doubledawnwriting

Advice for better writing and marketing

Posts Tagged ‘taking care of your business reputation

3 Red Flag Practices of Marketing Scammers

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It often surprises me how focused people become on earning the number one page rank results on search engines. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for page rank, but the obsessive desire to be number one often opens the door for predators and unscrupulous practices.

When to Walk Away from a Marketer

It’s easy to get lulled into promises of high traffic and high ranking. The fact is, most of these companies may actually deliver on what they promise. The trouble comes from a consumer who doesn’t really understand what type of service is actually being provided.

Obscure Keywords:

Less than professional marketing or seo companies will offer to give you first page ranking with a particular keyword. Take a close look at this keyword. While it’s true, you can do a search of that keyword and discover your website popping up on the first page, you must ask yourself a simple question. “Will my potential customers be using this keyword?”

Using obscure keywords lowers competition on that phrase and makes it much simpler for a marketer to improve a page’s ranking. However, there is no value in being number one on a search term that nobody uses. It’s a deliberate attempt to mislead the client. In other words, it’s a swindle. Take a little time to look up the proposed keyword and decide if it’s really going to help your seo efforts.

Paid Traffic:

Traffic takes time and dedication to build. Be wary of a sudden surge in comments and traffic, especially if the sales volume isn’t there. Websites like myLot and micro job sites allow marketers to post simple penny jobs to force traffic or comments to a site. They may offer a couple cents per comment, they may offer a few pennies to sign up with an individual email address, or maybe just to like or tweet something.

The website owner usually has no idea the increased traffic or comments are actually bought and paid for. They are hoaxed into believing the miracle marketer is driving traffic to the site. Reports showing individual (and completely valid) email addresses or ip addresses are used to confirm the so-called results.

Plagiarized Content:

Never, ever publish content without proofreading it first. There are some very basic indicators that the content is not original. You don’t even need copyscape to check it. Try typing the first sentence into a search bar and see what pops up.

When you see unusual words that interrupt the flow of the reading, it could be a duplicate. Article spinners randomly adjust various word within a page. For example, child might be changed to youth, minor or juvenile. If enough of these word are changed, the content will likely pass copyscape. That does not make it original.

Plagiarism is not just the actual words, but the intention. Changing a few words around and replacing others is still infringing on copyright. While many articles may use the same research or ideas, the structure should have a sense of uniqueness. Duplicated content may take a while to be discovered by search engines, but once it’s flagged, not only could your website be banned from search engines, you could find yourself in legal troubles.

In the end, it’s your money and your reputation on the line. The old adage rings out loud and clear when it comes to marketing and seo companies and the promises they make. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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The Best Way to Handle Critical Comments Posted Online

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A blog is a useful tool to keep the lines of communication open with consumers. However, if it’s not properly managed, it can create a poor reputation for your business.

Your company blog is a forum to offer advice, links to useful sites and keep your client base updated on changes in your company. It also allows your business to gain valuable insight into your market. Consumers who offer feedback and comments will give your company a comprehensive look into the perspective of the purchasing public.

How Do You Handle Critical Comments?

Deleting spam from your blog commentary is perfectly acceptable. However, deleting critical comments is detrimental. It gives the consumer a sense that your business is arrogant and doesn’t actually have concerns about building good customer relations.

Seeing a nasty or unfavourable comment from a consumer can invoke an angry reaction. (Anger tends to attract anger). Hastily posting an angry response diminishes your professionalism and actually offers validity to the customer’s upset.

A better reaction: validate the customers feelings and encourage a solution.

Take some time to really think about what the comment is saying. Most of the time, an angry customer just wants to be heard and validated. Unfortunately, many companies seem to have implemented an anti-apology policy. The fear of admitting any type of wrong-doing has taken over as the new mantra, replacing “the customer is always right”.

Taking the attitude that the company is never wrong sends an inappropriate message (even when you are 100% in the right). It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about changing how the customer feels.

Apologize for the Upset Without Apologizing for the Policy:

Don’t run from the apology. In fact, you will garner respect from every consumer who reads your response if you acknowledge the customers feelings. A good response to a customer complaint is to first and foremost, humble yourself with an apology.

That doesn’t mean admitting defeat. It doesn’t mean breaking the rules. It does, however, mean acknowledging the customers feelings. “I’m sorry you feel that way” and “I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a bad experience” are two perfect examples of your sincere dedication to making the customer happy.

Encourage In-Depth Communication:

Take the bull by the horns when it comes to a disgruntled customer. You certainly don’t have to settle the entire issue in the comments section. Follow your apology with a olive branch. “I would like to hear more details, can you please call 1-800-456-XXXX and ask for Jane.”

Not only does this move the conversation offline, but it gives the rest of the consumers reading the comments a chance to see what type of company you actually are. Rather than brush off the customer, you have validated the concern and offered them the opportunity to tell their story. Furthermore, once you have the person on the phone, it’s easier to neutralize the anger and resolve the misunderstanding.

The Worst Responses:

Never reply to anger with anger. Be the professional. Once you’ve posted a comment on the internet, it’s there forever. Take a few minutes to gain perspective and don’t take angry critiques personally. Responses sent in haste can haunt your business for years to come. Before you put anything in writing ask yourself – what if this goes viral?

Never blindly recite company policy. It’s cold and impersonal and will only aggravate the situation. Again, it’s like saying the company is never wrong. If you can speak with the customer on the phone, you can explain the reasons behind the decision. The verbatim “this-is-the-policy” response never works.

Last, and probably most importantly, be willing to listen. By listen, I mean don’t interrupt, interject or try to defend your company’s position. Wait for the customer to tell their entire story. It can be harsh listening to a complaint, but allow the customer to fully vent their frustrations. Take the high road and don’t get pulled into an argument.

Not only does active listening show respect, but it brings you 80% of the way to solving the problem. More often than not, the customer just wants to tell their story. Even if you don’t have a solution or can’t fix the problem, listening, being respectful and valuing the person’s business are often all it takes to resolve a customer’s unhappiness.

 

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