Monday, May 21, 2012

C'mon, Trust Me!

Almost all of the marketing gurus say you must build trust with your potential customers before you can expect them to become a real and loyal customer.   I totally subscribe to that notion.

So What Was I Thinking?

Last week I was looking for ways to get the word out about this blog and to let people know there was a give-away of a free painting in progress on the blog.  I popped* into an Etsy forum and began looking for some problems where I thought my blog could help out.  One of the discussion threads I landed in was an Etsy seller trying to figure out how to promote her shop without being “spammy.”

I jumped up and down on that one with both feet.  Here’s my response:

Hi folks, I write a blog on selling art online, but it could apply to your fine crafted items. I share my personal experience of selling on Etsy and creating a niche.

Make sure you follow my blog by using the ‘Join This Site’ function on the right side bar for a chance to win my free painting.”

I not only didn’t build trust with this reply , I actually turned people off, and had one person call my response “spammy.”  I was horrified!  As you can imagine I wanted to defend myself, but I gave myself some time to let the remark settle into my body.  After I picked up my feelings off the floor, I realized I hadn’t taken the time to get to know this Etsy seller, build some common ground and offer some heartfelt tidbit.  No one in the thread knew me or my intentions, nor were they buying – even though what I was offering was free. I did, indeed, respond in a spammy and crappy way. 
"Diner Cup and Strawberries"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord

What Could I Have Done Differently?

I could have listened more closely, asked questions about what things she had already tried, shared a personal experience specific to her issue right there in the discussion thread (instead of a cold “click on this link” statement.)

I did apologize in the thread, but will probably stay out of that discussion for a good long time.  No one was buying the apology, either.  I am still looking in the forums - taking the time to look at individual  shops, get clear on what their issues are, care about their solutions, and start a chat.  I definitely need practice in learning how to build trust, even if I’m selling free information.

Today’s Nitty Gritty Nugget:

     Build trust with people long before you ever expect them to buy, even if what you are selling is free.
"Apple Slice"
6 x 6 Oil on Gessobord

What’s Next?

1.       Is much of your marketing based around cold “click on this link” actions? 

2.       How could you build trust and establish a relationship instead? 

3.       Look at how businesses you buy from establish trust.

4.       What two things from #3 could you adopt in your own art business?

*corrected a typo of “pooped”, which would actually be so much more descriptive in this story.


  1. Dearest Cindy....I am loving your blog. It is spot on and so helpful. I have known you through Etsy and DPW and love your work, so I guess I was ready to accept any advice you were offering.

    I am pretty much a forum stalker, I read but rarely participate. I see that even innocent comments can be taken the wrong way, so I just read and move on.....

    Keep up the good work, your blog has been most helpful to me and I added it to my favorite blogs on my Pintrest board.


  2. THis topic is really a hard one when you are selling a product. Your blog is supposed to be used 'so the experts' say to tell a story about how you came to make this item. That is how folks build trust in you by learning how you think about life and your product.

    I find all to often that I too get so excited and say just go click this link and learn how to do this....

    Most of my customer's are first time buyers. And, only a handful come back and buy again. My goal is to work on those customer's and build a relationship that will keep them coming back to my shop.

  3. Unfortunately for those people, they have not met you in person to know that you are one of the nicest people around! Hopefully the people who are willing to click on links to get advice, have come on over to read all of your helpful advice. I know that I am taking what applies to me! And so far, I've had a great start to my retirement! ;) Thanks for sharing Cindy!