Do You Trust My Advice?

Well at least take it into consideration?

One of the people who I trust to give me good information is Rich Schefren.

  • His company is less than 2 years old
  • He has a team of 20 people now
  • He has grown it to $8M turnover
  • He gives exceptional advice because he also listens to experts.

I don’t know anyone who is so fanatical about collating quality information so that they can pass it on to others.

I have seen how Rich gives advice to his consulting clients first hand, not just in large conferences, but as a fly-on-the-wall in more intimate sessions.

Attention Age Doctrine Part 2

Today Rich launches his new report, in fact the doors have just opened for people to get access.

I Am Disappointed

Over the last 10 months I have been quite prominent in my support of Rich, but very few of my readers seem to trust me enough to give Rich an email address to download a free report.

Not just one free report, multiple free reports, each which contain very useful information.

With these reports Rich is “moving the free line” providing exceptional useful content that can help your business grow even if you never decide to buy anything from him.

Guess what? I am doing the same

The only difference is that Rich does things the slightly more traditional way and asks for an email address.

I have Been Taking A Gamble

As part of my experimentation, before I finally launch a product or service, I really wanted to test the viability of blogging for business promotion.

The biggest hurdle is often building up trust, and blogging is a great way to build up trust.

RSS Readers Are Not Responsive

I have been thinking for a while to switch to primarily email for my best content, or to lock it inside a private membership site. I am honestly quite disappointed in how poorly responsive my RSS Readers are when offered free information from a source I trust.

This is crunch time, if I don’t see a significant improvement in RSS responsiveness, it will probably be time to just pump out newbie tutorials like everyone else, and keep the best stuff for insiders.

The Attention Age Doctrine Part 2

I trust Rich, you should too – show me how responsive you can be

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  1. says

    Andy, I consider your advice as very valuable and that’s why I’m subscribed to your RSS feed… But being trusty is not a transitive thing… Why should I trust this other guy just because you trust him? You’ve gain my respect and trust over the time. He must do the same.

    Is this responsive enough for you? ;)

    Have a good day!

    • says

      Any response is good :)

      Before writing this I took a good look at my referral stats for the last 10 months.

      I have referred over 2000 people over to Strategic Profits from this blog, and of those less than 10% were willing to hand over an email address to get some information that I have strongly recommended.

      Many of those were casual visitors, but I expected a higher level of trust from subscribers.

      I am in many ways one of the few bloggers who relate to multiple internet marketing spheres of influence, and because of that positioning I can influence change in the way people market products and services online.

      I really want blogs to become something more than a marketing platform for product launches, but that isn’t going to happen unless it can be shown that blogs and RSS subscribers are something worth striving for.

  2. says

    Hi Andy
    My copy of Rich’s report is printing off now so it will be interesting to see what he has finally got to say.

    I know what you mean about the frustrations of people not taking up great offers and locking away content.

  3. says

    Yes Andy I am waiting for my download link right now. I am interested in what you say about the non-responsiveness of RSS subscribers and like you I am working on a membership option.

  4. says

    I don’t know if it’s a matter of newbie vs insider information. I learn alittle more with each of your article, even if I don’t fully understand the entire piece.

    For example, a review you made several months ago of another blog. You went into full detail about possible improvements for the blog’s SEO. I understood and learned from the 1st 2-3 paragraphs; the rest, even though you had used pictures (ooo…pretty) to illustrate your point, went over my head.

    I’m always on the lookout for practical information that I can put to use, so I subscribed for the free report.

  5. says

    Hey Andy,

    I was pleased months ago when I noticed you had become a Rich reader, as you know I love his work too and he has directly impacted the way I do business.

    Like you, I’ve been very disappointed by RSS response rates too and frankly, I don’t think RSS will ever replace email as much as I’d like it it.

    RSS readers just don’t engage in the content the same way they do to an email in their inbox. That’s why I started building my email list to go with my blog and emails I send out ALWAYS outperform the posts I make to my blog.

    You need to have the blog of course, but use all the efforts you are putting in here to attract traffic and get people onto a newsletter.

    Now I better go write my opinion of Rich’s report…


  6. says

    It would be interesting to see if you had a members section, if those users would be more incline to take your advice. Instead of average users who are just reading your blog because they came from another site.

