Taking the Mystery out of Internet Marketing – 3 Ways Full Disclosure Can Boost Your Sales

Spend some time paying attention to advertisements on the radio, television, and internet, and soon you’ll notice ads tend to fall into three categories: some clever copy read by a familiar voice, a word from the business owner, and the testimonial of a satisfied customer. Even though ultimate goal of the ad is the same – please buy this product – it’s the testimony of a truly satisfied client which yields the best results for generating sales. That’s because people trust the opinion of others over what advertisers tell them to believe.

In this cynical day and age where smarmy marketers try gaming the system with fake reviews, a truly satisfied customer is hard to find. You have to offer a superior product which performs so well that people find it necessary to sing some praises. There’s a big difference between a moderately pleased customer and a genuinely satisfied client, others can hear that difference, which is why this method works so well for radio advertising. It works well for generating online sales as well, just visit youtube and search for any product “review”, you’ll find hundreds of customer testimonials lining up for their few minutes of fame.  With such a broad expanse of endorsements, which one can you trust?

Say Goodbye to Unsubstantiated Claims

Internet marketers have taken the customer testimonial one step further, often using this model to generate sales for their affiliates. While this is perfectly fine in moderation, the FTC has introduced some guidelines which have unsavory solicitors running for shelter. Gone are the days of false promises, miracle cures, and atypical results, now you have to back up your experience with evidence.

All this adds up to a more trustworthy testimonial that potential clients will appreciate. This is why youtube reviews work so well, even if a customer is camera shy and awkward, you can tell if they’ve taken the time to grow familiar with a product before offering advice to other viewers.  The little footnote about not getting paid by the manufacturer doesn’t hurt either.

Truth in Advertising

  • Full Disclosure Builds Confidence – People are going to naturally think there’s a catch, and if they see banner ads all over your site they’re bound to assume you’re in it for a dollar.  Be open with your audience, let them know what results in revenue for you. Your clients will be more open to hearing what’s in it for them if they have a very clear idea of what you’re getting out of it as well. If done cleverly, disclosing the financial earnings of your site may encourage others to earn an online income.
  • Real Stories are Relatable – Fake statistics for the sake of establishing credentials, think of the 4 out of 5 pediatricians who agree, simply don’t work to build confidence anymore.  Real stories, on the other hand, are something everyone can relate to.  The important thing to remember here is the story must be real, so if you can’t think of any stories from your own life, start talking to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else with an interesting tale to tell. The more these stories can be related back to your business, the better.
  • More Time to Focus on What Matters – Instead of spreading yourself thin by joining several affiliates, choose a small number that you can easily manage.  After all, you’re more likely to build a loyal following if you stick to a particular niche and expertise. Make sure any affiliate networks you join align with the core values of your business as well, this will help others see that you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the walk.

Nothing Works Better Than One Day at a Time

A slow and steady approach is best when building a business from the ground up. Make progress each day by making updates to Facebook and Twitter, and slowly build a community of supporters around your brand. Even if you eventually hand over the control of your media management to someone in your company, make sure they’re up to date on the FTC guidelines so you won’t find yourself seeking a criminal defense law firm just as business starts to boom.

About the Author:

Melissa Cameron is no stranger to FTC guidelines, having been an enrollment specialist for an online university before she was a freelance writer. As an affiliate marketer, FTC guidelines still apply to things like product endorsements, and operating within the law means staying up-to-date on the current guidelines. While researching for this topic, Melissa came accross many helpful sites such as http://www.bgs.com.

by Russ Wood