Handling Negative Business Reviews

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Handling Negative Business Reviews

It happens to all of us at some point. No matter how hard you work and no matter how much you try to do your best, a customer eventually has a negative experience. Unfortunately, when a customer has a negative experience no matter the fault, you can get hit with a negative review. While it surely stings, it’s not the end of the world. Luckily, you can actually take steps towards turning the negative review into a positive experience for both your business and the customer if you handle the situation the right way. Below, we will be going over some tips for handling negative reviews with the help of Cormac Reynolds from VelSEOity.

1. Don’t React

One of the main things that you want to do is avoid having a knee jerk reaction to the customer who is upset. By responding with negativity, you can guarantee that you will encounter even more negativity which can spiral out of control. Avoid reacting negatively and slapping back to the negative review for the entire world to see. While you want to respond swiftly, you need to do so in a calm and collected manner. If necessary, vent your frustration offline by doing some exercise or by conducting deep breathing exercises. It’s important to understand that a negative review can be a good opportunity to showcase your customer service.

2. Respond Quickly

As mentioned, you don’t want to delay when you are dealing with a negative review. Take quick action and don’t let the negative review fester. Ignoring a negative review is one of the worst things you can do. You want to deal with the negative review as soon as you calm down and can approach the situation with a calm mind. You should take steps towards acknowledging the customer’s pain points and let them know that you are there to remedy any situation they feel they’ve been wronged in.

3. Don’t Make Any Excuses

Even if you feel as though you did nothing wrong in the situation, it is important to avoid making excuses. You want to accept responsibility no matter what because “the customer is always right.” By showing the customer you understand they had a bad experience and you want to make it right, you will be able to showcase that you care about your customers for the world to see.

4. Make It Better

Once you have established communication, you will want to take steps towards actively resolving the problem. When you showcase that you are able and willing to take responsibility for the situation and that you are willing and able to make it right, you have a good chance of convincing the customer that it was a one-time mistake that didn’t warrant such a harsh review.] A lot of times, you will even be able to convince them to change their review and showcase the steps you took to remedy the situation which can turn it into a positive for your business.

5. Ask For Positive Reviews

When you are dealing with customers that just want to be angry or even trolls that haven’t frequented your business, you simply have to showcase your motivation for resolving the problem. Another good way to minimize the negative impact a bad review can have on your business is by asking for positive reviews from satisfied customers – this helps you pre-empt such issues and helps protect your reputation. This will help you drown out of the negative feedback with positive feedback. A lot of customers are ready and willing to help out their favorite businesses by writing positive reviews. All you have to do is ask! It is very important to encourage feedback across all review channels for various reasons:

72 percent of customers look towards online reviews when they are attempting to make purchasing decisions. There are search engines like Google who even include online reviews when they are ranking query results. Therefore, the more positive feedback you are able to accumulate, the higher you will likely get your rankings. The more positive feedback you are able to get, the better your chances of converting a prospective customer into an actual customer since they will be much more inclined to frequent your business due to having a high customer satisfaction rating.

Marketing Advice for Your Business

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Marketing Advice for Your Business

You may have the best product or service in the world, but if you do not know how you market it, you will not be able to sell it. What this means is that your competitor with an inferior product can potentially make far more sales than you if they have the marketing wherewithal you lack. It may seem easy, post a few adverts on social media, the product will sell itself. You need to understand now that this is not going to work. You need a fully thought out marketing strategy and the ability to maintain it into the future. So here are some ideas to get you started.

Your website

You need to invest in your website. It has to be fully functioning, quick loading, and work in all browsers and devices, as a prerequisite. There is no point in having a beautiful marketing campaign that points to a rundown old website that doesn’t even work properly. There will be a huge disconnect, and people will think they are in the wrong place. Your website needs to be discoverable, so you need to invest time in working out keywords from your target market, and what they are likely to input into a search engine. Once you have done this, you can fully SEO (search engine optimization) every page of your website. Content on the site needs to be updated regularly, so having a blog is essential these days.

Brand awareness

You need a good brand for the business. So think logos and taglines. These must be used on all your content. The idea is to get the brand into people’s minds. In addition, think about your personal brand. You should create your own site where you can authentically promote your business. As a person, you can connect with people more easily, so developing your personal brand is essential. This means that if you have any accolades which make you the perfect person to listen to, such as having gone through a master of occupational therapy program for your clinic, tell your story on a vlog.

