Building Your Communication Engine

Updated: Feb 22

You’ve built an awesome, engaging website. It shows awareness of your audience’s needs – their pain points. And it shows how your products or services are the ultimate remedies to their pains.

It answers all their questions and gives them both the opportunity and motivation to buy.

  • But what if they don’t? … at least on their first visit?

  • What if they were *this* close, but then got distracted?

  • What if they forget about you and someone else gets their business?

How are you going to finish the sale?

  • Or what if they *did* buy … once.

  • What if they forget how much they liked you, and something else shiny catches their eye?

How are you going to recapture their attention?

Fortunately, you have communication options – tools that help you help your prospects and customers.

Outgoing options like email, social media, and even browser or app notifications let you reach out to people and bring them back. But all of these methods of staying in front of your audience require two very precious things: Consent and Consistency.

Consent to Communicate

No one likes spam. Not even spammers. (Spam with a capital “S” is more debatable, but that's a different blog.)

So it’s good news to us all that standards have risen regarding one-to-many email communication. Put simply, if you want to add someone to your mailing list, you need to ask. And you need to give them a way to unsubscribe.

If you fail to do these things you risk being blackballed by search engines and Internet providers.

Same with social media, except there’s no way not to ask. You need a giant “Like Me on Facebook” button that lets them show their love in the form of access to their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Instagram feed. Give them an opportunity to follow you, and give them a reason!

Also the same with browser notifications. Want them to see a message when you post something new on your blog? You’ll have to ask.

Here are a couple of ideas on how to gain permission:

The Exit Intent Popup

You’ve seen this one, I’m sure! Just when you move your mouse up to the Back button the screen goes dark, and a cute message pops up giving you one last chance to sign up for a newsletter. It could just as easily say “Like Us on Facebook for Great Ideas!”

The Footer Sign Up

If you get to the bottom of the page and haven’t acted on anything else, this low-commitment action is there waiting. It’s a standard place people look when they want to subscribe.

Once they’ve said yes, you’re good to go, though it may take several opportunities before they decide they like you enough.

Bottom line: You need consent.

Communication Consistency

I love making new friends. I’m not sure at what age that happened … probably about the time I decided that cool people are usually as insecure as me.

Anyway, I’m a pretty good friend when I’m with you. Right in front of you. Not so good when I’m not. I get caught up in the day to day and don’t take time to reach out (or sometimes even answer). See … not always a good friend.

How do your customers feel about you?

More than likely if you’re not reaching out, not being helpful, not reminding them why they love you … they may have forgotten. Being a good brand partner to your customers means nurturing the relationship, even when you’re busy.

Good luck with that!

Seriously ... doing anything beyond today’s deadlines is often next to impossible.

Enter the Communication Engine

We need a smooth-running process that just keeps running as long as it has fuel.

We need something that’s so simple you can just sit down and do it.

That’s the Communication Engine … a continuous series of steps that will help you keep in front of your prospects and customers, so they can keep coming back.

Engine Components

  1. Your Website Blog - it is the chamber where your knowledge turns into fuel.

  2. Social & Email Marketing - the cylinders, where your fuel turns into action.

  3. Your Landing Pages - where the action is converted to forward momentum.

Not much for metaphors? Let’s put it this way:

Your blog, the big idea, is broken down into smaller ideas, which become successive social media posts and emails.

Each of those posts and emails provide information and opportunity for your prospects or customers to move their relationship with you forward. Here's how the engine keeps turning:

  1. Listen to your customers. What are they curious about? What are their common questions? That’s where you get your idea.

  2. Turn your idea into a blog post. It’s not that hard! Just answer their question! You have a ton of expertise that your customers or clients could benefit from.

  3. Next, take that one blog post, which probably has at least 3 or 4 different nuggets of truth, and split it up into 3 or 4 social posts. Bite-sized wisdom for their coffee break. Now, you have to consider the best way to use these different communication channels, but the content you’re communicating is the same. In all cases, try to get them involved in the conversation … answering a question in the comments, or discussing with others.

  4. Take those social posts and turn them into emails.

  5. And if by some mercy your audience does respond to your communication, by all means, reciprocate! Give them a good thoughtful reply that moves the conversation forward, rather than a quick “lol”.

  6. Once a month, take time to evaluate your previous posts. How well did they do in terms of engagement? Take note of the topics that outperform others, and over time you’ll start to see trends.

  7. Finally, sit down and plan the next month’s topics. We use a calendar like the one below to keep it all straight. Even if you are the sole writer of this content, get someone else to keep you accountable.

The Editorial Calendar

How are you going to keep it all straight – what you’re writing about on what channel on the third Tuesday or fifth Friday? You need to write it down.

You may be a pencil and paper person (like my lovely wife) but I need a calendar that yells at me, and that is as close as my phone.

That’s why we use Asana to keep track of it all. We can assign different writing to different people, and see at a glance how everything’s going.

Don’t Flood the Engine!

Your communication engine may be stone cold, so don’t get discouraged if your first few ideas sputter, or your first few posts fall flat. Start slow, and let your momentum build naturally. You absolutely will see results.

You’ll start to see sales from people who’ve been on the fringes for weeks.

You’ll start to see others spreading the word for you online, taking the content you developed and giving it to others who need it.

You'll start to see organic traffic showing up at your site just because you took the time to answer a common question.

You will see momentum that has nothing to do with a stroke of luck or a paid advertisement.

So start her up!

Any Questions?

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Yardstick helps small businesses grow without losing focus or sleep. We do that through tightly aligned elements of a digital marketing funnel: lead-generating websites that engage audiences with story and compels them forward, SEO and content that attracts hungry prospects, email nurture campaigns that build trust and relationship, and PPC campaigns that expose brands to new and profitable customers.

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