5 Business Mistakes You Can Learn From

8 December 2009 1,247 views 2 Comments

Learn from the mistakes of others to find success

Rainbow

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Image courtesy of Nicholas_T

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What is arguably the most crucial key to success is to learn from your mistakes as you test and innovate with strategies that aim to improve the connection you and your business have with your customers.

While it’s to your advantage to be aware of your own mistakes, it’s also important to be aware of the things your competitors and other businesses are doing on the Web that lead to testing mistakes.

Now, the way I use the word ‘mistakes’ in this article should be put in the context of performing tests with your business with the ‘mistakes’ being unanticipated outcomes.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can from business mistakes…

1| Failure to Address Customer Concerns in Comments

Singing

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Image courtesy of Solitaire Miles

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Say you have a strategy to read quality articles about your industry. There is much to learn from the articles themselves, but one unanticipated outcome of quality articles is found in the comments.

Your customers are likely expressing their frustrations in the comments of quality articles and blog posts throughout the Web on your competitors’ sites.

Are the competitors addressing these customer frustrations?

If not, perhaps you could leave a comment (not spammy, but helpful) or better yet you could see how to potentially get in contact with the commenter/customer.

2| Full Contest Participation

Silence

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Image courtesy of circo de invierno ⑲ ~

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Sometimes companies will run really great contests. Usually the contest will offer free merchandise the company is selling or services the company provides for businesses.

If the company is well-known they will likely have lots of fans who are also influencers on the Web. These folks will likely take the great news of the company’s contest and often share the news with their networks. Tools used to spread the news include, but are not limited to: blog posts, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, etc.

Company’s usually expect their followers and customers to share the news of contests with their friends on networks, but an unanticipated outcome to contests can be when a company’s followers also write blog posts about certain events.

Opportunistic companies will listen to their followers who are also influencers

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on the Web, especially bloggers
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, and reach out to make a valuable connection. A company that has strong relationships with bloggers will be at an advantage not only for spread the word on valuable company doings, but will also be put in position to acquire quality links – key for strong search traffic.

3| Responding on Twitter

Yawning Lion

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Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

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Many companies are starting to use Twitter.

Many companies are also trying different things to build their presence on the communication medium. A few of the great companies I follow on Twitter sparingly use the medium. There is of course nothing wrong with using Twitter to occasionally share a quality link or to engage in a contest.

Something I also see on Twitter that occasionally bothers me is when companies receive @replies (from me sometimes) and don’t reply to the @replies. I also see companies being talked about on Twitter and the companies aren’t responding or acknowledging the chatter about them on Twitter or related communications mediums.

The good news is that companies are experimenting with technologies like Twitter. The smart companies will take advantage of the unanticipated outcome of Twitter – word of mouth – and interact with their followers.

4| Utilizing Reviews/Testimonials

Fire Flower

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Image courtesy of Reinante El Pintor de Fuego

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Customer reviews are becoming essential for any company doing business online. Reviews have always been a huge part of sales and the Web is making it easier for companies to receive and utilize awesome reviews and testimonials.

An unanticipated outcome of increasing your presence on the Web is that you now have to utilize testimonials on your Website and in other areas to stay competitive. The online world is looking for social proof and properly using testimonials is essential.

5| Showcasing the Amazingness of Customers

Goose Landing

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Image courtesy of pheanix300

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Another unexpected outcome of increasing your participation on the Web is the fact that you’re going to have more influence and get more dedicated customers and followers the more you highlight the amazingness of your customers and followers rather than yourself and your company.

If you write blog posts or if you share links on Twitter, highlight the things your customers and followers do that is amazing and noteworthy. Web users and influencers love reading about great things people like themselves do both on and off the Web.

You can use your authority voice to share stories of success.

One last thing – by sharing the success stories of your customers, they will have stock in your blog and will share their story with their network. It’s a great way for spreading the good word about your Web presence.

The Real Lesson

It’s important to learn from your own mistakes since you have a front row seat to the humility you put on yourself through endless testing and innovation as your work to find your formula for success.

I try to learn from my mistakes while also staying aware of the mistakes others make with their own testing. It seems to work best as long as one works to continually shoring up lessons learned from past mistakes so as not to repeat them while always working to find new ways to innovate, which will lead to new mistakes.

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2 Comments »
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  • Colleen Francis
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    said:

    For testimonials, it’s important to differentiate between on-line opinions and peer-reviews. There is some great data from Nielsen (http://bit.ly/Q30up

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    ) who showed that Testimonials “from peers” is trusted 90% versus 70% for other stuff on your site – even consumer “opinions”. Shows how important it is to match testimonials to your prospects (demographics, industry, etc…). If you’re interested, I’ve got additional insights at http://www.testimonialdirector.com/ecourse
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    .

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Thanks for sharing those links, Colleen.

    That is a great source on testimonials from Nielsen. I’ll check out your e-course.