Personal Branding for Network Marketers: Yin-Yang of Affiliate Marketing

Personal Branding for Network Marketers: Affiliate vs Your Own ProductsWe’ve been on a journey of personal branding for network marketers this past week, learning how to make ourselves stand out from the crowd of network marketers online, how to leverage our personal style and use it to attract people like us who will become raving fans, subscribers, and future business partners.   But…I’ve kept the best part for last. How to Make Money with Your Brand. And that opens up the debate of the Yin-Yang of Affiliate Marketing when it comes to personal branding for network marketers.

If you’ve not read the previous 2 posts they do lay the foundation to today’s post.   You can read them here:

Personal Branding for Network Marketers: Find a Niche
Personal Branding for Network Marketers: Be Unforgettable

“So, How Does Personal Branding for Network Marketers Make Me Money?”

The greatest thing about creating a personal brand and using it to leverage your skills, talents, and gifts to help others is that you’re building trust and relationship with the people who are following you and establishing yourself as a credible authority in your niche.   Having a consistent brand and strong marketing sets the foundation for earning money in your home based business.

If you’ve followed my steps in my 1st post on personal branding-finding a niche, you’ve explored some sites like amazon, eBay, Google and social media and you’ve discovered what products are already on the market in your niche.   You’ve read through the comments and the reviews and discovered where the books, products, and information that are already on the market, are not meeting the needs of your followers and you know what things about these products that your readers value.   You’ve probably also gotten an idea of the price points that other marketers are targeting.

Now it’s time to sketch out a marketing funnel of products that you can offer to your list of raving fans to help them solve these problems and challenges they have.   These can be your own products, affiliate products, or a combination of the two.

Personal Branding for Network Marketers: The Yin-Yang of Affiliate Marketing:

The tendency of most network marketers online is to jump right into an affiliate product.

There are some benefits to affiliate marketing:

  • It’s easy
  • You can leverage someone’s knowledge, time, experience, and marketing
  • In just a few clicks to copy and past an affiliate link into your marketing messages.
  • You can also use an affiliate product to ‘test the waters’ with your market and see what types of products they are attracted to and purchase.
  • Affiliate marketing allows you to offer complimentary services and products to your list.

The con’s of leveraging an affiliate product (especially at the beginning of your marketing funnel) are:

  • You’re trying to build a list and not all of them allow you to capture the lead (look for ones that allow you to capture a lead if you decide to use an affiliate product)
  • The affiliate product does not position you as an expert and trusted authority in your niche
  • You’re giving your new lead to someone who is probably more experienced, and better at persuasive marketing.  They’ve already build their marketing funnel and will continue to market to YOUR LEAD and develop relationship and trust with them.
  • The biggest reason against affiliate marketing early on in your marketing funnel is that you’re branding someone else!

The Solution to Personal Branding for Network Marketers is to Create Your Own Product that Brands You and Follow Up with Affiliate Products in the Future.

My preference is to create some simple products and services to offer that will brand you and your signature message and use affiliate products to offer additional resources for my list, after I’ve developed trust and relationship with them.

Personal Branding for Network Marketers: The benefits to having your own product…

  • It makes you a credible resource and leader in your niche
  • It allows you to leverage your time…create it once and get paid over and over
  • It’s inexpensive to create a product but has a great potential return on income
  • You can leverage your product to build your list and use it as incentive to your list of business prospects
  • You get to keep 100% of your profits
  • Having your own products makes you a credible resource and leader in your niche.
  • It gives you something to trade with other marketers in a joint venture
  • It can lead to speaking engagements online and offline
  • It can act as your “business card”
  • It can allow you to have your own affiliates promoting for you
  • Certain types of products can lead to recurring residual income for you: such as a membership, coaching, or consultant program.

“Yea, but isn’t that hard?   I mean, wouldn’t it take a long time and wouldn’t I need to know a lot in order to create my own product?”

Creating your own product can be super easy and you can start with what you know right now!   In my next post, I’ll show you how to sketch out your marketing funnel and create your own information product in 3 simple steps!

If you enjoyed this post, learned something new, or have an opinion to share, please comment below and share it on twitter and facebook!  You’re on a do-follow blog, so you’ll get some link love as a thank you from me!

And remember to stop by tomorrow to discover Personal Branding for Network Marketers: Marketing Funnel & Products!

