Communication is one of the most vital ingredients in your business success. Call it what you want – direct marketing, chatting, chewing the fat, gabbing, it all means one thing… a conversation.
Communication does not mean talking at your clients and prospects, it is meant to be a two way flow. Your audience do not want you to push messages at them constantly. In fact, they really want you to listen and to respond to what they have to say.
How can you do that?
You connect with your clients and build a relationship. And the best way to do that is by having a Communication Strategy.
Knowing Your Clients
We have talked about the need to understand your ideal client before. When devising a communication strategy, it is no different. Having an intimate understanding of who your clients are and what they want to hear is crucial to your business. The more you know about them, the better you can serve them. The only way to know them better is to ask them questions and listen to the answers that they give you.
But how can you ask the questions without being annoying?
Well firstly, don’t worry about that. Unless you are pestering them non-stop then you will come off as interested and engaged rather than annoying. Simply start up conversations with your clients. Don’t treat it like an interview, just make sure you keep the conversation on track and really listen to what your client has to say.
If you feel it is appropriate, you can take the conversation online and ask for their comments and opinions via a survey or questionnaire. Also, there is lots of feedback just waiting to be discovered in your analytics. Social media insights, email campaign reports, and website analytics will all tell you a story about your audience. These are things that your audience may not even be aware of yet. So you can delight them by understanding their preferences and tendencies, then serving them accordingly.
Your Communication Strategy
Once you understand who your ideal client is, you can put together a communication strategy to engage with them in the most valuable way.
Firstly, examine all the communication touch points you currently have in your business. Is each moment an opportunity for people to truly connect with you, or is there room for improvement?
Remember that each engagement should automatically remind your audience who they are dealing with. Every time they interact with your business it should be a consistent and reliable representation of your brand. Your audience should know what to expect and immediately recognise it is you based on your tone, wording and personality injection.
Not all of your clients will be interested in everything that you do. You want to make sure that your messaging is always relevant. Segmentation can be a great way to ensure that you get the right message to the right people every time. By dividing your main email list into sub-categories based on their interests and their buying patterns, you can deliver a relationship based communication experience.
It can be really hard to keep track of who has bought which item, and who is interested in what. Instead of trying to remember, make sure you choose the right communication tool to assist you. There are many email marketing platforms out there that make automation a breeze. But you need to make sure you choose the one that has the right capabilities for your business. If you don’t, you won’t be able to deliver an effective communication strategy.
There are many different channels that you can communicate with your clients on. Knowing the most appropriate way comes from intimately understanding your clients and how they like to receive communication.
You can use the information gathered from your surveying to identify the channels that your ideal audience use the most. Use your analytics to explore the social media platforms they actively participate on, whether they like to receive emails or not, if they like phone calls, or even if they like to receive physical mail. By discovering the channels they like to communicate on, you can get your message across regularly.
Be mindful of the kind of message you are trying to communicate, some are more suited for a certain channel. Your clients may feel that a weekly phone call is too much, but may like to receive a weekly email. It is likely that they would want to know about a special promotion immediately, but an educational article could be sent once a month. It really depends on what is being communicated and how you are doing it.
Once you have a communication strategy in place, don’t be afraid to tweak it. The number of available channels is always changing. New mediums may appear, or there could be ones you haven’t explored before that are an ideal way to communicate with your clients.
Whatever method you choose you need to ensure it allows for relevant and timely communication. If you are having trouble pinpointing your communication strategy, then an outside perspective might be just the thing you need. I can lend you my marketing expertise to help you nail that strategy. Get in touch if you want to chat.