Reprinted from http://custom-writing.org/blog with permission.
One of the best marketing techniques any business can have, is to receive and publish glowing reviews from purchasers. Amazon, selling everything from books, technology and even fashion and health related items, clearly has plenty to win or lose if doubts are cast with respect to the veracity of its customer reviews. In an effort to crack down on allegedly fake reviews the online company recently filed its third lawsuit against the owners of five new sites promising positive customer reviews.
One of the sites was Paid Book Reviews offering customers 100 reviews for $2,200. This site states that it comprises “a team of writers who understand the effect of positive customer reviews on your book’s sales.” Two types of book reviews are covered: unverified (the writers read the sample pages of a book on Amazon.com and post positive comments) and verified (the company buys the client’s book, reads it on Kindle and posts positive comments on Amazon). Purchasers can opt for as few as five book reviews, for only $125. Thanks to Kindle, tablets and other mobile technology the reviews can clearly be lucrative for the company offering them, since there is no need to purchase a physical copy of the books. Kindle books, which can be read on mobile devices regardless of the reader’s location in the world, cost less than physical books and can be reviewed by writers and critics form anywhere in the world.
Amazon began filing lawsuits in April 2015; so far, over 1,000 reviewers have been targeted. Some of these sites have already closed, and the information obtained has enabled Amazon to also ban specific sellers and reviewers from using their site. In its official statement, Amazon claims that legal action has been taken to stop sellers and manufacturers who create the demand for fake reviews, but also to put an end to the larger ecosystem of individuals and businesses that support inauthentic reviews in return for money.
Savvy Amazon users take note; it is possible to spot fake reviews thanks to free website, Fakespot. Just copy and paste the link to the product page, and click Analyze. If you use Chrome, add the Fakespot extension and simply click the Fakespot icon in your toolbar – you will instantly be told if the reviews you are reading are considered low quality . If Fakespot deems a review ‘low quality’, the likelihood is that those reviewing the product are likely to have reviewed other items by the same company, that they have written only extremely positive reviews, or that they have reviews products they have not purchased. These are pretty good indicators that reviews given are not based on one’s real experience or opinion.
Research indicates that up to 90 per cent of customers make purchasing decisions influenced by positive online reviews, while around 86 per cent are influenced by negative reviews. Around two thirds of online buyers read reviews, since brands can sell similar products and lack of awareness of differences in quality and features of online items makes reviews an invaluable source of information.
Research has also shown that B2B companies stand most to gain from customers who have had a good experience with them and who review their products and services online. Over 60 per cent of purchasers claim to have purchased products or services from a B2B company after reading positive reviews. The key to receiving a good review does not only lie in the product itself, but also customer service, which is ranked as a primary factor in influencing the degree to which customers trust companies.
Because customer service is so important, marketing managers should work closely alongside customer service personnel , so that customer concerns expressed on social networking sites are attended to promptly and efficiently. Equally important is the practice of answering negative comments and reviews online, for others to see. Often, the percentage of negative comments can be reduced simply by attending speedily to complaints and problems, offering solutions and bonuses to clients who chose to remain loyal despite a glitch or two. Social media platforms should also be used to announce changes made to service policy or products, based on comments by customers. Ultimately, reviews, even negative ones, should be seen as an opportunity for companies to grow and adapt to the changing demands of the market and their target client.
Author is Helen Young
This started with a forum I belong to. Someone introduced a fictitious proof of PI=4, on a forum NOT devoted to math. I responded with this video entitled Rhapsody on the proof of pi = 4:
Let’s call this person Babu Bhatt from “Seinfeld”. And we will call this forum the Nasrudin forum. Both the name and forum name are fictitious. Anyway, this person and others introduced both bogus and real proofs. And I responded with videos from this person, as well as scholarly links and discussion. Babu criticized these videos as wrong, from the deeper aspects of mathematics. Since my last sharing teaches some important points, I’ll share it hear:
“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” — Chinese Proverb
There are three things I have learned in life and try to practice.
- From philosophy it’s to define your terms first
- From computer science, it’s the KISS philosophy – Keep it simple and stupid
- From direct response copywriting (i.e. writing for business or advertising), is to know your audience.
What’s the key question here? Who is your audience? In direct response copywriting, you learn these things:
- Keep the conversation to a level of eight grade and below
- People respond more to buying on emotion then on reason. Then they try to use reason, to justify their emotional based purchase
- Talk to them like you’re conversing with a friend at the bar
Actually, if you can do these things well, you could become a millionaire on royalties – like Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly or Ben Hart did. Can you use that info here? Sure! Ever see the Three Stooges short, where they are talking about Pig Latin? Moe says to Curly:
“I’ll explain it so even you can understand it.”
When you do that, you lose or pass over the “deeper” and correct aspects.
It comes back to who is our audience, which is something I brought up in another thread. Without being insulting to anyone, suppose Curly of the three stooges were part of our audience. We have to speak at his level “and above”. Unless you have statistical data and demographics on your target audience, you can’t assume anything.
You are right, Babu . The video does contain errors, just as the picture proof that Pi=4 contains errors. But if you are so concerned about what is “right and proper”, then why introduce something that “is not right and proper”, in the first place?
But who is your audience here, Babu, and who is my audience? Mine is both the amateur and the professional. If they want the “comic book” version, they watch the video. If they want the “scholarly journal” version, they go to the appropriate links I’ve provided.