Social media

Any business that wants to succeed in the modern world has to have a presence on social media. It is a free way to advertise, and it gives you an unprecedented way to learn about your target audience and connect with them. You need to create a separate method of marketing for each social media platform. However, the onus is on quality posts over quantity. You need to have some glossy images, a good story to tell, think about social responsibility, and what you are doing to help the plant, for example. Have a look at your competitors and members of your target audience to get an idea about what they share. This will give you some ideas about how best to proceed. In terms of frequency of posts, about two to three times a day, every day. You need to be there, but not whitewash people’s feeds as this will have the opposite effect to the one you want, they will switch off.

Content Marketing Success Through Audience Targeting

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Content Marketing Success Through Audience Targeting

It seems to happen to the best of us. You devote hours and hours of time to writing a great piece of content that you just know is going to drive hordes of people to your website. Of those hordes of people, hopefully, a few will become customers. For some reason, however, it doesn’t work. Very few people read it and those who do aren’t engaging with you or your business. You’re left wondering what happened and what you could have done better.

Often the problem lies in a disconnect between the content creator and their audience. If a piece of content fails to pick up traction, it’s usually because it doesn’t fit what the audience was searching for. Content marketing towards your target audience is an essential piece of the puzzle. Before you can effectively deliver your message, you need to understand who you are marketing it to and why.

Understanding your target audience is complicated and involves more than one step. Here are some ways to achieve content marketing success by targeting the right audience.

Conduct Market Research

The fact of the matter is if you want to know who your target audience is, you’ve got to do the research. Both SEO and content marketing demand research to be successful. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking up keyword strategies or choosing topics for long-form content, you have to begin by researching what topics people want to know about.

Thankfully, you don’t have to just guess. There are several tools available that can help you find out what topics and keywords your audience is searching for. Audience Key, for example, allows you to optimize content, quantify search audience, map your keyword strategy, and much more. You can find data and analytics that will help you know what’s working and get to know your audience.

Sometimes the research may take just as long as it does to produce your content – and that’s ok. It’s better to take the time to produce content for your intended audience and see results instead of spending all that time to effectively have the content flop.

Engage Your Readers Using Emotion

In any case, you’re looking for your readers to have an emotional response to what you’re saying. Of course, you want clicks, shares, and conversions. It’s your business after all. None of that follows if you can’t reach your audience on an emotional level, however.

One of the easiest ways to drive engagement on your site and connect with your audience is to ask them questions. You want your audience to share their own feelings and opinions to connect with you. Ask your readers what they want to hear about. You can also end your content with direct questions to get the conversation going in the comments. Additionally, ask their opinions on your recommended products and services. Encourage conversation, questions, and healthy debates.

Reconnect With Your Audience

If you are having trouble engaging your audience, try starting over again. You’ll need to get a good understanding of your audience. This includes:

  • Find out what your audience is passionate about, and write content for them.
  • Connect with your readers on an emotional level to build a community. Encourage conversation and questions.
  • Research the market demographics of your audience thoroughly.
  • Remember to include a call to action when you want your audience to do something. Often, people simply need to be told what you’d like them to do.

It’s easy to see how these guidelines can help increase the amount of engagement your content receives, as well as sales and conversions. When it comes to content marketing, it doesn’t have to be a mystery.

6 SEO Trends You Can’t Ignore This Year (and Beyond!)

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, 6 SEO Trends You Can't Ignore This Year (and Beyond!)

Whether you’re a business owner or a marketing manager, you’ve probably heard about the importance of SEO for your company on more than one occasion. Maybe you’ve even already put in the leg work toward kickstarting your SEO and creating a solid plan to grow your online presence.

But, having an SEO plan in place isn’t enough. It needs to constantly be looked at, tweaked, and changed in order to fit with trends and algorithm changes. Google made headlines in 2019 with its BERT algorithm update, and the search engine shows no signs of slowing down on changing the way it promotes pages and content.

That’s just one example of how quickly things can change and how fast technology moves. If your company isn’t keeping up with it by allowing for an adaptable SEO strategy and by using quality SEO services, it won’t take long for you to fall behind in your marketing efforts.

So, what are some of the trends you need to keep up with in the world of SEO, in order to stay relevant?

1.  User-Focused Content

For years, you’ve likely focused on keyword strategy and link-building. While those things aren’t just going to disappear overnight, it’s important to start shifting the way you create content. For example, with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and people’s desire to form more relationships with businesses, rather than just be target demographics, content is going to have to focus more on user intent.

