What is a Communications Strategy?
A communications strategy considers how best to communicate with potential customers over different communication channels, through answering the questions:
- Who are your potential customers and how do they feel?
- What problems are your potential customers trying to solve?
- Where do your potential customers spend their time?
Why do I need a Communications Strategy?
By creating an effective communications strategy, you’ll have an innate understanding of who your customers are and how their problems make them feel.
What benefits will my business see from creating a Communications Strategy?
Consider a garden centre looking to sell plants to budding gardeners. Although excited about their new hobby, many in this audience won’t yet have the knowledge required to realise their goals. This in turn may make them anxious/ hesitant about their purchases. To grow their knowledge (excuse the pun!), they may spend a lot of time reading garden magazines.
This analysis supports creating a communications strategy, enabling the garden centre to sell more.
How do I create a Communications Strategy?
Before jumping into your communications strategy, it’s important to create a communications audit.
The communications audit will identify:
- Who your potential customers are and how they feel.
- What problems your potential customers are looking to solve.
- Where your potential customers spend their time.
Using the garden centre described above, we will consider how to create an effective communications strategy with the knowledge we’ve gained:
1. Who are their potential customers and how do they feel?
We know their potential customers are budding gardeners, excited and enthused about their new hobby but unsure/ anxious around how to execute all their plans. Our communications strategy at this point needs to consider how to ease their emotional turmoil, at the same time building trust in the garden centres knowledge, staff and providing the ability to sell products later on.
One way to provide such an option could be through workshops at the Garden Nursery or remotely, online. Providing potential customers a level of knowledge and solutions to their dream garden offers them an easy solution to achieving what they desire.
2. What problems are their potential customers trying to solve?
Budding gardeners have the following problems, unique to their market segment:
- Understanding the seasonality of a variety of flowers and plants.
- What soft landscaping and hard landscaping features work well together.
- Understanding how best to care for different plants and flowers.
These are an entirely different set of concerns to seasoned professional gardeners and provide the garden centre with plenty of information to structure a workshop (or series of workshops) around.
3. Where do their potential customers spend their time?
A large number of potential customers to the garden centre will have their own gardens. This suggests they will be homeowners, starting from the age of 33, when they are most likely to own their own house. How we communicate and invite this group of potential customers to the garden centre will be very different from how we invite gardeners who have the hobby up during retirement.
Communicating with homeowners in their 30’s, we’ll look to invite them to a free online course through social media paid advertising or paid ads on Google. Being a younger demographic, they are likely to spend a lot more of their time online.
For the gardeners who are in their retirement ages and less likely to spend time online, we will look to invite them through advertising in the local press, shops and through some of the local events they attend.
Considering these three questions, we have created a communications strategy to targeting budding gardeners with similar emotional needs and problems, through two very different methods of delivery dependent on their age.
Knowing where to begin when writing a communications strategy can be daunting. Get in touch and we can create one for you free of charge, providing recommendations for you to action within your business.
What else do I need to know?
It’s often perceived that larger companies have a huge advantage over smaller ones, owing to their much larger marketing budgets. Luckily it’s often the case that although more money is spent reaching people, the quality of the message is poor.
There’s a real opportunity right now, for smaller businesses to get closer to their customers and execute communications swiftly, providing them with an effective platform to compete with their much larger competitors.
What’s more, understanding a customers’ journey from first contact, all the way through to purchase using the AIDA model and how to communicate with them at each stage, through the correct marketing channel will provide you with a powerful strategy to obtain more customers.
At Need to Know Marketing we love providing information for SME’s so they can grow. We also understand this work can be time consuming and difficult to begin with. To assist you, we provide a free of charge one hour consultation, where we have an open discussion about your business objectives and what you’re looking to achieve.
Following the consultation we will provide you with a marketing strategy, advising how we recommend meeting your business objectives through marketing. If you are interested in knowing the cost of our services, you can use our calculator as a guide.
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”