Business communication strategy is particularly important. In order to make yourself known and differentiate yourself from competitors, this is a box that you absolutely have to go through in order to be able to develop your business.
However, for growing companies, especially SMEs, communication is a real headache, because the costs involved must be managed. For a television commercial, for example, it takes thousands of dollars, without being sure that it works. Fortunately, in recent years, it has become possible to create inexpensive and above all effective business communication.
Table of Contents
- How To Establish a communication strategy?
- Organise your communication strategy like a trip
- What tools are needed for your offline communication strategy?
- Get support from a communication agency
- Create your website to make yourself known
How To Establish a communication strategy?
You are an entrepreneur, self-employed, head of a small business and you are sure that the communication strategy is not for you, because it is not adapted to the size of your business. Your brother-in-law makes websites and a cousin is going to run your Facebook page, that should be enough to get you started.
Okay, so I’m not going to talk to you about the communication strategy because, a priori, this does not concern you but, with the arrival of the beautiful days, I want to talk to you about the beads and the gym .
Because putting in place a communication strategy is like getting back to sport.
Define your goals
Finally, the sun arrives after a long winter season, of raclettes, tartiflettes and fondues. You take out those great pants bought during the sales last year, but … problem: when you close them, a small not very nice bead appears on your waist, so you make up your mind: I sign up for the gym to lose a few pounds before summer.
You’ve set your goal, five kilos. You equip yourself with the latest equipment, you are motivated. You do not look at the expenses, it is an investment in your health.
What are you looking for?
Well motivated, with your goal in mind, you take your subscription to the room… you look at the devices… and you decide to start… hum… with the carpet!
But how long and how fast do you have to run on the mat to get a result? Fortunately you have your smartphone, you are looking on the internet … but the answers are very varied and contradictory. You decide to follow the advice of the first result on Google.
In then, you do some sit-ups, you discover a machine to work the legs that does not look like a torture machine, you do a few sets there according to your feeling. At this point, you realise that you are late for your next appointment.
You leave by promising yourself that the same evening you will search for an exercise program on the internet and that you will come back with it the next day. But in the evening you forgot, the next day, the agenda is full and you tell yourself that one session every other day is not bad, you have to let the body rest (yes yes, we have all been through there one day).
How much time do you want to spend on it to get results?
Except that the days go by and you have a hard time finding a niche to go to the sport. At the end of the month, an automatic debit reminds you that you have taken out a subscription, that your little bead is still there and that summer is fast approaching.
You come to the conclusion that the gym is not for you, you will try the diet recommended by your friend Marie: she has lost her bulges.
Yes but, Marie, how did she do it?
Maybe it just lacks a bit of strategy in your approach to achieving your goals, the same can happen to you with your business communication.
What if instead of running right away to register for the gym and buy all your equipment, you took a little time to take stock?
Ask yourself the right questions:
- How much budget do I want to invest to achieve my goal? The budget of someone who wants to keep in shape will not be the same as someone who wants to become an Olympic medalist. The budget should fit your goal.
- How much time should I invest to reach my goal? The gym coach has advised you to do one hour per session to get results. So, you block an hour on your calendar and decide to do three sessions a week. It is noted in red on the agenda.
- Then you assess your skills and knowledge, what is your level? Do you know the equipment in the gym? Are you going to hire a coach? Or you have time and you go looking for yourself on the internet, there are plenty of sports blogs …
These questions will allow you to take stock of your situation and assess your existing resources, so that you can then make the decisions that will help you reach your goal.
Define an action plan
The results have allowed you to see that you are not very familiar with the methods of losing bulges. In your search for gyms, you have found one that fits your budget and offers advice from a coach. Thus, you arrive at the room, the coach has made a suitable program for you. You spend an hour as planned: an hour of sport, without last minute internet research.
After amonths of planned efforts, you take these beautiful summer pants and you discover that they suit you perfectly! Well done, goal fulfilled… and how good it feels… we start again!
Well, I’ve been talking to you about strategy throughout this article, just change the gym for your communication actions: create a blog, write a newsletter… For example, let’s make the parallel each time.
