Should You Focus on Building Your Downline or Your Brand?

I read an interesting email today, that raised some interesting points. Someone posed the question:

“What should I be focusing on in my business right now, building my brand or building my downline”

The response was that at the very basic level- “attraction marketing” is not about “brand building.” And instead, the questions that should be asked are ones like:

  • What is my ideal prospect?
  • What is their biggest problem?
  • Where do they spend their time?
  • Can you reach them in a cost-effective way?
  • How big is the market?
  • What can I offer that’s somewhat different from the other “stuff” being offered?

Interestingly, these questions….are all part of BUILDING A BRAND!

Now, let’s back up for just a second, and discuss the overarching question:

What is a Brand?

It’s not often that I quote Wikipedia for a definition, but I’m going to in this instance…

“a Brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key constituencies: Customers, Staff, Partners, Investors etc.”

One of the biggest misconceptions about “branding” is that it’s solely about the “packaging”- what’s on the label…

That’s WRONG!

Yes, packaging (the picture, the color, the “tagline”, the “jingle”) that’s all part of it, but the FIRST step in building a brand (as you can see in my previous video) is identifying your target market (or, as Wikepedia phrased it, your ‘key constituencies’)

Attraction marketing is far more than just sitting back waiting for some magical magnetism to bring prospects to you. And Branding is far more a pretty package. At the end of the day, you need to have a Plan of Action before launching into “providing value”

That’s why, if you look at my Intro Video- you’ll see that my approach to helping entrepreneurs build their brand online is three-fold:

Define Your Brand (i.e, finding your target market)

Building Your Brand (i.e, communicating your brand to your target market)

Monetizing Your Brand (i.e, cash-flowing targeted solutions to your target market).

One of the biggest mistakes that beginning Internet Marketers make is that they rush out to offer “Value” because that’s what attraction marketing is, right? “Offering valuable solutions to people, so they’ll know, like and trust you.”

But here’s the thing….

Value is in the eye of the beholder.

A twenty-dollar bill doesn’t have the same “value” in the eyes of a homeless person, as it does to a millionaire, right?

You’ve got to offer value to the right people! The people who are looking for the solutions you are providing.

How do you know if you’re offering value to the “right” people?

Well, you’ve got to know who your target market is!

The next part of the equation is, if you’re attempting to provide a solution to a problem your prospect is having… what do you think is the first thing they will want to know?

“Why Should I Listen To You?”

If you’re going to have heart surgery, are you going to go to some general practitioner you found in the phone book?

Geez, I hope not! ; )

You’ve got be make sure that the cardiologist is qualified, right?

How are you going to do that? By checking their credentials!

So, you’ve got to let your target market know why they should listen to you! One way to do that is through your brand.

For example, why do my husband Rich and I know anything about branding?

Well, Rich was an advertising agency executive for over 14 years, during which time he worked with Fortune 500 companies like FedEx, Walmart, International Paper, Mazola (just to name a few) on their branding and advertising. I have a BA in Advertising from Southern Methodist University (Go Mustangs!), and a history of using branding to building up and sell various (usuallly charitable “endeavors”).

Most recently, I’ve gone from being out of the industry for a year and a half to working on projects with the top leaders in our industry (like Jim Yaghi and DiDi Alcheva), masterminding with industry leaders and securing a spot in the Top 15 MLM Blogs for 2010… in just 5 months!

How?

Branding.

Now, I know what you’re thinking….

I’m new! I don’t know anything about anything!

You don’t have to be an expert per se, before you “brand” yourself.

What you do need to do, is first figure out your target market (I have a series of videos on this topic) and then determine what problems this market is having, and focus your solutions towards solving those problems.

If you’re still feeling a bit unsure about the “branding” thing- don’t worry!

I’ll be posting lots more content on this topic, as Rich and I are in the process of creating the ultimate branding course that will launch in the Spring 2011 to help you- so stay tuned!

