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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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Blogging services

communicating

Who are you communicating about?

Are your website, your emails, your flyers and your conversations about you (and your business) or about your (prospective) client and their business?

Robert Middleton has written a blog post on turning your marketing around to be more effective. That is, stop talking about your business services and features and find out about your client’s business and how you could help them.

By listening to people you become more personable and interesting to them and you get more insight to help their business succeed.

Think about it – do you care that I run a writing and communications business? Or do you care that I can save you time and worry by managing your communications project?

You want to know how you will be impacted by my services – and your clients want to know how you can help them reach their goals.

 What is your blog communicating?

smiling woman welcomes you

Are you communicating welcome and friendliness?

Have you ever analysed your blog posts for their content?

How many posts are about what you do or your products? And how many are giving information or tips that would help your client?

Are case studies or client stories about what you did? Or are they about your client’s problem and the results of solving their problem? The difference may seem subtle but one is me-centric and the other will be more effective at engaging your readers.

What is your website communicating?

Robert asked the question ‘how often do you see a website that’s “you-centered” instead?’ and it’s worth thinking about.

Do you prefer a homepage that rambles on about awards won, pride in service, years in business and pompous language, or one that addresses your issues and questions?

Have you looked at your own website and thought about its appeal to others? If you can’t see it objectively, ask others (friends, clients and professionals) what they think, what your site is communicating to them.

Even a few tweaks to your homepage could make it more appealing and therefore more effective.

One simple improvement you can make is to remove we/I and rewrite those sentences to include you instead.

Communicating with suppliers

 In a business context, most people think of clear communications in terms of their customers. But it is also important to communicate well with your suppliers.

For instance, someone I know recently ended a project because his client gave him insufficient and contradictory information. This client had prepared a brief but work done to match that brief was rejected!

Connect and communicate with all business contactsObviously communication is a two-way thing but if you make your needs straight forward it is more likely a supplier will give you what you want.

1. specify anything mandatory – e.g the logo must always be on a white background or the newsletter must be ready by the 1st of each month

2. explain your ideas – a rough sketch is ok as long as it is labelled

3. avoid jargon unless you are sure the supplier understands it the same way you do – that includes using their jargon if you aren’t sure of it yourself!

4. write or talk as if they are a customer – clearly, concisely and politely.

 

Have you had client projects where poor communications made the project a dreaded chore instead of challenging and interesting?

Newsletter back issues

Offering an online newsletter is a great way of communicating and staying in touch with potential customers. Although some websites place their newsletter on the same page each time, most websites develop an archive of old newsletters – these previous editions are also called back issues.

What are the advantages of keeping back issues on your site?

  • the information is still available for people to read
  • the content is available for search engines so can help your site rankings
  • people unsure about subscribing to your newsletter can read a back issue or two and decide if it is what they are looking for
  • it develops trust – you aren’t hiding anything
  • it demonstrates your business has been operating for a while
  • it shows how often you send out newsletters – even if you say it is monthly, a visual reminder is useful

How do you present back issues?

It depends on what format your newsletters are in, but you can have an archive section which links to all newsletters or you may just link to a few recent editions on your ‘our newslettter’ page.

If you offer an archive, you may want to limit how far back you go with it, especially if you reuse a lot of information from older newsletters.

As long as the date of each newsletter is clear, it is ok to have newsletters public with expired competitions and special offers.

What not to do with back issues…

I recently came across a site with a free html newsletter that charged for back issues. I was recommended the newsletter, but was dubious about it’s quality based on what I saw on the website itself. For me to subscribe to the newsletter, or trust this person with my email address for that matter, I needed to see a back issue. However, I was not going to pay for one so I left the site without subscribing.

Even if you decide that charging for back issues is a good way to recoup some costs or make some extra income, I strongly suggest having one or two editions available for free to show people what they could get out of your newsletter. However, paying for something out of date that is generally given free will irritate most people and probably won’t bring in a lot of sales anyway.