The greatest asset you have as an online business owner is your image. It doesn't matter how many leads you have, if they don't trust and respect you then they aren't going to want to invest their hard earned money in products and services that you recommend to them.
That is why branding yourself is so important. People buy from other people and if you want to have an audience of responsive leads who read your emails and sometimes buy things from you then you need to show them the real you, let them know your story, why you chose to start your home business. It could be that you have a lot in common with your leads and sharing a bit about yourself with them will encourage them to want to help you and your business.
Another important part of branding is being very careful about what you recommend to people and whether it will actually help them. I only promote products as an affiliate from vendors and ad site owners with a proven track record for creating good products and providing effective advertising services. As an online affiliate marketer I also make a point of only promoting products to my internet marketing niche lists and on my internet marketing niche websites that I have purchased for myself and found to be genuinely useful.
If you promote things only based on the conversion rates of their sales pages, and not based on the quality of the product then you will disappoint your leads, destroy your brand and get hit with lots of refund requests.
Another important thing to consider when you choose products to promote is how well they are targeted to your leads, as getting this wrong can also damage your branding. You need to understand your audience and their needs. For example, you might find an awesome viral traffic WordPress plugin that would work great for you but unless your leads have experience of blogging and blogs which already get some organic or paid traffic, then having that plugin stored on their hard drives won't really help them at all.
In short, branding is about portraying yourself as being someone who can really help their website visitors and subscribers and then, more importantly, actually stepping up to the mark and doing just that.