It’s not going to be enough to piece together words and phrases people might search for. Even keyword research tools may become less useful as time goes on.

So, what can your business do to keep up with the change in where content is going? Listen to your customers, clients, and followers. Focus on their questions, concerns, and comments through every aspect of their journey with your company, whether they use your product/service or not. By really listening to what people are saying about your business, you can hone in on what they’re looking for, and develop your content accordingly.

2. High-Quality Content

It’s no coincidence that the top two spots on this list focus solely on the content of your website. Content is king for a reason, after all.

Not only is it important to shift your content more toward the reader, but it’s equally important to make sure that content is readable.

What does that mean?

Simply put, if the content you’re pushing out on a regular basis isn’t easy to understand, it’s going to start to rank poorly. Google might not be advanced enough to play the role of editor yet, but there’s no doubt that day is coming, soon.

In the past, releasing new content regularly was a good tactic for boosting your rankings. While updating your content regularly is still a must-do, it’s not enough to put together poorly-written pieces just for the sake of a ranking. Instead, your mindset should be to have the best content on the web, consistently. If you don’t feel that someone on your team has the writing skills that will continue to get you noticed, it’s worth it to hire professional writers, even on a freelance basis.

3. Managing Your Reputation

As more businesses and websites compete for high-ranking spots, your reputation will start to play a big part in where you’re found on that list. Google will look at the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) of a business based on its digital impression.

You should only be publishing content about things you know. With words like “fake news” trending in today’s society, it’s easy for people to be skeptical about things they read online, so you have to prove yourself as a trustworthy source of information. Always double-check what’s being published to make sure it’s accurate and true. One false statistic or exaggerated claim can end up causing a lot of damage.

Your reputation will also be scrutinized when it comes to negative comments and reviews posted about your business online. Negative comments may have deterred potential customers away before. But, now? They could turn Google off from giving your site a high ranking.

If you have other people writing for you or contributing pieces of information to your website, it’s just as important to make sure they have a solid reputation, too. Quoting someone who has been proven to be a fraud or someone with no authority in a particular subject could make your content (and business) seem just as ill-informed.

So, do your research, write what you know, and work hard to preserve positive customer experiences.

4. Focus Your Attention on Mobile

Did you know that 60% of Google searches are done on a mobile device? Or, that over 2 billion people use their smartphone exclusively to access the Internet?

If you’ve been ignoring optimizing your website for mobile, it’s time to make it a priority. Mobile search is only going to become more popular over time thanks to a society on the go, and consumers are growing used to instant gratification. If your website doesn’t load quickly on a phone or is impossible to navigate, they’re going to turn away in a matter of seconds and look elsewhere.

It’s worth it to higher graphic designers or web designers who specialize in mobile web development to make sure your site is easy to work through, even on a smartphone. It used to be the norm to create a site on a desktop and later optimize it for mobile. Now, the trends are showing us that it may be time to start flip-flopping that old rule of thumb.

5. Building Your Brand

More companies are starting to focus on paid advertising, especially on social media. There was a time where spending very little on social media could get your business heavily-noticed. Now that the practice is becoming more saturated, the ROI is reduced. It’s also likely that the cost will go up, so you’ll have to spend more to get less.

Chances are, you’re going to have to continue to spend something on social advertising, just to stay relevant. But, it shouldn’t be where you focus all of your attention. Instead, shift your goals toward building your brand and promoting brand awareness.

Both Google and Bing have made it known that linkless mentions of your business are used as ranking signals. So, the more people that are talking about your company online, the better.

When you utilize social media listening, you can pay attention to how often your brand is being talked about and what people are saying. It also gives you a great opportunity to interact directly with customers and followers of your business. When you give your business a personality by talking directly with your audience, you’re developing trust. That can help you to stand out among competitors who are simply following the normal trends with canned responses and limited social interaction.

6. Voice Search Optimization (VSEO)

By 2022, voice-based shopping is expected to reach up to $40 billion. That’s just one of the staggering stats associated with this phenomenon that continues to grow in importance. VSEO is huge among teenagers and young adults, so it’s undoubtedly going to take over the next generation of searchers.

What does that mean for your business? Since people are asking more direct questions via voice (and typically doing so using full sentences), you’re going to have to consider exactly how those questions will be asked.

