Carl, don’t be so negative!
If you haven’t watched my YouTube video “Looking for negativity to grow your online business” you may be wondering why this post seems like I’m on a real downer.
But really, I’ve been taking stock of my position with my projects and I thought it would be wise to tackle the least favorable or positive parts of my brand.
You know, the nasty comments that you scroll by, the emails that you left unopened, those whole months on Analytics post-Panda where your page views cratered.
That sort of thing.
Well, right now I am diving headlong into this, rather than stuffing it all into a corner and pretending it never happened.
I’m going to keep this article short but I think it is well worth considering the negative feedback, why we try to dodge it, and whether we can put it to good use going forward.
Let’s get into this!
Taking stock of where you are with your online business means receiving the bad as well as the good
You’ll know I think it’s really important to share warts and all experience of being an affiliate marketer.
And yes, it’s easy to share buoyant income reports, website sales, or new ideas, but not so fun to mull over comments on YouTube berating the sound quality on my homemade videos.
I have built my channel and brand up on being honest and not being afraid to show my frustrations sometimes.
Like when two people copied one of my websites 🤬
However, to really get a good idea of your position online it is prudent to take stock of everything that is coming your way.
A 100% rosy outlook only comes with rose-tinted specs and I don’t want to overlook anything critical that I should be tackling.
So that is why I think it’s a great idea to rummage through anything and everything negative on your websites and business operations in general including:
- Negative comments
- A poor click-through rate on articles
- Unopened emails
- Nasty emails
- Feedback in general
- Facebook trolling and negativity
- Traffic going down on your site
- A drop in Amazon commissions
Wade in and take the time to pour over these less palatable aspects of your online life to see where and how you can make improvements.
By nature, negative comments and feedback are the last things we want to face
Hesitant? So was I.
In actual fact, I had to force myself to look at those things that would trigger an instant reaction from me.
It’s understandable because we seem to be wired to seek out the positive, pleasurable, and affirming experiences and encounters rather than the negative.
Call it survival, call it dodging a bruised ego, either way, we’re struggling with our nature and what can be innate or subconscious responses to negative things which need to be overcome if we are to truly grow as business people.
And I’m reckoning once you see how you can put criticism and negativity to good use, you will be able to tackle it head-on.
A closer look at how we can use negative experiences, communication, and interactions in our online business to improve it
Negative feedback and criticism is all part of good business and if you want to grow you need to know how to leverage negativity for better outcomes ongoing.
Jerry Franz, writing in Jumpstart, an organization for entrepreneurs, points out that entrepreneurs like us tend to focus on everything “that comes before the but”.
By listening for the negative we can place ourselves at our best advantage to correct glaring issues and streamline our online offerings.
When you are investing time, money, and heart, being sensitive and responsive to the things that may be wrong with your business can buy you time to change course, saving you from real heartache down the line.
Looking critically at your affiliate marketing websites and blogs is vital if you want to make them perform better
If your rankings are rubbish or you are frustrated by sluggish commissions, rather than have a rant, it may be well worth looking at your site with someone that shoots from the hip, to see if there are any actionable things you can do to improve the situation.
Negativity in this area is the only cure for complacency that can really cost you in page views, clicks and commission.
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge slow page loading times, poorly written content, irrelevant information, or broken links.
By allowing yourself to own the problems, you are well on your way to improving your website and enhancing your financial returns.
Look at me, I’m currently ripping apart my pet website Hutchandcage.com as I feel it’s become a little cluttered and less focused.
So, I’m re-writing articles, deleting poor affiliate links, and generally looking at the site and criticizing every point of it.
The Truth hurts! You can’t handle the truthQuote from A few good men
The same goes for a lackadaisical approach to social media.
Yes, we have to stay positive and motivated, but it’s important to understand that as business people we need to extract the value from every interaction that comes our way.
Responsiveness is a big thing on social media and just like front gardens, the neglected accounts often get the trash thrown at them.
Poor responses to content and other forms of negativity do require engagement and reflection on how your approach can be improved.
It may also be the impetus to work with freelancers and creatives who can add a professional touch to areas of your brand and business that need sustained, focused attention.
Believe it or not, your bad comments and reviews work just as hard for you as your good ones.
It’s all about User Generated Content (UGC) that can boost your reach and keep visitors to your site hanging around for longer.
People like to see the rough as well as the smooth, so some bad feedback can boost conversion rates and have visitors returning to see what you are going to do about it.
Negative reviews and comments can be worked to your advantage if you come up with a game plan.
On social media platforms like YouTube, it is hard to escape being a direct recipient of negative comments and sometimes even frank abuse.
But not all negative reviews are the same.
Some are the obvious snarky trolls, but other less than positive communications may be from customers, visitors to your site, or viewers who have had a negative experience with your brand.
They may have reached out via email or social media with no response or purchased an item you recommended that let them down.
I would consider these types of negative comments constructive feedback, which would be in your interest to engage and tackle.
In fact, I think you will find that you can really turn these types of encounters around and into great user-generated content if you make the effort to address them.
I’ve found that time out with the negative stuff has made me think about how I communicate with my audience and how I can remain responsive and brand-consistent in my interactions, a great thing to come out of some negative comments.
I’m taking stock of the negatives on a regular basis now, why not give it a try too?
As your online business and profile grow you will inevitably encounter negativity in a variety of forms.
Try as we might, we are unable to control how people, search engines, or affiliate programs might treat our hard work, but what we can control are our responses, always looking for the opportunity to maintain an upward trajectory.