Put Your Customers and Subscribers at Ease – Building Relationships Pt. V
I hope you’ve been enjoying and learning from my Building Relationships for the Long Term series of posts. This post is even longer than the last, so I do apologize. Sometimes it’s hard to cut things short (and I talk a lot). Today I’m going to talk about how you can put your customers and subscribers at ease, feel like they can talk to you about their questions and concerns, and that you actually care about what they have to say.
One of the easiest, but most overlooked ways to implement getting people to warm up to you and feel like you value them and want to help them, is to ask them simple questions. It’s a common fact that everybody’s favorite subject is themselves, so why not show some interest?
How Can You Do That?
Ask questions and do things that require some sort of interaction from your readers. It doesn’t really matter what you ask. You can ask questions that are completely unrelated to what your newsletter/emails are about, so long as you can get people to respond.
When you get them used to doing things you ask them to do, no matter what it is, it’s easy for them to keep doing things you ask them to do – for instance, buying the products and services that you recommend.
The more you can get your readers to communicate with you, the more they feel like they know and can trust you. When you put your customers and subscribers at ease, they become much more open to you and your suggestions.
A relationship (as far as an online newsletter or email course goes) is nothing more than two people (you and each individual subscriber) knowing what their place is in relation to each other.
You are the provider of helpful information and someone who wants to help your reader succeed at something. You must get that across.
Your reader is someone who will learn to trust your advice and listen to your recommendations because you have built up a history of doing things that seem to benefit them more than they seem to benefit you.
Remember, perception (or what people believe) is the only truth that really matters as far as they’re concerned.
Keep it Real
The Internet is a cold and distant place. That’s actually to your advantage because if you can consistently get across to your readers that you are a real person with real concerns (just like them) and you know what it’s like for them to be in the situation they’re in because you’ve been there, you won’t have any trouble getting people to warm up to you – all part of being able to put your customers and subscribers at ease.
People in general tend to like others who look out for them because people (again, in general) think about themselves first. If it seems like another person is looking out for them first then that person will automatically take a high position in their eyes.
In other words, when you’re writing, not every link in post or newsletter has to be an affiliate link for a product you’ll get paid from.
Your readers are buying products and services all the time that aren’t putting money in your pockets so it doesn’t hurt you at all to tell them about a product or service that you won’t make money from. This sets you up to make money when you do have something to recommend that will put a commission check in your pocket.
To set yourself up to make money you have to give, give, give and then give some more. Now it’s important to note that I’m not saying that you have to give everything away. Giving (as I’m using the term) means to give of yourself – share stories with your readers, point them to helpful resources and let them know about things they probably haven’t found on their own.
In other words, offer your guidance. That’s why they signed up to your mailing list. Not for a bunch of ads they can find on their own. Is it going to be easy? Not all the time. There will be difficult situations but there will also be customers who will be very appreciative of the advice and service that you provide. Hence, once again, your ability to put your customers and subscribers at ease.
Now, how do you handle difficult situations so that they do not upset you? The best way to handle this is to calmly listen to the customer. Often, you may have a solution even before the problem has been described. Stop to listen first. Then ask clarification questions, if necessary, before providing the resolution.
Do You Care?
There’s no point in building a list if your readers don’t think you care about them. Take the time to care about your readers otherwise you don’t deserve to have them as subscribers. When you give to your list, you always get back much more in return so you’re actually being selfish by being unselfish. Knowing that you will get back more than you give ahead of time allows you to focus on giving.
There are some publishers I’ve listened to, above all others, and when I took the time to try and figure out why, it hit me. They all do one thing that now seems so obvious. Something you may feel compelled NOT to do. They all give me valuable information many times without promoting any products in some of the emails they send me.
They give me pages and pages of content I can actually do something with. When they do have an affiliate link in an email I don’t even care they’ll be getting a commission from my purchase because of all the great content surrounding that affiliate link.
Am I saying you should give away your commissions? No.
I’m simply trying to get the point across that you don’t need to be an affiliate for every product or website you happen to mention to your readers under the guise of trying to help them. It’s really not necessary anyway. Put your customers and subscribers at ease by over delivering – always.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t promote products to your readers. You should. Just don’t club them over the head with your offers before they’ve gotten a chance to get a feel for you and if you’re someone who’s looking out for their interests or just your own. Remember you want to build a relationship with them.
Some of the publishers I pay attention to are ones who, from time to time, will pass on resources to me just because they think those resources would be of interest to me and my goals. When someone does something for you “just because”, without appearing to gain anything financially from it, especially online, you take notice.
Perception is about appearances. You have to present yourself as you would like others to see you. If you want others to see you as someone who is giving and truly interested in them and what they want to accomplish, then you have to do things that make you look that way.