What makes VSEO different from traditional search is that when someone is typing, they’re more likely to use snippets of a phrase, or just one to two words in order to get the information they want. Since searching via voice tends to feel more conversational, they’re going to use longer questions and phrases. Those same questions and phrases need to be brought up in your content in order to be seen. Think about how most questions start, with the same few words:

  • How?
  • Why?
  • What?
  • When?

If your content isn’t including those key terms or the answers to the questions people are asking, you’re going to become less relevant when it comes to your overall ranking.

So Many Changes, So Little Time

With technology changing so quickly and Google coming out with new algorithms all the time, it can feel as though it’s hard to keep up with the latest SEO trends. But, there’s one major theme that you can probably see through all of these trends: The user should be your focus.

When it comes to the content you produce, the trustworthiness of what you say, the ease of which people can view your site via mobile, and how well your brand connects with consumers, it all comes back to user experience (UX).

So, while keeping these trends at the forefront of your marketing/SEO plan will help to keep you from becoming stagnant in your efforts, the most important thing to keep in mind is how those efforts are targeted toward the people searching for you, and those who have already discovered you. That’s a “trend” that will only continue to become more important each year.

Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

The marketplace model of eCommerce is one such breakthrough that allowed everyone to become a part of the new ecosystem of online commerce. There was a time when the entry of an online alternative in a market would scare the hell out of small offline retailers. The consumer behavior was changing and the prices were getting aggressively competing; it was not easy for small retailers to keep up with their online counterparts.

Then came the marketplace model that allowed even small retailers to claim a share from the multi-billion dollar pie of eCommerce. Now, instead of competing with the offline retailers, the eCommerce sites were connecting third-party retailers directly to their customers. We called this model the pure marketplace ecosystem, where the owner of the marketplace did not maintain the inventory but simply connect the people with inventories to the people who want to purchase. The marketplace was just an intermediary, which would make money from the commissions they charged on each sale generated for their retailers.

The time changed, markets evolved, competition became even harsh, and marketplaces required more innovative ways to make money than the mere commissions. This gave birth to different sub-classifications of the actual marketplace model, which still exists:

  • E-Bay: A peer-to-peer marketplace that sales only from the third-party inventories
  • Amazon: A hybrid marketplace that sales from both in-house and third party inventories
  • Walmart: A hybrid combined with the physical model to sell both in online and offline ecosystems

What’s next in the marketplace model of eCommerce?

The meaning of an online marketplace is changing as we speak. Today, the boundary that differentiates a physical marketplace from its online counterpart is as thin as a thread. The biggest names in the marketplace ecosystem, such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, have established both online and offline presence and securing major shares of the pie through their Omni-channel manifestations.

Today, the marketplace business is no more about massive catalogs of different categories of products. Instead, marketplaces are creating ecosystems for their customers. They are driving customers towards the business from all possible sides and earning customer loyalty by offering everything at one place on any channel. Take Amazon for example. Is there anything that Amazon can’t offer to a common consumer? From entertainment to finance, grocery, vegetables, electronics, home furnishing, and cloud services, Amazon is the best example to understand the rapidly evolving face of the marketplace model today.

Is the marketplace is a profitable business idea in 2020?

It indeed is. Even the biggest entities in the market cannot cover everything. There are still numerous niches with profitable prospects for the new entrants. It certainly not an easy job to set up a marketplace and compete with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart. However, you don’t need to compete with them, if you identify some niche marketplace ideas. The marketplace model offers an array of benefits to the merchants and the customers, and all of them could encourage them to come along with your platform:

  • A combined channel: You could offer a hybrid channel to small retailers and merchants to generate sales from both online and offline markets.
  • Better exposure: Selling on a marketplace platform reveals new doors to the merchants who have been relying on traditional channels. They can even expand their business internationally.
  • Reduced marketing cost: Merchants need not spend a fortune to build eCommerce sites and then marketing them. They can save all these costs by simply signing up on your marketplace.
  • Established trust factors: Retailers get access to an established platform, which its customers already trust. This trust factor is induced to the sellers of the marketplace, too.
  • Competitive product prices: With so many sellers available for a single product, the prices are l always competitive. It encourages more customers to shop from your site.
  • Multiple revenue channels: As a marketplace owner, you need not depend on commissions alone to make money. You can make money from several non-traditional channels, such as showing featured products, sponsored products, and selling membership subscriptions for added benefits to sellers and the customers.

