Putting people at the heart of your client communications strategy
Written by Joel Durkin, PR and marketing manager, Freshfield.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about huge changes in the way businesses communicate with their clients, people and partners.
Working remotely for at least a portion of the week is now the norm and that has shifted the way we structure marketing campaigns to reach these people in new environments. Whether your focus is brand development, media relations or content marketing, the use of digital platforms and technology will continue to grow.
What has not changed is that we are trying to form a connection with a human being. So, how do we make sure that we put people at the heart of our communications strategies?
Use your ears
In a world dominated by virtual relationships and digital communications, speaking with clients and other partners before developing your message is still key and should be a core part of any communications strategy. The more you understand them, the better you will be able to make that human connection.
What are their challenges, opportunities, and goals? What are their interests? How is their business changing and why?
Listening is one of the most important tools we have in communication. Finding out the answers to questions like these will help shape your thinking as you develop your strategy.
Why do you want to communicate?
It sounds like it should be an easy question to answer but it’s important to think about why you want to communicate. If you are communicating with potential clients, you may want to prompt them to work with you or you might just want to let them know you’re still here.
If you’re communicating with staff, you might want to explain a detailed new business strategy or you might simply want to make them feel a valued part of the company.
Answering the question of ‘why’ will help you understand what you want to say.
How does your audience consume information?
Over the past 18 months, new mediums of business-to-business communication have continued to make their way into the mainstream. There are more ways to share your content than ever before and videos, podcasts and new social media platforms are all being used by companies to broadcast their message.
You might feel like your own company needs a presence on all these platforms. First, you need to think honestly about how your audience consumes information and then tailor your strategy accordingly.
If you want to communicate with a time-poor managing director, are they going to have time to listen regularly to a one-hour podcast about your company’s services?
If your clients are all based locally, is continually targeting national media publications the right PR strategy?
It takes time and resource to build a following on a new platform so decide how and where to focus your efforts based on your target audience rather than trying to have a presence everywhere.
If you don’t know, time invested researching how your clients consume information is likely to be time well spent. There is more guidance on researching your customers in Freshfield’s Fresh Thinking blog on five fundamentals to marketing success in 2022.
Focus on quality not quantity
Your communications need to move people and that’s not an easy thing to do.
It’s simple to judge your strategy on how frequently you’re reaching your customers or clients, but it isn’t always meaningful. If you share the same post on LinkedIn twice in a week, it could be seen by more of your followers, but you aren’t necessarily telling them something new or something they need to hear.
Whatever channel you use, spending time on creating quality connect that moves your audience is likely to bring better feedback, prompt more conversations and help develop a better relationship with your clients or partners than just sharing your message as often as possible.