But, until that time, you must realize that you may very well already have a skill set that will allow you to offer solutions right now! That’s one of the things I focus on with my consulting clients- discovering their current skillset and showing them how they capitalize on it online.

For example, this past summer, at the request of Traffic Monster, Jim Yaghi, I tapped into my attorney background to create a new book about Pay-Per-Click compliance issues on the major advertising platforms, entitled Slapped: Lessons from the Internet Marketing Graveyard which will be launching in January.

Seemingly unrelated skills can serve you well as an online marketer- I’m a testament to that!

Alternatively, you can research the solutions and become an authority on the topic. There are so many ways to go about building your brand- regardless of whether or not you think you are an “expert” or not.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Determine your target market, their problems and the solutions. (If you don’t have the solutions, find them and share them)
  • Pick an area on which to focus. People need to know generally what you’re going to offer them. Don’t make the mistake of being “all over the map”. Let people know what that area is.

For example, when people come to my blog, they know that I’m talking about branding … I’m not talking about Copywriting or Cold-Calling leads. Remember- someone who tries to be the master of everything, ends up being the “master of nothing.”

  • Be transparent. Don’t hide behind your computer- show your face, do a video, etc.
  • Share Your Qualifications. Let people know why they should listen to you regarding a specific topic.

(i.e, ” Bob has been studying copywriting for the past 3 months” or “Laura has been a freelance writer for the past three years”)

Utlimately, I believe that you must make a conscious effort to build your brand. It won’t magically appear.

And besides- the number one reason why people create a brand is to distinguish themselves, their products and their services from the masses.

If you don’t do this from the get-go, it’s like you’re a faceless individual in a crowded room. That’s not how you want to start your business.

If you’re serious about building your business, you need a plan.

“Winging-it” or developing a plan “later” isn’t a very good idea.

If you’re building a house- do you want the contractor to “wing it” or just create a blueprint after he starts putting stuff together?

I wouldn’t!

Your business is no different- get a plan in place.

If you’re lost- we can help. You can start by signing up for my free video series on the right.

To the Top!

7 Responses to “Should You Focus on Building Your Downline or Your Brand?”

  1. rowenabolo Says:

    Hi Natasha, all i can say is Wow!…

    I must admit, I was feeling frustrated today, trying to think of what my next steps will be. I find this post to be very concise, and exactly just what I needed to see, now that I’m kind of lost and without focus.
    Thanks so much for your wonderful insights & tips.

    p.s. I’m watching your video series, and the hubby-wife-tandem is a powerful brand! =)
    rowenabolo recently posted..My Seven Favorite Asian Network Marketers

  2. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Rowena- We all feel frustrated at one time or another. But isn’t it funny how answers seem to magically appear? I totally believe in that saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear!

    Just checked out your blog today, and I’m way impressed! Seems like you’re on the right path! Keep up the great work, and if there’s anything I can ever do to help- just let me know!

    Hugs!
    Natasha

  3. Janette Stoll Says:

    Hi Natasha,

    You shared a lot of great points! It’s so true for new networkers that sell to everyone and ‘everyone’ is not your target market. You need to narrow your focus and know exactly what your prospects want/need and looking for. That starts with knowing what you want to do so you don’t try to be everything to everyone. There are a lot of thriving small niches.

    Janette Stoll

    PS Your site is full of great tips :)

  4. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words Janette! Looking forward to providing lots more valuable information in 2011! Glad you stopped by ;)

  5. Jason Reagan Says:

    Wow. These words really hit home for me so thank you. I can even prove it because I found your blog by listening to someone else that I trust and has branded himself: Casey Eberhart. And I’m so glad I found you as well now. :)

  6. Candice Michelle Says:

    I was thinking that blogs should have a page where their visitors could put the problems that they would want the owner of the blog to give a solution or a certain topic that they would like to know more. In this way, you can easily know their problems and you can give an ideal solution for it.
    Candice Michelle recently posted..home loan rate

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