Clear, concise, and consistent communication is an essential aspect of a successful business. Good communication helps to keep teams closely knit and working towards the same goal. It enables customers to understand how products and services work. It helps with everything from C-suite decisions all the way down to billing, inventory management, and customer service.
One of the critical areas where quality communication matters the most, though, is with marketing — especially digital marketing.
Why Good Communication is a Digital Marketing Requirement
On the one hand, an in-person salesman can explain a product in exquisite detail and answer the smallest questions proffered by a potential customer. On the other hand, digital marketing, which is often partly or even entirely done without human interaction, requires clear and consistent communication from the first point of contact all the way through customer retention efforts.
If you’re involved in your company’s digital marketing strategy, it’s important that you put the proper emphasis on maintaining your lines of communication. Here are a few of the most important areas where you want to do so, roughly presented in chronological order throughout the average online customer journey:
- Initial branding: How does communication factor into building your brand?
- Establishing brand awareness: How will you communicate with potential customers to generate brand awareness?
- Educating customers: How will communication factor into creating a modern customer experience that educates the reader rather than simply selling a product or service?
- Facilitating conversions: How will you use communication to properly drive conversions through your website?
- Cultivating customer relationships: How will communication enable you to deliver quality customer service to your existing customers?
Each of these aspects of communication along the customer journey is broken down in further detail below.
One of the first steps in creating a business is figuring out what your brand will be. This includes:
- Striving to analyze and understand your target audience.
- Researching your competitors to see what digital marketing already works with your target audience.
- Setting up a brand strategy that includes vision, ethical stances, and clear objectives.
- Creating a business slogan, logo, and colour scheme that reinforces your brand’s overall goals.
As you come up with your brand identity, it’s important that you keep communication in mind. This is especially true when you’re researching your customers. Work to develop customer personas that can help you decide how to interact and exchange information with your average customer. Are they older, more informed consumers? Are they younger and impulsive? What motivates them? What causes do they espouse?
As you develop your ideal customer, it can set the stage for how you can consistently communicate with them on their terms in the future.
Establishing Brand Awareness
Once you have an established brand, you must consider how you’ll promote that brand to your target audience. This can happen in many different ways, even within the bounds of digital marketing, such as:
- Website content.
- Social media.
- Pay per click (PPC) ads.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing.
As you strategize, you’ll naturally select the promotion channels that best fit your needs — such as finding older users on Facebook, engaging with younger customers on TikTok, or cultivating an email list to create repeat customers. As you do so, it’s essential that you consider how to reach customers on each platform that you utilize.
For instance, if you’re planning on using social media, consider how you’ll interact with potential or existing customers that are using social platforms. What constitutes relevant content for your target audience? What forms of content encourage engagement from your users? What things have you or your competitors posted that have succeeded in speaking to your ideal audience on each platform?
The way you communicate can vary dramatically from one place to the next. An email sent to opt-in subscribers can be informal, comfortable, and inviting. A pay-per-click ad should be flashy and attention-grabbing. Working with an influencer requires connecting your products or services with another person’s promotional style entirely. In other words, the form that each communication takes can make a big difference in whether or not you resonate with your target audience.
Modern consumers, and especially millennials, are well known for their desire to cut the fluff and be real in their business interactions. They don’t want cheesy sales pitches or all-flash, no-substance promotions. They want accurate information so that they can make informed decisions.
With that said, it’s important that you communicate that you understand what your audience needs. Then, clearly define how your product answers a reader’s problem.
You can do this by creating information-driven digital marketing collateral, such as authoring authoritative guest posts on other sites or overseeing a Facebook group for detailed exchanges of information. Then use these sources to communicate with potential customers and ultimately drive traffic to quality content on your website.
Start by focusing this on-site content on answering basic questions that your core customers tend to be looking for — such as a plumber explaining how to unclog a pipe. As your audience grows, you can further personalize the information by segmenting your audience through things like geography, behaviour, or needs, and then directing individuals to the most applicable information possible.
Of course, a plumber who simply solves all of their customers’ problems through online content will eventually be out of a job. If you want to generate revenue, you must also communicate with customers that when they can’t solve a problem on their own, they should come to you as a solution.
Once again, communication is key here. Many of the above-mentioned marketing tactics, such as creating quality content, guest posting, and maintaining a social media presence enable you to communicate with consumers. When your digital advertising communication is high-quality, it establishes you as an authority within your niche. This, in turn, attracts customers and encourages them to trust you as a solution to their problems.
Along with using clear, consistent communication to establish yourself as an authority, it’s also important to subtly use communication to facilitate conversions on your website as well. Consider your audience, their expectations, and their level of technical knowledge, and then lay out a clear path that converts a website visitor into a paying customer. Try to preemptively answer questions, make navigation and user experience straightforward, and generally use simple communication to guide a potential reader through the process of becoming a paying customer.
It’s also important that you think bigger than your website and create a thorough, omnichannel experience for all of your digital marketing efforts. In other words, no matter where you’re marketing online, strive to create consistent, digestible content that works together to find customers wherever they are, and then funnel them towards your website. This can include traffic coming from an email link, an influencer’s social profile, an affiliate’s website, or even your own social networks.
Cultivating Customer Relationships
Finally, it’s critical that you use communication to manage customer relationships after you’ve made a sale as well. For instance, offer an email list for existing customers to hear about product updates or new releases. You can also use your social media presence to provide highly-engaging customer service for those who have questions or concerns.
The coronavirus has changed customer behaviour, so that engaging online is a primary source of communication now, even with businesses. This allows you to use your social media and other digital marketing platforms to stay in regular communication with potential repeat customers.
Communicating Throughout the Customer Journey
To recap, proper communication is an essential skill that can be applied from the moment you create your brand through promotion, educating customers, facilitating conversions, and cultivating long-term customer relationships.
Not only is it applicable, either. Good communication is often the lynchpin that enables you to resonate with a reader, establish yourself as a solution to their problems, and ultimately turn them into a loyal customer for years to come.