5 Ways to Focus Your Considered Purchase Communication Plan
Communication plans keep your customers informed. Whether the message is a flash sale or a global pandemic, knowing how you’ll approach your audience with your content and communication helps ensure you’re moving buyers efficiently and effectively through your sales funnel, as well as build loyalty and advocacy. Here’s how to focus the development of your communication plans for considered purchase marketing.
If you have a specific goal you want to achieve from your communication plan, then focus that plan around it by setting a SMART goal. Setting goals introduces accountability into your communication plan — your marketing message will be consistent with your company’s objectives and prompt buyer action now, not later.
Use SMART methodology.
Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Refine goals that don’t meet this framework.
Identify the response you want from your audience.
Once you know what you’re looking to achieve, you can take steps to make it happen. A SMART goal might be to expect a 25 percent increase in demo requests over the next quarter. What does a communication plan look like that achieves that goal?
These days, the marketing landscape is too unpredictable for long-term goals — your business objectives and the needs of your customers might change drastically over the course of the next 12 months. Start building communication plans and setting goals with shorter time frames so you’re dealing with absolutes and not hypotheticals.
By Persona and Stakeholder
Successful considered purchase communication plans take into account all the different stakeholders involved in a decision — their goals, challenges, and pain points. Build your communication plans around these unique personas to ensure how you’re communicating resonates with them.
Understand your personas.
If you haven’t created buyer personas for the key decision-makers involved in your sales process, take the time to do so before creating your communication plan.
Identify what your audience wants to hear.
Different personas and stakeholders react to news differently. Use your experience and persona research to pick up on what each segment wants to hear — and, just as importantly, what they don’t want to hear.
Figure out what action you want people to take and use that action to craft a message and plan that leads each stakeholder to that action.
By Buyer’s Journey Stage
Each persona and stakeholder takes a different route to becoming a customer and, as such, require different communication sent at different times. Whether it’s a nudge down the funnel or a simple message of assurance in tough times, show your customers that you understand the context of their journey and what they need to hear.
Understand the journey.
Know what actions consumers take as they move closer to the decision to make a purchase and when and why they’re most likely to leave the journey.
Tailor your message to each stage.
Someone in the awareness stage will be motivated by different communication than someone on the verge of making a purchase.
On the path to purchase, timing can be the difference between a sale and a customer walking away. When you’ve created a communication plan that’s focused on the buyer’s journey, you can better control the timing of your messages.
Each communication channel serves a different purpose for your brand. Putting the same communication plan into action across all channels may not be the best method for reaching the right people with the right message at the right time. Instead, craft plans for the channel-specific ways your customers interact with your brand.
Learn how your customers think.
Understand what your platforms mean to consumers and how they use them. If it doesn’t make sense for your brand to be part of the conversation on a specific channel, then don’t communicate there.
Adjust your messaging.
If you do communicate across channels, consider the tone and voice of your communication so your messaging fits within the framework of the channel.
Let the journey and data be your guide.
Your personas and customer journey should tell you which channels you should be communicating on. Keep track of the performance of your posts to better understand what’s resonating with your audience and what isn’t.
The best part about modern marketing is getting real-time feedback. You’ll always know what does and doesn’t work in your communication plans — if you choose to pay attention to the results.
Keep an eye out for what works.
Compare your past plans with how things worked out in reality. Take note of where your expectations hit the mark and what lessons you can apply in the future to areas where they didn’t.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Testing out different approaches might lead to even better results. Keep track of what you’re doing and compare your results periodically.
Monitor your communication plan feedback regularly.
Is your audience responding? What are they saying? Don’t set a communication plan into action and then never review your audience’s feedback. Make incorporating their feedback part of your plan.
If we’ve learned one thing this year, it’s that anything is possible. Well-crafted and effective considered purchase communication plans are necessary for communicating important information to your consumers. In times of crisis and normalcy, your communication plan is your ticket to increased engagement and customer loyalty.
Written by Robin Voter
Robin Voter strategically develops martech campaigns into revenue-growing assets for B2B and considered purchase clients. Her background includes marketing automation, content strategy, project management, SEO, PPC, and PR. Robin combines her tactical know-how with strategic vision and leadership as Icon's Director of Strategy & Analytics.