Heather C Stephens Clever Internet Network Marketing Tips

Added 8-24-10:

p.s. Continuing the discussion on personal branding for network marketers: yin – yang of affiliate marketing:

I love that there are some great discussions regarding the benefits of an affiliate product to help beginners learn some of the basic traffic generation, SEO, and building a list.   Those are essential skills that every marketer must master and there are a few great programs out there to help you learn how to do that and earn some affiliate income at the same time.   For some marketers this is a great choice in the beginning.   There are benefits to it as I addressed in my post above.

When it comes to personal branding for network marketers, using an affiliate product can sometimes dilute your brand and hinder your list building efforts.   When you balance out the commission, in trade for your lead, it’s not always worth it.

Tips to help you maximize the effectiveness of an affiliate product or system without minimizing personal branding for network marketers.

  • Choose a product that allows you to capture the lead and build your list
  • Create a supporting product as an irresistible offer and place your affiliate offer on your thank you page
  • Create some additional value to the affiliate offer to give your prospects a reason to sign up with you instead of someone else promoting the same offer. ie. a 30 minute training or webinar explaining how to use the system and sharing your favorite shortcuts, or a 15 minute consultant where you personally review how they have used the affiliate product or system and give them suggestions on how they can get better results.
  • Get creative and brainstorm things you could offer   that will add value and help your leads get the results they are after…that will help you establish credibility, trust, and a relationship with your readers.

You have enough value to offer right now that can help someone, and by sharing that value you’ll be branding yourself as a leader in your niche.   Having your own product does not minimize the importance of learning how to generate traffic, create awesome content, and building your list.   But remember that as you learn and grow your business, all those tips, tricks, and skills you gain brand you as a better leader.   And you always need to be on the look-out for ways to set yourself apart from your competition and give your followers a reason to do business with you instead of someone else!

By all means, leverage whatever you can, but don’t use an excuse like you don’t feel like you know enough to be successful, as your reason for not creating an information product.   Every 4th grader is a God in the eyes of a 3rd grader.   Find the third graders in your niche and help them.   They’ll become your best raving fans, prospects, and customers in the end. And that’s our goal when it comes to personal branding for network marketers!

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  1. Heather, wow, great post!

    Creating your own product is the fastest way to start earning online – yes affiliate promotions can make you money, but that should only be the icing on the cake.

    That is a great list of benefits that product creation gives you, some I never thought of myself..

    thanks for sharing
    talk soon

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Hector!

      I appreciate your comment and I’m glad that you were able to get some “extras” out of the list of benefits for having your own product.

      Can’t wait to check out your blog traffic cheat sheet!


  2. WOW Heather, you really do give comprehensive & valuable information in your posts.

    As an internet network marketer, I have also embraced the concept of creating the funded proposal by making use of affiliate products to earn commissions on after placing them into my sales funnel.

    However, I was very particular NOT to choose all the same ones that everyone else goes with. Yes, sure, you will find links to those on my “resources” page because I do believe in what I use personally, but the really great products are embedded into the sales funnel pages & are only visible to those who opt-in to my training.

    I can’t wait for your next post – to create my own product would be the greatest for me as I make ALL the money then LOL, I’m sure I’m going to learn a lot from it.

    Stay inspired,

    • Heather C Stephens says:


      I’m glad you think so and that the post brought you value.

      I think which affiliate products you choose to promote is key to success with them. You don’t want to promote the exact same thing everyone else does because it will do nothing for your branding!

      I’m gotten a great start on the next post and I’m really excited about it, so please do check it out! Your feedback is always appreciated!


      p.s. I replied to your comment on finding a niche this weekend. I’d love to know if it sparked any ideas for you!

  3. This is a great guide on how to use personal branding! As usual you write it out in such an easy to understand way and lay it out very nicely!

    I started my blog in May so it is very much a work in progress, I am taking it one day at a time figuring out how to incorporate all of the aspects into my blog.

    I am currently working on creating my own product so I am certainly looking forward to reading your next post!

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Stacy,

      I think you’re doing an awesome job on your blog. It’s got a great clean look to it and contains some awesome content.

      Thanks for the kudos on my writing. Just like you, I’m implementing all I can step by step to improve my blog, my writing, and my online business. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!


  4. Creating your own product is important for your brand and as you’ve mentioned the benefits are tremendous and I’ve experienced all those benefits myself. But for many, it’s tough getting started so your next post is something to watch out for 🙂

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      I plan to over-deliver tomorrow!


