Whether your business has a physical location or operates exclusively online, the free flow of information from anyone, anywhere can present some amazing opportunities. It can also make you or your brand more vulnerable to negative comments or reviews.

Whether what they say is true, partly true or totally false, it only takes one bad comment to paint you or your business in the worst possible light for everyone else who finds you or it on the internet. While typically the goal of internet marketing is to popularise your brand by telling people why it’s awesome, sometimes internet marketing, or some amount of your marketing online, has to be more about damage control.

Depending on the type of comments or reviews that are made about your business, and more importantly where those comments surface on the internet, there are different ways you should respond or actions you can take to manage what could be disastrous, if left to circulate.

When Internet Marketing & Damage Control Meld

Just like small business marketing offline, a key goal of marketing on the internet is to be the brand or person people think of or turn to first, when they need the types of products or services you offer. But if Joe Blow decides to post a review of your restaurant that says you’ll find better tasting or fresher seafood washed up on the beach than you will coming out of your kitchen, it’s a lot harder to convince those new to your brand that yours is a business worthy of their time and money.

1) Taking the High Road is Good for Marketing

If the naysayer made their remarks in an internet directory, the best response is one that’s polite and shows them and others who read the review that you’re serious about addressing issues and pleasing customers. Even if they’re totally out of line, apologise and invite them to give your restaurant another shot with a half priced lunch or dinner. Responding to your disgruntled customer this way can actually be good for marketing, as people are often a little more leery of a business that receives a perfect rating on the internet anyway, but can sympathise with those who make mistakes and are willing to take action to improve. It’s that whole, ‘they’re only human’ thing.

These suggestions are, of course, meant for those instances when you can’t actually remove bad comments or reviews. By all means, if someone says something bad about you or your business on your Facebook page or blog, where you have the ability to remove the comment all together, go for it!

2) When Professional Internet Marketing Tactics are the Only Cure

There are instances when you have absolutely no way of easily erasing a bad review so that it’s not the first thing people see when they find your business, and no amount of apologising or freebies will persuade people that your brand is the one they want. Actually, you’d be surprised to learn just how often serious cases of nay saying on the internet threaten the reputations of people and businesses. In these situations, your best course of action is to enlist the services of a professional SEO and internet marketing team to bury the bad comments, reviews, press releases, online articles or whatever other form the blasphemy took, into the abyss.

In the past, we’ve helped many individuals and businesses save their online reputations, even when the top search results for which they appeared were those where people said the worst things imaginable. This is a viable option worth considering.


The Damage is Done—What Now?

Sometimes, however, the bad someone says about you or your brand has spread too far and fast, or the allegations are too serious for any amount of internet marketing or PR to wipe the dirt from your good name. In these cases, you may need to take legal action. Clearly, this wouldn’t be the action you take when someone says their coffee was cold, but if slander or libel threatens your livelihood, you’ve probably got a case worth making.


Preventative Measures

While it’s easy to say that the best way to avoid negative reviews is to keep your customers happy, you can’t please everyone. There will be times when someone has it out for you and there’s not much you can do but be ready to manage the fallout. Especially if yours is a business that depends on online leads and sales, there are some proven internet marketing tactics you can use to build a solid following and trust in your personnel and your brand. When you’ve got a strong social media presence and profiles in all of the relevant local business directories across the web, a bad comment will do little to sway others’ positive opinions.

To be sure, highlight testimonials, reviews and feedback from customers who can’t say enough good about your company. That way, if new visitors read something bad about your business before you know it exits, the positive testimonials and reviews will ensure their first impression of your brand is a little more balanced.


Learning from Bad Press

Something to take from bad press is that it can show you where or what to improve. It might be hard to find a silver lining when someone’s totally uncalled for comments require a great deal of smoothing over or extra internet marketing, but it may make you more aware of the fact that building trust through social media and publishing quality content is vital not only for being found but also for building and maintaining a great reputation—one that will stand up to whatever sh** someone tries to throw at it.


small business marketing

internet marketing

Paul Gregg

Paul heads up [g]commerce and The SEO Company, and is responsible for the overall management. Paul's experience extends from various roles in sales management for large domestic and international publishing firms, as well as global digital marketing companies.

Agency Advice Straight Talk

It's Pretty Simple..

We talk with purpose and execute on solutions to deliver results. but...


We strive to create great bonds and relationships with not only our clients but also our staff, suppliers and industry peers.

Online Enquiry