Most businesses are aware that they need to communicate regularly with their clients and contacts and that if they do it well it helps to develop and maintain relationships and ultimately improves business.
Emails and newsletters (electronic or hard copy) can be a great way to keep in touch with clients/contacts and enable you to:
- Demonstrate your expertise.
- Share useful knowledge/know how and thereby add value to the client.
- Promote new products or services.
- Update your contacts on company news, events etc.
However, a poor communication can be more damaging to your brand and reputation than if you had not sent anything at all.
Consider the following two examples, which hit my inbox a few weeks ago:
- An email from a new business owner who I had spoken to briefly at a networking event thanking me for the information and advice I provided, and the contacts I shared with him. At best we had spent five minutes talking generally about his new business.
The intention was right but the content was totally inappropriate based on our conversation. It was clearly a blanket email to all those who had attended the event.
- An email newsletter from a business contact, which was lengthy, poorly laid-out, had a disjointed mix of content and lacked a clear purpose. It provided no value to me and it was difficult to ascertain from the content exactly who the intended target audience was.
Both these communications left me with a negative impression of the sender and their business whereas before receiving the emails my view of them had been fairly neutral.
It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you must produce regular emails or newsletters and lose sight of what you are intending to achieve by sending them.
Here are some pointers to assist you in getting it right:
- Be clear what the purpose of the communication is and keep this in mind every time you begin a new draft.
- Know who your target readership is and make sure the content is relevant to them.
- Consider the frequency of your communication at the outset – don’t embark on a monthly newsletter if you are likely to struggle to find relevant content monthly.
- Pause before you hit the send button – give yourself time to come back and re-read it as if you were the recipient before you send it.
Remember, one bad communication could jeopardise all future marketing communications, no matter how good they are. The next time I receive an email newsletter from the aforementioned business I am more likely to delete it than open it.
If you get it right not only will it boost your relationship with your client/contact but also might open doors in other directions as the recipient passes it on to the people they know.
Do you have any examples of good or bad marketing communications, which you would like to share?