How do your clients communicate?

My son is in Cub Scouts, and it had been a while since my last email from the Den Leader. I finally received an email from her telling me that she had sent out an invitation to everyone in the Den about the new Facebook group page she had set up and urging me to join. I had never seen the invitation because it had gone out as a Facebook message, which I don’t check very often.

My husband lives by his Outlook calendar. If an event isn’t listed in Outlook, it isn’t happening as far as he’s concerned. I have learned to put all of our family events — birthdays, outings, parent/teacher conferences — in his calendar so that he’s aware that something’s going on. Writing these things on our home calendar, posted on our refrigerator, is less than useless as far as he’s concerned.

The Hubbardston Business Association, of which I am a member, sends out regular emails through Constant Contact, telling people about upcoming meetings. One older member said that he hates Constant Contact because he can’t get the program to accept his email and he’s given up trying. As a result, he never receives HBA notifications.

What these three examples show is that not every form of communication is going to reach everybody you want to communicate with. The trick is finding out how your clients prefer to receive messages from you. Some people respond better to electronic communication, such as text messaging, emails, blog posts, tweets, and Facebook messages, while others act on phone calls, direct mail, radio and TV advertisements, print ads, and billboards.

By sending out messages in different formats and tracking the results from each, you will see patterns develop and learn which media work best to reach your target market.

Because electronic forms of communication are often the least expensive and easiest to produce, some people believe that they’re better for their bottom line. But that doesn’t mean that these are necessarily the best choice for their business. It’s important to retain a balance in a company’s marketing mix, not to rely solely on one form of communication to reach and influence customers.

Would a hometown diner benefit from an email blast to its customers? Maybe, but if this were its only form of advertising it would probably not be very effective. Many diner patrons are people who just happen to be in the neighborhood, or older people who don’t communicate electronically very often (if at all). That’s not to say that this form of advertising would be a complete failure, because everybody’s gotta eat, and there are bound to be customers who are often online. And my hometown diner has a Facebook page.

Again, it all comes down to balancing the marketing mix and not relying solely on one form of communication. Find out how your customers communicate, and you’ll be speaking the same language.

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