  5. Hey Heather this is a really good post, but I do think at first affiliate marketing is a great thing. I mean take MyLeadSystemPro for an example. If you have something like that that personally brands you as a leader, as wel as helps you get quick commissions without having to invent a full new system from scratch, you should be happy.

    Creating products is good and all, but I know when I was knew that wasn’t easy! I didn’t know anything about network marketing or internet marketing. I did however, write my own ebook, but with no traffic, i had no one to sell it to, or even give it to! lol

    I think first and foremost people need to master traffic generation. If you can do that, you’re going to make money. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re getting 30 leads a day you can sell your products or someone else’s and still make enough to quit your job!

    But all in all great post, and you’re absolutely right branding yourself is key today. Especially online, where if you don’t brand yourself, someone else is going to brand themselves and take all of your prospects!

    This is my first time here, and I’m glad I came! : ) I’m new to the Tribe so I’m sure I’ll be seeing you around!

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Landon,

      Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by and shared your thoughts!

      I added a p.s. to the post to include some tips for people who decide an affiliate product or system is right for building their business because you do bring up a valuable point.

      I agree that for a lot of people affiliate marketing is a good first step. There are some great benefits to it, but as far as creating a personal brand for network marketers I can’t agree that it is always the best way to go.

      As network marketers everyone in our company, everyone offering a network marketing opportunity, and everyone who is promoting the same affiliate product is our competition. It’s essential to have something that sets us apart from all the others prospecting online. And creating our own products is a simple way to enhance our brand, establish our credibility and give our followers a reason to do business with us instead of someone else promoting the same or similar offer.

      I love the discussion and I encourage you to continue to share your point of view. I’m thankful you stopped by!


  6. Hi Heather,

    I like how you cut “Branding Yourself” into bite-sized easy to follow steps. I’ve been taking notes and can’t wait for your next piece of the puzzle tomorrow.

    Very well done!


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks so much Ilka,

      I’m so glad that what I’m sharing has been helpful to you! 🙂


  7. Fantastic post Heather

    At first I was thinking “oh no don’t sell someone else’s product” and then you came around with “create your own products”.

    That is exactly how you brand yourself.

    Thanks Heather for another great read.

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks for your comment, Peter!

      I appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts!


  8. Hi Heather,

    Love this post! You’re right, having your own products goes a really long way in creating your personal brand, and positioning yourself where you need to be.

    I’m looking forward to your next post as well.

    Great stuff!


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Susanna!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Thanks for your comment!!!


  9. Hey Heather,

    Personal branding is important. Now, when someone is starting out the best approach to make money online is by affiliate products. Why create something when you are still learning traffic generation methods, creating a killer post, and promoting. You can make money early on in the game to help out with expensive of running an online business by promoting affiliate products. Once you have it nailed on how to generate traffic, writing killer SEO content, and building a list. Then you should go ahead and think about creating a product.

    Right now, there are systems that are available where you don’t have to recreate the wheel and still create a personal brand. You can’t be afraid of giving up a lead to an affiliate product when you know how to generate leads. You have to give before you can receive is something I’ve learned early on in this business.

    Chat with you later…

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks for your comment Josh!

      I added a follow up to my post to include some tips for people who decide to promote their business with an affiliate product. You are right, traffic generation, content creation, and building a list are essentials that every marketer must master, and for some using an affiliate system makes this easier.

      I still recommend people create their own product, even if they decide to promote an affiliate system because it’s a way to brand themselves, add value to their prospects, and set themselves apart from everyone else promoting the same or similar system.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m loving the discussion!!


  10. Can’t wait to see your next post, Heather. Keep the good stuff coming :). Thanks for sharing.


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Janette!

      I believe I will have 2-3 more posts on the topic, but I’m going to see how the writing goes…I want to make sure each post offers incredible content. 🙂


  11. Hi Heather,

    Thanks for this post, I’ve gained a lot from the perspectives and value you’ve shared in this series.
    Following on from the comments above I also see the wisdom of using affiliate products in the early stages whilst learning lead generation, and developing your own products once you have the basics.
    In a way, affiliate marketing can also be seen as leveraging the success of pre-existing products and brands, though as you say it makes a big difference if you’re allowed to capture the lead or not.

    Looking forward to your next post.


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Jym,

      I’ve added some tips to the post for people who choose to use an affiliate product so they’re sure to brand themselves, get their leads, and maximize their efforts.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  12. That’s definitely the best solution to affiliate marketing dilemma: build your own list and send them occasional affiliate offers for products you trust.