    I know that since I regularly read your site, I know I can trust what you say, at least enough to look into it more. If you had a members sections…I’d be all over it.

  7. says

    Interesting conversation.

    As the owner of a new blog, with regards to monetization, I was wondering whether I should focus on attracting RSS subscribers or on building a list with an AR.

    I guess I’ll get my answer here.

    Thanks Andy.

    The great thing about the blogging community is that you can usually find the answers to your questions (if you know where to look).


  8. says

    Hmmm, I think your point here is a bit off mark, old bean!

    Why do I say that? Because as a marketer and seller (referrer) of another’s product or service, in my opinion, the only thing you can do is exactly what you are stating you are so good at doing: getting your audience to click from you to the site you want them to go to. If you have convinced me, via the trust I have in you to at least go and check out this Rich guy, or that John Doe guy, or whomever, I will do it.


    Because of the trust and faith I have in you, your content, and the sentiment I know to be inside you. Once I get to the destination, the process is really no longer about you. PERIOD!

    Now Rich, or Doe, or whomever has to pick me up and carry me the rest of the way. The numbers you are mentioning are really not that out of the ordinary from a conversion stand point. However, if you honestly feel those rates should be higher based upon the relationship you have with your readers, I would suggest there is something challenging going on with those marketers efforts to gain my trust once you have gotten me there.

    You and I both know that giving an address is nothing in this world of 50 million spam messages sent out every second. Use gmail or google email services and you’ll never see any of that scourge (okay, you’ll see a very small percentage, but not like the old days!) Grab the free info, and if you get tired of the bacn later, and they are reputable (you wouldn’t send us there to begin with if they weren’t) you can unsubscribe safely at that point.

    People will get it. And if they don’t, their loss.
    You can only hold my hand for so much of my journey, good friend!

    • says

      Oh, and I meant to add (you took off your edit comment capability?):

      What is the preferred course of actions you desire to see regarding RSS?
      Do you want me to click through to your site, and then click on Rich’s report link, or do you want me to click on that link right from my RSS reader? Or does it matter?

      • says

        It is one of many plugins not yet switched back on after moving hosts and switching to WP2.3.1

        I have always been quite a firm believer in pre-selling as an affliate even if telling the whole truth means less sales.

        There is a saying in marketing, if someone isn’t willing to give you an email address, what hope of them pulling out their credit card.

        I don’t value how many subscribers I have, but how responsive they are when I recommend something, whether it is information on another blog, how many comments they make as a reaction, or whether they decide to share it with others

        • says

          Andy my heart skipped a beat when I read the word PRE-SELL,


          have always been quite a firm believer in pre-selling as an affliate even if telling the whole truth means less sales

          This is Gospel to me as well

  9. says


    I’m another RSS reader who just signed up for “The attention age.” Please don’t make me read your best stuff in email!

    Email is where I want action items, send a contract, have a conversation. If I’m ready to learn and take in information, my blog reader is where I go.


  10. says

    As one of your subscribers, I’m a little offended to be referred to as ‘unresponsive’. I subscribed to your RSS feed. I told you, “At some point you wrote something good, so I’d like to read everything you write on a regular basis”. How many visitors do you have that come only when another blog they read references a post of yours? How many visitors do you have that have come looking for something specific, found it(or not), and left? How many visitors do you have that came here once, and never came here again?

    And you’re calling me unresponsive? It’s bad enough that you’re insulting me, Andy, it’s worse that you’re insulting me because I’m not giving out my e-mail to who you tell me to, so I can download something I don’t want. Honestly, “The Attention Age Doctrine”‘s page looks like crap, and doesn’t sell me on it:

    -The images look like they’re from poorly designed infomercial.

    -The most prominent text on the page insults me. If I’m coming from your site, and everything I know about marketing online is wrong, that doesn’t speak highly of you, either.

    -What’s waiting for me inside? I still don’t know, because when I see a list of bullet points longer than my screen length, my eyes glaze over. If the author can’t distill the most important parts of his own product into five key points, or even a top ten list, why should I trust him to be able to distill the complexities of online marketing into a readable, comprehensible format?

