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Newsletter #738: The “Turn a Negative Into a Positive” Issue

{Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the left.}

If you can look at your negatives — the blemishes, the missteps, and the shortfalls — as opportunities, you can turn an ugly situation into something everyone loves. Here’s a few examples of how to do it:

1> The delays
2> The errors
3> The naysayers
4> Check it out: GraphJam

1> The delays

When you’ve got something great, sometimes the demand leads to frustrated fans having to wait in long lines or deal with extended shipping delays. If shortening the wait isn’t an option, try making the wait more enjoyable. Chicago-based Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant and Bakery does it by handing out donut holes to hungry folks standing in line — something that’s become so popular that most of their Yelp reviews are talking about the donut holes, not the long lines. Try sending customers an extra freebie while they wait for a back-ordered product, or send them a sneak peek or remix of one of your classics while they wait for your new release.

The Lesson: If you can make the wait an enjoyable experience, you’ll double your word of mouth: People will talk not only about your great stuff, but also about how nice you are during the delay.

2> The errors

When someone tells you about a mistake you’ve made or a bug they’ve found, it means they care enough to see something done about it — a sign of a true fan. The Dull Men’s Club, a website that “celebrates the ordinary,” rewards people for alerting them of typos on their site with small gifts like mugs and hats. It leads to a bunch of fans scouring their site, checking out pages they might have otherwise overlooked, and identifying all those embarrassing typos. This concept could be applied to beta testing of new products, taste tests of experimental restaurant dishes, or when launching your new website.

The Lesson: If you really want to put your stuff to the test, ask your fans for help and reward anyone who makes it better.

Learn More: The Dull Men’s Club

3> The naysayers

Everyone who’s anyone has naysayers, doubters, and critics. While simply ignoring them is always a solid option, others are having fun and empowering their fans by engaging them. Mashable did it with their “Troll Week” — a contest where “useless, good-for-nothing commenters” were called out and rewarded for their insulting, pointless remarks. At the end of the week-long event, they picked their three favorite, super-insulting, ridiculous comments and awarded them prizes donated by sponsors. The result was a light-hearted, fun spin on an otherwise common downside of blog discussions: Snarky, rude comments that get in the way of healthy dialog.

The Lesson: Your fans are as annoyed with the naysayers as you are; help them drown it all out with a contest highlighting the most ridiculous.

Learn More: Mashable

4> Check it out: GraphJam

If you’re a graph and charts type of person, take a look at GraphJam.com where you’ll find goofy pie charts, bar graphs, and histograms on topics ranging from the average time you’ll spend at an amusement park doing various things, to a look at the timeline of the scariness levels of a horror movie.

Check it out: GraphJam.com

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