Don’t Know? Made a Mistake? Admit It. (It’s Good Marketing.)

Filed in Small Biz Marketing by Matt McGee on February 20, 2007 0 Comments

I wrote about trust in my first post of 2007, The No. 1 SEO and Marketing Tactic for 2007, but I took a very micro-level approach. I talked about trust as it relates to link building, site expansion, keyword usage, and so forth.

David Wallace writes about the same topic today at SearchRank, How To Establish Trust With Users in the Online World. I like Dave’s list of five things, which take a more macro approach to the topic:

  1. Web Site Aesthetics and Usability
  2. Disclose Your Physical Location
  3. Guarantees and Return Policies
  4. Affiliations (BBB, Trade Associations, etc.)
  5. Testimonials and Reviews

In the comments, I added two items:

6. Admit it when you don’t have or know the answer.

Think about times you’ve been in the customer’s shoes. Is there anything worse than dealing with an employee or business owner who tries to BS his way through a difficult question or issue? Just come clean. Transparency is a great marketing tool. Which leads right into…

7. Admit your mistakes.

I was reminded of the value of this just last night, in fact. Flickr, one of my favorite web sites, went down. Seems they had some issues with cache servers, and it looked like people’s photographs were completely gone. What did they do?

Here’s the first blog entry where they offered continuous updates through the evening until the problem was solved.

And then, since what they thought would be a brief outage turned into something a lot more severe, they followed it up today with an admission of their mistakes and an outright apology:

We shamefacedly apologize for the inconvenience and the scare. We understand that it probably seems very, very strange and we know that many people got the impression that their photos were lost forever. But they should all be back now, safe and sound. And everyone who works on Flickr’s engineering and technical operations teams are working double time to ensure that it never happens again.

That kind of thing makes me trust Flickr even more, problems or no problems. Honesty is good marketing.

[tags]trust, marketing, transparency, online marketing, david wallace, searchrank, flickr[/tags]

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