    -“Avoid The Firestorm Tomorrow”! “Claim Your Copy NOW… While It’s Still FREE”! “DO NOT WAIT — DO IT NOW”! The target audience for this product is marketers, correct? And you’re using hard-sell scare tactics… against the people most experienced with hard-sell scare tactics? No thanks.

    I’m sorry you consider me to be unresponsive, Andy, and I hope the above response makes up for my long silence. I assure you this won’t happen again, because in the two months I’ve been subscribed, this is the first post you’ve written I’ve felt compelled to respond to. Clearly, you can do without readers like me, and thus I will be unsubscribing.

    Best of luck with future projects.

    • says

      Jay it is fascinating the reactions I am getting

      You might not be the target audience for the specific post, but then with RSS I have no way to segment my subscribers between those interested in certain topics and who have reacted to similar content in the past.

      When I refer someone to an article on another blog, I have no way to tell how receptive they were to the content.

      Now it just happens that this ebook I felt was very much suited to the majority of my audience, but I am also aware that many of my readers don’t make it past the squeeze page, which is a shame.

      I do suggest you read some of Rich’s other work, lots of it is free. People he consults with such as Agora publishing certainly aren’t shy about segmenting their list at an early date, and it is really hard for me to do that in any way with RSS.

  11. says

    As proof that I do trust your advice I have signed up for The Attention Age Doctrine – even though I do not blog for business reasons you have me intrigued. If I had happened across the site by chance though the format/design of the page and the extravagant claim “Everything you know about Marketing is Wrong” would have turned me away. I would expect to be offered something for free only to find something like “All this for $49.99″ on navigating via the sign up link. Either that or when I received the email itself.

    I came to this article via your email feed. I have the feeds of the blogs I read regularly delivered by email. Those I do not feel the need to read on every post I subscribe to in a reader.

    • says

      Sue I do hope you enjoy the read, I have actually spent a whole night, as in from evening to morning glued to Rich’s videos in the past.

      I am not sure this is Rich’s strongest work for my audience, because many of my readers are already familiar with many of the concepts.

      One of his best resources is his free profit vault

      I actually went through the signup process before posted and know there was no “pitch” after signup.

      Eventually Rich will be promoting a DVD home study course that is quite high end. I don’t expect to sell many, if any to my audience.

      I would quite happily send people through to Rich’s ebooks and videos without an affiliate tracking link, but I love being able to see the stats from the other end.

  12. says

    Sounds like you are willing to cut off your nose to spite your face.

    I read your blog regularly and I am subscribed to your RSS. You give some great information and I’ve learned by reading your site.

    You want the honest truth why people won’t give Rich their email? Because they don’t know him and or they have had a million other offers that are free but the one pushing the product continually spams their email with new offers and just have one more look offers. Not saying that it would happen in this case but seeing how marketers
    have plagued the market in just this way many people are apprehensive.

    So the question really is why would you turn against loyal readers of YOURS because they haven’t given someone else their e-mail?

    The Pope has an audience too, but he doesn’t throw a tantrum and tell the masses he won’t speak to all of them because some are not doing as he wishes. He continues to preach to the masses and hopes his word reaches as many as it can.

    • says

      Talen I would say I am being true to myself and my tagline “Original Opinion and Loads of Attitude”

      It is strange what you are saying, because the statistics in this report suggest that the percentage of the population who value the recommendation of their peers is increasing.

      Why would I be turning against my readers wanting them to download a free ebook which I feel has valuable information?

      Couldn’t it also be looked on that the 1800 people I had previously sent to one of Rich’s sites landing pages didn’t trust me?

      Ultimately I am running a business not a charity, the church has a 2000 year history of goodwill, but don’t discount the efforts the Catholic church go to especially here in Poland and normally around Christmas time to encourage donations from businesses.

      They also do their segmentation, and tend to encourage more those people who have made sizeable donations in the past, and give up on lost causes.

      • says

        You basically said in your article in no uncertain terms that you are having second thoughts about your RSS readership because they didn’t do something you wanted them to do.

        Then again you also state that over 2000 people have clicked the link in the past and 10% were converted ( gave their e-mail address) which in itself is a good number and pretty much what can be expected. You aren’t even the products owner so thats even better.

