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Marketing / Communication skills

Developing your communication strategy

Determining your communication strategy will ensure the style and frequency of your communication is useful to your audience and tailored to getting you repeat business and new clients.

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Why bother?

With a communication strategy in place, your current, former, and potential clients are more likely to stay engaged with and interested in your brand, and less likely to delete your messages or unsubscribe from your database.

You’ll build relationships of trust and loyalty – and communicate with the right people at the right time. Ultimately, you’ll stay top of mind, because regardless of the form of communication you choose – direct mail, Twitter, e-newsletters or marketing brochures – every point of contact is an opportunity to bring the promises behind your brand to the awareness of the potential purchaser.

Your communication strategy need not be complex, but at a minimum should consider the basics of your target audience, your core messages, and the language and tone you use. You’ll also want to consider the consistency and timing of your communications.

"Every point of contact is an opportunity to bring the promises behind your brand to the awareness of the potential purchaser."

Target audience

With whom do you communicate (or want to communicate)? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your communications to suit their needs. Ask yourself three questions about them:

  • Who are they? By segmenting your database, you can tailor your communications to specific audiences.
  • What do they need to know? This will impact your key messages.
  • How do they communicate? This will determine the medium, frequency and style of language used.

Want more articles like this? Check out the  communication skills section.

Messages

What do you want to get across to your audience? Is it what makes you unique, or why your audience should engage with you? It could simply add value through advice or education.

Your messages and language should reflect your brand and your objectives, and above all, should have a purpose. They should be crafted carefully and strategically – even for social media.

Above all, your messages must be relevant – otherwise your audience will disengage.

Language and tone

Your style of communication should reflect the personality of your brand and the needs of your audience.

Do your readers expect a formal, informal or persuasive edge to your material? Is your product technical? Will your readers understand your terminology? And do you respect their knowledge?

A message that is clear and concise ensures you won’t lose your readers.

Consistency and branding

Each time you ‘touch’ a client, you communicate your brand.

It goes without saying that clients should be exposed to the same look and feel (design, colour, logo and so forth) each time you make contact, but consistency in language and messaging is also important. Readers should get the same feeling of confidence through every channel of communication.

A style guide can keep you focused on your key messages and language.

Timing

A successful communications strategy strikes a subtle balance that keeps you top of mind without being annoying. It will nurture and sustain your relationship with clients, and keep them engaged and interested in your work.

Develop key messages and points of contact around a calendar of key dates that are relevant to your business and that of your audience. Examples might include monthly educational newsletters, daily Twitter feeds, appeals to acquire support for a gala dinner, or Christmas cards.

Do you have a formal communication strategy for your business, or do you prefer a more ad hoc approach? Please share your reasons and experiences with us below.

Caroline McDevitt

works with businesses to make their voice heard through superior written communication, and her new Writewords Writewell courses give you the skills to write with confidence.

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