1. Not everything should be published
there’s that saying, any publicity is good publicity… well, let’s through that one to the “bad ideas box” and lock it with your fantasies of running for president next year. the only business that can allow himself to publish everything is “gossip magazines” and they too blocking more than half of what comes to their editors desk.
the main reason is the fact that one of your guys thought it’s gonna be “cool” to take a picture “arm wrestling” a costumer on the main office desk doesn’t mean that this is a picture that will send a “positive funny” act of fun, some consumers might see this picture as unprofessional to the business you are in.
lesson 1: make sure that the marketing department (even if your son is the whole department) will know and understand what is your thought about how the business should appear to the world. if you are a european bar that holds arm wrestling contests this is the first picture you should show do of course 🙂
2. Trashing doesn’t make you better, it’s just make you even – for better or for worse.
as in real life so is in the business world, someones ego get hurt, for example:
a costumer came into the store, didn’t purchased what you offered but later you found out that he bought the product at a near by place, the salesman who just lost his commission tried to eliminate the competition by sending them bad reviews and ask all of his friends to click on their sponsored ad, well… guess what? his friends took it to the next level so when the time came and the owner wanted to post some local ads, the PPC cost tripled itself… karma is a bitch!
3. Not everybody is suitable for Online Responsibility
it happens so many times when business owners decided to promote somebody and give him more responsibility, which we always encourage it of course, but responsibility needs to come with proper training. social media and website management for example requires a lot more responsibility than inventory or paper work. the simple reason is that online create a stamp that is very hard to remove later on while anything else in the back office can be covered up or replace.
your sales rep decided that he wants to take control over the company’s Facebook page cause he think that no ones posted anything for a long time, you as an owner think JACKPOT! someone can finally take this crap and do something with it… – WRONG!
a sales rep for that matter will always have a straight interest – sales, he will not think about costumer care or business opportunities… that is why he is a sales rep and not a marketing rep. now lets say that your rep did a good job and posted nice pictures and videos of the business and 2 weeks later one of his costumers posts a complaint on your page and now he is in a position he need to confront her online… EGO will kick in and you will not be aware of that at all. lets say that 3 months later after the rep decided to leave his job he have access to your online profile, never a good thing.
Solution: although some businesses think that online marketing is a hustle, you do need someone you can trust and know what he is doing, you will never put a service advisor instead of a sales manager cause he know how to provide service and explain and talk and talk with the costumer while a sales manager can cut right to the point and close the deal! exactly the same with online branding.
4. don’t promise what you can’t provide
“Come in today and receive this and that for absolutely noting! just come in!”
you probably came across some promotion teasers in your days, how many times you really won these promotions? less than 15% that is what our survey says… the problem is that a lot of times you will pick your brain to find the best capturing promotion there is but when the time comes to deliver you can’t handle it and you end up losing. we already used this example before but this time we will show you the upgrade version:
A used car dealer promised a $50 Gas Card for everyone who will come to test drive a car on saturday, in these days $50 worth a lot to a lot of people. what happened was that over 200 people showed up at the dealership that saturday and wanted to test drive a car – Success!
because the guy who ran the promotion ad was a sales rep and not a marketing professional there was no fine prints, so the missing line on that promotion was “Gas Card will sent by mail after a full application is filled by sales rep”, what happened eventually that day was the dealer spent Nearly $10,000 Worth of Gas Cards and only sold 3 cars… this cars would have gone anyway in that weekend.
to look on the bright side, 200 people now know the name of the dealership and he got about 1000 hits on his website, but is it worth 10k? no way!
5. Find a catchy promotion teaser that won’t bite back…
a post on Facebook said “November Jack!” everyone who will come to the store and talk to jack will get a 10% instant discount, well, as you guessed… Murphy law strikes again and a day after the promotion went live jack wanted more commission and didn’t get it, he decided to retire, the store now needs to find another employee name jack that will negotiate with costumers – if you are good you will make a joke about it like – Jack is the owners nephew or something, if you are not that creative you will just find a different promotion name next time you’d like to attract traffic.
