Developing a Successful Online Communication Strategy | The Communication Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Developing a Successful Online Communication Strategy

By Matthew Stone

Larger organizations invest heavily in developing brand and leadership image within their markets. Using the internet, smaller organizations can now build their brands using an effective internet message strategy.

Most organizations utilize the company website as the major communication tool to interact with customers and prospects. Effective use of this tool though requires understanding of customer behavior and the level of internet and web skill users typically possess. Savvy business markets know the level of internet skill that current customers have and have taken the time to build a consumer profile that outlines who the usual customers are and how they acquire data and information.

Start Up enterprises or new businesses may have more difficulty because they lack an established client list, but research into client purchasing behavior can overcome this in the early stages. Gathering research and consumer data is necessary though, to help formulate a communication strategy that will effectively reach new and potential customers.

An organization can hire a consultant to gather and compile this information in to a cohesive and effective internet message strategy. Denver SEO Consultants however have used a basic outline to help organizations form this strategy independently.

A good communications strategy will establish: Credibility Leadership Depth of knowledge Confidence

A company communication strategy can develop an effective communications plan by focusing research on these areas.

Credibility: Building a web page or blog around a question and answer forum can establish the organization as one that can be trusted. Sharing valuable information gleaned from other customer relationships builds credibility in the minds of future potential customers. Including some lesser known facts about the industry is another effective strategy. New customers may not have the same level of industry experience and may find value in this guidance.

When future questions arise, these readers will remember your ability and willingness to provide useful help and information. If your customers frequently use the web to research product features or location, you can address concerns about product reliability, ease of acquisition (shipping or delivery features that you provide). Understanding the reasons your customers use the internet is important to structuring the credibility message.

Leadership: Leadership image is validated by stories from current, satisfied customers. These stories should also include validation of the value proposition. References are also useful in proving that the organization delivers the promised value through its products and services. New companies with no established customer base may find this problematic, but most new business owners have contacts willing to state that the company is committed to customer service and delivering value.

A proven method of communicating value is through story-telling. Stories that focus on how customers achieved greater profitability or improved efficiency should be shared on the company website. New companies need to keep a log of these stories and include them to show organizational growth.

Depth of Knowledge: This can be difficult to establish with the reader without boring him with details. Still, building trust with your reader that you have the depth of knowledge to solve her/his problems is 'key.' Again, story-telling or case studies are useful.

Customer questions from existing clients regarding your product or service are probably very meaningful to prospective customers as well. Your ability to handle customer concerns of course builds confidence that you are both able and willing to stand behind your product/service and are able to clearly define its value.

Confidence: Return on Investment or ROI is the ultimate measure of success in the customer relationship. If ROI is delivered, the customer is happy. The value or essential element that provides ROI requires client success stories. Customers want confidence in their investment in the company product or service.

Future customers don't mind making investments in products in service if the purchase can deliver the expected value. Stating what value you've achieved for others is a good starting point in establishing confidence in the minds of prospective customers. Telling these stories communicates the results your prospect may expect by purchasing from you.

By focusing on one of these objective areas in each blog post, you can keep your page fresh and accomplish at least one communication strategy objective. In the next few days, we will review techniques to keep your communication strategy organized, discuss a good structure and volume for each individual post and review ways to post your information to attract the most possible traffic from the search engines.

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