1. What is a business communication strategy?
If you want your business to communicate effectively, you need a strategy.
But what exactly is a communication strategy?
In a nutshell, it’s a plan that outlines how you’ll share information with your target audience — whether that’s customers, employees, partners or investors.
When crafting your strategy, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, consider what you want to achieve — whether boosting sales, improving customer satisfaction or increasing employee retention.
Once you have your goal, you can start thinking about the best way to achieve it. That might involve creating specific content (like blog posts or infographics), using particular channels (like email or social media) or reaching out to certain audiences (like prospects or current customers).
The bottom line is that a well-thought-out communication strategy will help ensure your message is heard loud and clear. So if you’re serious about making your business communication goals a reality, it’s time to start planning.
2. The different types of communication strategies
This refers to all communication that takes place outside of the business. For example, it might be how you communicate to your customers, users or clients.
This kind of communication could include advertising, blogs, brochures, events, podcasts, email marketing and much more. An external communication strategy should look at the different audience types and ensure that the company’s principles and ideas are communicated clearly. Most importantly, you should ask yourself what you want this audience to do and ensure that all of your communications are targeted toward this objective.
If retaining great staff and improving their productivity and satisfaction is important to you, then you should have an internal communication strategy.
Just like an external strategy, it’s likely that you’ll have different things you want to communicate to different team members, and your strategy should break this down into objectives that relate to your wider mission.
Examples of internal communications can be employee newsletters, video announcements, one-to-ones or appraisals, podcasts or even instant messaging.
3. How to develop a communication strategy for your business
Establish goals based on your mission
It’s pointless to develop a communication strategy without first understanding what you wish to achieve.
Start with your mission statement. As a business, what is your overarching purpose? Is it to get the world to care about vegan food, or is it to ensure all cars on the road are safer thanks to better tyres? Once you understand this, you can break it down into smaller goals that relate directly to your mission statement.
Identify the audience
Not all communication is to your customers or users. In fact, a lot of communication should be to your employees. Most businesses have different audiences among their employees. Are you speaking to the leadership team, new starters or the entire company?
Identify the channels
The type of channel you use depends on the audience and what you hope to accomplish. A newsletter is a great way to communicate information about an event or news to a large group of people, but this will likely be one-way communication, and you shouldn’t expect much response.
Posting a video announcement on an employee communication platform is likely to inspire more two-way communication and allow you to understand the thoughts and opinions of your employees quickly and efficiently.
You should record data, adjust accordingly and constantly monitor the responses to your communications. You might use Google Analytics, your content management system or a customer relationship management system. It could also be through an employee communication platform such as Workvivo that lets you understand employee insights across channels with ease.
4. Tips for effective communication in the workplace
Effective communication is a learned skill, but there are some helpful pointers you can take to ensure your communication is always on point:
- Be clear about what you want to achieve
- Always aim to resolve conflicts rather than create them
- Choose your channel with care — a sensitive conversation isn’t suitable for instant messenger, but equally, a short question doesn’t need a 30-minute video call
- Listen and practice listening
- Be as factual as possible. If you do need to give an opinion, make sure it’s backed up with evidence
- Ensure you’re speaking to the right person at the start of a conversation
- Ask for feedback — which doesn’t need to be formal. It could be as simple as asking the other person if there’s anything you’ve missed or anything else they need to know.
To sum up, business communication strategies are a great way to go if you’re looking for a way to create better connections with both your team and your client base.