    I’ve never thought of the pros and cons of direct affiliate marketing before; you did a great job explaining it, Heather.

    Ana Hoffman

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thank you Ana!

      I appreciate your comment.

      I’ve experienced the pros and cons myself and I thought it was a topic that could help others. I’m glad you received value from it!


  13. Hi Heather,

    You covered this topic in great depth. I particularly liked your list of benefits associated with having your own products. Why would anybody not want to do so?

    ~ Marcus

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks for the comment, Marcus!

      I’m sure there can be a lot of reasons why someone would not want to create their own product but I believe the majority of them would revolve around feeling insecure and not believing in the value that they have to offer to others.

      But…then again, those are the very reasons that so many people struggle to expand their comfort zones in lots of other areas too. 🙁

      Thanks for your comment and leadership!


  14. Hi Heather,

    creating my own product…wow, that sounds amazing. I’m already looking forward to your next, you really made curious, well done 😉

    Thanks for sharing your tips.

    Take care


    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Oliver,

      Product creation seems to be a bigger hot-topic than I thought. I think I’ll have to focus more on that in the future. My next post gives 3 simple steps to creating a product but I think I’ll end up diving in deeper in coming posts to share more resources and suggestions if it seems like everyone is hungry for more information.

      Thanks for your comment!


  15. Wow, Heather! Awesome post as always. I love how you outlined the pros and cons of affiliate marketing and then highlighted the importance of creating and marketing your own product!

    That’s the best way to create and promote your brand.

    I can’t wait for your next post! 🙂

    All the best,
    Mavis Nong

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Thanks Mavis!

      I am glad the post helped you and I hope to way over-deliver on your expectations in my next post!

      Thank you for your comment!


  16. Hey Heather,

    Very thorough work here. You have given me a lot to think about.

    I know I at least have a mini ebook swimming around in my head. Maybe I should move it up higher on my to do list.



    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Neil,

      Get that ebook out of your head and into the hands of people you can help with your information! I want to read it when you’re done!


  17. Hey Heather,

    Great advice here. This is what’s great about the internet. You don’t have to care about publishers who reject your work anymore, and the fact they take most of the profits, because today, you can make your own product virtually for free and sell it at the price that you want to, and keep pretty much all of the profits.

    Plus it’s a super way for you to make sure you know what you’re talking about and position yourself as an expert in your niche.

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Heather C Stephens says:


      Hi…thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment. We think alike for sure! Creating your own product is a fantastic way to get some cash-flow and lead generation to build your business, while establishing your credibility and branding yourself as a leader!


  18. Hey Heather,

    You are dead on with this one, being able to supply your own product allows you to definitly stand out against the millions of other marketers out there. I have created my own eBook like many of on here and am working on my second, it is a daunting task, but it is always worth it after its completed and people are so thankful. Keep up the great posts and thank you!

    • Heather C Stephens says:

      Hi Robert!

      Creating an ebook is a daunting task, but it can be done in a matter of a few weeks of focused attention and you end up with something you can leverage for a long time to come! It’s so worth it!

      Thanks for your comment!

  19. I agree, creating your own product is going to brand you a lot faster… I’m still beating around that thought as far as a newbie is concerned… Network Marketing is a skill just like anything else. If new people that don’t know what they are doing start creating their own products, they may “Appear” like a guru, but the information they provide could be complete garbage.

    I’d rather buy a useful affiliate product rather than some unsuccessful person’s garbage. The promotion of established leaders is fine so long as we are building our own lists in the process… LMAO… that being said, I like the concept. Nice post Heather.

    • Heather C Stephens says:


      I totally get what you are saying and I am in no way suggesting that anyone produce sub quality information. That is certainly no way to create a strong personal brand!

      But, I think where you and I differ is that no all products have to be centered around the skills of network marketing. If someone is promoting a network marketing business, they could create an information product related to their company’s products. An example would be someone who is building a business in the health and wellness industry and was a vegetarian or into organic gardening could create an information product on those subjects and their business products and opportunity are related to that! People who are into organic gardening or being vegetarian or vegan are very likely to be interested in other health and wellness products or biz op!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I totally agree that no-one wants garbage information and I encourage EVERYONE to leverage their strengths in their branding, and not try to fake-it-til-you-make-it!



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