At a time when communication platforms and formats are multiplying, a communication strategy can make or break your business. Unfortunately, it’s not rare to see business owners ignoring this fact and subsequently suffering the consequences.
Not only will a comprehensive communication strategy provide a vision for the business, but it will also outline what steps need to be taken to achieve this vision. A good communication strategy will also allow a business to manage their communication budget, which is critical.
While it may seem daunting compiling a communication strategy, it doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
Here are five steps to create an effective communication strategy for your business:
1) Define your target audience
Communicating means conveying a specific message to your different target audiences, whether it be clients, potential leads, partners or suppliers. Therefore to communicate effectively, the first thing a business needs to do is identify who they are seeking to communicate to.
To define the right target audience, a business should answer the following questions:
– Who is my target audience and where are they based? What are their habits?
– Is my product or service compatible with the way that they consume?
– Who are my competitors and which space are they operating in?
Not only will this exercise allow you to employ the right actions to communicate to your target audience appropriately, but it will also avoid wasting time and money by communicating to those who aren’t potential clients.
2) Decide what message you want to convey
Decide on an appropriate message for each target audience i.e. what action do you want your audience to follow after engaging with your message. This will provide a vision of what needs to be done to achieve results and will allow you to plan accordingly.
This step will also help to identify the relevant communication channels to reach each audience.
3) Set the goals for the communication strategy
This step requires setting goals for the communication strategy. If you do not set goals, you won’t be able to measure its effectiveness.
For example, a goal could be to gain a percentage of market shares within a specific segment, grow the business revenue by a certain percentage in a specific time period, or even redefine the brand in the marketplace via consumer perception.
Businesses need to think about what they want to achieve as only once they have done this can they move onto drafting a communication plan.
4) Establish a communication plan
A communication plan will include all the communications actions of the business and should centered on a timeline that lists the important dates and events related to the business’ industry that they can capitalise on.
For example, the festive season is a large opportunity for businesses in the retail sector due to consumers increasing their spending during the Christmas period. Business then need to decide what actions are most suited to capitalise on the opportunity i.e. business could maximise exposure via a mailing list, press releases, competitions or an advertising campaigns depending on the target audience and objective.
When deciding on these actions, it is important to research the amount of time and resources needed for each of the chosen actions.
5) Set a budget
Creating and implementing a communication strategy can be expensive, and why businesses need to set a budget and then stick to it.
Only by comparing the goals achieved against the allocated budget can a business determine the return on investment for the communication strategy.