Digital Marketing - Here's how to make bad publicity work for you
In the world of digital marketing, it pays to always be aware of your customers and to stay pro-active - even if they're saying a few unfavourable things! Here's how to turn a negative into a positive.
By Irina Adashkevich of the Digital Marketing Institute
The thing about the Internet is that it made the world extremely transparent for a consumer. It’s great for good businesses who offer high quality products and services and devastating for those who are not up to scratch.
We all research hotels, restaurants, cars and all sorts of things before making a decision to part with our hard earned cash. And the reviews keep on coming in the abundance – the era of online certainly poses no barriers, even for shy types to express their likes and dislikes.
A lot of business owners still live by the rule “If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist” and avoid searching online for what others might have to say about their businesses. They fear a disgruntled former employee bad mouthing them publicly or an unhappy customer complaining about their service.
However, if you remain ignorant of those “bad” reviews, it doesn’t mean your current and potential customers are.
There are several key points on how to manage your online PR when the relationship turns sour:
- Apologise. The customer is almost always right, and even if the best course of action is to stand your ground, say sorry for upsetting them.
- Invite engagement. Ask for feedback, show your customers you want to learn from this experience and that you are open to communication.
- Share your lesson. Let your customers see how you handled the situation, turn into a case study or blog story and spread the word!
- Take it offline. Sometimes you are not able to come to a solution right away, and public conversation gets carried away. Suggest calling or meeting the customer in order to resolve the issue.
A hostel in Amsterdam has truly embraced a good old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. With slating reviews on both Trip Advisor and Hostel World, it would have seemed the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel were either oblivious to what was said about them online or were absolutely desperate at running their business.
To make things worse, they proclaim on their own website that “the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel has been proudly disappointing travellers for forty years.”
However, the hostel is not trying to dig its own hole – this is their way of coming out on top of a quiet disastrous situation. The guys at the hostel obviously came to a conclusion that there’s nothing they could (wanted to?) do about the way the hostel was ran, and it certainly would take a while to accumulate enough high rankings to override more than 3oo poor reviews given together on Trip Advisor and Hostel World.
Hans Brinker Hostel has now embraced its poor quality and bad ratings spectacularly! The website shows bad pictures and makes fun of all those things that annoy its customers, but at about 25 euros in Amsterdam it’s a bargain and that’s all it is about.
They are not pretending to be a nice or fancy little hotel, and if you stay there, you get what you pay for – a place to crash right in the centre of Amsterdam. It is certainly a marketing trick that won’t work for any business, but this tongue-in-cheek branding works for them, and a great example of how to turn the worst online reviews to your advantage.
P.S. Check out the Staff Training section on their website – yet another unusual approach in getting people to sign up for their newsletter!
Irina Adashkevich is the Digital Marketing Manager of the Digital Marketing Institute. If you’d like more information on how to effectively manage the relationship with your customers online then get in touch with the Digital Marketing Institute.