        You seem to see the problem as one of trust and converting RSS readers. When the real problem is it’s just another e-book among millions that all want you to act fast or be forgotten. It may be free but honestly it’s nothing new.

        I would much rather read your blog than someone else’s sales pitch…especially when the landing page is pretty bad for someone who supposedly has new secrets to success in marketing to share.

        Having great RSS readership means something. We’ve put you in our reader because we think you have something worthwhile to say. The fact that you put it out there got me to click on the link and thats really as much as you can ask of any reader.

    • says

      Aaron I refer to ebooks all the time, because some of them are much better than most SEO blogs.

      My SEO Linking Gotchas post had links to 3 ebooks which I feel are timeless, and just happen to be free. I have mentioned some of those ebooks 4 or 5 times, but I doubt more than 200 people have actually downloaded them and read them, but I can’t track that.

      In that particular case I am using them as a tool so I don’t have to cover content for people with less SEO knowledge.

      In the case of Rich’s ebook, there are a whole load of concepts included that are related to what I write, but which I also want to test and challenge.

      If the only way to generate any real response from an RSS list proves to be more assertive, and show a little more “character”, that is valuable information.

  13. says

    Well, my 2 cents is that the landing page for your link to his site looks like the marketing hype I so often see – with the giant red text, other giant headings, etc. The text looks like a “too good to be true” kind of marketing hype. I see that combination and instantly turn off. The ONLY reason I even gave it a second look at all just now was because of your recommendation and your stated trust in him.

    So I looked around at the rest of the site, which has a totally different feel from that landing page link. Had a better feel to it than the landing page.

    One needs to establish credibility, IMO, in order to gain trust, whether or not they give out something for free in exchange for your email address. After all, most or all of us have seen tons of sites out there with “free” offers that have hidden hooks, they could end up spamming you, selling your email address, or whatever.

    Maybe all those landing pages with giant red text and giant headings (usually centered) and lay-it-on-thick marketing hype get results, but at least for me, when I see that kind of page I typically close that browser tab and move on.

    So, that’s my 2 cents, which may not be the popular opinion here within your comments. ;-)

    • says

      Shirley, Yaro also had a similar sales page for BlogMastermind, because they do convert at least a certain section of the population, but due to low response created a special sales page for Darren to resend his prospects to.

      Even for SEOmoz with their landing page competition, the winner was a long copy sales letter.

      There is a high chance Rich is doing some split testing, but the page will have already been subjected to vigorous appraisal by various copywriters and copywriting tools.

      Rich with the blog is trying to attract a wider audience, especially in so much as some of what he is referring to in the report is blogging and social media.
      He is however also discussing attention and how to grab it, and how peer recommendations are driving decisions.

      In an earlier comment I noted that conversion rate was previously less than 10%

      Today so far it is at 32%, more than a 300% increase.

      2 cents here counts for a lot

  14. says

    I would never have filled in my email address with that landing page without a referral from somebody that I trust. But since you vouched for him, I filled out the form and will read through the doc when I get the time.

  15. says

    Hi again, Andy,

    Well, I’m glad I didn’t totally scare you off. ;-) I’m fine with the long sales letter copy approach – that’s not the issue for me. What turned me off was the gigantic bold red headings and then the gigantic black headings, all centered, along with the incredibly strong push to get the reader to take action.

    But here’s why I feel that way, Andy. I’ve looked at so many cookie-cutter Google AdSense MFA rip-off sites that have gigantic red bold heading text and gigantic headings in other colors, nearly always centered in the middle – which is what Rich uses. To my consumer eye, this has been so over-used that it does the opposite of its intention for me.

    (I got overdosed seeing so many of those sites researching AdSense the past several months for several of my sites and to add helpful AdSense resources to a popular website resource site I run, too.)

    If that approach works, converts, and does what it needs to for the desired results, there’s no arguing with that. I’m just passing along why it turned me off personally as a site visitor clicking over to his site from yours, and why I didn’t jump at the chance to download the free stuff.

    I do wonder if your particular site visitors who visit Rich’s landing page would be more responsive if they see something more like SEOMoz’s final Premium content landing page rather than Rich’s current landing page that to me looks like too much marketing hype and turns me off. And yes, maybe they’re testing a bunch of things. I’ve tried visiting several times now, but I still see the same page and content so far.

