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Here’s a question for you, how many text messages do you send a day?  If you are anything like me the number is probably in the high tens because this method of communication is quick and easy and getting your message across clearly has now been made even easier with the introduction of emojis and abbreviations – gr8 huh?  So why is it that when it comes to marketing communication, you very rarely, if ever, see little smiley faces or thumbs up icons promoting a product or service?

It’s because marketing communication has to be carefully tailored to your audience, and unless your audience is children then you need to communicate in a professional and formal way that your customers can relate to…and this is not likely to be by text message.

All forms of marketing communication will have at least one message.  This may  be as simple as ‘buy now’ or could be as complex as raising awareness of environmental issues and how these affect local wildlife and what you can do to support the informing body and protect nature.  But despite the number of messages contained in any piece of communication (and less is more where messages are concerned) one rule has to be adhered to, the message or messages must be clear.

When undertaking any new communication you should consider these points below and have them clearly laid out in a plan (there’s that word again) before you can put pen to paper and get scribbling.

  • What is the aim of your message

  • How is your message likely to be interpreted

  • How will you get your message across

  • Which channels are you going to use and when

  • How are you going to monitor whether your message was received loud and clear?

Now, with risk of upsetting the numerical hierarchy flow, I’m going say this quickly; in order to do the last point you must nail the first point…but we shall go back to this later.

Okay, so back to point one, what is the aim of your message?  This is obviously going to vary based on the objective of your communication and type of company but here are some common ones and an indication of how the communication tends to pan out…

To inform – Stories work well in these scenarios and there is a debate whether a totally fictional piece is more effective than a real life tale, but the important thing to remember is to make it engaging and use content your customer base can relate to.

To sell – Now, do you go in with the hard sell or take the softly, softly approach?  If you want my opinion – neither.  Customers are not daft and won’t like feeling pressured and are also likely to have other options to look at and hence limited time.  In this instance you need to identify the problem that your product or service solves and then tell the customer how they need your offering in their lives and cannot possibly do without it… Don’t say it like that however.

To take action –  Are you asking your audience to do something?  “Hmmm this is going to take up my time” is what they will be thinking, so to increase the likelihood of them doing it incentivise them and be clear as to how carrying out your requested action will benefit them.

The language you use plays a big part in how your message is likely to be interpreted by your audience so you need to pick your words carefully.  When writing your communication you cannot show facial expressions and have rapport with someone so you need to create an atmosphere and scene through words and tone of voice.  Avoid using terms and phrases that might seem patronising, whilst it’s O.K. when face to face with someone to say things like “you look like the type of person who…”, it rarely goes down well when read and the customer is left to make their own mind up as to your attitude. Don’t be forceful either and tell people they must do something and if they don’t there will be a consequence and always highlight your positives and not negatives!  This instills confidence and trust in the purchaser which is much more likely to lead to a sale.

Now think about things you can do to support your message. Is there anything unique that will make you get your message across whilst staying on brand? I appreciate that not everyone has the budget to hire a celeb, Z list or not,  but do you have any advocates for your product or supporters that are associated with product or the industry/market it provides for that you could ask for a quote?  You could try offering samples if you think your product is that good and then ask for feedback to use in future communications.

So, moving on, your message and communication have been perfected, now you need to decide which channels you are going to use and when in order to get maximum reach and response.  What and when you choose will be based on your customer demographic, how they communicate with you now, how they buy from you and what forms of communication they currently respond to.

If you want to use printed publications then consider the reach and relevancy of the publication.  Is featuring in it going to show you in the right light, reach your target area and audience and be cost effective?

When using social media you might want to use a few channels to give your message more coverage.  You could start with a blog which you can link to and promote on social media platforms. You may want to ask to your followers to share your news and promoting your news by this method allows you to follow up with your customers directly too.

If you choose to email your audience then you want to look into personalisation and a package that tells you open rates.

I hope that gave you some food for thought anyway. Let me know what you thought in the comments.

Next week I will be talking about things you can do instantly to improve your online copy – bfn 🙂

Is your message getting across?

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