5 Key Elements for Communication

If you, as a company or individual, want to develop great relationships with your customers, members, or supporters, you must have a strategy for effective communication. In order to communicate with your customers or supporters successfully, you should be providing information on a regular basis which is both relevant to their needs and in line with your goals. To do this, you need to understand each customer’s value and know what their specific needs are.

As a business owner, I know that even my own staff can do better when it comes to communicating with our clients clearly and consistently. One of our company goals for the new year is to implement regular, consistent and excellent communication channels with our advertisers, business partners, churches, and clients on the marketing side. Many of you may find yourselves saying the same thing, whether it’s communicating with your customers, clients, ministry supporters, or even your friends and family.

Clear communication can do great wonders and move mountains in both your business relationships and your personal life. In the same way, unclear communication, or a general lack of it, conveys nothing and moves nothing. It is easy to think of good examples of people and organizations that are really great at communicating. For example, there are a handful of ministries that are always on my mind. Why? Because they clearly communicate with me consistently on a monthly or weekly basis. They always engage me with relevant information, tell me their needs and give me opportunities to get involved.

Here are 5 key elements of clear, effective marketing communication.

1. Have a plan.
It’s that simple. Decide what message you are going to communicate and how it is going to be communicated. Assign who is going to be responsible for preparing the message and identify the best time and method for the message to be delivered. Due to a lack of planning, organizations often fail at communication. Even the best communication strategies become worthless and ineffective without a clear plan in place.

2. Know who your target audience is.
For most businesses, all products or services offered do not apply to all customers. Targeting is crucial in marketing communications, and relevant communications based on people’s interests and passions are key. It’s the right message, to the right person, at the right time that really counts.

3. Be professional.
If your communication piece has grammatical errors, uses clip art, has multiple mismatched fonts and does not have a clear message, no one will read it and no one will respond. Ultimately you will end up wasting money on ineffective marketing, as opposed to hiring a professional to do things the right way. Think about it – we have all received some do-it-yourself inkjet-printed flyer with crazy fonts and all of the words bold, underlined or in red. We look at advertisements like that and question whether the company or offer is even legitimate, as well as what the company was thinking when they sent it out. There is a reason why successful organizations always have professional marketing materials – because they provide the return on investment necessary to stay in business.

4. Stick to your schedule.
Even if it means staying up all night to get it done, do it. As you can imagine, the Good News has had its share of deadlines and we’ve been able to meet every single one by God’s grace. Why? Because we are committed to following the schedule we have planned out ahead of time. When people can expect to receive a communication from you, they will look forward to it and actually anticipate it in a positive way.

5. Follow up.
Make sure you connect with the people who respond to your marketing and engage them. Take the time to actually listen to the audience you are communicating with. If no one is responding, then you need to look at changing your delivery method, target audience, or both.

If you think of your communication efforts like building a relationship that you really want to be in, you should understand that it doesn’t happen overnight. Building any lasting relationship takes time, effort, consistency and good communication. This year, strive to become a better communicator in all areas of your business and personal life. I promise that, if you do, the fruits of your labor will bring about better relationships, a more polished and professional image, and more business and revenue for you in 2013!

Grif Blackstone is the president of Blackstone Media Group, a full scale web design and marketing company and publisher of the Good News, the largest Christian newspaper in Florida. Grif has helped hundreds of businesses build an effective brand identity to help them communicate who they are to their target market. Writer, speaker, and consultant, Grif is known as the “Efficiency Guru” for technology and business and is a coffee fanatic. Contact him at: [email protected] or 954-323-6737 Ext. 210.

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