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How to Make Rules That People Will Follow



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Businesses are having to make a lot of decisions and impose a lot of rules right now. Maybe it’s rules to keep customers safe, to make sure employees are well taken care of, or perhaps to be in compliance with state and local laws to help control the pandemic. Or all of the above. Every public-facing business has had to introduce a change of rules and new protocols.

There’s nothing wrong with imposing new rules, especially when they are in the best interest of others. The problem comes in when imposing rules without context. When there isn’t context, the backstory behind the rule, you are less likely to get people to follow along.

Give people a reason to follow

There was a church with a beautiful lawn in a park-like setting that local residents enjoyed walking their dogs. Unfortunately not all dog lovers are responsible parents of their fur-babies and were leaving piles of dog poop around which became a problem for the church. They put up signs asking people to pick up after their dogs. It didn’t help. They added signs that warned of a fine if they didn’t pick up after their dog. Have you ever seen that enforced? Most people know that’s an idle threat so as you might expect, the signs and threat of a fine were ignored. Until someone had an idea. Signs were posted that said, “Children play here. Please pick up after your dog.”

Apparently the dog poop problem stopped. It’s because people were given a reason to follow the rule. The signs, “Children play here” provided context. Without context people will often not only ignore the request but it can also incite resistance. We humans don’t like to be told what to do without some explanation and reason for the request. The problem is we have many businesses now, as this church was doing initially, imposing rules and not providing a compelling reason to follow the rule.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”

Eliminate confusion

I sat outside a retail store the other day watching a young lady try to manage customers entering the store. There was one set of double doors to enter the store and one set of double doors to exit the store. All in an attempt to count and manage how many people were in the store at one time to keep everyone socially distant. To enter the store, there was a designated pathway, sort of a rope-line as you would see at an airport TSA. Simple enough it seems. It’s not like we haven’t seen it before. 

But not everyone is used to this new pattern when shopping and many people tried to enter through what was now the designated exit. She had to stop every person and redirect them to the end of the line. To make matters worse for reasons I still don’t understand, beside her was an entrance into the rope-line which dead-ended. The shopper needed to walk all the way around to the beginning of the line on the other side. The whole process was unnecessarily confusing. 

Why the entrance into a dead end? Why was the entrance into the line the opposite side of the entrance? This added complication was painful to watch and I could see emotions for the young women and the customers getting elevated in frustration.

Provide an explanation

In another instance I sat at a table enjoying a cappuccino, or should I say trying to enjoy, as customer after customer tried to enter a store in front of me that had the entrance locked. No sign as to why the door was locked. Once again, it was a means to control how many people are in the store by limiting access to one entrance where someone can count. That’s simple enough. 

People will likely follow along if you explain it. Put a sign on the door explaining as much. In this case, they needed a sign that read, “Please enter on the first floor where we can count how many customers we are serving to keep you safe.” They also weren’t doing themselves any favors because if you didn’t see customers through the glass doors you might assume they were closed. A simple explanation and perhaps signage goes a long way.

“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.” – John Wooden

Get everyone on the same side

A salesperson in a men’s clothing store was explaining to me the strict rules they have about trying on clothes. The fitting rooms are closed and now the sales people have been asked to not allow people to try things on in the store. Apparently, some guys are just dropping their pants and trying things on right there on the sales floor. Furthermore, they are not allowing customers to try anything on over their clothes that requires sliding it over your face, such as a sweater that you might want to try on over a shirt. He mentioned that customers are really getting agitated. 

I suggested he get the customers on the same side. My suggestion was to say to the customer, “I know it’s frustrating and we feel the same way. But here at xyz store, we have chosen to be part of the solution and not the problem so that we can stay open and so that you can continue to shop.” Providing some context will get everyone on the same side, set a common goal and explain the bigger issue. We want to stay open so you can shop. Most customers want that too.

I’m all for businesses doing the right thing during these times and being a part of the solution. In the long run, it will expedite when things can get back to normal, whatever normal will be. I’m also certainly in favor of businesses, particularly small businesses, reserving the right to be autonomous, make decisions in their best interest and setting rules. But it’s up to businesses, the ones imposing the rules, to provide some context. Explain the bigger picture of the rule. If rules are tossed out without sufficient explanation you can be assured of resistance and disobedience. Providing context goes a long way.

