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Monetizing Trust

Oct 19, 2007
We're all aware of the current revolution in business known as value-first marketing. Because of the over-saturation of marketing messages in today's world, the average consumer has become desensitized to advertisements and skeptical of product claims. Today's consumers want to sample the product before they buy. They want proof the product can deliver as promised.

The result of this revolution is that marketers are forced to provide value first and only attempt to sell a product or service later. And you can see this type of thing all over the internet today. Everywhere you look, you can get a free report and have access to a free tool or utility, all in the name of building trust with the hope of a subsequent sale hanging in the balance.

Indeed, consumers have become accustomed to the new protocols and are enjoying the free articles, free forum posts, free reports and free tools being thrown their way at every click. The problem for marketers is that it's easy to get caught in the trust-building phase and never graduate to the profitable phase of business. Bottom line; products or services need to get sold!

There is nothing wrong with providing value first. In fact, the opportunities to build true customer loyalty are far greater when the customer has actually sampled the product and received real value before being forced to pull out their wallet. But that same customer has to know you are a business right from the beginning.

The profit motive must be communicated at the front end. Even if you plan to provide value and build trust over an extended period of time, the customer must know your business exists to sell products or services. And regardless how many free resources are provided, the customer must be reminded of the revenue model throughout the trust-building phase.

A lot of this has to do with psychology. When a new visitor first sees your website, you own the frame. At that moment, you control their experience and you can define it any way you wish. The squeeze pages and sales letters are all e-commerce and provide no pre-revenue value. Wikipedia provides all pre-revenue value and has no e-commerce. The trick is to reveal the profit motive proactively while simultaneously providing value to build trust.

The problem with pitch-page sites is that their traffic virtually stops after the marketing campaign ends. While such sites can still generate impressive revenue and profits, the opportunity for an ongoing sales funnel after the initial market blitz ends is limited. By contrast, websites that provide real value develop loyal growing audiences; visitors that come back again and again; visitors that view the site as a resource.

The pitch-page approach is a passing phenomenon. It's just one step in a maturing market; a market full of people frantically trying to capitalize on the potential before it's too late. But the biggest potential rests with those sites that provide real value and build stable loyal followings. That approach will generate far more revenue over time than the squeeze pages will. It's just a matter of time.
About the Author
Tactical Execution with Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a strategic company focused on growth marketing and program implementation across business markets. Visit the website for more specific tips to start generating revenue today.
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