How exciting, my first comments and human visitors, other than from the Serendipity forum, came today! How dreadfully boring that they left a spam-filled comment about nothing. Oh well.
The irony is that both this site and my Craft Site Directory are designed to promote other websites.
I’m not surprised, but, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a teensy bit disappointed.
This brings me to the real message of this post – your name is your business.
Your Online Reputation Has Value
Whenever, you are selling something online, you have to overcome that people are not able to look you in the eye and get a feel for your trustworthiness.
That clear eye and strong handshake are not around to help you build rapport with people. They have to rely upon both your website and what you have said online.
Don’t Undermine Your Credibility
Several months ago there was a big outcry when people realized that their online activities were being tracked. Big Brother is real! OK, maybe not Big Brother, but there are sites all over the web keeping track of everything we do. No the government doesn’t own them. And, no they aren’t out to get you.
They are Search Engines!
Google is Watching You…
and so is MSN, Yahoo, Ask, and a whole host of others. Day after day, month after month, year after year, they quietly record what you do online. And trust me, people are paying attention.
If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…
Your family probably taught you this at a very early age. For some reason, people tend to forget this simple advice when online. The big outcry was when people realized that employers where using the search engines to do background checks on potential employees. Things said in the implied privacy of your favorite forum suddenly became part of a candidate package.
One of the funnier stories from this was of the fellow who advised another candidate to lie about some unflattering things in thier past as it was something he always did. This fellow made this remark in a forum that was part of a major job hunting board. This fellow was so bright, he used the same id to apply for a position with a company advertising on that board. Surprise, surprise, the employer spotted the remark and needless to say the fellow wasn’t hired.
But, I’m just selling stuff…
Not really. When you sell crafts or anything else for that matter, online or off, your credibility matters. You are asking people to take their hard-earned money and trust that 1. you actually will ship what you are selling and just not take their money and 2. that the items you sell are actually worth what they will pay for them.
So, there’s this huge webmaster forum where folks come from all over the world to share information about all things Internet. One member posts some very specific problems he is having with a client. Generally, if I were a client, I would be glad the person I hired is trying everything he can to complete my project.
The problems started when this webmaster started complaining about the client and called them a troublesome pain in the, well you get the idea. The client was too demanding, the client didn’t know jack about business, the client was a cheapskate, and so on went the complaints.
Guess what? You guessed it. The client visited the site looking to find information on how to deal with their troublesome webmaster. Rather than find a way to better communicate their needs and work with this webmaster – they found cause to let him go.
Amazingly, the webmaster was able to patch up the relationship and complete the project. He got lucky. The entire incident opened up a dialog between them.
Remember, customers have feet.
Whereas it may have been wiser for that webmaster’s customer to finish the project; selling crafts on the Internet does not involve such great investments of time and energy between the customer and producer.
They might think your purse is the greatest thing they ever saw. Then they find your post about dumpster diving and making this great score on this really cool fabric. Oh yeah, you show pictures of it too – along with some of the dumpster debris that was on it. You mention taking it to a dry cleaner and how perfect it came out. They might not recognize that purse they want is made from that fabric, but do you want to take that chance?
You promised that you would send that shipment out today. Yet, every swap you did on a craft forum; you were always a month late sending out your items. Are you willing to bet your business that your customer doesn’t find out about your other broken promises?
You only get one chance…
…to make a first impression. You get many more chances to ruin it. Don’t destroy your business by destroying your online reputation. Think before you hit that button – it may cost you that sale.
Any comments? Be forewarned, I have a delete button and I’m ready to use it. BTW, did I ever tell you how much I hate spam?