    I own/run a small website design and development business (over 11 years now), and I’m not a marketer by profession. So my comments are strictly as a visitor checking out what he has to offer and my response to seeing that page.

    On the other hand, I always have an interest in learning more about SEO, marketing, and related issues… which is how I found your site in the first place. :-) So that’s also why I thought I’d go check out Rich’s site.

  16. says

    I’m beginning to think that the people who don’t like long form sales pages are only people who are not really interested in the product.

    Show them a long form sales page = they click away immediately, flag you as a hypey Internet marketer, and leave a comment complaining about how much they thought your sales page sucked.

    Show them a short form sales page = they still don’t buy, but they don’t accuse you of selling hype.

    If the targeting is off, it won’t sell either way.

    • says

      Good points Yaro.

      Here is my story:

      I normally shy away from long sales letters, and the landing page I went to was just that.

      The only reason I clicked through was because of Andy’s recommendation to do so.

      I opened the eBook and was confronted with more of the same kind of wild claims and hype.

      I started having doubts about whether to trust Andy ever again…but I forged ahead. I figured he wouldn’t let it all go for some scam of an eBook…or would he?

      Lucky for Andy(‘s RSS subscriber count), the book started to make sense.

      I’ve just read about 1/3 so far, but it seems like great stuff.

      My decisions had everything to do with Andy being a trusted authority to me. Guess I’m part of that rising trend of trusting in my peers?

      It’s definitely an interesting situation, though…

      …how do you help someone who doesn’t realize they need help (or sell them something they don’t realize they need – if you are evil)?

      PS – I also trust you!

  17. says

    I have to say that the landing page does give me the “get rich quick on ebay” ebook feel, but conversion is conversion. You have to remember that the vast majority of the general public is not that sophisticated, and he’s not selling surgical instruments. I’d bet it works.

  18. says

    Andy, my stats are a wee bit better – 38 opt-ins from 170 referrals.

    I also agree with Guillermo that ‘trust is not translative’.

    I’ve also chosen a more convenient (to my users/readers) approach of giving first, and asking for an opt-in ONLY IF they liked what they got, and want more of it.

    An example:

    Maybe the “opt-in -> free report -> follow up” approach makes more sense for some, but it ended up frustrating me to breaking point today! I blogged about it, ‘Attention : Now You Got It, Now You Don’t!’

    All success

  19. says

    Andy, I trust you, but I’m not in the market for this report at the moment. If you told me a really good place to buy a car, then IF I was buying a car, I’d go there – BUT I wouldn’t go there if I didn’t want a car, no matter how much I trust you. Okay, I know the report is free – but it’s not really free, as it will eat up time that I don’t have right now.

    Also, I’m with Shirley on this (and Yaro’s probably right). I’m the sort of person who turns off when I see marketing pages, especially long ones with large fonts (I’m going to believe it more because it’s in big red characters?). I’d much rather see a short marketing page, with facts rather than hype, but I’m not going to commit, unless I really want whatever’s on offer.

    I guess that leaves me with a dilemma if I ever get around to writing a report or ebook. Do I market it the way I’d want to see it as a customer, or do I go with the big red letters, because that’s what most(?) people want/need to make them commit? Interesting…

  20. says

    First up great way to up your conversion rate!

    Personally I’ve err-ed away from Rich’s work for similar reasons to those mentioned above, though I’m probably the target audience though.

    While this discussion has come up, it was Yaro’s constant talking about Rich that made me unsub from his feed about 6 months ago, which is a shame as I enjoyed his work, but weeding through the Rich-hype became too much of a chore.

    That would never happen here because I appreciate the high quality of your content but I still felt it was worth sharing.

  21. says

    Most people online, given the choice between ‘building a business’ or ‘making a quick buck’ will choose the latter.

    Rick’s info is about building a business, but takes too long for most of them.
    In my opinion, that may be one reason for low conversions.
    How do they compare to more simpler and easier to install/use products you promote?

  22. says

    I have asked for his doctrine, given him my email address and Id and what is more, have put him in touch with four more other bloggers. That is the extent of my trust in your judgment. Having said all that, I still believe that your proposal to keep the best stuff for insiders to be a thought worth pursuing. Just give enough notice to people to become insiders!

