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Tips on having an effective communications strategy

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by Startacus Admin

Clare Griffiths, Director of The Ideas People writes for Startacus on "spicing up your speak"- her expert edvice on how you can make sure that your startup has an effective communications strategy.

When you are building up your business, you can spend so much energy developing the right products and services for the right customers at the right time, that you can often dismiss the importance of then communicating that offer to your customers – whether they are prospective or existing ones. This problem is intensified by the fact that businesses now operate within an increasingly competitive, global marketplace, where customers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages from businesses of all sizes vying for their attention. Therefore, for a new start-up, your challenge is to be heard over the ‘noise’ of the marketplace. Whilst there is no straightforward solution, one effective way to get noticed by your customers is to develop and implement a creative communications strategy which really helps you to stand out from the crowd. To set you off on the right track, the aim of this blog post is to give you some tips on how to develop a communications strategy which gets you noticed by your customers.

What does an effective communications strategy look like?

Put simply, there are six things you need to consider when putting together your communications strategy:

The market, i.e. Who is your target audience?
The messages, i.e. What is it you want to say to them?
The media, i.e. How will you get your messages across?
The timing, i.e. When are you going to communicate your messages?
The resources, i.e. Who and how much are you going to invest in getting your messages across to your audience?
The impact, i.e. How are you going to measure the impact of all this?

When you are working on your strategy, don’t forget that communication is a two-way process. It’s about talking, but most importantly, it’s about listening to your customers. Therefore, before you fall into the trap of talking “at” your customers, consider the different communication platforms you could use to help your new and existing customers interact with you. Now that we have so many social media channels to hand, you will find that there are plenty of platforms for you to use – Just make sure you choose the channels which your customers are most familiar with. Email, Twitter and Facebook may be some of the more obvious choices, but if you want to get noticed within the market, then you will need to either adopt some additional channels or use your chosen channels in a more creative way.

If you are struggling to think creatively, try and think of your own experiences as a customer. What have you liked about the way in which other companies have communicated with you? Are there any experiences which really stand out to you which you could apply to your own business?

If you’re finding it difficult to come up with some ideas, a useful ideas generation technique to use is the “best case scenario” approach. For example, if money or time were not an option, how would you most like to communicate with your customers? Jot down any ideas that come to mind, and then go through this list to see if you could realistically carry out any of those ideas (or versions of them). You may be pleasantly surprised!

And just in case you still need inspiration to spice up your communications strategy, here’s one example of a personal experience that stood out for me recently.

moo.com – About two months ago, I ordered a pack of business cards from moo.com, and other than the high quality of the printing, what stood out for me was their post-order communications. They managed to jazz up their automated emails which are sent out after a customer has placed an order, saying something along the lines of: “Hello! I am Little Moo. Thank you for your recent purchase. I just wanted to let you know that your order has been placed. If you have any queries about your purchase, can I remind you that I am just a little software robot, so if you want to talk to real people, please talk to the Customer Service team on ...”

It definitely brought a smile to my face, and is something I have never seen before. Whatever moo.com was out to achieve, it has obviously worked, as I am now talking about them (and not receiving any commission)!

I suppose what I am trying to say is that whatever your budget, there are innovative ways in which you can communicate with your customers, so get creative and start thinking of how you can stand out from the crowd.

Clare Griffiths is the Director of The Ideas People which specialises in supporting businesses and organisations to generate, manage and implement their ideas, so that they can gain competitive advantage, achieve business growth and bring about positive change.

If this piece was right up your street, then we reckon you could enjoy some of these recent posts

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Published on: 13th December 2012

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