Whether it’s during a time of necessary changes or at any time a business needs to impose some rules, the key is to inspire compliance with a compelling reason, eliminate confusion, provide sufficient direction, get everyone on the same side and make everyone’s life easier.

Small business consultant, and speaker, Jeffrey Shaw is the author of LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible and The Self-Employed Life: Business and Personal Development Strategies That Create Sustainable Success. Jeffrey's TEDxLincoln Square talk is featured on and he's the host of the top-rated podcast, The Self-Employed Life. Please connect with Jeffrey at or Instagram.

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How to Choose the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers



how to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog

Picking the right affiliate programs for your blog is really important. It can make a big difference in how much money you can make and how much your readers get out of your blog. With so many choices out there, deciding which ones to go with can be tricky. 

This guide is here to make it easier for you. It will give you clear steps and helpful tips to choose affiliate programs that fit well with what your blog is about, what your readers like, and what you stand for. 

For more articles on this theme, please head over to this blog

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

Before you start picking affiliate programs, it’s important to really understand what affiliate marketing is and how it works. 

Basically, affiliate marketing is when you promote a product or service on your blog, and then you get paid a little bit every time someone buys something or does something because you recommended it. 

It’s great for both the person selling the product and the blogger, because the seller gets more sales with low risk, and the blogger can make money from their blog.

How to Choose the Right Affiliate Programs for Your Blog

1. Assess Your Niche and Audience

The key to doing well in affiliate marketing starts with really knowing what your blog is about and who reads it. Consider the following:

  • Your blog’s content: What topics do you cover? Ensure the products or services you promote are relevant.
  • Your audience’s interests and needs: What solutions are they seeking? Choose affiliate programs that offer products or services that solve their problems or enhance their lives.

2. Research Potential Affiliate Programs

Once you know what your blog is about and what your readers want, start looking for affiliate programs. Choose ones that are well-known for good products, great customer service, and helpful support for affiliates. Resources to find these programs include:

  • Affiliate networks like ShareASale, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.
  • Direct searches for “[Your Niche] affiliate programs” in search engines.
  • Recommendations from other bloggers in your niche.

3. Evaluate the Commission Structure

The commission structure is a critical factor to consider. Look for programs that offer competitive rates that make your efforts worthwhile. Consider:

  • The percentage of commission per sale.
  • Whether the program offers a flat rate per action (e.g., per sign-up).
  • The cookie duration, which affects how long after a click you can earn commissions on sales.

4. Consider the Program’s Reputation and Sureness

Join affiliate programs with a solid reputation for quality and sureness. This not only ensures that you’re promoting good products but also that you’ll be paid on time. You can:

  • Read reviews from other affiliates.
  • Check the program’s history and background.
  • Look for any complaints or issues reported online.

5. Analyze the Support and Resources Offered

A good affiliate program gives you things like ads to use, training on their products, and helpful managers. Having access to these resources can really help you do a better job at promoting their products.

6. Understand the Terms and Conditions

Before signing up, thoroughly review the program’s terms and conditions. Pay close attention to:

  • Payment thresholds and methods.
  • Any restrictions on how you can promote their products.
  • The program’s policy on affiliate marketing on social media platforms.

7. Test the Product or Service

If possible, test the product or service before promoting it. This firsthand experience allows you to offer genuine charge and build trust with your audience.

8. Look for Recurring Commission Opportunities

Some affiliate programs pay you again and again for subscriptions or services that charge fees regularly. These can provide a more stable income compared to one-time sales commissions.

Implementing Your Choice

After choosing the best affiliate programs, the next step is to smoothly include your affiliate marketing in your content plan. This includes:

  • Creating valuable content that naturally incorporates affiliate links.
  • Disclosing your affiliate affairs transparently to maintain trust with your audience.
  • Tracking your results to understand what works best for your audience and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Picking the best affiliate programs for your blog involves careful planning, research, and making sure they match what your audience likes and needs. 

If you follow these steps, you can create an affiliate marketing plan that makes money, fits well with your content, and connects with your readers. 

The real key to doing well with affiliate marketing isn’t just about the products you talk about, but also how much your audience trusts and values your advice. 

With enough time, patience, and hard work, your blog can grow into a successful space that earns a good amount of affiliate money and helps your readers choose the right products.

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