“Communication is key.” How many times have you heard that phrase thrown around? It’s cliche, but true. In business, as in life, communicating effectively is essential to productivity. In addition to interpersonal communication, communications with your customers must be clear and portray your brand accurately.
Your communication strategy includes your website, social media presence, PR strategy, email marketing, and more—essentially anything that involves getting a message across to your customers. Effective communication saves time and prevents a great deal of customer frustration.
Here’s a quick checklist to help you determine if your communication strategy needs some work:
1. Customers frequently reach out with the same questions.
This is a telltale sign that your website isn’t comprehensive enough. Consider adding an FAQ section or chatbot that can help visitors find their answer without having to reach out directly to you. You’ll save time and so will your customers.
2. Your customer reaches out to you with an issue before you reach out to them.
If your customer is calling or emailing you to complain, it often means that you missed an opportunity to prevent their problem or anticipate their needs. Stay proactive to make sure you catch issues or bugs before your customers do and reach out to let them know you’re working on it and when they can expect it to be solved.
3. Customers have to visit many pages to find answers.
The longer it takes a customer to find what they’re looking for, the more frustrated they’re going to be. Make sure to carefully plan your website so it’s easy to navigate and get answers.
4. Your brand voice differs across platforms.
Your brand voice impacts how customers view you. With some social channels (such as Twitter), it makes sense to have a slightly different persona than on another (like LinkedIn). However, overall, your voice should be consistent and sound like it’s coming from the same organization.
5. Your copy is riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes.
While it’s okay to use casual phrasing and terms in most copywriting, be sure to proofread! One study found that “74 percent of online shoppers noticed the quality of the content on a company’s website – including grammar.” An easy way to check for grammar and spelling mistakes is with the free extension Grammarly.
6. You’re not publishing content consistently.
Having a consistent posting schedule helps your customers know when to expect content. Ideally, they’ll start to look forward to your Thursday morning newsletter. Additionally, posting frequently and consistently on social media pages can boost your content in the algorithms and help you reach new people.
7. Your posts aren’t getting any engagement.
Mastering social media is tricky. One sign that your content isn’t performing is a lack of engagement (comments, shares, etc.). To promote engagement, proactively engage with your followers. Cultivate community by participating in conversations and providing valuable insight.
8. You don’t truly know your audience.
An audience persona is the starting point for a strong communication strategy. This could be a reason why you’re not getting much engagement. Perhaps your content isn’t tailored to your audience. Conduct customer interviews and focus groups to really get to know your audience.
9. Your website has a high bounce rate.
One of the most basic website statistics you should track is bounce rate. Google Analytics has a wealth of data that can help you gauge if customers are getting what they need from your site. Then, you can determine what to add and what copy to refine. A high bounce rate typically indicates that your content isn’t engaging enough.
10. Lots of people visit your site but don’t convert.
Another statistic that Google Analytics can track is conversion rates. If you have a lot of website visitors, that’s great, but what matters is if they buy from you. Make sure your content is compelling and helpful to encourage conversions.
11. You’re not ranking on Google.
Search engine optimization is a separate field from communications, but it’s integral to making sure your customers can find your content. If you’re not in the first couple of results in Google, your customers may never find you or your resources.
12. You don’t have any earned media.
Earned media is press or content on other sites about your business. It could be an article in the local newspaper about your employees’ community service project or a mention in a roundup of great new products. These mentions build your credibility and round out your communications strategy.
13. You experience a decline in open rates over time.
When customers initially sign up for your email newsletter, they tend to keep up with opening it in the first couple of weeks. However, if you send too many emails or irrelevant content, they may start deleting them without opening them. Or worse: unsubscribe.
14. You have too many items in your lists.
While this may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, it’s true! Keep your content concise. Your audience is busy, so make sure each sentence packs a punch and no words are wasted.
If any of these items are relatable, don’t worry. With a little bit of time and attention, they’re all simple fixes that go a long way in improving your communication strategy and your relationships with your customers.