Launching a new service? Planning an email marketing campaign? Make sure you’ve got the communications basics covered first by following our top tips.
Agree what successful communications looks like. Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you will measure it. For most businesses this will equate to new business leads and an increase in sales/revenue/income, but it might also include establishing yourselves as thought leaders in your community, or building relationships with key influential individuals who can help extend your reach. Without agreeing what ‘good looks like’ you won’t be able to evaluate how successful your communications have been, and you could end up wasting time and money.
Develop simple messages for consistent communications. Key messages are the building blocks for all communications, from website text to email marketing campaigns and presentations to new clients. Key messages should be short, simple and jargon-free. They should answer the questions: What does our business do? How does it do it? Who benefits? What is the impact to our customers and the wider world? Be sure to weave in how your offer/product is different (your USP) and your key calls to action for the reader, for example, to find out more, contact us on LinkedIn.
Understand who you’re talking to. Map out all the people and groups who play a role in your business succeeding - this will include your target customers, as well as potential partners, investors and key influential figures in your sector or geographic area. Think about what each of these groups needs, and how your offer addresses these needs. Do you need to tweak your key messages for each audience to make them more relevant? Next, consider where each of these groups and individuals ‘lives’ and how they consume information, so you can effectively target them. LinkedIn is probably the most obvious social media platform for consuming business related news and trends, but think about other forums, communities, business networks, media titles, and face-to-face meet-ups (Covid-permitting).
Map out your key moments. Communication works best when it is deployed strategically around key milestones - giving each one the space to breathe, avoiding any confusion about what is being said, or what you’re asking people to do. Launching your service to the world is a key moment, as is announcing the latest talent to join your team, new partnerships, important new clients, or events where someone in your company is speaking. You may also want to make a note of external events which provide you with an opportunity to comment on current events, examples of this are the Budget, or funding announcements from the likes of Innovate UK. Pulling together all these key moments in one place forms the basis of a simple communications planner.
Create compelling content. Once you’ve developed your communications planner (see above), plan activity and content around each of your forthcoming milestones. You might write a blog about new developments in your industry which strengthen the need for your service amongst your target audiences. Or you may have a great case study showing how your service has delivered demonstrable impacts for a client. Keep these short and snappy and answer the ‘so what?’ question quickly. Blogs should be posted on your website, your LinkedIn page and can be the focus of email marketing campaigns. Asking others in your wider network to share, comment on and tweet about your content will boost it’s visibility on social media.
Evaluate, tweak, repeat. Make time as a team to review your communications efforts and their results. Look back at your objectives - are you meeting them? Look at what’s working well and think about how you can extend this activity further. Or are your current tactics not achieving the outcomes you’d hoped for and you need to change tack? Google analytics is a great place to observe how your online communications are impacting web traffic, and the number of LinkedIn followers are a simple, but important measure of penetration into target groups. Essentially, monitor, tweak, and repeat. As you and your communications grow in confidence and insight, so will the rewards.
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