I’ll admit I’m green when it comes to judging past trends online to prepare for the future. What I mean by that is even though I’ve been in business online for a few years; I am no expert in forecasting the future in this constantly changing environment. Some say they are and even claim to “know what direction the Internet is going” but not me and I won’t even pretend to know it.
Having said that, there is one area that I do pay attention to – actually more than just pay attention to, but watch with an eagle eye. And that is the interesting shift of consumer expectations.
Way back when, it was as if product and service sellers had the upper hand. They discovered a niche market, created a product to meet that need and viola! It sold.
But that is changing – Consumers have shifted from being “preached to” and “sold” to being more investigative. Just look at any of the several hundred active forums out there for consumers. A product without a customer review is breezed over in favor of one with more reviews and more feedback.
The same shift has occurred in the way we communicate with new clients. I remember back in my real estate days that our clients looked to us as the professionals – if we recommended something, they did it. If they had questions, they asked us, we answered, end of story.
Now they can hop on the Internet and find a million different answers. They are more in-the-know than ever before.
Why This is an Opportunity for Marketers
While the abundance of answers to our most pressing questions are easily at out fingertips, the reality is that most people still want to feel connected to others. We are social beings. Hearing directly from someone we know, like and trust always trumps general information.
The same is true for the relationship you have with your subscriber list.
The information you give them is not new news – in fact they can probably find out the same stuff by searching online. They may even have seen or read it before.
But do you know why that doesn’t matter?
Because more value and more weight is placed on information coming from someone perceived as having authority on the subject – someone who they believe is credible – than just reading about it on Google.
How This Applies to Email Subscribers
One of the keys in developing trust and credibility with email subscribers is to do it before you build your list. That’s right – do it before you start.
Let me explain. Building a relationship takes time. The vast majority of people coming to your website or blog or page will not become one of your subscribers. Most of them will leave and most will never return. BUT, there will be some that will return. And it may take several more visits before they opt-in to your list and then even more visits before they make a purchase.
By the time you get a subscriber on your email list, they have already seen, read, heard and been impressed by you.
Part of the work is already done.
The relationship, whether you were aware of it or not, has been forming since the first time they laid eyes on your site.
Now they feel connected to you. They know your story. They know what you do and how you can help them. You are no longer a stranger to them, you are someone they trust and view as credible.
If there is one thing I can safely say without technically predicting the future it’s that connectivity will only increase in demand.
Every day more and more people are discussing more and more topics – maybe they want to find a date, maybe they want to change their life, maybe they want to start a business – whatever the drive, I’m betting they will probably turn to the one in their circle with the most trust and credibility on that subject. And they will become one of their subscribers and they will buy from them and, the best part, they will become a loyal fan and promote their products.
But wait, did I just forecast a trend?