Do Not Build a List, Build Trust


trustI have recently spoken to someone about their concerns of this industry and the little voodoos that go on with Internet Marketing in general. Taking the discussion further to some of my friends and work colleagues – who don’t really know what I do with this blog (some probably don’t even know what a blog is) they too are convinced that the whole thing must be a scam and that the only way you can make money on the Internet is on eBay or gaming sites. This got me thinking, its true really – everyone has the right to have a doubt with it. The backbone of this business is in the list, right? We are all told – build a list, the money is in the list, you must build a list, build a blah blah…… list!

And that is it. You get the email address and maybe even the name of an individual and then you have the ability to sell them stuff? 99% of the time the only knowledge they have of you is your “About Me” page – which let’s face it could be BS (Mine isn’t by the way!) Some people won’t even read that so they will literally have no clue who you are. How many of you now are on peoples lists that you don’t know? I know at least once a day I get a genuine email from somebody and my response is quite often – How the hell did he get my email address? – Delete!

That’s the point here – trust. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some people on the list who you could actually engage with, talk to about problems, help out, maybe even get some help from? This to me is what your list should be about. Now I know if I have people who have joined my list through LinkedIn or FaceBook groups that these people I am most likely to engage with. In fact, these people I have already had a discussion with because this is where I may have come up with a possible solution to their problem.

Another great arena to build trust can be in forums, I frequently visit forums and have had many people opt-in on the back of a conversation in a topic room. These are great people to have on your list, and personally my preferred choice.

Anyone can get a very big list very quickly providing they have something to offer and some cash – I am talking about solo-ads, it’s no secret.  But, these people again will not know you and I doubt you will have many engaging discussions with them. Actually well we are on the subject of trust, how do you know they are even genuine? The answer is you don’t.

So my little list of tips to build trust:

1.       Respond to emails

This is essential, I have barked on about this before but if I email someone I expect a reply, with internet access available on everything nowadays there is no excuse. Respond to everyone.

2.       Do not be afraid to share a few personal details

Drop the odd story about you on your blog from time to time – people love stories, we are human so let’s act like it occasionally instead of Internet Marketing Robots…..

3.       Get involved in forum discussion

This can be a great way to add genuine users to your list and people who you can engage with in other areas. The fact that other people can see your discussion too only adds to the value.

 4.       Use LinkedIn and FaceBook groups

Use these platforms to engage and discuss problems with others in your niche. Again, the fact that you have already “broken the ice” will only build the trust with you.

5.        Use an About Me Page

I know I mentioned it earlier but the truth is you really should be using one, at the very least. I have seen blogs without them; it’s quite surprising how much these do actually get visited.

So there we have a simple list. This post was never intended to have one; the whole purpose was to write about gaining trust. I just couldn’t help put one in, it’s a useful one though and if you use the methods I think it will help.

There are a few blogs that I follow frequently and the reason is down to trust. I believe the person is a genuine character and it’s not one of those pimped up corporate blogs where the actual owner no longer shows up.  I also like to engage with them through other media, you can usually tell the ones who are only in it for one thing – they tend not to respond.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it. Thoughts welcome.


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  1. Well hello John

    Forums really are a great way to build a reputation of honesty and generosity, most importantly they may also be the first place non marketers get to hear you communicate which is why its important to avoid following the herd mentality and present yourself as a real person not a marketing machine.

    By the way John, I would recommend adding your social bookmarking buttons to the bottom of the post in view of this comment box, as this will remind others and myself to use them.


    • Hi igor,

      Thanks for dropping by again. I use forums a fair bit actually, in fact I seldom switch off from them thanks to a certain mobile app! They are a great way of getting to know people and building trust. I must say – the inspiration from this post came from your site. I think it was the “we are all crooks” post……

      Also, I went back and changed the “i” on your name to a non-capital on my previous response to your comment……

      Nice work!

  2. Hi John,

    Great post!

    It’s interesting that you brought up solo ads – I’ve been using this method to build lists for a long time now and it is even tougher now to solidify that trust factor. The caution flags are flying high!

    On the flip side, you mentioned genuine users – and I think they are the bread and butter of your whole list. People who want to be on your list and want to hear from you – doesn’t get better than that!

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for dropping by! You are exactly right – you can’t beat people who genuinely want to hear what you have to say. These people are my main focus on my list and the people who I have the most interaction with.

      On the subject of solo ads, I’ve only ran a couple with mixed results really. You just don’t know who the people are on the list, that’s my whole point. If you can recommend any for this type niche then I would love to hear from you.

      Again, thanks for dropping by – I appreciate it.


  3. Hmm, this is really a great way put something every one already knows into the right perspective. Build relationships and not a list, I will definitely remember any time any day. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Chadrack

      Thanks for dropping by! Glad you enjoyed the post – for me this is essential with marketing these days.


  4. Well said, John!

    Having a huge list that is unresponsive is like having no list. What makes a list responsive is the trust factor – your subscribers knowing that they will get useful information from you all the time; that you will not promote a product that is not useful to them.

    Trust can make a small list convert far higher than a huge one.

    When it comes to list building, it’s not just about the numbers.
    Yeremi Akpan recently posted..10 Ways to Optimize your Blog for Subscriber Opt-insMy Profile

    • Hi Yeremi!

      Thanks for dropping by – I really appreciate you coming over to my blog! I had to second take when I saw the name??

      Yes, your comment is so true, I have read so many reports and methods of getting thousands of subscribers real quick, the only problem is are they any good? Or, just useless email addresses? Actually engaging with your list goes a long way in my book – no matter what the size.


  5. Hi John, I couldn’t agree more, trust is something people think they can go without on the internet, they think people land on a site, see a product and buy it. Doesn’t work like that, big sites like Amazon are huge because people now know it and trust it. They know they should have a smooth transaction with good customer service should there be any issues.

    Bloggers should build lists but they should deliver content and quality service from the start to build a relationship and finally trust. That trust is what will make the money, you do not monetize a blog, you monetize the audience, you don’t monetize a list you monetize the reader and that comes down to the relationship you have with them and they trust they have in you. Simple. 🙂
    Andi the Minion recently posted..Pages Vs Posts, The SEO Benefits of Secret Pages.My Profile

    • Hello!

      Thanks for coming over! You make some great points Andi (or is it Tim?). It can take time to build a good relationship with your list but I would much rather have that then just number with no interaction.

      Thank you for your input.


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