The Impact of Communication In Digital Marketing
Internal and external communication in the digital marketing realm seems to be a burden for a lot of businesses these days. This includes small business, mom and pop shops, and even corporations. At the C-level particularly, communication seems to be significantly more problematic. In most instances, poor communication is attributed to workflow ramifications. The interesting part about internal and external communication is the fact that most companies tend to overlook these challenges.
After over a decade of digital marketing experience I am more than convinced that strategic communication plays a huge role in the success of any business. In essence it’s one of those key ingredients that every company should emphasize upon heavily. You will be quite surprised at how strategic communication can truly impact the course of your business.
When it comes to exercising strategic business communication there are a few things you should probably consider. For the most part the ingredients indicated below are based on personal success. Of course, in addition to basic fundamentals factored in and simple logic.
Setting & Managing Expectations
Regardless of what type of business campaign you may be involved in chances are that expectations are imperative. This is probably one of the toughest parts of exercising strategic communication. The setup of realistic client expectations can be extremely difficult. The management aspect of it can be even harder to accomplish. Pre-qualifying your prospects through strategic business communication will most likely be advantageous for you in the long run. It will help eliminate a ton of unnecessary headaches.
How do you set realistic expectations? How do you manage them?
Communication can be your biggest asset in fully understanding and managing your client’s expectations. Here are a few tips I wanted to share with you that have worked for me in the past.
- Understand your client’s goals and objectives. Find out what they’re trying to achieve with their campaigns. What are their objectives short and long-term?
- Learn more about internal processes and procedures. It’s extremely important to understand your client’s internal chain of command. Even the slightest insight can help you establish a holistic understanding of their current position.
- Inquire about a digital marketing budget. How much is your client willing to invest towards their campaign(s)? Don’t be surprised though if this is significantly undercut. This is also a potentially red flag area that you should be cognizant of from the get-go.
- Ask about their preferred form of communication. Is it email, phone, social media, all of the above? This is another big area of focus to understand how your client(s) like to remain involved.
A big portion of modern business relies heavily on strategic communication. This is one area though that, as indicated above, many businesses tend to struggle with the most. Including the ability to set and manage realistic client expectations. Maybe the above tips can help you utilize strategic communication.
Speed is the new business currency. Sometimes that entails the ability to quickly respond to a client’s request rather than avoiding it or responding with a fashionable delay. A former boss of mine actually had the tendency of avoiding and/or delaying responses to some of the most problematic pieces of e-mail communication. This is absolutely counter-intuitive on so many levels. One of them being the inability to respond and ultimately portraying a sign of being reactive.
If you do not know how to use the To, Cc (carbon copy), Bcc (blind carbon copy), Reply, Reply-All, and Group functions than I would strongly consider that you retake Email 101. This is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of modern business communication. Ensuring your proper understanding of email correspondence tactics will greatly enhance your business potential.
Let’s extrapolate some of the fundamentals of tactical email communication. Hopefully this can shine some new perspective for you if this is an area that you are currently struggling in.
- Use the TO field with true intent. You should only include the one or two people that your subject/inquiry pertains to. This particular field can be significantly misconstrued with CC though. Think of the person you are directly addressing and apply it to the TO field by including their e-mail address.
- CC stands for Carbon Copy. If you were to write out a sales receipt in the old days that has carbon paper on it then the copy behind it would be classified as CC. In other words, CC only those corresponding individuals which may be taking a part in the conversation. Exercise your best judgement here of course. Keep in mind that one too many hands in the pot may be problematic as well.
- BCC is for Blind Carbon Copy. The best way to explain proper usage is to think of including someone in a conversation without the party in TO or CC field being aware of it. I personally am not a huge fan of BCC usage and hardly ever use it. Although in certain scenarios where perhaps you feel that someone should be aware of a message without allowing the primary party in TO field of seeing it than by all means use it.
- Reply vs Reply-All. Reply pertains to individual correspondence with the party in the TO field. Reply-All would indeed send a message to everyone in the TO and CC fields. There is a huge misconception of proper usage in these two fields. Especially if you are quick on the trigger.
- Focus on value, purpose, and resolution. Being proactive is a huge component of successful e-mail communication. For instance, don’t wait a half a day or even an hour to address a problematic e-mail. Being responsive and proactive is the greater good. Following through on it can help you maintain solid communication with your clients.
Social Media Interaction
In many industries social media plays an integral role. For most it’s really about customer service. Also prospecting, lead generation, brand reputation management, nurturing, and also general communication. It baffles me to see how many companies even today are avoiding social media. Your customers frequent social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Snapchat, to name but a few. They are talking about your brand either in a positive or negative way. Such endeavors absolutely fall into the communication bucket. It’s imperative that you utilize these social platforms for improved communication.
- Be responsive. The average life span of a tweet is about 2 minutes. Respond to tweets with your brand’s mentions in a timely fashion. Waiting a day simply isn’t an option. Think quick. Take bigger advantage of that smartphone you are carrying around. Timeliness and responsiveness in social media is key to community cultivation.
- Courtesy. Common courtesy goes a long way. Especially if you are hot and heavy with a client. If they indeed turn to social media as a venting platform than it’s especially important to be front and center listening/monitoring.
- Reputation Management. Communication is intertwined within all facets of digital marketing. Including social media as well.
In the grand scheme of things, succinct communication is integral to your digital marketing endeavors. It is essential for any marketing campaign that you engage in as well. A vast majority of marketing success also hinges upon your ability to communicate in a strategic fashion with all parties involved.
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