And she should correctly define her terms before talking in the video. It’s something many folks here often fail to do also, in discussions of scripture, theology and philosophy. We might end up with something like this, from Abbot and Costello:
But who is her audience and who is our audience? She is from Khan Academy , which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching subjects up through high school free – as far as I understand their group. Or as Wiki says:
Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”
If someone posts a YouTube video and enables comments, the place to place criticisms is on the video YouTube comments section. And they should revise the video, based on feedback.
And who is our audience? Two professional mathematicians talking to each other? Or a group of forum lay people, who like to discuss theology, philosophy, scripture and other – sometimes fun – subjects?
If you want a good video presentation for the amateur, then watch her. If you want a good discussion among professional respondents, go to Quota (i.e.like I pointed to earlier at Why is 0.999… equal to 1? or some similar place.
Yes, she has some things wrong at a “deeper” level. But her audience is probably those struggling with math, who see these videos as fun and entertaining – just as many here would. What math videos have your contributed free, for the benefit of providing free education to all?
- It’s up to her to enable comments on original YouTube postings.
- It’s up to people like us, to provide professional feedback there.
- And it is up to her to revise, based upon feedback.
In fact, given the scope and mission of Khan Academy, it’s probably the duty of every professional to provide video feedback. This way, they can preform their mission of free education better.
Yes, great direct response copywriters have much to teach us and command high fees. In fact, famous marketer Ed Dale just revealed today he paid legendary direct response copywriter Gary Halbert 20 K a month in High Fees to coach him.
And you know what? If you want to master the art of persuasion, then direct response copywriting will teach you that. Studying historical and contemporary philosophers for constructing Logical philosophical arguments are all well and good. Studying famous writers for engaging literary styles are all well and good. But in my book, direct response copywriters are masters at the art of persuasion and well worth studying how they compose their ads and selling stories.
Filed under: Marketing, Technology, Writing | Tagged: Abraham, Acland Street, Advertising mail, Architect, Atheism, Australia, Bates College, Bible, Direct-response marketing, Melbourne, United States | Comments Off on Who is our audience?
Here’s some advice I gave on a forum, to an aspiring writer. But his wife was objecting to the time devoted to the project:
Actually, I don’t think the person shouldn’t write the book – providing he can make peace with his wife on it. But if it leads to a divorce, is it really worth the effort?
Notice how all the TV evangelists have books to give away – for a small donation, of course?
Writing is a form of therapy. It also helps us to clarify our thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. It matters not whether we are writing a book, a short story, poem, PhD dissertation, etc., as writing itself is helpful. And during the process of writing, join a local writers group (in the US, ask your local adult reference librarian or in-district, community college, to refer one to you). They can give you candid, but honest. feedback. Read books on writing, like On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
Sure, put it out on Amazon, get an ISBN number, copyright the book, etc. These are all easy steps to do. Then discover for yourself how hard – or easy – the selling process is. I never ask people to take my word on anything or even agree with a philosophical or theological idea I present. I appreciate alternative positions that are well argued and presented. I just prefer taking a more Socratic approach, in “just asking questions” , like Colombo or Socrates. No harm in that, right?
You’re probably under the spell that this book will be a runaway best seller. I’ve spent several years hanging around the College of DuPage, in their creative writing courses. There were many good to excellent writers there. I only think one or two of them ever published anything, and neither piece ever sold much. Even writers who have several published works, usually market themselves by going on speaking and promotional tours. Does she really have a problem if you write a book and nobody buys it?
Let me add this. Writing a book and self-publishing is the easy part (f you call it easy, as “good” writing requires many revisions). Getting people to buy it is the hard part.
Authors need to know a lot about marketing. I run and started a LinkedIn group for writers called Working Writers and a LinkedIn group for copywriters called Copywriters International. Both are sizable LinkedIn groups, with many good writers and marketers there. One of the persons I know is a ghostwriter, who has written fictional works for well-known authors. She was one of the first professional ghost writers out there. It’s one way to get known as a writer – but also very expensive.
I’ve also heard different fictional writers speak, in events sponsored by a consortium of local public libraries. I remember one guy who wrote several mystery books, based upon title names of famous drinks. He was using this as a marketing ploy. He had to travel on his own, promoting and marketing his own books. Often at events like the library talk. And he did say that for the price of a few drinks, he would answer extensively any questions.
Even if you secure an agent and a publishing company secures a contract, you are on your own in marketing and promotion. That is, if and until you become famous and a household name. And what would make you believe more in the rapture? A scholarly book on the topic or one of the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (i.e. which is not really bad writing, by the way)?
The only other way to avoid the marketing -at least, in part – is to be admitted into an élite writing school, like the University of Iowa. Then if the professors like you and think you are good, they use their contacts to promote you. If you can stand their intense scrutiny and tearing apart your works first, along with extensive rebuilding you need to do.
Or you can be like the woman in Basic Instinct: Extremely talented, very beautiful, extremely intelligent, devious as all get-out, schooled in the right university and left with 110 million, to promote and market herself.
Filed under: Marketing, Writing | Tagged: Amazon Kindle, Americans, Antisemitism, Barack Obama, Ben Affleck, Beverly LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (novel), Publishers Weekly, Tim LaHaye, United States | Comments Off on Being a Successful Writer Requires Marketing Knowledge