How Controversy Can Get Your Online Business Noticed





When promoting your business online, the challenge is to make your brand stand out and attract attention when pretty much every other business in your industry is trying to do the same. If you just send out some emails and tweets trying to sell your products, no one will even notice you.

But there are a few different tactics that are proven to draw attention that can get your online business noticed.

One of the tactics to get your online business noticed involves creating some controversy. This doesn’t mean you should get involved in some kind of scandal. But taking a surprising stance in a conversation or posting some interesting stats on a topic related to your industry could certainly get people talking.

If you use social media at all, you’ve almost certainly seen this type of post go viral. A blogger or business owner takes an unpopular or surprising stance on a topic. And people who either strongly agree or strongly disagree with it share the content and engage in conversation about the original post.

Author and online marketing consultant Frank Viola recently spoke with Entrepreneur about using controversy as an online marketing tactic. He said:

“Very few things cut through messaging clutter like controversy, but it’s important that you support your controversial position with facts, ensure your position is relevant to your business and strive to disagree without being disagreeable and never get personal. Those components are critical to the successful execution of this tactic.”

This isn’t a tactic that will necessarily work in every industry or for every business. But Entrepreneur used the example of an autoresponder service producing an article that argues the ineffectiveness of social media, while stating the supremacy of email marketing. It’s not exactly a commonly held belief, particularly for social media users.

So, those who disagree could be likely to share the post like wildfire. But if the statements are backed up properly, it could create a few converts and get people supporting the article and the business that produced it.

Overall, the idea is to get your online business noticed and get people talking about your business. Those who disagree with your stance might not be any more likely to do business with you. But they will certainly notice.

And if you make an intelligent argument, they might just respect you enough to stay on your site and learn more.

Shocked Woman Photo via Shutterstock

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Annie Pilon - Staff Writer


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

4 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    There are some huge names that gained a new following with controversies. It is a good way to get a good following.

    • Annie Pilon

      It is, as long as it’s backed up with facts and not something that actually offends people to the point of losing customers.

  2. You just have to be careful today because I read another blog where a business owner did this which resulted in a lot of controversy alright, but cost him some unhappy business friends.

    • Annie Pilon

      That’s a good point. Controversy can get businesses noticed, but it can also lead to some unhappy people. There’s a big difference between sharing a surprising opinion and saying or participating in something that actually offends people.

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