quite well for Ophrah, Jillian (exercise chick) and Tony Robbins.

    Nobody knows who I am. I'm not pimping my name but I am making money. Apparently my customers don't care who I am. They are people who what a product I offer.

    Think about it, if you sell DVDs online, do your customers care who you are? No. They want their copy of Dawsons Creek Season 1 for the best price available and to move on with their lives.

    If you're not planning on selling How To Make Money Online, you have no need to brand yourself to the How To Make Money Online community.

    Have fun, be a jackass like me
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  • Profile picture of the author 82ana
    My two cents... every situation and individual is different. It really depends on you.
    For some branding can never start soon enough, for other anonymity might be a better option.
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