Building Reader Trust
Ever wondered why your competitor is having runaway success and you aren’t?

Chances are that it has less to do with slick sales copy and more to do with trust equity.

Sometimes you don’t have trust because you’ve been in constant pitch mode, or maybe you are just new to the scene. Don’t worry though, there are several sure fire way to find your voice with visitors and turn them into loyal fans.

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Think about the last time you purchased something based on a recommendation. Who suggested that you buy it? Was it a friend, a co-worker, an online persona? How did they solve your problem and what made you respect what they had to say to the point that you actually made your final decisions? These are all things that you probably don’t think about while you are in pursuit of a purchase (or often times, you weren’t actively looking to start with) but ultimately separate you from your dollars in exchange for a product or service.

Before we go any deeper, lets take a look at what the word “arbitrage” means. Arbitrage is simply the difference between two markets, or the under/over valuation that someone has over resources that are currently at a different value somewhere else. The most simplistic form of arbitrage is often found on auction sites like eBay where we see the effects of supply and demand between markets. Remember the red hot items like when the PS3 first came out? It was selling for 2-3x the retail price that customers were paying in stores.

Online Marketing

No one understands the value of arbitrage more than online marketers (such as Jeremy Schoemaker or John Chow), and because of that they were quick to realize the power of building trust with their readers and what financial value that represents. The personality that is involved with marketing products online is really in the business of building relationships with an audience so that you will trust them and act upon their ‘suggestions’ so they then don’t have to take in the advertising costs of reaching you on a transactional basis, or suffer the accompanying dismal conversion rates associated with what I refer to as ‘first encounter’ sales (where the consumer has no awareness of you prior to the landing page).

Your Business

So how does this apply to your startup, or even fortune 500 companies? As you start to understand the value of your relationship with customers and the trust that they subsequently have with your brand; it is only then that you can put a value on what people are willing to pay (and therefore help you profit) simply because they TRUST who you are and what you are doing. You then only need to keep a channel of communication open between you and your customers (typically one way, but listening is a separate but important aspect of success) through e-mail lists, social media and websites. Thankfully technology has opened up all of these avenues to facilitate this relationship.

The Impact

So how is this going to change the landscape of how business is done? It is widely accepted that an online presence is a necessity for any business in operation within the United States today, so how is the process of acquiring users going to change with our new found knowledge? As Gary Vaynerchuk has clearly pointed out, the future will require us to build brands not only around businesses but around ourselves. Society can no longer hide things from each other (at least for very long) so it is very important that we establish ourselves based on tangible qualities that resonate with our audience.

Only after you have developed a relationship centered around trust can you then start to ‘suggest’ relevant products and services to your audience that will expand your verticals while continuing to offer value. This is very do-able for anyone with an online presence, and if you take the approach of building relationships you will see your conversion rates, prosperity and acceptance go through the roof.