As I’ve said many times, without a relationship, business dies. Your subscribers need to know both who you are and that you care about them and their success. Otherwise, you can kiss your hopes of building a successful, money-making list goodbye.
“But Michael, how am I supposed to tell people I don’t know that I care about them?”
Your action speak louder than your words. Prove to them that:
1. You’re someone who can be trusted
2. You want to see them succeed and reach their goals.
Why does it matter?
Think about it for a minute. Are you more likely to buy from someone you know and trust or a shady guy offering you a deal?
Obviously it depends how good the deal is.
BUT… in general you’d go with the person you know and trust, right? Right.
For example: I need a reliable laptop to be able to do my work. I need something that will put up with my abuse and last a long time. Further, I need awesome software and hardware support should I ever have a problem. I can’t afford to be without my machine for a week at a time.
Now, I have a couple of options.
I could buy a machine from a brand I don’t recognize, saving a few bucks and hoping it lasts and hoping their support is decent
Or, I could choose a brand I know makes great machines and supports them well.
One’s a risk. The other’s a safe bet.
You want to be the safe bet for your subscribers. Don’t make them feel like they’re taking a risk if they buy what you’re offering. Don’t ask them to feel that way.
So what’s the solution?
It boils down to trust. What’s a great way to build trust? Ensure they know you care.
Now, how do we do that?
Provide real value
“What’s in it for me?”
That’s what your subscribers are asking. They didn’t sign up for you to waste their time. They want something for their trouble.
Why should anyone join your list? Further, why should anyone stay on your list? Because you’re providing the kind of useful, helpful content they want.
People are funny. We’re full of question and problems.
We want answers to our question and solution to our problems – and we’re willing to pay anyone who can provide question and answers.
But let’s take it a bit further.
Are you grateful for people who have taught you important lessons? You should be. Do you feel valued by the people who have taken the time to help you grow? I hope so.
Taking the time to pour into people, and they will be thankful.
Ask questions and Invite feedback
“Wait, you care what I think?”
Something that always impresses me about the good marketers is something actually stupidly simple: they ask for feedback.
Why is that a big deal?
There is no shortage of arrogance in the world. Too often people are so content with their work that they feel insulted if you dare question or critique it.
Sad, but true.
I have far more respect for someone who releases an okay product but asks for my feedback than for someone who puts out a high quality product and doesn’t care for feedback. (Obviously, the point isn’t to let asking for feedback be a substitute for producing a freaking awesome product.)
Someone who asks for my input is involving me in the process, and I appreciate that.
How can you start doing this with your subscribers? How about asking them to review your lead magnet?
In several of my lists, I have an email scheduled that typically goes something like this:
I hope you’re loving <name of my product>! I want <name of my product> to be an amazing resource for you, but I need your feedback.
I’ve put a lot of time and hard work into it. I think it’s pretty great, but it’s not my opinion that counts! It’s yours!
I would be very grateful if you could hit reply on this email and let me know what you think.
Love it? Hate it? Please tell me!
Should I change something? Add something? Please let me know.
Your input will help to improve <name of my product> for everyone!
Let’s kick butt together!
People love to have their voices heard. Give them the opportunity, and they won’t let you down. I’ve also found this to be a great way to spark conversations with individual subscribers. When they reply, we can carry on a discussion, get to know each other, and grow together.
On a personal note, that’s my favorite part of building a business. Yes, the money is nice, but building genuine relationships with people – that’s sweet too.
Never promote junk
I shouldn’t have to say this, but sadly I do.
The web is full of crap products. If you’ve been around affiliate marketing for more than a day, you know there are products out there that need to go straight to the garbage.
Sadly, some marketers (who shall not be named here) think it’s acceptable to produce low quality, scammy junk and pass it off as the next world-changing invention.
Now, hopefully you would never knowingly, willingly promote garbage to your subscribers. But some people do. They figure, “Hey, I know this product may suck, but at least I’ll make some money.”
If that’s your attitude, close this browser window and go do something else.
You’re not ready.
Promoting a product you know to be crap is the epitome of slimy. Don’t ever do this. Ever.
But on a practical level, consider how your subscribers would react.
You promote a product. They buy it. They realize it’s a crap product. How do you think they’ll respond?
Do you think they’ll be happy or ticked? Will they ever buy from you again? Don’t count on it.
To them, it doesn’t matter if you knew it was a bad product or not. What does matter is you recommended it. You are the one that convinced them to part with their hard-earned money. You are the one who should have known better.
And they know it.
If they see you promoting junk product after junk product, do you think they’re going to feel valued? Heck no. They’re going to know you’re in it for a quick buck – not to help them.
Instead, take time to research each and every product you promote. Everything. Consider the risks and benefits for your subscribers. Is this something you would be happy buying? If not, don’t promote it.
Over time, you want to develop the reputation for being someone who will only ever promote products that are valuable and worth buying.
As you do, you will find your subscribers more and more likely to trust you with their money – whether they’re buying a product you’ve created or one you’re promoting as an affiliate.
Remember: Your subscribers aren’t numbers
All too often, I see email marketers treat their subscribers like numbers or a paycheck. Sadly, they forget that each and every person on a list is a real human being with real hopes and real needs.
It’s not wrong to want to make money with your email list. In fact, I’d say that should be one of your goals.
But, when you allow that hope to obscure the fact that these are real people and not just a paycheck, you have a problem.
Consciously building a relationship with your list has obvious business advantages.
Subscribers will be
1. More likely to spend money with you
2. More engaged with your content.
But the advantages go a bit further. Forcing yourself to think in these terms – I think – keeps your mind out of the sand and firmly planted in reality.
With every bit of content you produce, be intentional. Ask yourself, “How is this going to impact my relationship with my contacts?” Force yourself to produce content that adds value to peoples’ lives and genuinely helps them.
Business is about people
As my friend and fellow entrepreneur rightly says, “If you do this for the money, you will fail.”
Business rightly executed isn’t about chasing the next dollar. It’s not. At it’s core it’s about freedom and helping people.
I make a big deal about building a relationship on this site. If you’re one of my subscribers or customers, you know why.
Why am I passionate about list building? Because I know it works.
Why do I want to teach you? Because I know it works.
I want to see peoples’ lives change for the better. Is that your goal? If not, why not?
Show your subscribers you care
Caring goes a long way. I know you’re hoping to make money. I know you want to grow your business.
But I implore you not to let that become your only goal.
Your subscribers are real people, and they need help and guidance. You are in a perfect position to provide that help and be that guide. By opt-ing in to your list, your subscribers have opted to trust you with their personal information and their inboxes.
Don’t abuse that trust, or you’ll find yourself losing it – and them.