Industry, Weekly Digest

A Communication Strategy Starts with Questions

Shotgun marketingMany businesses have a shotgun approach to marketing communications strategy: Fire lots of messages at the audience, and see what finds its mark.

And, while this approach might net some results, it’s wasting a lot of ammunition. If you follow the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach, you’re likely reaching a lot of people who either aren’t interested or don’t need the information you’re sending them.

There is a better way…

Ask Questions

Before you create your communications strategy and any individual message, you need to narrow down its ultimate goal.

  • Who do you want to reach? The answer to this question needs to be as specific as possible, in order for your message to be effective. Profile your ideal customer or audience member, and then tailor your communication to reach that person.
  • Where will you reach them? Where does your ideal customer spend his or her time? What publications does your audience read regularly? Which websites do they visit? If it’s a business customer – what groups do they belong to on LinkedIn? Understanding the answers to these questions helps you consistently get your message in front of the people you’re trying to reach.
  • What do you want to say? This question may seem obvious, but many companies start developing communication campaigns without fully defining what message they’re trying to convey. Think about what you want your campaign to achieve. Your message will be different if you’re trying to gain new customers than it will be if you’re trying to retain existing customers, for instance. Sending a “new customers only” offer to an existing customer is more than just a waste of money.
  •  How should they respond? Do you want your audience to purchase from you? Approve a new corporate policy? Join you at that big charity event you’re sponsoring? Knowing exactly what action you want your audience to take, and providing clear ways to respond using audience appropriate channels (text, email or call to RSVP) will help you fine-tune your message to encourage that response.

Then what? Perhaps the most-overlooked part of the process is determining what comes after you’ve reached your audience and elicited the response you wanted. How will you follow up with them? How can you use the success of one message to develop the next one?

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about visualizing the campaign.

Elizabeth Gooding

Elizabeth Gooding is the editor of the Insight Forums blog and president of Gooding Communications Group

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