Published on June 3, 2019, at 7:46 a.m.
by Amelia Mecham, Guest Contributor.
Last summer I took a company from zero marketing to a full strategic communications plan. It was a steep learning curve for the company—and for me. In this post, I’ll share why you need strategic communications, when to implement it and how.
Why you need to hire a communications pro (or develop the skills in-house)
People need to find you.
Go to where consumers are already looking; 62 percent of consumers say Facebook is the most important and useful social media channel to reach small businesses, according to the Marketing Academy for Small Business.
People need to trust you.
Consumers check out a company like a blind date: They Facebook stalk you to make sure you’re legit and right for them. Studies show 60 percent of consumers visit your Facebook page before visiting your brick and mortar store. Additionally, 80 percent of consumers are more inclined to purchase from you if they find a credible, authentic Facebook page associated with your business, as noted by Marketing Academy for Small Business.
Part of trust is giving consumers a way to leave honest feedback. In the company I worked with, someone had created a Google page and then forgot to monitor it. Unfortunately, consumers left scathing reviews, and no one had responded to them. I quickly responded and created a system to get regular customers to review us to balance their opinions. Now their company is ranked number one on Google and Yelp! Don’t make the same mistake as this company—create a channel for feedback and monitor it regularly.
How to go from zero to 60 in 1.5
You need a communications strategy before launching your startup, so people can find you and trust you from the beginning. Here are a few steps to develop a stellar strategy.
Audit your efforts.
How effective are your current efforts? How do they drive traffic and sales? This was the first thing I did when hired which is how I discovered the poor Google reviews. Knowhow suggests three analyses—a PEST analysis, SWOT analysis and competitor analysis.
Analyzing competitors can bring big payoffs. What platforms are they on? Could you adapt some of their practices? I discovered the firm’s competitors were succeeding on Yelp, but not on Google. So, we easily gained the number one spot on Google, and to this day Google searches generate 1,000 leads a month for the firm.
Strategic goals should drive all of your efforts. For example, we set goals to increase our Facebook traffic, receive more positive reviews and increase the customer base to millennials.
Develop your story.
Stories connect people and convey a human element to your business. Ann Handley in Everybody Writes offers 10 questions to consider when crafting your story:
- What is unique about our business?
- What is interesting about how our business was founded?
- What problem is our company trying to solve?
- What inspired our business?
- What aha! moments have we had?
- How have we evolved?
- How do we feel about our business, our customers, ourselves?
- What’s an unobvious way to tell our story? (look to analogy instead of example)
- What do we consider normal and boring that other folks would think is cool?
- And most important: relay your vision. How will our company change the world?
Learn from my experience and create a strategic communications plan now. Good luck in telling your story!