Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Online PR Can Affect Your Ecommerce Sales

As the saying goes, the only bad publicity is no publicity. That’s a common refrain shared among PR folks and there is a grain of truth in that saying. Unless your target audience is aware of your business it will be extremely difficult to generate sales. That applies to a corner dry cleaner or an ecommerce site. Every business is dependent upon buzz and a good reputation. And the best way to generate that buzz is through positive press mentions. But you shouldn’t stop there. Good PR can come in many forms, especially through social media.

In this age, no one can ignore the fact that being online is a must for any business.   Gone are the days when your customers turn to actual yellow pages or pay attention to a TV ad to find what they need. Now most folks head to Google or ask their friends online to find just what they are looking for. What they will find could be your business ranked at the top of the search engine listings thanks to positive PR. Here are some ideas for generating that kind of proactive response:

Get involved in your target market’s community

Not every company can become an official sponsor of the Olympic Games but they can become a sponsor of the local youth hockey team or get involved with charity drives. All of those ideas can create positive a positive reputation that your business cares about the community you are targeting. Even if your market is nationwide, you can sponsor events or even athletes to build brand reputation. Start researching the interests and passions of your target market and see if you can find a way to get your brand involved in a positive way. Your involvement can often be mentioned by news organizations reporting on these causes. That’s terrific publicity.

Get to know your local TV news station

A good way to generate brand visibility is taking advantage of your local TV station. Many stations are affiliates of a larger channel so by promoting your PR angle; you have a higher chance of getting features, especially if it’s unusual. You can also re-post the news feature through YouTube and generate a lot of views. News producers need to fill up that programming with interesting features and not just the headline stories. Could you pitch an unusual segment to a local news producer? Suppose you have an ecommerce business that offers housecleaning products. You could pitch a segment about how your product can remove any stain in any home. If you can’t, then the winner will receive free cleaning services for life. Bottom line: think of how you can promote your business by providing something unusual that makes your company stand out.  

Get involved in online discussions

If your business is already attracting customers then it’s a safe bet those customers are talking about you to their friends or online. One of the most popular and largest online review sites is Yelp. Not only are they offering reviews for restaurants, but there are reviews for just about any other kind of business.
You need to plug into the various online communities to find out what is being said about your business. Set up a Google Alert for your company – this enables you to receive notifications if your company is being mentioned online. If you stumble upon a forum that your target market uses heavily, get involved. If someone has a problem with your company, go into customer service mode and try to fix their issue.