6. Don’t use an employee name on your posts
about 5 years ago we had a costumer that ran a “car racing training” company, sound awesome, and all the employees was treated like family, the training department manager was all over the news and on the company website as a unique trainer that can make anybody into a racing driver. 2 years after the trainer decided he wants to spread his wings and start his own business, not only he fought with the owner but his attorney sent a letter claiming all the rights for his clients name on websites, fliers and search engines. the company took an SEO dive because his attorney won the case and all the promotions with the employee name now transferred to his new website and collected all the traffic, now the old company can’t really say anything cause up till a week ago he was their champion… that is a problem.
Solution – unless Micheal Schumacher is your chief of staff, don’t promote an employee name without a sign contract stating that in the future the company will hold all rights to use his or hers name on promotions until the day they will resign.
7. Avoid good friends ideas, what’s good for one’s business doesn’t good for all
a few months before we launched our website a friend came to congratulate us and wishing all the best (what a friend!) like all of our other entrepreneurs friend he had some thought on how to make our life easier, faster, and more profitable in just 5 minuted from the second he heard whats it all about… friend… anyway, his idea was to do exactly like he did on his own promotion site – copy from the best, latterly copy and paste from other SEO firms and buy some online articles that they sell online to promote our website faster. we were polite and said “thanks bro, you are the best” but we through his idea to the same box from rule no. 1 on this page.
we all have a lot of friends who be glad to help us, some more successful than us, some of them just like us trying to grow and succeed, but the most important thing is a realtor is not an online company, and a pawn shop owner is not a restaurant owner for a reason, you can learn from the pro’s in your business, copy a method, but avoid the shortcuts to your success, one copied article can cause you to disappear from google for 3 months, google won’t delete it of course, they will just make sure no now will see it for the time being. stay original, that’s why you started your business, stay that way.
8. don’t be who you are not, and no, your garage start up idea is still not terrifying google or Facebook
there is an old saying “you are what you wear…” well, logically speaking, this say probably came from a fashion designer and struck the world as an old saying, but in reality, it’s hard to start off from scratch, you sit in your room / office look a like, and come up with an idea that’s going to change the world, because the web gives us so many easy options and these days any small corner hot dog stand looks online like a nationwide chain it’s hard to understand who you are dealing with. if you have a home business, don’t try to make of it as a big time corp with offices and employees abroad, the next time an investor will look for and investment and like to meet you at your office you will be in a bit of a problem.
not only home businesses but small businesses loosing a lot of costumers when they are trying to show how big, successful and appealing they are just like the big guys, but to be honest, a lot of your costumers are looking for that small business, the one that they can come in, talk with a person and not a super high tech phone system and close a deal with a person, just like the good old days. keep that in mind the next time some big corp will knock on your door to offer you state of the art phone system that can sell by it’s own (yes, we heard that one too…)
9. yelp can be your best friend or your worst enemy
Most likely you heard about yelp.com, either from a friend, your own experience or a promoter called you to advertise to make sure your business is out there so you won’t stay alone… anyway, yelp is one of the largest review sites known today, they created a beautiful concept of only real reviews will pop up (90% of the time) and will give the costumer the closest business to his area. the title says it can be best or worse because in the past year yelp is trying to maneuver between small businesses law suits and one major one that supposed to change the game rules.
if you have someone from your business that is dealing with yelp, make sure he is on top of everything, including reviews, pictures and promotions, what yelp showing the world lately is that good reviews are hard to get but bad reviews will pop up as fast as a whistle… that of course plays against you, the business owner that is paying for that service (obscured… we know!)
but make sure as a company policy, that no matter what someone wrote on your profile he must get a response in 24 hours since the review went live. even if the response will be “thank you, we received your review and a representative will contact you shortly” that will save you a lot of bad waves later on. no business is perfect and all the businesses that we know and worked with have some bad costumers or bad deals along the way with some of them (it happened to us too you are not alone) but to show that you are giving the proper costumer service will show other users that there might be more than just a non answered complaint and that costumer service is something that you as a company believe in.
10. in the end, online decision is a business decision, do it right and try to avoid other people mistakes.
you heard so many stories, you read our guide of what you should avoid and yet, we can promise you that there will be some mistakes along the way, but please, before taking another online decision involving your so important one of a kind business, take a deep breathe, think what will be the effect for this decision in the long run, cause just like “Vegas” what goes online, stays online…