Communication is a fundamental part of building an effective business.
You connect with your audience, stakeholders, and colleagues on a regular basis, often using different platforms and tools to help you.
When you’re trying to reach clients, one of the best forms of communication is email.
Email marketing allows you to reach your customers wherever they are. It’s a tool for lead nurturing, which supports the development of stronger relationships over time.
Email marketing works best as part of a comprehensive communication strategy. You can use it alongside your blog posting campaign, social media, and even direct mail, depending on your target audience. However, before you can begin reaping the benefits of good discussions with prospects, you need a crucial thing: a communication plan.
Here’s your guide to the communication plan, and why it’s valuable for your business.
What is a Communication Plan?
An email marketing plan is a strategy you use to nurture and convert customers. You plan exactly when to send messages based on what you know about your audience and choose which content to share. A communication plan is similar, but it works on a broader scale.
Communication plans attempt to strategize your entire communication ecosystem, from your social media posts and content marketing to the press releases you publish, and even your emails.
It might sound complicated at first, but it’s really just a way of linking all the systems you use to reach your audience. When you can align your different modes of communication, you can create a more consistent conversation with potential leads and clients.
For instance, a week’s communication plan might look like this:
- Monday: Publish blog about leather boots
- Tuesday: Share boot content on social media
- Wednesday: Send newsletter highlighting recent blog post and linking back to social media pages.
- Thursday: Share social media content about upcoming sale
- Friday: Email subscribers with discount code
- Saturday: Publish sale content on social media, website, and via email
A communication plan basically helps you to plan how you’re going to connect with your audience about important things, through all the channels you use (including email). It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should at least give you guidelines on how you’re going to get your voice out there. A communication plan should also be something you can share with your entire team.
Sharing your strategy with everyone will give you the opportunity to assign specific tasks to people, coordinate internal processes, and even follow up on deadlines.
Why You Should Have a Communication Plan
So, if you already have an email marketing plan, a content creation strategy, and a social media campaign schedule, why do you need a communication plan too?
Ultimately, the main benefit of this document is the ability to keep track of which messages you’re sending, and where you’re sharing them. You can double down on important messages about sales, discounts, and similar events, and ensure that everything you say online gets the right attention.
A communication is also a good introspection tool. It allows you to check that you’re being consistent wherever you are connecting with customers and helps you to work on your tone of voice.
In an age where there are so many digital channels where you can spread your message and plan communication actions, businesses need to be more focused about the way they advertise themselves. Even if you’re just using a handful of the channels at your disposal, your communications plan will stop you from making any mistakes that might cause confusion, or brand issues.
What Channels Should a Communication Plan Cover?
The most obvious channel you’re going to need to focus on in your communication plan is your email marketing efforts. Email is one of the most valuable communication tools you have, because it can help you to connect all of the different points of your strategy. You can use emails to announce news and link back to press releases or content on your website.
Email is also the perfect place to add buttons to your social media pages, share popular messages, or even add links to user-generated content from social too. By adding your email campaigns to your communication plan, you can make sure you have a solid strategy in place for connecting with all of your different customer segments. Other channels include:
- Social networks: Social networks are excellent for promoting your brand and developing your tone of voice. With your social media posts, you give people a chance to see the fun and authentic side that may not show up as often on your website.
- Blog posts and content marketing: Blog posts are a powerful tool for a lot of companies. They give you an opportunity to fill your emails with useful information for your target audience, and they offer an excellent way to improve your SEO standing.
- Press releases and sponsored content: It’s worth adding third-party coverage and earned media into your communication plan whenever you can. If you know when you’re likely to receive attention from relevant media groups, you can direct customers to other sites from time to time to improve your social credibility.
- Podcasts and interviews: Podcasts are a form of communication rapidly gaining a lot of attention in the digital world. You can use podcasts to chat about your recent content marketing campaigns, answer social media questions, and generate ideas on what you should be covering in your email newsletters.
- Video content: For highly visual companies, video content demonstrates an excellent way to reach your customers. You can use live videos to communicate with customers directly, or post video content on your website to help inform your audience. Use email and other channels to build hype for a live event before it happens, and you can gain more audience engagement.
Creating a Powerful Communication Plan
To create a communication plan that has a genuine impact on your business, you need to start with the right goals. Think about what you want to accomplish with your communication strategy. For instance, as a new business, your aim could be to make your company as visible as possible.
With a communication plan, you can create blogs designed to attract customers to your website with excellent SEO strategies and build social media campaigns that capture audience attention. Once you’ve convinced a customer to visit your site, you can use lead magnets to convert people into subscribers for your newsletter and build relationships over time.
You can even use your email communications to encourage people to finish a purchase with automated abandoned cart messages, then ask your clients to share their purchase on social media to earn more brand reach.
Here are some other top tips to master your communications plan.
1. Know Your Audience and Their Channels
The best communication plans focus on speaking your customers’ language, on channels they use regularly. Email is an obvious choice for virtually every type of client. About 3.8 billion people have an email account, and most of us check our messages several times per day.
Email is an obvious solution because you can tailor it to suit different segments of your audience. Creating user personas will help you to figure out which emails to send, at which times. Your audience personas should also give you an insight into the other communication channels you should be considering.
For instance, are certain segments of your audience more likely to be active on Instagram, or Facebook? If you’re planning on reaching professionals with B2B content, will you make more of an impact publishing content on your own blog or by sharing it on LinkedIn?
2. Keep Everything Connected
Your communication plan should seem seamless, and well organized.
If your entire social media strategy is focused on an upcoming shoe sale right now, then your email marketing, content strategies, and other communication efforts should be focusing on similar, relevant content. One of the biggest benefits of your communication plan is that it will help you to nurture your customers on multiple channels, boosting your chances of conversions.
A good communication plan will ensure that all of your efforts are working in tandem to help you achieve your goals and strengthen your brand position. For instance, if you’re promoting a new sale on social media, can you convince customers to share a message about their purchase in exchange for a free discount code sent to their email?
Maybe they could sign up to events via your website, get confirmation via email, and share a post on social to see who else is attending. The more your channels connect, the better.
3. Constantly Track and Optimize your Results
The chances are that your communication plan will cover multiple channels and various strategies for different segments of your audience. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you’re keeping everything organized with the right technology. Email marketing tools, CRM systems for tracking customer information, and social media scheduling systems are helpful.
These tools give you an easy way to manage your campaigns and your teams. Plus, with the right tools, you can also track crucial metrics about your campaigns, and see which efforts are driving the best results.
The more you measure the outcomes of your communication efforts, the easier it will be to determine which channel you should be investing more time in, and which customers like certain platforms best.
Plan for Amazing Communication
A good communication strategy can take your marketing campaigns and email efforts to the next level. With the proper plan, you can align your messages across multiple platforms, and make sure that your target audience never forgets about your brand.