Having been an online marketer for 8 years now, I’ve fallen for my fair share of “this product is the new greatest thing” emails. When I am introduced at local meetups as an “expert” in my field, people always start asking me if I know X, Y, and Z marketers because they are supposedly the “gurus” of Internet marketing. 9 times out of 10, I have no idea who the people are. And yet I know the people I really trust to teach me about affiliate marketing. People like Shawn Collins and Missy Ward from Affiliate Summit. Scott Jangro from Shareist. And hundreds of others to numerous to even name.
Why do I trust those people more than I trust all of these others that I keep hearing about and that I see selling products? How can you tell who to trust?
In working on the Affiliate Marketing Plan launch with Todd Farmer the last few weeks I had to do a lot of soul searching about how to reach the people that want to be reached about affiliate marketing education but not come off like one of those “gurus” that I don’t trust. Here are some of the realizations that I came to:
It’s okay to sell a product or service and make money from it. That’s why we are all here. Just because someone is selling something doesn’t take away the trust factor.
But along with that, it’s not all about selling. The people I trust give just as much for free (if not more) than what they sell. It may be in speaking at conferences, writing blog posts, or even just retweeting important information. But they are giving and not always just selling.
When someone is trustworthy, they don’t have to pay everyone to spread the word about what they are doing. Referrals and affiliate programs are nice, but people talk about true experts just because they believe in what they are doing.
Trust is built fastest when a personal connection is involved. We all use mass mailings. But how many people take the time to respond to personal emails and tweets or leave comments when you write a blog post? I can’t tell you how many times Shawn has left a comment on one of my blog posts just to continue the conversation. He wasn’t selling or dropping links. He was genuinely responding.
I will admit that I have become pretty skeptical about people always trying to sell me the next big thing in online marketing. That has caused me to pull back from responding to a lot of offers. At the same time, I want to expand my network and exchange information with people. Because of that, I have to trust others. It’s just a matter of trusting the right people.