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Build Revenue with SSL

There are many ways to be successful in reselling digital certificates. Get some quick tips on how to sell SSL or take a look at our partner success stories to hear about the methodologies that our other partners have employed.

  1. Understanding the Range of SSL Certificates
  2. Choosing the Right Sales Model
  3. Post Product Information on Your Website
  4. Leverage Existing Marketing Communications Channels
  5. Secure Your Own Website with a GeoTrust EV SSL Certificate
  6. Drive Customer Awareness and Need
  7. Generate Leads for Your Sales Team
  8. Promote Different Applications of SSL
  9. Promote Awareness of the Types of Data That Should Be Secured
  10. Promote Wildcard Certificates
  11. Promote the Need for Additional Certificate Licenses
  12. Promote Certificates for Code Signing
  13. Enable Certificate Ordering Capabilities on Your Website
  14. Actively Manage Certificate Renewals
  15. Highlight and Drive Adoption of the GeoTrust True Site Seal
  16. Recognize Opportunities for Brand Upsell


1. Understanding the Range of SSL Certificates

The GeoTrust Partner Program provides a full range of digital certificates to address a breadth of business requirements. Our certificates range in terms of brand, authentication levels and encryption strength. This provides partners with the great advantage of having the flexibility to offer the right product to each customer.

Each customer will have different security concerns. However, as a general rule of thumb, the greater the value of the information your customer is protecting, the more encryption strength they will require. Similarly, the more important consumer trust and brand integrity is to your customer, the higher the level of authentication they will want.

For a comprehensive description of the full range of certificates available to partners, please refer to the product catalog.

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2. Choosing the Right Sales Model

GeoTrust's SSL certificates can be offered through various sales and pricing models. GeoTrust partners often use one or a combination of sales models below.

Bundling
An effective method of reselling digital certificates is by bundling with complimentary products and services. SSL certificates are typically packaged with domain registrations, hosting plans, shopping cart software or payment gateways. These services provide a clear cut and successful bundling opportunity.

One bundling strategy would involve matching specific GeoTrust products to your own targeted offerings. For instance, GeoTrust's basic SSL products can be packaged with starter services, while premium SSL products can be packaged with high end solutions.

You may wish to segment your bundling strategy still further by focusing on particular industries such as those listed below. Features that are commonly important to each vertical are listed below:

Vertical Solution Characteristics
Financial Institutions highest levels of encryption and authentication found in EV and SGC certificates
Retail Merchants highest levels of encryption and authentication found in EV and SGC certificates
Healthcare Industry highest levels of encryption and authentication found in EV and SGC certificates
Application Service Providers full organization validated certificates and wildcard certificates
E-Government highest levels of encryption and authentication found in EV and SGC certificates
Domain Registrars combination of domain validated and organization validated certificates
Educational Institutions organization validated and EV certificates
Hosting Providers organization validated certificates and wildcard certificates

Value Added Services
In this model SSL is promoted as a value added service to an existing service or as part of a path upgrade. To be effective, there needs to be a complimentary relationship between both products/services.

Digital Certificate Store
Creating a "Digital Certificate Store" involves providing direct GeoTrust product enrollment on your website which can be easily streamlined by integrating with our robust API. This model is popular when offered to a second-tier partner sales channel to provide the flexibility and convenience of purchasing multiple products in one location.

Pricing
Based on the sales model you pursue, consider strategically pricing your solutions using the following guidelines:

  • The most common price point when bundling SSL with another service is to charge either the full retail price or a slightly discounted price depending on the value of the service packaged with the SSL certificate.
  • In cases where SSL is offered as a value added service, the full retail price is charged and on occasion, a small discount is included if the service is being offered through a promotion.
  • Partners typically offer SSL certificates to their own reseller channel at a slightly reduced price and keep a small margin for themselves. This would entice your resellers to purchase SSL certificates through your store.
  • Some hosting providers sell GeoTrust SSL certificates at cost and charge a CSR and key generation fee which typically varies between US$50 and US$100.

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3. Post Product Information on Your Website

Ensuring that your website contains relevant product information is an essential first step in successfully reselling GeoTrust digital certificates. Providing this content online allows prospects and existing customers to learn quickly about your product offering. By integrating promotion of these products into your web pages, you will be able to drive interested parties to more detailed information while retaining them on your website.

To quickly create a GeoTrust SSL product section on your website, simply cut and paste the content we have provided into your website template. Typically, partners will include background information on the GeoTrust brand together with the appropriate product descriptions.

Additional Resources: Product information for websites

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4. Leverage Existing Marketing Communications Channels

Start your SSL marketing initiatives with what you already have at your disposal. Chances are you have some existing channels of communication with your clients such as periodic email correspondences or newsletters. Leveraging these vehicles of communication are fast, low cost opportunities for marketing GeoTrust products.

