Communication to keep them coming back: how to use one message across various communication channels

At this point in business communication, there's no excuse for poor design.  And design should work with the communication to ensure that the information provided is direct, relevant and fluid.

2018's greatest tech trend may be the movement away from social media, as evidenced by the growth in programs that help monitor or limit smartphone use, like Screen Time, In Moment, Off the Grid and the aptly named Anti-Social.  If the clients you have (or want to have) are moving away from social media sites like Facebook and Instagram don't chase them there. Instead, follow a few key tips to increase your communications (think: emailed newsletter or website updates).

Capture your audiences' interest first

Graphic design programs, via online and cloud software programs like Canva, are becoming easier and faster to learn. At this point in business communication, there's no excuse for poor design.  And design should work with the communication to ensure that the information provided is direct, relevant and fluid. This means using graphics to convey key points and to move a reader from one element of the newsletter to another.

ProTip: Your graphics are working well when your emailed communication or blog post is scannable. That is, when a reader can skim your communication and know the key points. In fact, your reader will skim your newsletter or website to determine whether the information is relevant to them before actually reading it. So employ design from that perspective, rather than just to be eye catching. Easy tips here include breaking your information into blocks, that is, three to four sentence paragraphs, and using bulleted points wherever possible.

Communicate trust through building a relationship.

Don't expect the clients you have, or the ones you want to have, to buy into you immediately. Instead, create a series of communications that highlights key themes, but remains consistent. Your newsletters can be written well ahead of time and sent out on a regular basis. They should convey timely themes to correspond with your client's seasons or schedules. The worst thing you can do with a newsletter is rush to get content out the door each month. Instead, have a clear plan with a consistent theme that you play on over time.

ProTip: This message consistency is sometimes referred to as message discipline. If all of your communications convey the same feeling and brand themes (e.g., that your services are innovative and responsive or that you are accessible and open) your messages will “stick” better with your clients and potential clients. A message that sticks can stay with a potential client for months after its been sent.

Know the boundaries of the communication method.  

Not every communication method has the same level of permission. Email is a communication that requires a relative level of consent: users have to take some action to subscribe to your newsletter (whether solicited or not). Websites and blog communications are less consensual. That means you can advertise services and solicit business more aggressively in an emailed newsletter than on a website or blog. That also means that the method by which clients and potential clients become subscribed to your newsletter should be reflected in the content.

ProTip: If you have multiple methods of landing on your newsletter list, you should have multiple lists within your newsletter program. Not every newsletter needs to go to each list in exactly the same version.

Use the data, Luke

If Obi Wan Kenobe urged Luke Skywalker to "use the force" to amplify his powers, you can use the analytical data you collect through Google analytics and via your email communications program to amplify your communications. Google analytics, as we've covered in the past, can let you know which pages your clients, or potential clients, are lingering on. Pay attention to those details, as this may indicate confusion not interest. If a page on your website seems relatively simple yet Google analytics indicates a long period of review, re-review the presentation of material on that page to seek out where readers may be getting confused. So too with which emails get opened and forwarded. Use Google Analytics and info from MailChimp or Constant Contact to help minimize confusion and focus on the messages your clients want to read.

ProTip: Keep a clear eye on data and measurable results so that you stay consistent and focused.

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