Thursday, March 23, 2006
A question of trust
WHY APATHY IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST COMMUNITY KILLER.
Ever heard the expression "No news is good news"? Ever attended an Annual
General Meeting (AGM)?
If you have, can you guess what a news report and an AGM have in common?
They both attract much bigger audiences when shrouded with controversy,
dissatisfaction, or disaster.
The same is true for community organisations and websites.
When things are running smoothly, you don't hear much from members - a sure
sign of apathy. The irony is that for communities to really thrive, there
needs to be active involvement from a broad number of members.
Yet for many organisations, these community voices are only heard as a mark
of mistrust or disguised as constructive criticism. The apathy only awakes
from it's slumber when something out of the ordinary happens.
Community websites are notorious for these types of behaviours due to the
distractive nature of the internet. It pulls you this way then that such is
the rapidity of change online.
What we get out of community organisations is directly proportional to our
level of contribution from within.
Utilise tools and resources, after all, they're there for your benefit, and
provide positive feedback to your community if your experiences are good.
Don't spread your sense of community involvement too widely. Bookmark and
focus on just a couple and avoid the apathy trap that comes from too much
TRUST ISSUES WE'VE ENCOUNTERED WITH OUR OWN MEMBERS.
Trust us (pardon the pun) when we say there wouldn't be a business on earth,
online or offline, that doesn't experience trust issues from time to time.
We're no exception to the rule. In fact, we're more critically aware of this
factor than most. This is because our system relies heavily on trust and
2-way trust at that. This means providing safeguards that allow us to detect
both abuses of trust by our members as well as ensuring that member's trust
in our system is not misplaced.
We've detected, however, a few opportunistic members attempting to exploit
the trust placed in them by the system. They achieve this by creating
purchase intentions then not following through with their intended purchase
after receiving a confirmed customer. That's pretty poor form in our book
and creates problems for other members (possible exchange partners) and
ourselves as it makes the system look fallible.
Perhaps those short sighted members would do well to realise that the only
real way to succeed at internet marketing (or any other pursuit for that
matter) is by establishing trust and credibility through honest endeavour.
We've also had a couple of members who have questioned our integrity,
claiming that they never received commission from the merchant our system
directed their reciprocal customer to. There are 2 safeguards we can think
of that can verify our reciprocal customer claim.
First one is to check that the merchant link you supplied us with is in fact
correct (and cannot be redirected through a different browser).
Secondly, that you have received commission from that merchant previously
from using that exact same link. If not, then you may need to re-examine the
issue of trust with that particular merchant.
Remember the old computer adage that garbage in equals garbage out.
Our system only verifies that the referral URL you first entered is an
actual link - not that it necessarily goes to the intended destination! (so
please enter carefully)
Remember, also, that we don't control what merchants do at their end.
If you don't have 100% trust in your affiliated merchant, don't enter them
in the system!
We only want our members to experience positive outcomes and if you follow
the above suggestions, issues of trust (2-way) should be kept to a minimum.
A SURE-FIRE SOLUTION TO OVERCOME EVEN THE MOST CYNICAL AMONGST US.
How does one turn even the most skeptical critic into an ardent fan or
supporter? Can it even be done? The answer is a most unequivocal yes!
The solution lies not in defending oneself or the product or service being
offered. Quite the opposite in fact! Conspire with them by enlisting their
help in improving your offering and addressing their concerns.
Value their opinion highly and never dismiss their point of view no matter
how much you disagree or how unfair it may seem. This is a perfect excuse to
elicit their feedback and get them involved in a meaningful way.
Even by doing this you may still not entirely satisfy them but you will have
gone a long way to establishing or restoring trust. If they don't exactly
endorse your offering, you will almost certainly have averted any negative
exposure through this personal engagement.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
APPLYING CREATIVE ACCOUNTING TO WEBSITE MARKETING.
Ever bought a business only to find that the real figures didn't quite stack up to the rosy picture painted? Result being an inflated price paid for some creative accounting employed by the vendor.
Listen, it happens all the time so you're no orphan there.
The key is to learn from the experience and move on. If you look around closely you'll notice people's creative licence or liberties abound everywhere.
Thinly veiled lies they are not as they usually have elements of truth behind them that are simply embellished or exaggerated.
What they are, however, are creatively designed perceptions that cater for anticipated desires. The flippant amongst us would describe it as marketing - simply a means to an end.
Not an easy talent to develop, that's why the top advertising executives get paid a king's ransom. But a good start is to recognise that behind all good marketing is a created perception.
A blatant example in our industry are the countless "pie in the sky" promises designed to fulfill most people's dreams. Before you say you'd never fall for any of those scam sites (and maybe with a good accountant not overpay for a business either), I should remind you that the seeds for creative perception are often planted sublimely.
How do many websites grow so quickly? The answer depends on many variables but at the core of the expansion process is most definately the created perception that the site is bigger or more successful than it really is. This one factor alone pre-empts further growth and success until one day the perception and reality merge into one.
Watch for "impressions created" whenever you next view any form of advertising - it's these that determine our choices rather than verifiable facts! Master these perception techniques and be master of your own destiny.