Q&A with Roman Prokopchuk: Building a Reputation with Decency and Good Marketing
Roman Prokopchuk is a digital marketer, entrepreneur and podcaster whose “Digital Savage Experience” has included many famous and celebrity guests, and has been included in several lists of top digital marketing podcasts.
How did you become a digital savage, and how do you define that term?
Although I graduated with a criminal justice degree, I wasn’t able to find a job in criminal justice because federal state and local agencies had frozen hiring. I had an opportunity to learn digital marketing on my own and soon started working for a company doing digital marketing and search engine optimization.
The term “savage” refers to a relentless pursuit of anything you do. In my case, it was digital marketing, but “savage” has the connotation of being very aggressive and going after what you want to achieve.
How does good digital marketing address customer experience?
In terms of a potential user first landing on your site or viewing your paid search or paid social, customer experience is an important part of the user journey. Some ways digital marketing can address customer experience include testimonials, positive reviews and other examples of positive customer interactions. Anything you can do to engage people and give them a reason to stay on the site or come back again is effective help to convince someone to become a customer.
Have you ever used customer surveys in your digital marketing efforts, and how have they impacted your marketing efforts?
The surveys I’ve used provide insight about what the customer found positive or negative about their experience with a company I’m working with. Follow-up surveys can provide details when there has been a problem with a product, or when feedback is needed to make a customer’s experience better in the future.
What impact do bad reviews have on a company’s digital marketing?
A bad review has the potential to destroy your whole business. Obviously, some bad reviews come across as natural and authentic, while others come from disgruntled people or competitors trying deliberately to bring your business down. In cases where the review is just malicious, disingenuous or even fraudulent, there are ways to get it removed, but the process can be slow.
When bad reviews are authentic, you can respond and offer to make things right. Responding and resolving negative reviews is part of a good PR strategy, even if there is a cost to the business, such as replacing a product or providing additional service to satisfy the customer.
The goal is to create a positive out of a negative, and whatever you need to do to accomplish that will be worthwhile for your online reputation over time.
What are the pros and cons of using social media as your main method of digital marketing? Is it possible to do all your digital marketing on social media?
I never recommend putting your eggs in one basket. Your main digital marketing strategy should be something that you can control, such as the content on your website or your email list. With social media, you’re at the mercy of the platform. If the algorithm changes, your reach could be cut drastically, and you may not even know it until you see your numbers crash.
There have been businesses that were fully dependent on Facebook, and when the platform capped reach, the business model collapsed. In some cases, the business could adjust and recover, but in other cases, it could not. It’s hard to pivot when everything is on one platform.
Social media is very powerful, and you should incorporate it into your content strategy, but not rely on it as your sole means of driving leads or sales.
How important are Google search rankings to a company’s digital marketing efforts?
You can have a lot of control over Google search rankings. Even though there are algorithm changes on Google, they are usually more predictable than social media platforms. Businesses can build their search rankings over time if they invest in good SEO practices.
Search rankings do need to be maintained; just because you get your website or other content to the first page on Google doesn’t mean it will stay there. You have to adapt over time as search trends and algorithms change.
With some technical help, you should be able to optimize your website, at least at a basic level. There are also more advanced things you can do on the technical side, such as audit your site, build up your backlinks to drive more traffic and rise in search rankings, and build your site content with a solid strategy. Even SEO basics can set you up to succeed without constantly spending money as you do with paid ads, for example.
The bottom line is, people are consuming whatever is easiest for them to consume. Google now indexes mobile-first, for example. People also access information through other types of devices such as Google HomePod or other virtual assistants. You have to do whatever it takes to get your website in the mix, and doing that starts with SEO.
How effective can a company’s digital marketing be if it has problems with its online reputation?
Reputation damage control typically requires a lot of time and money, so it’s important to recognize that as you budget. Your reputation is everything. It can take years to build an online reputation, but that reputation can be destroyed in a second. One bad review, one tweet or one video clip can be incredibly damaging, and it takes a long time to recover and rebuild.
What has your company Nova Zora Digital done to enhance or protect its own reputation?
The content we’ve provided and networking we’ve done have generated natural credibility for us over time. We are also as transparent as possible about what services we provide and how we charge for each one, which is fairly rare in this business.
I think those offline relationships we’ve built have helped people recognize my integrity, my passion for my work and my focus on doing what’s right for the client.
Because of my reputation, people will come to my defense when a negative review or situation surfaces, and I don’t have to try to defend myself. At the end of the day, if you are a decent human being, share your expertise with people who need it and connect people who could benefit from the relationship, your efforts will come back to you, even if you don’t expect anything in return.
Current technologies give you only a few ways to reach people in 2019-2020: Audio, video, image and text. Those are your options for creating content. As for distribution channels, you can put it on your website, in an email campaign, on your blog, on social media, or on a podcast or video for YouTube.
Good content uses emotional triggers to help people remember your brand, goes to where the people are and helps you be part of the community. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, even if you’re an introvert. That’s how your business will grow.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Download How to Improve Your Reputation with Effective Social Media Management to learn more about social media management and its role in online reputation management.