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The Online Rules of Engagement

April 16, 2012

Online Marketing

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“You suck!”

“I hate this blog.”

“This blog keeps saying the same thing over and over.”

These comments may be common on your favorite blog that speaks of less serious matters such as celebrity gossip, light news or sports.  While this may not be a great thing for a blogger or owner (in most cases, both titles belong to one person), they can take it one of two ways – either by ignoring the comments or seeing them as an opportunity.

Ignorance is Expensive

Yes, you can choose to ignore the comments as they may have hurt your little feelings and you feel that you may go “off” and lose your audience in the process because it sounds unprofessional.  Unless you keep your content interesting, they’re going to leave anyway.

In business, everyone that’s part of your demographic counts as these are the people most likely to care about what it is you have to offer.  If you run a review that speaks of restaurants that specialize in steaks, you’re not going to want to advertise to people that may be members of PETA or other animal rights group.

This is why taking the time to have an effective marketing strategy is important.  Despite what some “experts” may tell you, telling everybody who’s on Facebook or Twitter is a waste of time.  If you’ve taken the time to create a niche brand as opposed to a general interest (think spicy vegetarian or vegan products versus new frozen food products by everyday manufacturers), then why chance losing something this valuable?

In other words, why waste time creating another campaign and waiting for traffic to build?  While it’s great to have a reserve campaign as marketing is a never-ending process, there is no reason to start new when your numbers are steadily dropping or you are seeing more comments like above.  Stop crying, put on some steel draws and deal with it.

Opportunity Doesn’t Always Knock

Don’t you hate when you’re at home relaxing and there’s someone who just barely taps the door?  It may not occur to them to ring the doorbell or maybe you door is solid like an oak tree.  Yet you feel good when it’s someone you haven’t seen in a while or positive news you weren’t expecting.

Now if you were asleep, on the phone or had the TV turned up, chances are that you would have missed the person  or whatever.  They may come around again, and they may not.

Same goes for blogging, if you write too infrequently, not enough or worse, content that contradicts your brand, you could be committing e-suicide.

Like anything else, when someone takes the time to reach out to you, listen carefully.  While you will never please everyone in your viewing demographic all the time; if complaints or negative feedback are frequent, now’s the time to take action.

And with the market becoming more competitive, it most likely will cost you more money and time than when you first started.

Of course, you know that not everyone who decides to start an e-business in January will still be in business by June but why put yourself through the trouble?

Facing the Naysayers

Now that you’re in uniform or at least have a brave face on, the first thing is to read the complaint.  Is it really hateful or are they telling the truth?  We all know that the more popular a blog gets, the more people will make comments, positive and not.  Some commenters get a little too technical (Is it really yogurt or yoghurt?), fanatical (What’s Beyonce’s real age anyway?) or they may just be abrupt in telling you that you didn’t do enough research or your information is dated.

In this age of evergreen content, it’s easy for a blogger to look up information from an online source and realize that it’s more than 10 years old.  In that time, an industry could have changed greatly.  Or, their source may have been biased and the blogger is not experienced enough to know the difference between speculation and the facts.  Don’t be afraid to edit information so that you will be protected from a lawsuit or monetary loss. Remember too, that drops in traffic or too many negative reviews can affect your standing with marketing campaigns.

Once you realize that the damage may be on your part, post an apology, correction or have a promotional giveaway (or better, all of the above).

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