An existing customer email newsletter is an ideal vehicle for introducing SSL to your customer base and creating awareness of your SSL offerings. Integrating GeoTrust product promotion into your existing product or corporate advertising (online or print) is another option for low cost promotion.

Related Resources: product marketing copy and brand usage guidelines

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5. Secure Your Own Website with a GeoTrust EV SSL Certificate

Using a GeoTrust digital certificate to secure your own website will illustrate your confidence in the product you're selling to your customers. This is invaluable in strengthening the sales pitch. Consider securing your website with an Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificate to easily demonstrate the value afforded by EV and to create a vehicle for upselling your customers to a higher margin product. To increase visibility of your site use of a GeoTrust digital certificate, you are also encouraged to post the GeoTrust True Site Seal on your homepage as well as the other pages on which data is transferred to and from your web server.

The benefit is twofold - not only will this show that you take your customer's security seriously; it will also demonstrate your faith in the product which underscores the value you place on the solution. Additionally, partners reselling EV SSL certificates are eligible for special discounts on EV certificates for use on their own site. Please contact your sales representative for more information.

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6. Drive Customer Awareness and Need

One of the first steps in effective reselling of digital certificates is educating your customer base on the uses, value and benefits of deploying them. Creating general awareness of this kind creates a good opportunity to open a dialogue with your customers and start identifying a need for within their particular business environment. And creating a base level understanding of SSL is invaluable in supporting your subsequent marketing initiatives.

Start by providing targeted content, such as articles or whitepapers, covering the basics of SSL and its applications. You may then wish to send a dedicated email introducing these concepts to your customer base, offering a whitepaper or other information source. This is a good way to generate broad awareness which may be reinforced through promotion in customer newsletters as well as other standard communications with customers.

Related Resources: Extended Validation Whitepaper

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7. Generate Leads for Your Sales Team

Offering special promotions and free giveaways is a good method of uncovering and establishing contact with prospects. There are a number of elements in a successful lead generation program. The first is a "hook" or "offer" to capture interest. Try some of the following:

  • Offer educational information on SSL such as whitepapers or guides and require the prospect to register to gain access.
  • Offer incentive pricing promotions or introductory offers.
The second step involves constructing a web form for gathering contact information before providing access to the guides or fulfilling the promotion. Minimizing the amount of information gathered is recommended as this will limit the number of prospects that abandon the landing page while increasing the accuracy of the lead data gathered. The following data points are recommended:
  • First Name
  • Last name
  • Email Address
  • State/County/Province/Country
Lastly, you will need to promote the availability of these offers. If you have built digital certificate related product pages on your website, these are an ideal place to make use of either text links or banners to link through to information about the offer. You may also wish to promote the guides in your customer email newsletter or even in direct emails to select customers.

Once you establish interest, remember to streamline certificate purchases for your customers with our partner initiated enrollment process. This is accessed via GeoTrust's API using the "QuickInvite" command. Using this functionality, you can accelerate your customers' enrollment by initiating the process on their behalf. Simply begin the enrollment by supplying the information you have on hand, such as certificate type, term and basic customer information. Then, using the :QuickInvite" command, prompt your customer via an automated email invitation to easily complete the enrollment by inputting any outstanding corporate information.

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8. Promote Different Applications of SSL

Chances are that your existing SSL customer base has deployed their certificates to secure data transfer between a web server(s) and browsers. There are, however, many other applications which can expand your market opportunity such as

  • Securing web domains
  • Securing gateways (e.g. Citrix Secure Gateways)
  • Securing multiple hosts for a domain on the same server
  • Securing intranets (private IP ranges)
  • Securing web forms for e-commerce sites
  • Securing IMAP/POP Mail Servers such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Web Access
  • Securing SMTP mail transfers through STARTTLS Start Transport Layer Security connections
  • Securing transfer connections to FTP servers (FTPS connections)
  • Securing VPNs
  • Signing ActiveX controls, executables, cabinet files, .dll files and other executable code for the Authenticode framework.
  • Java applets (JAR) for NetScape
  • Java applets (.cab) for Internet Explorer
  • Signing MIDlets, particularly Nokia devices
  • Signing VBA Macro projects
  • Signing Apple code
Take the opportunity to educate your customer base and increase opportunities for selling digital certificates to both existing SSL and non-SSL customers.

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9. Promote Awareness of the Types of Data That Should Be Secured

Securing the transmission of financial information in e-commerce is currently the major application of SSL certificates. However, with incidence of identity theft on the rise, protection of all types of personally identifiable information is becoming ever more important. This would include identity and social security numbers, e-mail addresses and usernames/passwords.

As a result, the types of web pages that should be secured extends from e-commerce order processes to include profile registrations and, importantly, login pages - basically any page where personally identifiable information is transferred either to or from your web server. It is surprising how many large and well known companies do not secure these critical pages, which shows that education on this issue is needed.

