Between my work as a Customer Care Manager here at The Book Ninja, my freelance marketing clients and my own writing projects I get a lot of feedback. And almost everyone is polite, gracious and sincere even when they are frustrated or complaining. I love nothing more than making someone’s day with a pleasant, attentive response that eases their mind.
But what about those “crazy” haters who write in with unsolicited advice or take the time to write a 3 paragraph hateful review? Is it possible to get past the hurt feeling zone to the point where you can laugh at your haters? What about turning those same haters into measures of success?
Sound far fetched? I beg to differ. Let me show you the valuable marketing success measurements you can take from every haters email, review or comment!
Haters Marketing Success Measure #1: An Emotional Response
One of the most powerful measures of marketing success is to create an emotional response in your readers. If your email marketing reader or Kindle book reader or blog post reader takes the time to write in some sizzling criticism give yourself a pat on the back! You have arrived in the emotion zone and this is much more preferable to the dead zone, also known as the trash button.
Haters Marketing Success Measure #2: Personal Engagement
Not only have you riled up some trolls but you’ve also engaged them. Don’t get me wrong. If the majority of your responses are from angry and frustrated readers you are missing the mark. But one of the key points I make throughout my newest Ninja Writing Moves course (scheduled for a late July 2016 release) simply titled “Email Marketing for Authors” is to perfect your own voice.
Marketing materials shouldn’t sound like marketing! Every email you write should sound like you are approachable. Every blog post should come from a confident, personally branded voice. Even your book blurbs and books themselves should have a personal voice for the greatest impact.
When a hater takes the time to write, you have met your personal engagement goal.
Haters Marketing Success Measure #3: More Readers
When you are measuring your marketing success don’t discount basic statistics. For every person who takes the time to write to you (positively or negatively) there are at least twice as many who are having a similar reaction. Now, don’t take this too far. Don’t start writing complicated mathematical algorithms to figure out exactly how many haters you have out there on your list. The truth is, most haters just unsubscribe or don’t purchase from you again. So any list of readers is filled by a growing majority of happy tribe members.
What you can take from each hater who writes you, however, is the fact that they opened the email, they read the email and they replied to the email. If it’s a book or blog post it’s the same scenario. A hater is still a reader. A negatively impassioned reader, but a reader nonetheless.
OK. Now What? Haters Gonna Hate.
There are only three possible actions to take in response to a hater.
- Try to convert a hater into a lover
- Ignore the hater entirely
- Tell the hater “thanks so much for the feedback”
Now, I won’t lie. I try at least once to convert every hater. Even if I respond with a snarky “at least I’m getting paid to email you, what are you getting out of this?” email in an attempt to bring common sense into the equation what I’m really hoping for is an “oh yeah, I never thought about it that way before” in return. And you would be so surprised by how often this works.
I’ve had complaints about the frequency of emails, for instance, that I easily turn around by shedding just a little light on the strategy and heartfelt goals behind frequent emails to our Book Ninja tribe. Or take the time someone complained that we’re being too personal or not personal enough (sometimes in the same email) and a friendly reply totally transformed the exchange. Or the folks who are afraid to purchase online so write in all barky and paranoid, but go on to calm right down when I assure them that we’re taking great care of their personal information.
Your tribe won’t always come across as polite and gracious. Automatically assuming they’re a troll or an unapologetic hater isn’t good for your bottom line!
Which leads me right past #2 altogether. (Although I must say, the really insane responses really you should simply delete, after you’ve saved them into a special “yes this really did happen” file!)
Ninety percent of the time all a hater requires is “thanks so much for the feedback.” Literally. Most of the time I don’t even follow it up with “and you’re welcome to unsubscribe at any time,” but occasionally it’s warranted. Very, very rarely I’m inspired to respond with a truly creative and informative rebuttal.
The Tale of a Hater Who Inspired an Entire Blog Post
And that’s how this post came to be. Earlier today I had a rather persistent email exchange with someone insisting that the marketing strategies we use around here aren’t professional or effective. That’s when I was inspired to respond with “but you opened the email, you had a reaction and you wrote to us!” Pretty quickly I was laughing and realized what a gift this carefully articulated and completely wrong-headed feedback was to our measures of success.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not into self hate or learning the hard way or engaging in pointless debate. What I am saying is that our internal perspective, our attitude, is what determines the true effect of criticism.
So I challenge you to transform your next hate email, bad review or disagreeing naysayer into powerful fodder for your next project. At the very least you won’t be sitting by the phone waiting for it to right. You can be sure that your actions are creating ripples.
Take what you can get and make the best out of it. Take your hater’s worst criticisms and turn them into powerful measures of marketing success!