Key to Building a Subscriber List: Trust!



Trust earned begets loyalty

Let me begin by saying that there are many elements of a home-based business that are specific to that business type in the same way that there are those elements of a Web-based business that are specific to that business type; but there is a set of elements shared by both business types in today’s business landscape and many of those common elements have been discussed in many of the posts of this site. One such element is trust.

While the rest of the world have developed many barriers and protections to keep their email accounts spam-free, there are also those who subscribe to emails that promote their products, services and websites because this particular group of subscribers want to know more about what these sites are offering that may be beneficial for them. They subscribe because they wish to be kept informed about marketplace aspects that interest them as well as new trends and developments in the field they’ve chosen.

Most businesses would be fortunate to have this type of subscriber as representative of their customer base; but attracting and cultivating such subscribers would require the business to demonstrate the one basic element needed to do so. That element is trust. However, it is a known fact – offline as well as online – that before consumers will entrust a business with their time, information and money they must first know and like that business. Only then will consumers trust the business, after which they will reward it with their loyalty.

Enhanced security steps

This is evidenced by the fact that many internet users have gone to great lengths to protect their email accounts from spam mail, supported by the steps taken by some free-mail internet providers and internet service providers (ISPs) to offer spam protection while others incorporated the added step of screening the incoming emails of their users. These considerate and well meaning steps taken by the free-mail providers and ISPs have led businesses and email marketers to adopt guidelines set forth by the CAN-SPAM Act and require anyone wanting emailed information to authorize such emails by providing their name and email address via an “opt-in” (subscriber) Web form.

An opt-in or subscriber email list therefore consists of members who have agreed to receive email sent by the business or email marketer which might contain promotional material such as newsletters, catalogs and marketing media which should be permitted through by ISPs (although some are still held up). When intended recipients are able to read and view email sent by the business it is considered a successful transfer of information; but it starts with securing the trust of internet users not previously known to the business, and vice-versa.

Credibility begets trust

The entire process of getting consumers to know, like and trust you and your business is no doubt a huge accomplishment and, in the realm of Web marketing, major achievement; but it is worth every minute spent in doing so. That having been said the following paragraphs provide a few suggestions as well as some steps a business – both Web-based and home-based – can take to gain the trust of potential list members.

Although described above as a process it does not mean that getting the trust of website visitors should not be too difficult a task, especially if you have a legitimate business; because part of getting your customers’ trust is undoubtedly based upon your expertise, and people tend to rely on professionals who know what they are talking about. So demonstrating credible knowledge, trends and industry norms about the business you chose is a good first step in getting consumers to pay attention to your business; and if you are not yet in an established business, a display of such know-how and industry savvy could go a long way toward that objective.

Put another way, show your prospective subscribers and customers that you know what you are talking about by provide them with helpful hints and guidelines that pertain to what you are promoting and/or selling. Talk about how to install a roof if you’re into hardware products, or provide articles on insurance settlements if you’re a settlement lawyer. You don’t have to be a big corporation to make use of an subscriber list. If your customers see you as someone who knows what s/he is doing and saying, they will trust you quicker than otherwise.

Trust builds reputation

Be true to your customers in the sense that if you want to hype your products/services it enhances your credibility to provide guarantees, because the more satisfied your customers are the more of a probability that they will recommend you to others; and those recommendations and referrals would help to build your reputation in the marketplace since it is a known fact that most people tend to trust someone they know and when that someone recommends you there is a greater probability that you’ll be more of an acceptable choice. Some of these recommended folks will go to your site just to check it for themselves and others will go to make a purchase.

Another tip in getting a customer to trust you quickly is to provide them an escape out of any agreement or contract they signed with you. This shows them that you are not there to trap them into something they really don’t want. A good example of how to do this is by providing a link at the bottom of each email you send that would enable them to unsubscribe anytime they want. In addition you can modify your web form by providing information on how to unsubscribe from the list. Guarantee them that they can let go of the service whenever they want to, thereby removing any reason for them to be wary (leery?) about signing up in the first place.

It may help to keep in mind that when you get the trust of your website visitors and potential customers and clients you must do everything within your power to keep that trust, because if you don’t cherish (place the highest value) on it, chances are you won’t have it for too long. For example, if you do anything with their email addresses like sell them or farm them out to others who should not have them, you will lose many members of your list as well as members of your customer base. The quickest way to degrade the quality of your subscriber list and collapse your customer base is to disappoint those who have recommended others to you. So keep the trust.