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10. Promote Wildcard Certificates

In terms of flexibility, GeoTrust Wildcard Certificates offer an easy way to provide SSL security across a single structured domain. This is a niche, high value product, which if promoted correctly, will be a good revenue earner for you.

Depending on how customers structure their domain and their need for SSL on multiple domains, an SSL Wildcard Certificate will provide multiple benefits such as cost savings from not having to purchase multiple single domain certificates and increased convenience of not having to generate multiple CSRs for individual certificate requests and renewals.

Additional Resources: Promotional Copy for TBID Wildcard certificates and Power Server IDT Wildcard certificates

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11. Promote the Need for Additional Certificate Licenses

Purchasing licenses is often overlooked by customers when requesting a certificate. Additional licenses allow users to use a single SSL certificate on additional servers hosting the identical domain. A license is required for each additional server.

Often customers are unaware of their need for additional licenses in the context of SSL certificates. Take time to make your customers aware of the need for licenses and the circumstances under which they come into play. Typical scenarios include customers who load balance or co-locate servers. Another common scenario would be when customers add servers to their infrastructure and may therefore need to add additional licenses upon certificate renewal.

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12. Promote Certificates for Code Signing

Code Signing is an often overlooked form of data security. The Internet is increasingly used to distribute code and active content creating a significant market for code signing certificates. These certificates allow companies to sign code and active content such as ActiveX, macros and Java applets for secure electronic distribution over the Internet.

Software developers are the primary users of these certificates. Additionally, many companies may sign code such as macros as these are a major source of viruses on corporate networks, or to prove the authenticity of code distributed within the enterprise.

To sell code signing certificates, be sure to identify suitable target segments of your customer base. Software development companies are often a good fit for this type of solution. Please contact your sales representative for more information on how to sell this product.

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13. Enable Certificate Ordering Capabilities on Your Website

Providing the ability to order GeoTrust SSL certificates directly on your website streamlines your customers' experience and also minimizes the work you need to do to facilitate the transaction. This streamlined approach lets your customers remain on your site to complete their transaction, which makes certificate purchases more likely and retains your visitors to make additional purchases from your organization. You can make this possible by integrating into the GeoTrust API.

The API also allows you to automate both order placement and certificate management on behalf of your customers. Partners can perform functions such as ordering the different products, canceling and fulfilling orders, resending order emails and querying for order data. Automating these functions will reduce administrative costs by eliminating the need to manually enter orders and by reducing the number of first level support calls.

Additional Resources: GeoTrust API Quick Guide (pdf, 127 KB)

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14. Actively Manage Certificate Renewals

It is generally accepted that acquiring a new customer costs approximately five times more than retaining existing customers. So it makes sense to develop programs to retain customers and encourage renewals.

GeoTrust's certificates may be renewed up to 90 days in advance of their expiry date without losing out on the remaining validity period. This provides you with a greater window within which to contact your existing GeoTrust digital certificate customers to encourage them to renew.

The following are recommended timings for renewal reminders:

Pre-Expiry   Post-Expiry
3 months 30 days 10 days 0 days (expiry) -10 days

You can manage and customize your renewal messages within your partner console.

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15. Highlight and Drive Adoption of the GeoTrust True Site Seal

Deploying GeoTrust SSL certificates to secure a website is an excellent step to increase customer confidence and trust. Displaying the GeoTrust True Site Seal on a website is the best way to ensure that site visitors know that the site they're visiting is employing this security technology. The seal is a dynamic, real-time image which allows website visitors to tell at a glance that they are on a website that they can trust.

The GeoTrust True Site Seal comes standard with all GeoTrust SSL certificates and is a valuable component of the overall SSL offer. Plus, our research shows that customers that post a site seal have a significantly higher certificate renewal rate than those who don't, increasing the lifetime value of that customer.

QuickSSL® Premium, Power Server ID™, Power Server ID™ Wildcard   True Business ID®, True Business ID® Wildcard, True Business ID® with EV


Dynamic site seal indicating that the transaction is secure. Displays real-time date / timestamp
 

Dynamic site seal - verifies that site is owned by a legitimate business. Displays organization's name and real-time date / timestamp

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16. Recognize Opportunities for Brand Upsell

Each of your customers will have unique needs and concerns that will drive their choice of SSL certificates. Many customers will want to be able to display the most recognized trust mark on the internet as a method of instilling even higher levels of trust to their site visitors. These customers are ideal to upsell to higher-margined VeriSign solutions. VeriSign is an ideal solution for high-value or high-volume e-commerce sites, financial institutions or online businesses that wish to take the benefits of consumer trust to the next level.

Read more about VeriSign's benefits and products in the Partner Product Catalog.

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