title:Creating the right ?Viral Reputation? author:Gary Durkin source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_2381.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:06 category:business_and_finance article:

Unless you are brand new to business, or have been under a rock for quite some time – one key marketing technique (which isn?t new) – is called ?Viral?.
Based on the word ?virus? – viral marketing or viral business simply means it ?spreads? like a virus.
The roots of online viral marketing really took off when Microsoft gave away free email accounts – and advertised this at the end of emails. ?Get your own free HOTMAIL account?.
This spread like wild-fire – like a viral infection. Thus, Viral Marketing was truly born.
But this article isn?t about viral marketing, but rather about how to effectively contain or cure a particularly bad outbreak of ?viral reputation?.
What is a viral reputation???
Virus?? an infection that spreads rapidly.
Reputation?.. what others think about you.
This can either be positive or more often, negative.
If you are a regular reader of my articles, you will know that I encourage the use of ?phrases? and ?sayings? to support or reinforce my point. Not one to disappoint my readers? so here is another classic example.
?Prevention is better than cure?.
In the most simple terms, this means it?s better to avoid it – than go through the long, drawn out problems associated with finding the cure to the virus, In this case – YOUR specific virus.
In business, both online and off (or what I call ?real-world? business) – this can be categorised as follows:-

1. Product (or service)
2. Sales pitch.
3. Customer Relations.

1. Product (or service)
Whatever business you are in – you are selling something. An idea, a concept, a product, a service, a package, a solution?.. it doesn?t really matter what it is.
However, two key principles are vital to ensure that you ?prevent? a negative viral reputation.
a) Ensure your product isn?t rubbish. HA! Sounds like common-sense? Take a look around you in the world and see just how much trosh is for sale – and compare it with something better that does the same or similar, for a similar price. Sell rubbish at your peril. People (just like you and me) HATE IT. And that?s how a ?negative? viral reputation begins.
b) Can your product / service prove that?. ?it does exactly what it says on the tin?? The ?tin? is proverbial – meaning that a tins of beans, really is a tin of beans. If you get peas instead?.. you won?t be happy. Don?t claim (or over-claim / over-promote / over-market / overemphasise / over-sell) your product can do something it really can?t stand up to. If you do – then you start a ?negative? viral reputation.
2. Sales Pitch.
Or how you sell, market or promote your product. This is linked to (b) above – but can be a totally separate and deadly area, if you aren?t careful.
If you are selling your product / service etc., you need to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. How would you react to YOUR sales pitch – advertising, marketing, and copy? Yes – it?s all about persuasion? but gentle and soft persuasion. Get the customer to ?buy-in? – and don?t strong-arm them or force them.
The ?Hard-Sell? can often backfire on you, and can have long-lasting consequences – especially your reputation.
Don?t oversell?. You must over-deliver.
Don?t over-deliver to the extent that your product is lost in an exuberance of discounts, special offers, bonuses and freebies.
If your product is tried and tested, and really is worth the price you are asking – why must you feel obliged to add extra freebies worth 100 times more?
And yes – that really does happen every day – especially online.
?But my product for just $47 – and get ?4,995 worth of freebies?.
Oh please.
Freebies, extras and bonuses are great – but to THAT extent?
If you buy a car worth $25,000 – do you expect the dealer to give you extras worth $250,000? Of course not. You?ll be lucky to get a free tank of gas.
If your product really is good, don?t bow to the freebie-hunters. Go for the real customers – and give them a genuine sales pitch. Unfortunately for internet marketing business, it seems this has gone out the window, and the bonus package is simply belittling the true worth and value of the main product.
3. Customer Service
This is where MANY businesses and business people fall flat on their face.
Poor customer service, especially AFTER the sale, is deadly.
Positive, active, effective customer service is VITAL both before and after the sale.
Many concentrate on it before the sale?. Just to make that sale?. Then it all dies off.
Pre-sale service is a must. It helps retain the customer and is important to get the sale.
But ignore the POST-SALE service at your peril.
Once you have the customer?. It?s much easier to up-sell, re-sell, get referrals?..
But if you end up losing that customer because you simply don?t look after them AFTER you have their money?. Do you really think they are going to spend any more of their cash with you?
Poor after-sales customer service is also one major factor of refunds.
Keep up good customer service – reduce your refunds (and complaints).
It?s all about ?damage limitation?.
The key focus of this report is about your Viral Reputation.
It?s very easy to catch a ?negative? viral reputation. And it spreads without mercy.
Before you know – the first person to become infected (usually because you have failed in one or more of the above categories) – has ?infected? many, many others.
Just by telling their friends, family, colleagues, associates?. Then they in turn tell others what they know?. Then the others tell more???
Do you see my point?
A ?positive? viral reputation is far less contagious and not very virulent? it?s much harder to catch.
FACT – People simply spread bad news at a rate ten times faster that good news.
Once the damage is done, once the negative virus begins to spread – finding the cure (stopping it or repairing the damage) will be incredibly difficult.
So, prevention is better than cure.
Prevent the negative viral reputation, with good service or products, honest sales pitch and most of all, rock-solid customer service. Slowly but surely you will benefit from the positive.

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