A 4-step communication strategy
- Define a goal:
- Sport: lose the bead, finish the next 10km …
- Communication: increase traffic on my website, promote my business via a Facebook page …
- Take stock:
- Sport: I like to run but I’m not yet ready to do 10km, 10 abdo is good to start, the chocolate bar is not yet pointing the tip of his nose.
- Communication: define existing resources and identify investment points: I have time to manage my Facebook page, and I am investing in training, because I do not have the skills.
- Define an action plan:
- Sport: I follow my sports coach’s program, or I download an application that will accompany me in my training to achieve my goal
- Communication: define precise actions, taking into account the budget and time for each action. I dedicate 30 minutes a day to the animation of my Facebook page, I set up a monitoring strategy, an editorial calendar …
- Take stock to assess the results.
- Sport: Ok, I fit in my pants .. now target jersey and flat stomach.
- Communication: We analyze the results, we make the necessary corrections… and we start again!
As you can see, implementing a communication strategy will allow you to optimise your time and your budget to have concrete and measurable results, even if you have a small business or you are independent.
Organise your communication strategy like a trip
Organising a trip requires a little preparation: you must first dream about it, imagine the place, the means of transport, decide on the actions on site, then plan them in order to benefit from the result. Having a communication strategy is the same: you must start by dreaming of the goal you want to achieve. Then, you define concrete and measurable actions, which will be planned and analysed.
Once you have decided on a strategy for your business, take advantage of a milestone of the year to do so. For example, a little before the start of the school year, this will allow you to start the year on the right foot.
1. Choose your destination
The best way to start this trip is at the end, that is, by defining the point of arrival and the date you want to be there. I advise you to define a period between three and six months, depending on your activity and your workload.
- If you are working alone, a month can be a bit short to see tangible results as you won’t have much time to post.
- On the other hand, a year can be too long to allow you to project yourself, especially if you are just starting out.
- Still, setting three- or six-month goals doesn’t stop you from taking stock at the end of the year. Likewise, you can do regular scans per month or per week.
A goal must be measurable. We all want to sell more and have more customers, but to analyze the effectiveness of your strategy, you need more specific indicators.
In marketing and communication, we talk about KPIs (measurement indicators). In social networks, the main KPIs are: visibility, notoriety, acquisition and retention.
For example, a successful advertising campaign is a campaign that has achieved a specific objective defined well upstream of the investment. Whether it concerns brand awareness objectives or even ROI on an e-commerce site, it is crucial to monitor performance indicators well. It is by analysing the results with great care that we can improve future campaigns and understand what really works on its target and what, on the contrary, is not profitable enough. The stakes are not negligible, especially when very large sums are committed in marketing and communication actions.
Depending on your business and development goals, here are some sample goals:
- Visibility: Post reach, impression, number of views, clicks on links or media
- Acquisition: Fans, followers, subscribers, lead
- Engagement: Number of “likes”, votes, comments, Retweet, mention, interaction
- Tone: Positive / neutral / negative mentions.
- Recommendation: Number of shares, virality, ambassador
At your level you could say:
- Visibility: I want to increase the number of fans of my Facebook page by 15%. (You have already answered the question “Why do I have a Facebook page?”)
- Loyalty: I want 10% of my customers to come back within three months of their first purchase.
- I want to increase the sales of red socks by 10%.
- I want to increase my website traffic from my Facebook page by 20%.
Attention, communication is not everything, the quality of the product, its presentation, the value for money, customer service, product availability… and many other factors should not be neglected.
2. Study the local culture
During your trip, you will meet different people that you must integrate to achieve your goal. But for that you have to come to understand their codes, their habits, even their language.
Likewise, in communication, you need to have an idea of who your potential customers are, who you are going to address your message to.
Example: who are the people who can like your Facebook page? Let’s imagine that you are making baby clothes, in this case you are going to speak with the person who is going to buy your products, that is to say to parents, grandparents, friends of parents …
Hello? Whoa? Hello ? Guten Morgen?
How are you going to get in touch with the local population? Inviting yourself to the table of a group of friends over coffee to talk about your trip can seem intrusive and create a rejection of your project, even before you can present it to them.
