Feel like a hamster on a wheel when it comes to your B2B communication strategy? It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different outcome. So if your B2B communications plan is making you insane, maybe there’s a better way to approach it.
Following are five concrete components that, if in place, can propel a B2B communications strategy from goodness to greatness.
- Be consistent: This seems obvious, but inconsistency can kill an otherwise good strategy. First, be consistent in your message — whatare you saying? You can’t be all things to all people so know what you stand for, stick to it and communicate it consistently.You also must be consistent in the frequency of your messaging. To stay top of mind among your customers, they need to hear from you more than a couple times a year. Additionally, you may have promised them a certain frequency and, if so, stick to it. Otherwise, you may send an unintended message to subscribers that your company doesn’t always deliver as promised.
- Keep it personal: Even in our highly digital world, people still want to hear from people. That’s why social media sites are so popular. Jontus Media’s Jon Buscall says, “Too often companies fall into the trap of creating anonymous, corporate sites that lack a distinct sense of personality, relying on corporate speak text that doesn’t connect with an audience.”Buscall’s blog article Do Your B2B Communications Bore? shows examples of a marketing firm whose corporate communication “oozes personality.” Buscall explains how showing a personal side behind the corporate mask helps build trust and credibility among the firm’s clientele and prospects.
- Stay relevant and offer value:People won’t listen, read or engage in any communication if it doesn’t relate to or offer some value to their lives. Take time to get to know your customer’s pain points. Show that you understand what they’re facing and, when possible, help solve their problems.For example, consider a sign company that specializes in custom signage for independently owned businesses. If a large subset of its customers are located in a region recently ravaged by a severe storms, its customers’ signs may be in bad shape. Extending its concern for affected customers and offering expedited service or special pricing to those customers are great ways to be relevant, offer value and solve a problem.
- Use a variety of formats: Imagine going to a bed and breakfast and having an exquisite meal on your first day — but then the owners serve the same meal every day of your stay. Boring! Don’t spoil your customers’ taste for your good communication by serving them the same old thing over and over. Use a healthy mix of media — email newsletters, a blog, Facebook, Twitter, eFliers, video and webcasts. There are too many great communication tools to let your company appear bland and boring with just one or two.
- Write well! Good writing matters. Your written words are often the first impression you make on a prospect or customer. So make them compelling, professional and meaningful from the very first sentence. Business marketer Lee Hopkins writes, “… the quicker you can ‘get to the point’ and the faster your audience can make that ‘disregard/pay attention’ decision the more positively they will view you — which can be VERY important if you need or want to communicate with them in the future.”
Incorporating these components into your B2B communication may at first require a little more time and effort than you’ve been putting in to date. However, mastering these standards is critical to effectively using your B2B communication as a means of ramping up your sales efforts and boosting your brand’s awareness and reputation.