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Effective E-commerce Communication in the Media, Step by Step
You create your store or solution for e-commerce. You decide for hours what it will be and what great results it will bring. Finally, there is the desired publication of the product on the web and… nothing.
The solution, which costs you so much time and energy, suddenly does not find much interest. What is going on? A basic mistake in the communication of e-commerce solutions may be the lack of a prepared strategy, i.e., the language of benefits for potential customers, as well as a marketing and PR plan.
If you are developing and operating in the e-commerce industry and directing your solutions to B2B customers, this article is for you.
Is E-commerce Communication a Difficult Art?
When you start working on communicating your products, ask yourself what you want to achieve and how you will know that you have achieved your goal. Maybe you need this communication to find an investor, increase sales, or just be aware of the market. Why is this so important? I know many entrepreneurs who wanted the media to write about them. Then there were articles in the press, statements on the radio, and sometimes even appearances on TV. But when I asked during the meetings how the development of the company was going, the answer indicated that it was only average.
And that’s where you have to ask yourself, “Why is this event happening?” The first thing we should remember is that communication does not bring results right away. It is building the company’s image and educating potential customers, to whom we explain what our product is used for, who it is addressed to, and what problem it solves. Yes, it is often the case that someone reads an article about us and immediately writes that they are interested in cooperation because that is what they needed. However, it usually takes more time for the scale of activities to produce results.
Another thing is to define measures that will allow you to determine whether the communication brings the expected results. There are often situations where entrepreneurs are so excited about the fact that the media is interested in their activities that they forget about the purpose of communication. They focus mainly on the number of publications in the media.
Such a measure may be, among others, increased traffic on the website, inquiries about the possibility of testing your solution, or an invitation to cooperation.
Where Can I Find Customers for the E-commerce Industry?
Once you’ve set your goals, the next step is to prepare the appropriate list of media you want to appear in. But that’s not it. Also prepare a list of events and other places where you can talk about your project. And here is a small hint: if you offer your services to business customers, the media channels that are worth appearing in are, among others: Forbes, My Company, E-commerce Magazine, or Money.pl. There are, of course, many more. Your choice should depend on which of them your target group reads and what kind of service or product you offer.
Once you know what media is right for your business, there’s an analysis of what you’ve already written about the industry you’re in. Maybe the competition’s already there. If so, see how their solution was presented, what was the focus of the article, and what drew journalists’ attention. This is a very important analysis, which leads us to the next point.
What Do I Want to Talk About?
You’ll probably answer: “About the product.” However, I will say right away that in the case of cooperation with journalists, it is not so simple. If you only want to talk about what you do, you can be sure that they will direct you to the advertising department immediately. Your success depends largely on your specific knowledge of the needs of journalists.
How to find journalists interested in e-commerce?
If you want to start an adventure with company communication yourself, after choosing the media and analyzing how they write about the topic you are interested in, learn who is the author of these texts. Usually, the articles are signed with their name, and under the text, you can often find the contact details of a journalist.
There is one goal: you want to show yourself and your company in e-commerce or technology, and you can do it in several different ways.
These are materials most often presenting a current situation, implementation, the introduction of new functionality, etc. Such content is usually sent to a wider group of selected journalists dealing with the related subject matter.
What exactly can press releases be about? They can talk about opening new offices and hiring a large number of employees, personnel changes in senior positions of companies, gaining significant funds, interesting partnerships, international expansion, important industry events, or new implementations in the field of e-commerce.
Reports and Studies
Data, analyses, and numbers – there what are constantly needed in the world of media. If your technology allows you to create a report showing a change in the world of e-commerce that not everyone is aware of yet, then this should be used. You can also count on the interest of journalists if you show the purchasing behavior of a selected group of customers, supporting it with an interesting analysis.
Generalities, phrases such as “it seems to us” or “probably,” are neither interesting nor do they add anything. Materials that actually present how your business is developing will gain significant media interest.
The media is constantly looking for experts who can share their knowledge and practical approach, show certain trends, and present these through the eyes of the practitioner. Sometimes there are also published columns showing the directions of development that you notice and that can help others in the business. This is what articles, statements, and studies are dedicated to.
I would add two additional categories to these, which I discuss below.
- The approach from the general to the detailed. This assumes that you present how, for example, artificial intelligence changes our purchasing behavior. You talk about the directions of development and present what is associated with such changes. Very rarely will you be able to talk about your product. The “detail” I am thinking of at this point is signing you with your name and the name of the company you represent.
- Approach from detailed to general—the media, especially that which specializes in a given subject, is very fond of case studies. By presenting an implementation, you have a chance to present your knowledge and experience and the technology you work with. You must keep the figures and conclusions in mind. It is best that they show the bright and dark sides of a specific implementation, and talk about what you would do differently next time and what advice you would give yourself for subsequent such situations, etc.
A day, maybe two, after sending the material, it is good to contact journalists to whom we sent press releases or reports. Every day, they receive hundreds of emails from other entities, similarly willing to show their work. The better the relationships you have with them, the faster and easier it will be to develop cooperation. However, this takes time.
Every stick always has two ends. This means that a journalist may also want something from you, e.g., a statement or comment on the topic they are interested in. I don’t advise you to delay answering because if you do, there will be someone else to take your place. I also advise against rushing media workers. Too much intrusive contact could turn on you. The topic that you propose may not be attractive for a journalist at a given moment, but it could be after some time. Unfortunately, the editorial rules are absolute, and you have to comply with them. However, if you urgently need to publish, consider commercial activities and pay for publishing the article.
When Do I Start Communicating in E-commerce?
What is the best time to start product communication? The answer will probably not please you, because it cannot be precisely defined. It depends on the type of solution you offer, how much competition you have in this area, whether the media has already written about it, and the level of advancement of your project.
Cooperation with the media in e-commerce is a demanding task, but it gives significant opportunities for business development. It requires a thorough analysis of the industry and knowledge of the specifics of journalists’ work and time. Such work allows for building lasting relationships with the media, which will then result in recognition and the building of a stable, reliable brand.
The most important questions you should ask yourself before starting communication are:
- Whom am I talking to?
- When should I start communicating?
- Where should I appear with my message (which media, events, etc.)?
- How should I talk about my product?
- Why is the product worth attention?
- What will the reader gain from using our product?
The article was published in the E-commerce Magazine April-May 2019 No. 2 (5) / 2019
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