The same goes for your communication strategy, you need to identify where the people you want to talk to are located and thus find the best time to do so. Nowadays, the best strategy is to bring the customer to you … (link to an inbound article)
Communication channels nowadays continue to multiply: think of the one that is most suited to your audience and your business such as: your website, your blog, your Facebook page, Instagram, an ad in a trade magazine, your brochure.
You shouldn’t be everywhere, or try to talk to everyone the same way. It’s up to you to choose the most suitable means for each audience. You can address parents on Instagram and grandparents on Facebook for example.
Depending on your goals, make a list of topics that you want to discuss with your audience. It must contain
- topics that interest your audience,
- others that have a relationship with your brand and others directly related to your goal.
- For example for the goal of acquiring fans you can talk
- your brand, your quality policy, where the clothes are produced,
- but also broader themes such as: the importance of made in France (if that is part of your DNA), everything relating to the themes of babies, being grandparents or parents …
3. Plan the different excursions
To complete your travel plan, write each step in your schedule. I advise you to start with a provisional calendar of the entire defined period. Add the important dates for your activity and for your customers: sales dates, a trade fair in which you participate, anniversary of your company, Mother’s Day … Also look at a chestnut tree, you will be able to find interesting dates there.
- Note on each posting day, the posting channel, the category of people you will be speaking to that day, and the topic you want to feature them.
- Think about the time you have planned to dedicate to your communication actions, there is no point in planning posts every day if you do not have the time to do them correctly, this is the best way for you saturate and you will end up abandoning your strategy.
Every week or every two weeks, complete your schedule with more specific information, such as the message and the type of publication (video, photo, article, etc.). You can also schedule your publications. Be flexible: If possible, talk about news that might grab your audience’s attention, even if you haven’t planned it beforehand.
4 Take stock of your trip
Remember to analyze your results regularly, this can be done when completing the week’s schedule for example, and if they are not satisfactory, modify something, it can be the publication times and the type of message etc.
At the end of the trip, when you get home, you look at how far you have come.
Take stock Means: did you achieve your goals? What is the reason for this result? What are the interesting practices to put in place again? What actions did not help you achieve your goals?
What tools are needed for your offline communication strategy?
Any business, in order to grow, must adopt an effective communication strategy. In this context, several choices are available to you. In the digital age, the trend is towards digital communication, and this is understandable. However, it is also possible to opt for an offline strategy, which will allow you to reach even more targets, especially those who do not often have access to the internet, for financial or availability reasons. Here are the offline communication tools that a communication agency can offer you to optimise your visibility and your turnover!
Offline business communication: different means possible!
Like digital communication, offline business communication does not lack advantages. As mentioned previously, it already allows you to gain visibility, by reaching targets who cannot continuously access the internet, for one reason or another. In addition, it can cost you less than the production of a corporate video, or other digital solutions that more than one communication agency nowadays offer.
There are variety of tools to convey offline messages;
- This involves in particular the creation of a graphic charter, which is nothing more than a document comprising all the symbols, colors, logos, designs and other representations allowing an organisation to stand out visually.
- Apart from your graphic charter, which must be well developed, you can focus your offline communication on the production of non-media communication supports. It can be a letterhead, a business card, one or more promotional items that your communication agency will offer you. The goodies will be all the more appreciated by your customers and prospects as they will be useful to them.
- To be sure, bet on objects frequently used on a daily basis (tote bag or other bags, T-shirts, stylish mugs, diary, etc.). Feel free to personalise your communication tools by playing on color, style or material. You can even go further, by writing a little note or initials! The printing of brochures, the making of flyers, the development of personalised packaging are just some of the other options that your communication agency can offer you to improve your brand image and gain visibility.
The power of images in a marketing strategy
The last few years have seen marketing, social media and growth hacking trends evolve considerably. Among the new practices that are now popular in the community, photography occupies a prominent place. Images, via the multiple communication media, now have an impact as great as writing, not to say more important than writing.
They now have a scope that makes them essential in your marketing strategy. The big brands quickly understood the importance of the visual, and they are now banking on this form of communication to give a more positive and dynamic image of their business. That’s why we thought it appropriate to address the power that images can have in your marketing strategy.