No doubt, the above benefits for everyone lay down the foundation of the marketplace model, but it’s not all breezy either. There are some pitfalls too that require strategic resolutions:

  • It’s all technology: The core that drives an online marketplace business is pure technology. From the marketplace software to web-hosting, content delivery networks, third party APIs, and compliance with the laws, everything is driven by technology. That makes a competitive marketplace setup quite expensive, complex, and workforce-extensive.
  • Chicken and egg problem: Sellers won’t board your marketplace until you have enough customers to make good sales, and customers can’t purchase until you have sellers. It makes the opening days for a marketplace business pretty complicated. You would need a significant amount of investment to market your platform, and then acquire sellers through handsome incentives.
  • Data security: When you are managing a massive marketplace with so many merchants, customers, and sensitive information onboard, there is a high risk of data security. Since the only asset you have is your platform and data, you have to be very particular about keeping it secure.

How you can start an online marketplace business?

It’s a big question – how to start an online marketplace business? There is the technology and there is business process development, both go hand-in-hand to form a complete marketplace ecosystem. If you have a business plan or a niche in your mind, you need to focus your efforts on handling the following four challenges first, and you could own a great marketplace business:

Note: You need to manage these challenges keeping your customers and sellers/merchants in thought. You can’t start a marketplace by conciliating with the needs of any of the two stakeholders.

Marketplace Software

Marketplace software constitutes your entire platform. You would need a collection of different marketplace solutions that work collectively to build your marketplace platform. One of the major constituents is – the marketplace website.

Marketplace website builder: You can develop your marketplace platform from scratch by outsourcing your project or hiring in-house developers. However, this would be a highly expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Instead, you can purchase a ready-made, open-source, multi-vendor eCommerce script to set up your platform in a few hours. There are various clone scripts in the market; you can get one of them and build your website. These scripts will provide all the fundamental features you need to build your platform. Since they offer open-source code access, you can also customize them the way you want.

Another alternative is using a free eCMS like Magento, PrestaShop, or OpenCart. However, these Commerce platforms are mainly suitable for inventory-based eCommerce sites, as they do not provide multi-vendor support out-of-the-box. You will have to purchase a corresponding multi-vendor module or extension from a third-party vendor to add marketplace features. They are open-source too.

Some SaaS solutions are also present in the market with ready-made marketplace sites. If you are ready to pay a monthly recurring fee, transaction fee per-sale, and can do with limited control over your site, this could be one of the fastest ways to build and launch your site in a day. These solutions are closed-source.

The choice is yours, you can use any of these options based on your preference and requirements. Do some research and select the most suitable option, as it would be a long-term commitment. You can’t switch your marketplace software every now or then.

Branding and Marketing

Be advised that customers don’t remember the seller but the marketplace platform itself. Therefore, every bad experience customers receive from your sellers directly affects your business image. All the discounts, Ads, and promotions, happen in the name of the marketplace platform. If you can’t get your customers to remember your brand identity, know that there is something wrong with your marketing and branding activities.

Supply-chain and Demand

The sole purpose of a marketplace platform is to fill the gap between supply and demand. Both the buyers and the merchants are your customers. You need to maintain a steady flow of demand and supply to keep both of the ends happy. Without buyers, you will lose customers and demand; without sellers, you will lose the supply-chain. Happy customers create demand, and sellers create the supply. You have to maintain an optimum balance between the two entities to succeed.

Flawless Customer Support

For both the buyers and the sellers, customer support is the most volatile constituent that might just ruin everything at any stage. There is a need for offering continuously impeccable customer support to the stakeholders. However, it cannot happen unless your sellers are supportive to the customers. You might try your best to give flawless experience to the buyers, but everything stops if your sellers don’t do their part. You must create an environment where everyone is doing his or her jobs properly. From quality control to addressing queries, processing refunds, and undertaking replacements, everything should work in harmony with each other.

To Conclude

Overall, the marketplace is a challenging business. However, easy businesses don’t furnish good returns. You can win this war with technical advancements and customer-friendly policies. If you want to create a hub of customers like Amazon and eBay, you shouldn’t arbitrate on the above four fronts. Invest in innovative marketplace software solutions, bridge the supply-demand gap, market your business, and extend the best customer support –this is the optimal way to command the new challenges of marketplace business and succeed effortlessly.

About the Author

Jessica Bruce a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. She is currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. Jessica also reports on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.

Follow her on Twitter @Jessicabruc (