What do you know about your business audience?
Do you know exactly who your business needs to be talking to?
Do you know what your audience really wants to hear?
Do you know how and where your audience wants to hear it?
You need to deliver the right message to the right audience through the right media. At the heart of an effective communications strategy lies the ability to speak to your audience in a language they can relate to and through the channels they are listening to.
For many businesses the challenge is made harder by variations across the business audience. Of course no customer is ever the same, but what about the customer purchase process?
Who is the ultimate decision maker?
What is their business pain?
How can you meet that need?
How can you let them know you have their answer?
But the probing really needs to go deeper than that:
Who is your decision maker influenced by?
Who do they charge with finding suppliers with solutions to their need?
Where do they look for the answer?
How do you let them know you have their answer?
How do you help the influencer sell your offer back to the decision maker?
We know from experience that understanding your audience is the best route to building an effective communications strategy for your business. From experience we know that your audience is influenced by channels beyond the traditional or conventional.
Surely everyone starts with a google search these days, right?
Sure they do, and of course you’ll have a website and hopefully it’s easily found by your audience.
But where else do your audience get informed?
What do they really listen to?
Regularly-updated blogs become a point of reliance: Robert Peston arguably drove the final nail into the coffin of the banking boom through his blog.
Twitter is a search engine too. And the content is posted by people your audience trust (or at least know or can relate to).
Linked-in has a similar dynamic:
Who are your contacts buying from?
Who are your competitors buying from?
What are their experiences?
And then there’s the media itself: Why read copy if you can watch a video or listen to a podcast?
More than 1/3 project managers log-on to youtube weekly looking for business content.
Why aren’t you providing the video content your audience would appreciate?
What’s the address of your youTube channel?
Most 16-25 year olds see their mobile as their primary touch-point with the internet.
Welcome to the age of media rich communications!
Of course there’s no point in charging your business into a new media age if there’s no clear ROI to it. For that you need a communications strategy. One that isn’t focused on a single media. And one that doesn’t eat up all of your revenue. (or marketing spend?)
You want to see signs that it is working for you: Build confidence through progressive implementations. Find out what works for your audience and build on it.
You need to build and deliver the right marketing tools to meet your audience needs with your business offer, and to suit your budget. With measurable milestones against which you can challenge your investment.
And to work in the long-run, your strategy has to reflect you – your business, not to just be what you think your audience wants to hear. Your audience will soon learn from experience and with the help of influencing channels such as social media what your true colours are. And if this turns off your audience it will be a much longer, harder, expensive job to switch them back on again to your offer.
And what does your brand stand for?
What does your audience interpret?
What do you want them to see?
You need to understand the underpinning values and vision upon which your business has made its success to date. Then understand where you want to be, and what that new horizon means and will look like to you – whether you need to build a brand from scratch or just give it a helping hand to keep things on track.
This is what lies at the heart of an effective communications strategy. …..what drives your ability to speak to your audience in a language they can relate to and through the channels they are listening to.
It’s the right message to the right audience through the right media.