When it comes to building your company reputation and attracting new customers, you need to be wary of the power that other people and organisations can have to kill your efforts. Learning to play by their rules is essential for making sure that you’re not badmouthed and blacklisted. Sometimes it all comes down to doing what is ethical, but in other cases you may be penalised for small mistakes and misunderstandings. This post delves more into the different ways third parties can kill your marketing and what you can do to prevent this.
Negative online reviews
Anyone can leave a review on Google nowadays. If you get more negative reviews than positive reviews, it could put off customers from using your company. Unless you can prove a review is fake, it can be very difficult to get reviews removed. It is better to deal with negative reviews by finding ways to outweigh them with positive reviews. This involves making customers happy and then directly asking those happy customers if they’d be kind enough to leave a review. Don’t try to fake your own positive reviews – you could get penalised and eagle-eyed customers will be able to see through them. Remember that some review platforms may allow you to publicly respond to reviews, allowing you to thank positive reviewers and apologise to (or defend yourself against) negative reviewers.
Negative social media comments
People have the freedom to publicly slate your company on social media. This could be through posts on their feed or even through comments on your posts. Some companies disable comments to prevent this, but this can sometimes have the unintended effect of making you look as if you’ve got something to hide. Focus on building a positive social media community by avoiding false advertising and supporting other social media users. Being transparent and helpful can show people you’re a trusted company and can prevent cynical criticisms.
Having a negative news story published about your company can be hard to recover from. It’s important that you take steps to avoid public scandal by making sure that you and your employees act ethically and legally. If a false story is published about you, it may be possible to file a defamation lawsuit. Meanwhile, to prevent bad news stories about you ranking highly on Google, it may be possible to look into reputation management SEO – which can help you to target keywords that cause more positive webpages to rank higher. You may even be able to use a PR company to generate some positive news stories to outweigh the negative ones.
Search engine penalties
Every company website needs to be designed and maintained with search engine algorithms in mind. Things like duplicate content, slow loading pages, no SSL certificate, broken links or keyword spamming can all damage your rankings. There’s even a risk that you could get blacklisted by Google – which means your site won’t even show up. Investing in SEO is usually one way to prevent this.
The likes of Google Chrome can set up warnings like ‘deceptive site ahead’ to display when people visit your site. This is usually if these browsers have good reason to believe your website is insecure. There are ways to remove these browser warnings, but it typically means cleaning up your website first. Watch out for malicious code (like hacked plug-ins and adverts) as well as links leading to hacked sites.
Call spam warnings
If people see a spam likely warning whenever you try to call them, it could result in you being unable to get hold of people over the phone. This can not only ruin your telemarketing efforts, but it could also prevent you getting hold of existing customers. Fortunately, there are many ways to build your phone number reputation such as obtaining STIR/SHAKEN attestation and using a consistent caller ID. Consider looking into these solutions to prevent your calls being blocked and ignored.
Email spam filters
When it comes to promotional emails, you can also have your efforts spoiled by email inbox spam filters. These filters can send you emails straight to ‘junk’ or display warnings on them if they seem spammy or malicious. Mass-mailing strangers with copy-and-pasted emails is one sure way to get filtered out. When it comes to cold emails, avoid sending too many per day and try to personalise each email so that it’s less likely to be flagged as spam. Similarly, consider your subscribers – if a subscriber has not opened one of your emails in several months, you may want to ask them if they would prefer to be removed from your mailing list.