When you pass on helpful information to your readers because you feel like that information will help them without necessarily promoting a product, it accomplishes two things:
- Passing on resources to your subscribers without always worrying about your commissions builds trust because they start to think that you want to help them and not just get money from them. This makes them more willing to give you money when you ask for it. That’s just the way it works.
- Prompting your subscribers to send you feedback on the products and resources you tell them about is what helps to make your list responsive to your future offers. Get your readers used to interacting with you. Get them used to doing what you ask. In order to do that, you have to keep asking them to do stuff.
When you find anything you think is useful and think your subscribers will find useful as well, pass it on to them even if you don’t get a commission from a product they buy.
You don’t have to do that every single time you write something, but do it and ask them for their opinions on what you wrote. Writing to your readers without caring about getting commissions for every single product you mention is a small price to pay in the long run for the level of trust you inspire.
That trust (built on the fact that you have shown your readers they are more than just a dollar sign) and the fact that you’ve been able to put your customers and subscribers at ease is what will set you apart from 99.9% of the other publishers out there.
Let’s be real. I publish to profit – period.
If my subscribers don’t buy from me I stop publishing because at that point it becomes a burden on my time. I am in business to make money and so are you. My readers understand that and so do yours.
What does this mean to your bottom line?
The more you give to your readers without asking for a lot in return the more they’ll feel like they need to give back to you. That’s the law of reciprocation at work. Most of us were taught to give back what we get from people. That being the case, be careful about what you give because what you give is what you can expect to get back. That’s a scary thought huh? 😉
Like I said just a minute ago, your subscribers understand that you are in business to make money. If you don’t make money, you go out of business. The issue, a lot of the time with publishers, is that if you haven’t been giving your readers information they actually value, they won’t care if you stay in business or not which means they won’t bother buying the products you recommend.
I buy products from publishers who do their best to give me value because I want them to stick around. The only way I know how to keep them around is to buy from them.
Give your readers some credit. They know that to keep you in business they have to buy what you recommend. The only real question is do you give them enough value in the form of quality information for them to care if you stay in business or not?
The bottom line is you are a person and your subscribers are people. The Internet, for all its wonders, lacks what many people crave the most, which is to connect with another human being. The Internet is faceless and impersonal. Use that to your advantage – put your customers and subscribers at ease by really getting to know them and rendering the Internet more personal.
Be a real person to your readers. Whenever you create an information product (an article or even just a simple report) do so with the intention of putting together something that will actually help people do something specific. Help people achieve a goal.
Don’t worry so much about your commission checks. Those will be there if your readers feel like you’ve earned them.
You earn them (commission checks), by not making them your focus. Focus on giving value to the people who keep you in business. You can’t afford to be one of the many publishers who forget that.
People want to interact with other people online – especially those who share valuable information. Give your readers those two things (interaction to put your customers and subscribers at ease and valuable information) and you’ll quickly discover as I have that you magically have more active readers instead of just subscribers.
Something that may help… Do what I do.
Write as much as you can without using any affiliate links at all. Focus on the content without distracting yourself with how you will get paid from what you write. After you have the content nailed down you can always go back and add an affiliate link to a good product (you have used) that supports what you’ve written.
When you become known as someone who gives value, you will be perceived as someone who also promotes valuable products. If people feel that the information you give away is bad then they assume that anything you promote is bad as well.
It’s all about perception. Remember that and you’ll be OK.
Project the image of yourself that you want your readers to see. Want them to see you as someone who cares about them? Then do the things you need to do, like give them information you KNOW will help them even if you don’t get a check from it.
You should care about your readers… Our actions dictate who we are and who people see us to be.
If you do something long enough it will become a habit that’s a part of who you are.
It can be hard to really care about someone who doesn’t do things for you (like buy your products) but by focusing on your subscribers’ wants and needs (like if you put your customers and subscribers at ease) they will start to put money in your pockets and I guarantee you’ll start to love them then.
And remember … always do what you do for a specific reason. Figure out YOUR Why…
You’re not giving to your subscribers just for the heck of it. This is your purposeful attempt to show them that you value them and see them as more than just a dollar sign.
Doing that allows you (over time) to convert more subscribers into customers because they will want to buy from you to make sure that you stay in business. If you don’t provide your readers with valuable content, they won’t care if you stay in business or not so you can kiss your commission checks and main income goodbye.
I realize that this post about Building Relationships for the long Term was quite long, so I apologize. However, even if it seems like I’m repeating myself, I’m really trying to make a valuable point… lol So – don’t forget to put your customers and subscribers at ease.
Look for my next post lesson soon – I’ll be talking more about giving your readers what they want.