Trust, Credibility and How To Lose It As A Blogger and Marketer

by Robb Sutton

Internet marketing can be a jungle. Everyone is fighting to be the first to release products while at the same time relying on others to help promote them. While everyone is watching out for #1, there is an unwritten truth throughout the industry that you need the help of others to get ahead, so you better not burn too many bridges. Typically, this keeps everyone on their best behavior and everything rolls along smoothly, but…every now and then…something happens that you attach your name to that either isn’t on the up and up or is dancing around that sleezy line that you would rather not be involved with. Before we get specific…let’s talk about credibility, trust and their rolls in your blogging.

Your Online Credibility Is Built One Reader At A Time

Online street cred is not an easy thing to come by. By building up trust with your readers, fellow bloggers and companies that want to deal with your blog over time, you are able to establish a strong, positive credibility online. This takes time and sometimes lots of it. With each action, you are adding to your point total and this happens progressively through consistent effort and results.

This is nothing new to the business world. Just like with brick and mortar businesses, you have to watch who you associate with in blogging because your name and your brand get attached to everything you touch. At the drop of a hat, several wrong decisions (or sometimes even one) can strip you of your positive trust and you are back to square one clawing and scraping for anything you can get.

So your job as the blogger is to protect that credibility by watching who you associate with, how you treat your readers, the quality of the products you release and controlling the quality of the products you promote. It is a constant balancing act all with the same goal…to build our business.

A Recent Situation: Fake Scarcity

Recently, I was caught in a situation that I had attached my name to that made me uneasy. Fake scarcity was attached to a product I was promoting but I didn’t know it was happening. Let me preface by saying a couple of things off the bat…

Scarcity When Followed Through With Is Not A Bad Thing

Yes, especially in the blogging/mmo niche, we deal with scarcity on digital products. Many of you might say…”there is no way you can only have 150 eBooks…that is dumb and sleazy.” However, scarcity with digital products can serve two functions.

  1. It Can Control The Amount Of Work – If you are releasing a product that is going to require a lot of follow up time and support, only releasing a certain amount of copies, spots, etc. can keep your work level manageable on the backend. Can you imagine trying to converse and support thousands of people? I can’t…so sometimes putting a limit on things is a good idea from a quality standpoint.
  2. Scarcity Gets The Tire Kickers Off The Couch – By only allowing purchase of the product for a specific period of time or raising the price after a prelaunch, you are able to get people to take action. The key…follow through with whatever you are planning on doing after the allotted time period or quantity.
Where Scarcity Goes Wrong

When scarcity goes wrong, it is usually an attempt to scare visitors into taking action when the scare tactic is not ever going to be followed through on. So what happens? The potential client/customer takes the action thinking they only have a little bit of time left. Then, at a later date, hits the same sales page only to find that nothing has changed.

At this point…the product means nothing as the customer feels cheated.

To make matters worse, if you were the one promoting that product…your name is attached to it just as much (sometimes more) as the marketer who released it. Except…you have zero control or ability to change it.

The Personal Experience: Lessons In Affiliate Marketing

The recent experience involved a marketer I have dealt with in the past and a product that I actually use and believe in. I promoted the product. I was told the product was going to go up in price…so I promoted under that premiss…and the product didn’t go up when the time hit. At that point, was was emailed by readers who were pissed. I can’t blame them because I was too.

To make matters worse…emails and attempts at rectifying small bugs and the situation went ignored. On the outside…it seemed like this kind of attitude was taking place…

You made me my money…now I’m done with it.

Ego blogging at its finest. Use it up and move on to the next…

One of the hard parts about affilate marketing is attaching your credibility to a product and marketer that you have zero control over. Like this circumstance, there are even situations when you think you can trust what is hitting the screen only to be blindsided when things go wrong. It is dissappointing to say the least and I do take those situations personally.

On the flip side…when you create products and services and you need another bloggers help to keep the ball rolling, keep this story in mind as I will never promote for this blogger/marketer again because of the anger that came out of my readers and my personal views on using those kinds of marketing tactics (I hate them if you can’t already tell). You will need the help of others during your blogging career and burning bridges like this is not a good idea.

If you take anything from my situation, let it be these two things…

  1. Your credibility and the ability to be trusted as a blogger is everything. Do not waste that in an attempt to make a couple of bucks…you will lose a lot more in the long run.
  2. You are never bigger than one of your readers. If anything…you are a servent to you subscribers…not the other way around.

Image by ShivF1

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