The power of image in marketing
Image marketing is a set of popularisation techniques through image , which make it possible to highlight and give visibility to a product, a service or a company. They can be implemented thanks to a communication agency like the one you will see on the Fish and Geek site and which is located in Angouleme. Image marketing allows you to achieve the objectives you have set for yourself through your communication policy.
On your website, for example, the image allows you to enhance the universe of your business and highlight the values on which you are building. In e-commerce, the image is decisive in the customer’s purchasing decision. This is why we advise you to bet on the quality of the images with which you feed your website.
On social media, the image is even more important, as it generates more engagement from your community. This is why the most popular social networks have reoriented their algorithms in favor of images, vectors of emotions and incentives to the act of purchase. In addition, images contribute to the good SEO of your blog or site. By their quality, they testify to your seriousness and develop the confidence of Internet users in you.
The benefits of an image-based marketing strategy
When well designed and aligned with your ideals and values, your images make it easy for your customers to identify you. That’s why it’s important that you consider them whenever you need to design a visual for a promotion or campaign. They must be able to identify easily with you thanks to the images that you publish on the web, as much as they must have a certain facility to project themselves in your universe. They can then easily place orders, make purchases, and therefore contribute to increasing your turnover over time.
A good visual allows prospects to quickly know at a glance what services and products you offer. This is the whole point of designing innovative images in order to distinguish yourself from the competition. These images should ideally be interactive in order to engage your prospects. Each interaction that is created with the prospect through a click, a zoom or any other action, must bring the latter closer to your brand; then the right image design tools should be used.
Get support from a communication agency
Traditional means of communication have unfortunately become too general and not very suitable for companies at the start of their activity because of the high costs. However, you have no guarantee of having adopted the right approach for your target or even that the message has been correctly passed.
The first step to adopt is therefore to turn to a professional who will know how to best guide your campaign, without making you spend huge sums. Depending on your product and your target, a communication agency will direct you to the most suitable solution.
Instead of a 30-second advertisement shot halfway around the world and absolutely overpriced, a motion design expert will, for example, create a business communication spot 3 times longer and less expensive, with a message adapted to your customers.
The motion design or explanatory videos, a must advertise for their quality, clarity, but also flexibility. These tools can be relayed on social networks, websites and any other digital medium, according to the habits and preferences of your target.
How to choose a successful communication agency?
The selection of an efficient agency guarantees you serious and efficient proposals to strengthen the visual identity of your company, and increase the turnover of your company in the long term. The emergence and success of your business are therefore partly dependent on the relevance of this choice. The latter must take into account a number of essential criteria.
Given the benefits of adopting a digital communication strategy and the advantages guaranteed by offline communication, it is advisable to bet on a general communication agency, able to offer well-made solutions in both areas. Obviously, you will have to make sure that the advanced skills are proven, by finding out about the qualifications of the different members of the agency you are targeting. Remember to consult the opinions left by Internet users about them before making a commitment.
The price offered is another decisive choice criterion. Pricing varies greatly from one service provider to another, depending on your project and the communication tools you specify. Take care to study the proposed estimate, and make sure that it fits your budget, before entrusting your project to a communication agency. You will be able to promote your business without getting into debt or breaking the bank.
Create your website to make yourself known
At a time when more than 2 out of 3 consumers search for their supplier on the internet before making their purchase, not being on the web is a mistake to be made. Your website is the showcase of your activity, but it is also an inexhaustible source of opportunities, thanks to web marketing.
You can create your own online E-com Business Store / website. Creating a website has become a task within everyone’s reach, with easy and customizable tools. However, it is always more advisable, if you do not have the in-house skills to do it, to turn to a web agency in order to obtain a result that reflects your image, but also professional.
Getting support from a web agency in creating a website is an inexpensive and efficient option. You will benefit from personalised support with advice that will help you always optimise your platform.
They will help you in particular to ensure that you find yourself at the top of the search engine results thanks to an SEO campaign, but also to adapt to new market demands.
For example, since 80% of Internet users today carry out their research with a smartphone. A web agency will help you equip your site with responsive technology, that is to say adaptable to the medium used: smartphone, tablet, PC, etc.