I seem to on a reputation theme this week, for some reason.

When you’re trying to market a product or service, one of the key tools you have is the trust a prospective customer has in you. After all, if they trust your judgment, and you say that a product will help them, they’ll probably buy it.

Maintaining that trust depends on your own credibility. So today’s post is about building your own credibility.

Credibility and trust are subjective impressions that others form of you based on your actions. So we’ll focus on actions you can take that will lead others to think of you as more credible and trustworthy.

Be A Real Person

People trust people. Put some personal details on your site, and in your communications with others. Using your real name helps, but if you’re not comfortable with that, adopt an online name that at least sounds more real than typical screen names.

My level of trust in someone is always higher if they sign comments and forum posts with a name, rather than with keyword stuffing (e.g. “Make Money Online Blogging”). This has some pretty subtle ramifications…if a person is keyword stuffing blog comments, then they’re trying to gain every little advantage for themselves that they can. How do I know they won’t do the same in their dealings with me?

Be Reachable

Prospective customers must be able to reach you with questions and concerns. You’re most credible if you have a phone number where you can be reached. Most people wouldn’t want to provide their home phone number for online business dealings, which is understandable. But you can get a free Evoice.com voice mail number to use online. You’ll get an email anytime someone leaves you a voice mail at the number.

Receiving an email from someone and seeing that they’ve included a phone number in their signature for you to call if you need to builds credibility pretty quickly for me.

Choose What To Promote

Too many people trying to make money online these days pick products and programs to promote based on how much they think they can make from it. Not based on whether the product or program is any good.

You might gain a sale by promoting a product that isn’t any good, but you’ll lose credibility once the customer discovers that the product doesn’t live up to its claims.

Be Original

You’ll find a wealth of sample sales material with pretty much any product you choose to promote. Using it will hurt your credibility.

You’ll see this all the time with the “gurus”. A big product launch is coming, and every marketer with a big list sends nearly identical emails to their list (those emails having been provided by the owner of the product). About the third time you see that same email come by, I’ve pretty much decided that everyone who sent them is just out for a quick buck, and couldn’t even be bothered to give me their honest opinion of the product.

Those that do give me their honest opinion build credibility quickly with me.

Make Claims You Can Prove

How many websites have you seen where the site claims that you can make $10,000 a month by following three simple steps? Anyone who promotes sites with unreasonable claims instantly loses credibility.

If you’re promoting such a site, at least put a front end of your own on it that provides your honest opinion of the site, and provides claims you can prove. That way you keep some credibility by separating yourself from the hype.

Communicate

If you’re building a membership of some sort, communicate with your members regularly. Don’t just send them an email anytime you want them to spend some money on your behalf, keep them up to date with what’s going on in the group regularly. They’ll come to trust you more than if you only contact them asking for money.

Many people online seem to do fine without worrying about credibility, so maybe this is all way off base. But I know that I’d rather do business with someone I trust than not.

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