A successful business is more than just profits and market share. Success comes to a business through the ability to communicate with its target market, its customers, and its audience at large.
Communication has been the backbone of business for centuries. From bartering goods for coin in the ancient times of caravan traders to the fast-moving, globally connected world of today. Communication remains vital, as does the strategy that goes with it. The art of good communication keeps a company aligned with its goals, the momentum building forward for growth, and the business connected with its users.
The communication strategy of any business extends beyond a policy. It is, instead, the very essence of the business itself. It is how relationships are strengthened. It becomes part of the brand itself. It has the ability to launch a business from an infant startup to an industry leader.
In this article, we’ll explore what a good communication strategy looks like, and the types of communication strategies you might use:
- What Makes A Good Communication Strategy?
- Types of Communication Strategy
What Makes A Good Communication Strategy?
At this point, it’s important to note that every business’s communication strategy will be different. It will focus on different routes, different styles, and, ultimately, a different audience. There are, however, core elements that act as the foundation for any communication strategy.
Clarity Of Message
There’s no space for fluff in a solid communication strategy. You need clear, concise messaging. When you deliver a message that gets to the point in an understandable way, you remove any ambiguity. People understand what you’re trying to say in moments. That means your audience, your customers, and your stakeholders are all on the same page. They understand what your business stands for, what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to accomplish it.
There are few effective strategies that will work without consistency. Your audience will come to expect to hear from you. There should be a sort of rhythm to your communication. It should steadily beat, reinforcing the messaging you’d like to share across the spectrum of platforms that you’re using. When you’re consistent, your audience will begin to trust you, and your credibility begins to get established.
Understand Your Audience
These are the people you want to communicate with. It stands to reason that you should get to know them. Take time to understand their preferences, what they want from you, and how they like to be communicated with. The best way to approach this is to consider your audience as individuals.
The more personalized your communication, the better. Don’t fall into the trap of treating the audience as one large, homogenous group. Instead, segment your audience and tailor your message.
The image of a plate spinner comes to mind. It sounds complicated, but delivering your message with a multi-channel approach is a necessary part of an effective communication strategy.
Naturally, your audience won’t be all in one place. Some of them will engage with email, others with social media. There will be those that regularly visit your website. Some will barely visit at all. Leveraging a multi-channel approach means that each of your individual audience members can access your message in their preferred medium. You’ll also find that your sales strategy might focus on different channels depending on which funnel stage your prospects are at.
Opportunity For Feedback
Feedback doesn’t necessarily mean critique of your strategy, although that is often welcomed. Rather it means giving ample opportunity for your audience to respond to your communication. You want to avoid shouting into the void and expecting action to be taken. Imagine, instead, that you’re having a conversation with your audience. If you put something out there, expect a response. This, in turn, leads to a conversation and all of the opportunities that could present.
Times change. Your audience evolves. Even your business goes through periods of change and alteration. Your communication strategy is no different. The best strategies will see this as a natural part of the process rather than fight against it. Keep up with market trends, changes to what your audience prefers, and technological advances. If you’re a more adaptable business, then you’re far more likely to flourish as the landscape changes and circumstances shift.
Types of Communication Strategy
There is no single communication strategy. You’ll likely find that many businesses blend different types of communication strategies into their own mix. The best communication strategy to choose is the one that works for you, adheres to the principles above, and engages with the audience.
Verbal Communication Strategy
People like to talk, particularly in business. The verbal communication strategy is all about how the words we speak carry meaning and weight. The strategy encompasses meetings, phone calls, presentations, and discussions within the business itself. There’s a lot to think about when speaking. The right tone and pitch need to be selected, pauses used at the right time, and the right words selected to persuade and inform.
- Instant Feedback: If you’re in a conversation with someone, you don’t have to wait for a response. They reply in real-time. That means you can ask for clarification, develop your message, and adapt on the fly.
- Build Rapport: Conversations are personal. They naturally develop relationships through increased trust and rapport.
- Emotional Nuance: It’s far easier to demonstrate emotion and sentiment through the spoken word than it is via text.
- Lacks Complexity: There’s a tendency to omit detail and complex instructions when communicating verbally. Often this is better communicated through written means.
- Misinterpretation: Particularly on phone calls, without the benefits of visual clues, the message could be misinterpreted.
- Requires Good Listening Skills: Not everyone is a born listener. If you’re reliant on verbal communication, it means you’re relying on the recipient being a great listener.
Non-Verbal Communication Strategy
It’s true that the spoken word carries gravitas and weight, but sometimes what isn’t said can be just as powerful. Non-verbal communication focuses on everything you can communicate without saying a word. This includes your dress sense, your expressions, gestures, and body language. These can reinforce your messaging, working hand-in-hand with your verbal communication. Ignored, and they could work against you.
- Supportive of Verbal Communication: When your non-verbal communication strategy is paired with what you say, it’ll help reinforce your messaging. It adds both authenticity and emphasis.
- Deliver Emotions: Even the smallest of gestures or expressions can easily portray emotion. This is particularly helpful when you’re not talking but want to engage with your audience.
- World Language: No matter what language is used verbally, expressions and gestures are universally understood.
- Misinterpretation: As with our words, our expressions and gestures can be misinterpreted. That can cause confusion or misunderstanding.
- Documentation: You can make notes on what someone has said, but you’re unlikely to take notes on their gestures or expressions.
- Cultural Differences: A gesture that means one thing in one culture might mean something different altogether in another. The last thing you want is to accidentally offend someone.
Written Communication Strategy
The pen is mightier than the sword. That’s the way the saying goes, so it makes sense that a strong written communication strategy can hugely benefit a business. Letters, emails, memos, reports, and proposals, all require a written communication strategy. Not least because a written word becomes a permanent record. Done correctly, it’s a great way to communicate clearly, thoroughly, and with accountability.
- Precise Clarity: The written word allows you to communicate with absolute clarity and precision. As long as you write in a clear, concise way, there are fewer opportunities for misinterpretation.
- Documentation: Especially via email, words written allow for a record of conversations that have taken place.
- Time Independent: You don’t need your recipient to be there at the time of sending. They can read, understand, and respond in their own time.
- Time: The written word does take time to compose. That’s especially true if you’re attempting to stick to certain brand guidelines or write in a specific tone or voice.
- No Immediate Feedback: As mentioned above, the recipient doesn’t have to respond immediately. That means you might be waiting a fair amount of time before receiving any engagement or feedback.
Visual Communication Strategy
Visual communication is a mixture of some of the previous communication strategies. It uses visuals to communicate with an audience, sometimes with the addition of written or spoken words. This could be in the form of images, videos, infographics, or presentations.
- Engagement: Visual communication, especially video, receives some of the highest engagement rates, especially when the content is shareable.
- Simplification: Using the right visuals can distill seemingly complex data and information into easier-to-digest pieces.
- Wide Appeal: Visuals, when not accompanied by text or voice, cross-language barriers and offer a way to communicate globally.
- Resource Intensive: Creating videos or custom images is a labor-intensive process that requires experts or significant time.
- Accessibility: Some people can’t engage with visual content either through cognitive or visual impairments.
Creating a balanced communication strategy across your organization is the key to sharing your message. It allows you to do so in a clear and understandable way. Whether internally or with your audience, adhering to a communication strategy guarantees you’ll be sharing your offering the right way.
- The best communication strategies will won’t necessarily focus on one method, but leverage each style.
- The most successful strategies will adapt to the prevailing conditions.
- Always seek feedback, both in the form of response and critique.
When you’re ready to launch your written communication strategy through email outreach, you’ll need a tool to help you reach your audience. That’s where Instantly can assist, and you can get started for free today.