How to handle criticism personally and digitally

digital marketing

The gift horse

I had a bad week.
Quite a few people in my life, both personally and professionally told me they were disappointed with:

  • The way I handled something
  • The way I’d run a meeting
  • A report and results I had provided

In every case, I had done what was asked of me. I had done what I believed to be right thing but in each case, the family member/collaborator/client was displeased and told me so.
How we handle feedback dictates our success as human beings.
Many books have been written on this topic. I’m no academic, but the point I want to share is plain and simple.

Feedback is a gift. What we do with the gift is what matters, not that we received it in the first place.

When I am criticized, I generally have one of three reactions:

  1. Anger
  2. Disappointment
  3. Frustration

Anger because I don’t like being told I did something poorly or that someone was disappointed in me.
Disappointment because I thought I had done the right thing and communicated well.
Frustration because in accepting the information, I now have a problem to solve.
When we receive criticism in digital format, it comes in many forms:

  • Maybe no one opened the email
  • Maybe no one downloaded a piece of content
  • Maybe no one shared or liked a post

We may not see this as criticism but it’s important feedback we are receiving about what we are communicating and the value of the information we are providing.
When I talk to business leaders about whether their digital marketing strategy is performing, I sometimes get the same emotional response:

  • Anger because they have spent money on digital marketing but they don’t understand what they got for their money.
  • Disappointment because they have to confront the reality that they don’t know what their digital marketing goals should have been.
  • Frustration because they don’t know what to do next.

5 Important pieces of digital feedback / criticisms

  1. Don’t be afraid to confront data and ask hard questions. If no one has visited 80% of your website and stayed on page, it’s time to decide what to do about it.
  2. If email marketing is not driving people to attend your event, or get the desired result you are looking for, don’t look for ways to make your list bigger or the email better. Look for ways to make the experience accompanying the email better. Maybe the landing page is confusing or you are making the wrong ask.
  3. If you have no traffic, follows or likes on your social media channels, maybe it’s time to figure out why you are there and if you should be.
  4. If at least 1% of your target audience didn’t download something on your website or submit a form on your site, perhaps it’s time to revisit your buyer personas and keyword strategy. Maybe you have the wrong traffic on your site.
  5. If prospective customers tell you they don’t understand what to do after visiting your website, you need to listen. Your value proposition and the way you present your company online starts the buyer journey. Don’t turn people away before they even speak with you.

At Marketing CoPilot we are a service based business and only two things matter: our subject matter expertise and the way we interact with clients. Everything else is secondary.
I am honored to have the privilege to work with the companies that we do. Every day I learn something new. And I greatly value the feedback they give us about how we help them implement their digital marketing programs.
Now if I could just convince my 15 year old I’m not a nag – but I am a gift horse – when I tell her that breakfast matters, life would be perfect!

Marketing CoPilot