How to Turn a “Bad” Review Into a Marketing Win


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  • How to turn a bad review into marketing gold
  • Plus, why you should never do business with friends

Hey guys. Matt Ackerson here, the founder of In this video, I’m going to show you how to turn a bad review into a marketing opportunity.

Why You Should Never Do Business With Friends

About three years ago, I made the unfortunate mistake of taking on a close friend as a client.

Word to the wise: be delicate with taking on friends or family as business partners or doing business with them in general. They may expect special treatment or they may just have different expectations.

… And they may take it very personally if those expectations aren’t met.

I’m not the only one who says so. This article from Lifehack is just one of hundreds available on the same topic.

This Is What Happened to Me

In my case, I gave a friend access to one of our top courses at the time. He got really great results quickly, and he became a case study for us.

Because he got great results, he wanted to become a client.

I did my best to set the proper expectations in the beginning, and we signed a contract.

Basically, we were going to design and create a website sales funnel for him. And the project went forward…

We delivered everything that we promised and even more.

As an example, he felt like he was struggling with copywriting. So, I personally sat down with him and basically wrote all the copy for him.

There was a payment issue on his end, and he wanted us to finish the project on the assumption that he would even up later (after he started making money). It got complicated, but because he’s a friend, I finished the work—and he did eventually pay.

Long story short, he thought that the end design wasn’t good. He came into the project not really knowing what he wanted, and he took advice from an outside party who was a critic in general.

I can tell you having had many years of experience with web design and copywriting that what we delivered was really good and I’m proud of it. We will be featuring it whenever we have a portfolio of examples of work in the future, because I think it’s that great.

Our First Bad Review

Unfortunately, he started to become aggressive and demanded that we continue to do free work for him. I did what I could to accommodate my friend, but I made it clear after a certain point that I wouldn’t be bullied.

I said, ‘Listen, I’m not going to be bullied into giving you free work. Tell me what you need us to do in the next 48 hours and we’ll do it, and then that will be it, because the contract is already signed, you gave a sign off that everything was already completed.”

This was four months after the fact.

He was not agreeable and made all sorts of threats.

In the end, he posted on a website saying a bunch of bad things about our work that just weren’t true.

I remember it as a really stressful experience because we had never had a bad review before

But you know what? Going through something like that kind of makes you tougher, because you just don’t give a damn anymore.

Plus, in the end, it became great marketing for us.

How I Turned it Around

I compiled a detailed professional response to his public review where I explained exactly what happened: missed payments, unrealistic expectations, lack of direction.

More importantly, I showed that I was proud of our work. And it was at least 10 times better than what he had in the past.

As a result, we had people months later leaving comments and agreeing with me. And I noticed that some of these people were on our email list (and I think one or two of them might have actually become customers as a result of it).

What If You Get a Bad Review?

So, how can you turn a bad review into a marketing opportunity?

Just stay in character. Keep your professional posture and accept that some things are just outside of your control and you cannot please everyone.

Sometimes people will try to bully you and they will try to make threats. And they will give you a bad review.

Look at any big company, any well-known brand. They have lots of bad reviews, because that’s unfortunately just what you see a lot of on the internet. People feel, or believe, that they have a lot of power when they’re behind a keyboard and when they can stay anonymous.

Don’t stress about it. Think about it as a marketing opportunity, and know that the people who will actually read them, who will take the time to look at it, will also look to see how or if you responded.

They will want to know, “Okay. So what exactly happened here? What is the business’ side of it?” Because most reasonable people know that it is usually unreasonable people who post on these websites in the first place. Research shows that regardless of the type of reviews, they increase sales.


And that’s my Matt Hack for today: Look at it as a marketing opportunity. Stay in character. Stay professional.

Respond to reviews in a way that shows the values of your company. It will help to persuade clients to do business with you. Because in service businesses, whether you are a contractor building on someone’s home, or you’re selling B2B, building websites—it shows the character of you, of your brand, and of your company, and it will actually work in your favor.

If you’d like to learn more about how to build your own sales funnel, I encourage you to check out our Sales Funnel Blueprint and our Sales Funnel Diagram Pack.

The Sales Funnel Diagram Pack is particularly valuable for a very affordable price, because it will inspire you with 28 (handcrafted by me) custom diagrams that I put together from observing very successful, million dollar, and in some cases, billion dollar companies.

You’ll be inspired if you have your own clients that you want to build marketing campaigns or funnels for. This will help you to communicate faster and also to sell your ideas to them. And it will help you to identify the leaks in your existing digital marketing funnel.

So, start there if you’re not sure where to begin, and also consider the Sales Funnel Blueprint for a more comprehensive course on how to set up your first inbound sales funnel.

Until next time, my name is Matt Ack, as always in the Matt Hat, delivering you your daily dose of Matt Hacks.

Keep hustling. Stay focused.

Want more sales? Download my [thrive_2step id=’18964′]11-Point Perfect Sales Funnel Checklist[/thrive_2step] or invest in our Sales Funnel Blueprint.

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