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The Budget Webmaster's Guide to Increased Credibility - Part One

By Tinu AbayomiPaul
Posted Monday, November 8, 2004

Hey, I just noticed something. I've been sitting here filling out a bajillion forms, submitting my dang article 'til I'm blue in the face (Vent much? Why, yes and thanks for listening!), and I realized what makes me give out my real email address.

With the volume of mail I get as webmaster of several sites, even my hyper-organized Outlook Folder and Rules System is just not good enough to handle the volume of incoming email. So I have several accounts.

I have one free email account I NEVER open- anything that has spam potential goes to that address. I've got one I clear out once a month- I check some of the titles that look interesting, but they're mostly either junk, status reports or emails I need to look at once then throw out.

There's another I clear out once a week, there's semi-important stuff in there- information I can't keep track of, back ups of emails or attachments. Then there's the one I use ONLY for signing up for things. If I subscribed to your newsletter, that's probably where it'll end up.

But after a while, if I really like your ezine and you don't spam me, I'll also subscribe at one of my real email addresses.

One of my real email addresses is a personal one, that's the one for family and friends to send me personal stuff, where I get all my jokes and horoscopes and what not.

The other real email address is my premium support business email. It is a fortress against spam because no one who would spam me knows I have it. It's an important list to be on if you want access to me, and here's why.

I stay on a computer about ten hours a day. During those ten hours I leave this account open in my email client. If you're a client of mine, this is the email address you have to get directly in touch with me at any hour. And I realized today, that I let a few more people into one of those top three email boxes today- guess why? We'll get back to that in a minute.

Now, I'm sure all your clients aren't as crazy as I am with the spam-proof fortresses and the highly organized email system. But any savvy consumer on the Net learns eventually to have more than one email address, usually only two.

There's normally the ISP email address, the one they use for primary communication with family and friends, and for information that is near and dear to their hearts. This is where you want to be.

Most people who spend any significant amount of time online also have a second one -an email address they can dump if they feel their privacy is being violated. You never even want to be associated with this address.

And if they are fellow marketers, or small business owners, they will also either have additional addresses or some type of spam blocker.

I don't even have Spam Assassin, or any other spam filter, turned on for my private email. Why should I? No one who would spam me knows it exists. So again, why do you think I would let anyone get my one of my primary email addresses, since I guard it so closely?

They made me believe I could trust them with my information. How?

Privacy Policy.

They promised me no spam. Ever. No sharing. Ever. Never Ever EVER.

Value.

Something they were going to send me was as precious to my business as air is to me.

Reciprocation.

If I gave them my email address, they gave me something of theirs that I wanted.

Past Trust Lasts Unless It's Violated.

In the past I wasn't sure what they would do with my email address and something they did or said, or just my experiences with them earned them my trust. Once they earned it, they never violated it.

Disclosure.

They told me what they were going to use it for, when, how often, why and who would have access to it. Then they stuck to what they said, or at least notified me if it could potentially change

Personal relationship.

The person who contacted me at that email address didn't send me some generic blahblah form email, or stop with their smart auto-responder message. They reached out to me person to person and asked my opinion, offered their help, or wanted my advice. They gave me THEIR real email address and what else could I do but reciprocate?

Quality

There was so much great stuff going on at this site, such a great product that I wanted to consider for future purchase, so much information that was so frequently updated, that I wanted to make sure I came back. I figured any webmaster worth their salt would remind me on a weekly basis to return.

Which of these do you offer to your visitors? Is some version of your privacy policy, or a link to it, on every main page of your site? Do you offer value to your visitors, or are you recycling the same bonuses they can get anywhere? Does your site make your visitors want to come back? Do you remind them to?

Now, you and I both know that you have no intention of spamming anyone- if not on a question of ethics alone, you're just not stupid - it would to ruin your online reputation! Fast.

What I'm saying here is that perceptions speak louder than words.

Take another look at your site, or, better yet, get a fresh eye from another person in an online community you belong to. It may not be clear to your visitors that you are employing some of the techniques above.

Perhaps making your customers feel how I felt will get them to give you their real information and their Primary Email address. And, maybe that email address will one day lead to a lifelong customer.

Copyright 2004 Tinu AbayomiPaul

If you are having trouble getting subscribers to join, and you've been properly exposing your ezine, and packing it with value, maybe the issue is trust. We explore this issue of trust between you and your visitors more deeply in an upcoming issue of Free Traffic Secrets. Subscribe at (http://www.freetrafficdirectory.com) or ftdsecrets-topica.com

About the Author
Tinu is a free traffic FANATIC. She has been offered treatment for this condition but says it just saves her too much money!