Urgency Redux: Trust Can Make Or Break You

Last week’s post on building urgency sure drew a lot of commentary.

Our readers shared some excellent insights, and a lot of them had similar opinions on urgency. Today, let’s talk about one of the factors that we all seem to agree affects how well urgency works: trust and credibility.

Last week’s post on building urgency sure drew a lot of commentary.

Our readers shared some excellent insights, and a lot of them had similar opinions on urgency. Today, let’s talk about one of the factors that we all seem to agree affects how well urgency works: trust and credibility.

What Did You Think?

This post continues a previous discussion of urgency — to get the most out of this post, take a moment to read that one first!

I posed a couple of questions about urgency tactics, asking if our readers…

  • …responded to them as subscribers?
  • …used them in their own email marketing campaigns?
  • …felt that urgency tactics detracted from a sender’s credibility?

Our readers had a lot to say, particularly about the last question. Some excerpts:

“I do tend to unsubscribe to a list if I feel that their offers were not genuine but a marketing ploy.”

“Most importantly, any ‘urgency’ has to make sense or it will shoot holes in your logic and therefore your credibility. For example, when I see “I’m only releasing 250 copies” of an electronic product, I just laugh.”

Credibility: The Key To Urgency

The conclusion I drew from our readers’ comments was that urgency works if the sender is perceived as trustworthy. If s/he doesn’t have subscribers’ trust, then the urgency seems fabricated.

So how do we earn that trust?

Our readers pointed out that any limitations on your offers (deadlines, quantities, etc.) must be upheld — you can’t say you only have X number of products left and then miraculously come up with more of them once the first X are sold.

This is key to getting subscribers to keep trusting you, of course, but how do you build that initial credibility, so that your first offer is perceived as authentic?

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

The first message subscribers get from you can establish your credibility — or damage it before you even have a chance to make an offer.

So how do you make the welcome message work for you?

Some advice from around the email marketing world:

Your Thoughts?

How does your welcome message establish credibility with new subscribers?

Do you agree that the welcome message is the key to earning new subscribers’ trust, or do you feel there’s another part of your campaign that contributes more to your credibility?


  1. Ed Chastain

    8/14/2007 7:08 pm

    Great post! I believe the welcome message is generally expected by the subscriber

  2. Mike Herberts

    8/15/2007 5:54 am

    Over-deliver. The simplest way to bond, build credibility and trust is to quite simply over deliver on whatever you used to tempt the subscriber in the first place.

    Just think about the lists you continue to subscribe to even after months and months….and also think about the lists you unsusbscribe from fairly quickly.

    I think you will find that some marketers genuinely give value, week in week out. These are the emails that get opened because you welcome them. They always have some good content alongside the ‘pitch’.
    Good content and no ‘pitch’ is rare but lots of ‘pitch’ and no content is very common.

    If you balance ‘content and ‘pitch’ you have a winning formula. This will build a solid business and reduce your reliance on things like’urgency tactics’ (not that this is not a good tactic…it definitely IS) but ‘good valuable content’ alongside your ‘pitch’ makes your life a lot easier. Your subscribers know what to expect and they WILL open your mails.

  3. Kenneth young

    8/15/2007 9:11 am

    One way to develop trust with people is if for example you
    have joined a forum and you are developing friends
    within this forumn in my opinion is never to talk about
    business untill at least your third email and then only start
    to promote your business by asking he/she if they would like
    some information on what you do.

  4. Charlie

    8/15/2007 9:19 am

    The key is making your prospects a promise and then keeping it!

    All too many small businesses forget to make a promise in the first place. No promise, no prospects.

    Make a compelling promise and live up to it and you’ll have all the business you can handle.

  5. Andrea Marie

    8/15/2007 1:23 pm

    Excellent post! It’s important to use your emails to offer useful information that is of great value to potential customers. Not just to sell stuff. It’s vital you need to build up a good rapport, trust and creditability. Try and communicate at least one a week to run trustworthy effective email marketing campaign.

    Everything you write should be created to meet the readers wishes, desires, hopes, fears and dreams. Be positive, honest and keep it simple. Focus on the benefits what you are offering not just the features. Remember the magic word "YOU" the customer just wants to know whats in it for them. Give your potential customers information they can use that will make a big difference to them.

    Use auto responders to thank people for their business, give them free articles, reports, send a newsletters and ask for referrals the list is endless. You want to build a lifelong relationship with them. People buy from other people they like, know and trust.

    Happy Marketing

  6. Scot McKay

    8/16/2007 1:42 am

    Great post on an important topic.

    My contribution to the discussion is something that I "accidentally" discovered.

    I started a while back to send an autoresponse at the 30 day mark with the subject "[X&Y] It Has Been A Month Or So, How’s It Going?".

    This is in sequence behind an immediate welcome message and an 8-part "mini-course". So what we’re talking about here is in effect a second welcome message on a one-month time delay.

    The number of people who email me responses to that email telling me that they are in fact enjoying the material–and THANKING ME for caring to ask–is high enough that I believe it’s worthwhile to implement the strategy. Interestingly, a response to that email also portends a deep-funnel customer *more than any other single indicator* I track.

    Yet, if I’ve ever received similar emails from any list I’ve subscribed to it would take a maximum of one hand to count them.

  7. Justin Premick

    8/16/2007 8:08 am


    That’s a great follow up tactic, and one we use on our own lists 🙂

    Changing your email marketing – heck, all of your marketing – so that instead of talking at subscribers, you’re talking with them, will pay dividends for you.

    As people, we all want (need?) to feel valued (as customers, as subscribers and well… as people!). When you show genuine interest and concern for them, and ask for their opinion, you’re tapping into that want/need and in doing so, forming a relationship with them.

    And it doesn’t hurt that it differentiates you from the competition, either… like you, Scot, I just don’t see enough of this type of "checking in" message in use.

  8. Dennis

    8/19/2007 5:46 am

    don’t tel lies, one of the biggestis to show you how serious or honest i am i’ll gve you 30 days every state law and federal law says you have to give 30 days show you show no trust worthiness, next is when you give a time table like you got 3 days sows you got no trustworthiness

  9. Marcel

    8/27/2007 6:22 am

    First off I’d like to thank everybody participating in the discussion for giving such valuable thoughts and information. I agree in general with two great point: over delivering to your list and also the idea to send a "how is it going?" mailout is a great value. I think it can be also beneficial to invite people on the list to participate in blog or forum discussions. This can help to build trust, credibility and will involve subscribers into a community. Besides it can help to build user made content on your blogs or forums.

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  12. John Alexander

    1/2/2010 12:33 pm

    Excellent discussion Justin.

    You asked:
    Do you agree that the welcome message is the key to earning new subscribers? trust, or do you feel there?s another part of your campaign that contributes more to your credibility?

    From my own experience, the most powerful part of earning a subscriber’s trust, comes through relationship building. For me, building relationships in our e-mail communications is no different than building relationships in real life.

    I’m putting only good, good helpful, easy to read tips but do not continually have the typical "affiliate marketing pitches" into the body of my communications and when the readers sees the subject line, they don’t hesitate to open it (usually,) because I think readers can tell whether or not you really care, or whether you are just constantly pitching products at them.

    E-mail communications have come along way over the years. One of the best things you can do with any e-mail communication, is to really get focused on the purpose of why you are writing.

    Write quality content that delivers some value and remember that your readers are your future customers and in many cases, they even become good friends. Life is not only trying to make people "feel" like you care for them. Life is about actually caring for them.

    Also many other good points from other posters in this discussion. Great line of discussion – thanks again.

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