You start out with a business plan. You forecast sales numbers. You align internal and external resources. But there’s an equally important part of growing your business that often gets lost in the shuffle—a client communications plan.
How will people come to understand your unique value proposition—or that you even exist—if you don’t “talk” with them on a routine basis?
And with so many tools at your disposal now in the tech age—website, blog, social media, email—an integrated plan is a must to successfully combine efforts with traditional print advertising, direct mail, and event planning.
A well-prepared communications plan will help create brand recognition, enable you to consolidate your branding efforts and in turn, develop an ongoing dialogue with potential and current customers.
How Do You Build an Effective Communications Plan?
Today, businesses have more ways to communicate with their customer base than ever before. And in the case of social media—instantaneously. For an integrated communications plan to be successful, it’s important to not only identify what tools you will use to communicate with your customers, but how you will use them. It’s also important to establish a timetable of goals and objectives.
But with all these tools comes the job of utilizing and maintaining them correctly. It’s definitely a two-sided coin: Heads—your opportunities to reach out to customers and prospects have increased exponentially with the tech boom; Tails—now your communications efforts require more time, strategy, skills, and resources.
This is all the more reason to standardize:
- How you disseminate information from and about your company (email blasts, direct mail, social media posts, etc.)
- Your approach based on the channels of communication you choose
- The look and feel of your communications to convey a cohesive, high-quality brand identity
- How you measure the results of your efforts, and how you re-approach audiences accordingly
Your strongest competitors are probably already using a well-rounded communications plan to their advantage. Take note of what they’re doing and you may discover opportunities to set yourself apart from them.
6 Benefits of Improving Communications with Customers
1. Differentiation from the competition
Connecting with your target audiences on a regularly scheduled, high-quality basis is a powerful differentiator. A consistent, crystal-clear communications strategy gives your brand a better chance of standing out amongst competitors that don’t engage with their clients in any kind of organized, compelling manner.
2. The ability to market to different segments simultaneously
A solid communications plan will help you identify who you need to reach, what you want them to know, and the best way to reach them—all simultaneously. Don’t be surprised if you find that your business actually has several audiences, and that each one has its own unique characteristics, needs, and motivations. Through proper planning, you will discover the most effective ways to communicate with them in their various stages of their buying process.
3. Increased response from your target audiences
Keeping the dialogue open with your client base will help promote healthy discussion, allowing you to adjust your business strategy as needed. Your customers’ input is an invaluable tool which will enable you to continually reach a broader audience with a higher success ratio.
4. The ability to measure your effectiveness
It’s important to gather the metrics around your plan’s successes and weaknesses. In many instances, linking a quality CRM tool to your integrated communications plan can be helpful in providing a central place to organize all the details of your efforts. More importantly, it can also help you adjust your efforts according to the feedback you receive.
5. Regular evaluation of your company and business model
An interesting byproduct of generating regularly scheduled communications to customers is that you are, by proxy, continually evaluating the status of your business. Obviously, this is an extremely valuable practice as it allows you to not only tweak how you talk to your clients, but how you evolve your entire business around their preferences.
6. Increased sales potential
A fully-fledged communications plan can lead to increased profits by stretching messages across a myriad of communications tools and business functions. This opens more avenues by which clients can become aware of who you are, what you’re offering, and ultimately, access your products or services quickly and easily.
Questions to Ask Before Creating a Communications Plan
The creative tools and services required to build and execute a successful communications plan—copywriting, graphic design, web development, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.—are extremely important, just be careful not to lose sight of your ultimate goal, which is communicating your unique value proposition.
Prospects want to know your business is nimble enough to provide continual information about what you do and why it matters to them. Your marketing efforts should reflect your ability to meet their needs.
Before engaging in the communications planning process, ask yourself:
- Is your brand/logo professional and unique?
- Do your print advertising and collateral materials convey your core values and meet your standard of quality?
- Does your website have a modern design and responsive functionality?
- Have you embraced social media and its potential for attracting a new client base?
- Are you prepared to generate a multi-channel brand experience?
Bottom line—be confident in your marketing capabilities while engaging in comprehensive communications campaigns. Start by being customer-centric. Customers are mindful of the relationship between what they purchase and who they purchase from. Keeping them continuously informed through an organized communications plan builds trust and reaffirms their relationship with you—one you’ll want to nurture for as long as possible.
Are your website and marketing materials sending a consistent message? Contact us today for a free estimate on refreshing your logo, website, brochures, or anything else you may need to successfully promote your brand.