Business Owner's Guide to Online Communications

The digital age is pushing companies to communicate with new audiences in innovative new ways. Business owners need to think about their online communications strategically – it needs to tell a consistent story and it needs to tell the same story that is being told through other marketing materials, presentations, and in-person.

The internet is how people find you, consider your services, and rank you in terms of accessibility, modernity and potential impact. Media look to websites and social media when investigating potential stories. Customers look to your online presence before, during, and after the acquisition process. Suppliers examine your online communications to assess potential opportunities. Stakeholders learn more about you and your record in their communities online before they meet with you or attend your events.

It can be tough to keep up with a robust online communications strategy. Not to mention, staying up to date on digital platforms can be tedious. Where do you start? Think about these 4 essential online communications and marketing avenues:

Social Media

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest - all platforms where businesses can grow and develop a following including loyal customers. When you post on these forums strategically, it can lead to being and staying recognizable and memorable in your particular field of expertise.  

Social media is your opportunity to build your brand, tell your story, and share your personality.

We think about social media like we think about accounting. Our CEO is not a fan of accounting – which is why she looks to experts for advice and best practices. If you aren’t a fan of social media talk to experts about it so you can take full advantage of it for your business. Take a training course, sign up for 1 on 1 coaching, or out source it to someone local who understands your target markets and communications style.

Blogs and Newsletters

With Google as the primary source for discovery and research, marketing tools have linked up with search engines to help provide relevance in what's displayed. This gives companies the chance to create content that operates strategically within the search network. Blogs with strong search engine optimization (SEO) and keyword searches will result in your company being included, and when used effectively, rising to the top of the list, when someone searches topics relevant to what your company has to offer.

Newsletters are also a great way to keep your loyal customers engaged. Offering deals, letting them know what's new or upcoming, keeps people engaged and makes them feel part of your team. Having a "subscribe" button on your website gives customers the option to receive newsletters or other valuable content. Additionally, newsletter subscriptions can serve as a valuable tool for gathering customer contact information and behavioral data or web analytics, allowing you to more effectively communicate in the future. 

Repurpose blog content for your newsletters and vice versa. Use social media posts that got large levels of engagement as newsletter content. Use graphics and videos created for social as potential blog posts.

Marketing Automation and Automated Tools

Personalized emails from you and your team are essential tools for keeping potential leads engaged. Marketing automation tools, like SharpSpring, allow you to keep a constant flow of information coming that is based on their interests and needs. Marketing automation is a powerful tool. It lets you insert personal data into an email template, it can be used as an advertising tool or a recognizable symbol of your company, and it keeps communications flowing even when you get caught up in the day-to-day of your business.

Another great communication tool for simplifying customer relations is to have automated tools on your website or social media. When people are at work or unable to make a phone call, they can still access you and your services with a messaging service. Applications like Calendly have become a favourite of our Vice President. He uses it to schedule appointments automatically – making it easy for a potential client to get something in their calendar immediately without being held up by Peter getting to his inbox and coordinating.

Website

Of course, this all comes back to your website. All of these tools and forms of online communications need to live somewhere and ideally they all stem from your website. We like to talk about your website as your house. When people come over they want to see things clean, tidy, easy to find – think about an Air BNB rental that was your favourite – it was probably easy on the eyes, a great size, and well organized.

In the same way you would ensure your house is clean before you put it online and start encouraging people to come stay, make sure your website is ready to receive the traffic from stakeholders, customers, media, and leads. 


Need help getting where you want to go? CIPR Communications is a team of talented and strategic experts providing businesses the content, creativity and brand recognition they need to succeed utilizing all online platforms. Send us a message if you have any questions regarding our services and how we can help create a strong online presence for your business.