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How to Get People to Sign Up for Your Email List and More of Your March Questions Answered

Including the difference between taking inspiration from and copying a website design you love and how to build an employee incentive plan.




How to Get People to Sign Up for Your Email List and More of Your March Questions Answered

I want to introduce an incentive plan for my sales staff. What do you recommend?

There are so many things to consider — monetary incentives versus spiffs, commission-only versus a mix of base and commission, the percentages to be paid on products with different margins and then staff such as your support crew who don’t actually make direct sales — that we’re going to skip over the details and go big picture … Whatever you decide, keep these guiding principles in mind:

  • Don’t use incentive pay as a substitute for leadership. Build a team culture around productivity. Communicate your expectations to your team and hold them accountable.
  • Forecast the financial impact of any incentive payouts, and have a fallback plan in case the market changes.
  • Be wary of commission-only. Most of the successful plans we have heard involve a three-part bonus tied to the success of the individual, the team, and the store. Commission-only and even base-plus commission can encourage selfish behavior on the part of sales associates, and in some cases poison the entire atmosphere in the store.
I need to take my website to the next level. Should I just tell my web designer to copy a famous site’s design?

When you say “copy,” we assume you mean take inspiration from a particular website in following best or common practice (such as placing the search box in the top-right-hand corner). That is a smart idea. There is a general consensus on what makes a good, appealing looking website (easy navigation, fast download times, a good visual hierarchy, attractive color schemes, etc.). But be aware that big companies have different needs or motivations determining their design ideas — minimalism works well for Google while the color red sends a certain message for a luxury brand like Cartier that may not work for a small retailer. So yes to inspiration, no to slavish copying. And be sure to run some usability tests. Little things, such as a misplaced “sign-in” versus a “sign-up” space can really throw a user. Remember, web users don’t read, they just do. Testing doesn’t have to take very long. Your web designer should be able to do a mockup the proposed design in a day or two and you can start testing it immediately with different aged people.

My daughter will graduate soon with a business degree and I’d like to bring her into the practice. What’s the best job description and how do I work out how to pay her?

Lauren Owen, a principal at Redpoint Succession and Leadership Coaching, says that assuming you’ve had a heart-to-heart on “earning the role” and actually have a real position available, you’ll want a job description that details:

  • Day-to-day activities and responsibilities;
  • Who she reports to, and who reports to her;
  • Skills needed for the above.

As for her pay, that should be commensurate with her job and her performance (and not her status as your daughter). Share her job description with other ECP contacts to determine a fair salary. “Build in clear performance bonuses that reward the behavior you want her to demonstrate,” Owen says.

I’m not having much luck getting people to sign up for my emails. What should I do?

You’re not alone. According to a survey by LoyaltyOne, 74% of American and Canadian consumers don’t see much benefit from sharing personal information with marketers. In addition, more than 40% said that in the previous year they had used cash instead of a card precisely to protect that private data. So what is it they want in exchange for their email address and other contact information?

  • Discounts
  • Offers tailored to what they want or need
  • Information on new products and services

But giving them what they want is also not enough. You have to win their trust, and that requires:

  • Being transparent. Express in straightforward language what you are offering and what’s in it for the customer.
  • Safeguarding their data. Don’t pass on contact information to marketers.
  • Maintaining frequency at a welcome level.

“Create real value for the customer,” says LoyaltyOne president Bryan Pearson. “It’s not about the cash, points or coupons. It’s about something bigger — relevancy.”




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