You, Inc. Commandment #5 – Thou Shalt Be Transparent

Transparency is KING on the Internet.  People aren’t willing to “buy blind” anymore.

They want to know what they’re getting.  They want to know other people’s experiences with the product or service.  They want to know who to contact when they’re having an issue with the item they purchased.

This is especially true when it comes to people who are marketing a product or service solely online…Even MORE so if marketing a business opportunity online.

If people don’t see your smiling mug on your website or have a means of contacting you, they’re gone!

People buy from people whom they know, like and trust

If you’re hiding behind your computer or if you’re being “fake” (i.e., being anything other than your authentic self) then it’s hard for people to get to know, like and trust you.

Here are 7 ways that to build trust online with your readers and potential clients:

  • Have your picture of yourself on your website.
  • Include an “About Me” page and tell your story.  It’s even better if you include a video AND a written story.  This way people can get to know you via the method that they relate to best.
  • Include a Contact Me form on your page.  You don’t want to have your email address hanging out there, otherwise some spambot it going to snag your address and you’re going to get boatloads of spam in your inbox.
  • Include a Privacy Policy on your page to let people know about how you intend to use their contact information.  Here’s a great resource to use to generate this form.
  • Include a business address (you can use a Virtual Office) and a phone number somewhere on your website.  If you don’t want to give your real phone number out, then get a free number through Google Voice.
  • Include links to your Social Profiles on your website.  This will allow visitors to get to know you better.
  • Respond to comments on your blog.  When someone takes the time to comment on your article, you need to repay them by responding to their comment.  This also shows your visitors that you are REAL and that your website is a “happening” place that they need to be visiting on a regular basis.

Equally as important in building rapport online is being your authentic self.  All too often people believe that they have to “fake it ’til you make it” in order to be “attractive” to potential customers.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, that’s not to say that you need to air your dirty laundry or ‘fess up to every insecurity you have because, of course, in marketing you always want to put your best foot forward.  But instead, think back to those skill sets and your USP back in Commandment #1 and Commandment #2.  These are the things that you want to infuse in the content that you’re generating online and weave into your “About Me” story for example.

By being both Authentic and “Available” t, you will have the transparency necessary to allow your potential customers/clients to get to know, like and trust you.  And when they do…that equals more sales for you!

Stay tuned for Commandment #6:  Thou shall give value unto others before asking for something in return

Like this article?  Share your comments below! If you think someone can benefit from this information, please share it!

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PS.  Top Secret News!  I’m in the process of creating hands down, the most comprehensive course on discovering, building and monitizing your brand  that this industry has ever seen!  It’s called “The Beginner’s Guide to Building You, Inc.”

10 Responses to “You, Inc. Commandment #5 – Thou Shalt Be Transparent”

  1. Eric Walker Says:

    Natasha,

    Awesome to be here. This is my first comment. Your blog is awesome.

    Here are some of my thoughts…

    I’d say that what you’re describing is not actually “transparency” as it is simply best business practices that reflect the Internet coming of age. It’s more in keeping with how an offline brick and mortar shop would be with its local community.

    The example you use is a great one, but again, I think it’s less about actual transparency and more about “availability.” It’s smart for businesses using old media to make every effort to continue the conversation and/or engagement process online where they know their target audience is hanging out. FB is obivious. For example, you see that billboard that says “connect with us on Facebook” and you now have an opportunity to learn more about said company’s product and/or service, engage and possibly share with others.This is a win-win for both you the consumer and obviously the company.
    Eric Walker recently posted..You Are A Writer

  2. Edwin Arenas - Multinivel en Internet Says:

    Hi Natasha!

    In other words, be a human being, even though the people can only see you online. Not just a billboard or a machine that talks through an autoresponder.

    There are some people that wouldn’t pass an Alan Turing Test.

    Thanks

    I’m getting addicted to this blog!!

  3. marquita herald Says:

    Great advice Natasha. I certainly agree with the value of transparency, but at the same time – just as with our personal lives – we need to create boundaries online. This isn’t just a business issue, it’s also about personal safety because you just never know. Someone can come along and appear like the nicest person in the world – or an exciting potential new customer – only to have things turn weird quickly. It’s happened to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
    marquita herald recently posted..Always Crazy Busy? Warning Signs you May be Addicted to Stress.

  4. Steve-Personal Success Factors Says:

    Natasha and Marquita: great points about transparency! Thanks for the pointers on boundaries AND on how to set up a great About page. I was on a coaching call for tightening up the effectiveness of my blog, and got the same feedback. Specifically, the importance of video as a way to communicate with readers cannot be understated. I’m saving my $ for camera and video equipment, and am looking forward to my first video :)
    Steve-Personal Success Factors recently posted..These 7 Lies Will Sabotage Your Success

  5. Natasha Nassar Says:

    You’re right, Edwin- people want to see that there’s a legit person behind the computer!

    Love that you’re addicted to my blog LOL, I’ll do my best to keep the good stuff coming! : )

  6. Natasha Nassar Says:

    You are SO right Marquita. That’s why you should get a PO Box or Virtual Office address (if you don’t have an office address) instead of using your home address. Also, Google Voice is a great option so that you’re not giving out your own phone number.

    I’m so glad you brought this issue up, because there are definitely some bad folks out there, and you need to be cautious and smat with how you present yourself online!

  7. Natasha Nassar Says:

    That’s awesome Steve! If you’re looking for tips on your first video, you should check out my student, Stacia Hopkins’ blog. She’s a video marketing expert and has some amazing pointers for people who are just starting out with video (including advice on equipment, etc.) Her website is: http://StaciaHopkins.com

  8. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Eric!
    Welcome, welcome! : )

    I took your comments to heart and in fact, you picked up on the fact that I hadn’t gotten the message across that I originally envisioned when creating this commandment. So…..I decided to revise the original post to incorporate more of the message that I wanted to convey- that being transparent is really made up of two components: Being Available and Being Authentic.

    Thanks for your insight, I think your comments helped me convey my message in a better way! : )

  9. Kimberly Castleberry Says:

    Natasha, I love your emphasis on the important pages of our blogs. Too often those pages get overlooked and ignored because they aren’t posts. Yet most people do not realize just how HUGE of a role they play. On many blogs, the about me is one of the most trafficked pages! It’s crazy important. All of these elements come together to paint a “picture” of us as a interesting, capable, trustworthy individual that is worthy of the visitors time (or fails to when they’re missing). Great reminder,
    Kim
    Kimberly Castleberry recently posted..How To Add Annotations To The Google Analytics Graph

  10. Natasha Nassar Says:

    Kim, I’m so amazed at the number of blogs without an “About Me” page! Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts!

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