Making Residual Affiliate Programs Work for You





Affiliate payment structures

The term residual income, when used in the context of long-term income, can be replaced by the term, leveraged earnings which might be the most coveted source of income in the sales profession. The most significant difference between the two methods of earnings might be that residual income is earned repeatedly for a single sale by the individual salesperson, whereas leveraged income is earned repeatedly based on the sales of others (recruits/sub-agents).

It is important to understand however, that leveraged income can be earned without residual payments when group leaders, managers, recruiters and other such agents have utilized their leadership skills to hire, train and motivate other people to go out and make sales that are considered “one and done” with no prospects for repeated payments on the sold item; unlike sales of magazine subscriptions, insurance policies or membership dues, which are paid for on an ongoping basis.

But staying on the subject of affiliate marketing and the various programs and payment structures utilized by online merchants, if you are a webmaster in need of additional income; or you are planning to set up a Web-based business but you do not have a product or service to sell, affiliate marketing may be the best solution for your particular situation, since you really wouldn’t need to worry about creating a product because the merchants will provide them.

Affiliate-merchant relationships

All you would need to have is a website with interesting content that is related to any product or service you decide to market. By joining a particular affiliate program, or by becoming an independent affiliate representing various merchants, you can start earning money right away thereby meeting the financial demands of your unique situation; but in order to ensure that your earnings from sales can be relied upon to come repeatedly, you will have to align yourself with those merchants that offer residual income, a task that may be easier said than done.

To be a good or super affiliate marketer and make the kind of money you expect to make it is important to understand the nature of affiliate marketing as it relates to the kind of business relationship that established between merchant and affiliate. In affiliate marketing, an affiliate agrees to direct traffic to a merchant’s website or product page, and if that traffic is converted into the visitor taking any kind of action like making a purchase subscribing to a service, the directing (referring) affiliate will be compensated.

Compensation may take the form of either a percentage of any sales made in the form of a commission or a fixed fee predetermined upon the application of the affiliate with the merchant’s affiliate program. Based on this kind of arrangement between affiliate and merchant, both having mutual interests in its success and deriving mutual benefits from it, affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular Web marketing methods today.

Set fee versus residual income

In fact, almost every merchant or retailer site today offers an affiliate program that any one can join; and most retailers would entice people to become affiliates or members of their program by promising great benefits like large commissions, lifetime commissions, click through incomes and various other benefits; but would it be reasonable to think that all these affiliate programs offer the same benefits? Read on to learn how reasonable such a thought might be.

Most affiliate programs would pay affiliates a one-time commission for every sale or lead referred to the merchant’s website by those affiliates; and such one-time commissions are usually large – ranging from 15% to a high of about 60%. Other affiliate programs would pay a fixed fee for every click through or visitor referred to the merchant’s site by any affiliate; and programs like this often pay a smaller amount for every click through – usually not amounting to any more than half a dollar, even in the case when no purchase is made but the visitor becomes a lead.

Residual affiliate programs usually pay only a small percentage of a sale as commission for every sale referred by the affiliate to the merchant’s site. This commission is often in the range of 10% to 20% of sales made; and because of this many people ignore residual affiliate programs and opt rather, for the higher paying one-time commission offered by other affiliate programs. So depending on their financial objectives and individual preferences, marketers make their choices.

Contrasting income modes

However, for a marketer to ignore residual affiliate programs based solely on the fact that fees or commissions are smaller would be to forego a reliable and – over the long term – substantial income stream; because despit the fact that residual affiliate programs pay at a lower rate, merchants offering such programs would generally pay regular and ongoing commissions for a single affiliate initiated sale. That means you, as an affiliate of a affiliate program can get paid on a regular and ongoing basis.

Just to elaborate a little further, suppose there are two online merchants both offering web hosting services on their sites. The first merchant offers a one-time commission type of affiliate program that pays $80 for every single affiliate initiated sale. The second merchant also offers an affiliate program, but it is a residual affiliate program that pays only $10 monthly for every single affiliate initiated sale for every customer that opens a hosting account.

Naturally an affiliate may get attracted to the larger commission of $80 being offered by the first merchant, instead of the smaller amount of $10; but by thinking things over before actually getting involved with one or the other, the affiliate may be able to better understand that the second merchant is offering more of an opportunity to earn a larger amount of money since the $10 will be made on a continuous basis for as long as the customer has the account.

Making the choice

So for the same effort of getting one customer to subscribe to the merchant’s service, you get paid monthly in residual affiliate programs while you only get paid once in a one-time commission type of affiliate programs. That having been said, are residual affiliate programs worth promoting? Definitely yes, because you simply get more money from these types of affiliate programs in the long run; and would residual affiliate programs work best for you? It depends, but with the benefits that residual affiliate programs can provide, it would really be unwise to ignore such programs.