  23. says

    One word: “Headlines”. I read all of my feeds via live bookmarks so the only thing that is going to suggest I need to read a specific posts is the headline.

    Bloggers such as yourself get a second bite from Bumpzee which I check more often (so I will often arrive from there first). But it is the headline that tells me what I want to read.

    One more word: “Conversation”. This is what converts sales, referrals and so forth (which you know – grandma, eggs etc). You can be just as preachy as me but you make it sound better and people enjoy it. However I am learning this is not the same as engaging in conversation. Sometimes it is but sometimes…

  24. says

    Oh Kelvin! – You have missed so much good stuff in the last 6 months. I mention rich maybe in 1% of my total blog posts and in my opinion I do so in ways that help my readers. Rich’s training has influenced me a lot in positive ways, so I like to pass that on to others.

    But hey, if it turns you off, it turns you off. Another good example of how fickle attention is, a few steps in a direction causing reader agitation and you’ve lost’ em!

  25. says

    RSS is bogus… When I first learned about it, it was fantastic. The only problem is that if I am away from my reader for more than a couple days, things pile up so big that I can’t make sense of anything. I have finally given up and just gone back to my normal habits of surfing.

  26. says

    I have to say that the landing page does give me the “get rich quick on ebay” ebook feel, but conversion is conversion. You have to remember that the vast majority of the general public is not that sophisticated, and he’s not selling surgical instruments. ..Yes I’m agree with that.

  27. Lee Webb says

    I like your site and YES, I trust your advice soooo….I have a new online business and was thinking of using an article submission software I heard about called Artemis Pro ( Thoughts? -Lee

  28. says

    I guess every day there are recommendations to check out different sites and ebooks all over the place. Although it would be nice to get the chance to read all of them, sometimes it can seem counterproductive to spend so much time reading similar things again and again. As you seem to feel so strongly that this is a great resource though, I’ll make sure to download it.

  29. says

    I downloaded the report and was instantly thinking – another make money fast ebook, and admittedly I only spent a little while reading it. But its definately worth the read by my standards.

    Course we all trust you man!


  30. says

    Hi Andy!

    I knew about “Rich Schefren” before I got to “know” you. Actually I gave you credit for promoting Rich. His face on your blog gave me a good feeling about you, before I even had read a single post.

    About responsiveness: You know about the 66 second video contest of Rich. When I got to the page days after it was launched. I was amazed that I still was the first one who discovered that page on StumbleUpon. Yes, that’s how lazy readers are.

    As Alex Mandossian puts it: ~~ “Moving the ‘free line’ is essential, but everything has to move towards asking them for the money on a consistent basis. His business model with teleseminars is just incredibly compelling as well as the way he captures the demand of the market. Check out this guy, if you haven’t already.

    Yours John

    • says

      John I know that feeling when you go to a blog and they are promoting the next junk or whatever someone with money wants promoted.

      So far I have avoided placement ads, but I might mix things up a little soon depending on how other discussions go, but I would like to think Rich will be a permanent feature in my sidebar.

  31. NikitaScene says

    Hi Andy:

    I actually saw you speak for the first time at PubCon 2007 last week. Well done! T0o the point, I happened to have downloaded Rich Scehfren’s Web Marketing 2.0 materials before the conference. I was still skeptical when I came back into the office today but much to my delight, after subscribing to your RSS feed and reading through your posts, I was quite pleased to come across your endorsement of Rich. Rock n Roll! I am a newbie to your RSS feed but having heard you speak, I find you a trusted source in the industry and one that is not afraid to share the knowledge

    So without a doubt, I do trust your advice!!!

    Hope to catch you at the next conference and introduce myself!

  32. says

    Yes, trust is earned… I can not say that I trust you from what you have written. However, I do value your opinion… And with all opinions I height them against known facts. Thank you for your work. I have signed up for this info and only time will prove its value… Thanks

  33. says

    Getting refferals isn’t easy but the hardest part is getting active refferals . I would say around 65% of the refferals will become inactive easily or may not even login after joining the site . And as for the remaining 35% , probably around 25% were paid sign-ups and told to be active…at least for a while…