After nearly a year of dealing with the business challenges caused by the current international health crisis, it is fair to ask (and answer):
“Have we learned any lessons from all of this?”
Plenty has been written about how COVID-19 has forced a more digital, remote delivery mode of business communications —- but let’s ask (and answer):
“Other than doing more ZOOM video conferences and promoting our products more frequently by e-mail, are we doing anything different and better than we did before?”
Despite much talk about having to communicate in innovative ways, it is quite probable that many companies are really not being that creative or doing things that much differently. That is unfortunate because the truism that says: “within chaos there is opportunity” is a truism because it is…well….true.
Perhaps one of the overlooked facts in all of this that certain realities about effective communications remain constant regardless of the circumstances that impact the world in general.
Fact #1: Repetition is essential.
Under the best of conditions the human attention span is as short as the life of a mayfly (as little as 5 minutes, by the way). It requires an average of 8 contacts just to get a prospect’s attention, let alone to convince that person to be interested in you and your products. So — for those expecting positive returns from a single e-blast. Sorry. You’ll need to do a lot more door-knocking (digitally and otherwise).
Fact #2: Consistency is key.
Take a look at most corporate websites, then thumb through the sales literature from those same companies. Chances are you will notice that many corporate communications programs are like patchwork quilts — a little of this, a little of that, random things here and there, and not much continuity in key messaging or brand imagery. To successfully communicate you need to have a clear “story” and one that differentiates you from your competitors. The way you deliver your message to the marketplace must always be the same no matter who tells it and no matter what format is used to present who you are to those you serve.
Fact #3: Walking in the front door is not the only way to get noticed by a prospect.
Yes, this has become a digital world, but remember that in tandem with repetition, delivering your business communications in a diversity of ways can help. It may seem old fashioned, but remember that there is a U.S. Post Office. Consider supporting your digital efforts with good old snail mail and with judicious, well-crafted telemarketing.
Fact #4: Take educated risks.
The first step to effective communications is to get the attention of the person with whom you want to communicate. One time we sent out a clear plastic tube filled with rubber costume ears and a sales message built under a header that asked: “Anyone Listening?” Yes — a little weird, maybe — but the point is: to be noticed you have to be noticeable. Take some chances. Maybe even have some fun.
Fact #5: Follow-up is often forgotten.
Sending thank you e-mails, let alone handwritten thank you notes, after someone gives you the time of day, is an all-but-forgotten art. Don’t let it be. Even though this is more of a long-distance world than ever, don’t forget the value of the human touch. If your prospect has requested additional input, provide it immediately. In any event, find a way to reach back and keep the human-to-human contact alive.
As always, if you need the help of professional sales and marketing communicators, we are here to help.