A common quote goes, “Without communication there is no relationship.” – this is true in personal relations and more so when it comes to running a business. Sure, a business is built on the basis of a great product, but it cannot survive with just that. Everything achieved post that is by keeping an active communication channel. Be it with the employees, the management, the stake holders or the customers. Sales, Support & Marketing, the key functions of any business are all dependent on the way you communicate with your customers. It’s critical to pay close attention to what is being said and how it’s being delivered to the customer. Technology has opened amazing new ways to communicate with customers. Just look at what we had back in the day and what we have now. It’s amazing to see the distance we’ve traveled and the opportunities it has opened up for everyone. These opportunities have to be harnessed, used intelligently and strategically. Let’s take a look at all the channels of communication now available to us today:
- TV: By far, the most loved and so the most utilized medium of mass communication. TV has been around for a bit now and from the looks of it, it’s not about to go away anytime soon. Brands love it for it’s reach and hate it for all the costs. Using TV to communicate is clearly not for everyone. It’s become limited to big brands or start-ups backed by investors with big pockets.
- Radio: A close 2nd in terms popularity to TV, radio has been used to communicate since a very long time. Again, with it’s amazing reach, the love it gets from businesses is not surprising.
- Billboards/Newspapers: They’ve been tried and tested by numerous brands over the years. Despite all the technological advancement, print is still going strong. Especially in a country like India where Internet has not penetrated everywhere, this is a good weapon to have.
- Email: A medium that marketers love to hate – one of the most basic forms of communication which also happens to be the most abused. But that doesn’t mean it’s no good. Email still is a force to reckon with. If done correctly, you can reach a large set of people with minimal costs and great results. No wonder that it’s become a medium online marketers just can’t help using.
- Display Banners: They’re the online version of billboards and posters. Just like their offline brethren, display banners are the way to go when your marketing goal is to get eyeballs for your brand. It’s an amazing way to get your message to a mass audience online. With the kind of targeting options available now, you could do wonders for your popularity and conversions without taking a big hit on your wallet.
- Video Ads: Who said you could play ads on TV alone. Video has come to the internet and it’s made its mark. Gaining steady popularity, this mode of communication is perfect when the aim is to make some noise. And with all the hoopla that viral videos are creating these days, this form of communication is more popular than ever.
- Blog: Perhaps one of the best media available to you. A blog is where you can really spread your wings and soar. You’re not limited by words or structures. It’s free-wheeling. You are free to pen down things about your industry and provide valuable insights to your customers. In fact, it’s one of the best ways of self branding and establishing yourself / your brand as an authority in your vertical.
- Newsletter: While it’s sent via email, we’d like to think a newsletter is different from a generic marketing email. It’s a summation of things. It’s a way to tell your customers what’s going on, what’s in the pipeline, share offers and anything else that you want to plonk in there. So easy, yet so effective!
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Digg, Vevo, Reddit, Flickr, Google+, Foursquare, Quora, Disqus, phew, you get the point here. It’s a universe by itself, since social networking blew up in the 2000s, there’s been no stopping it. It’s literally changed our lives and how we interact with one another. It’s made businesses more human, it’s made it possible to interact with them . And to the businesses, it’s an invaluable new media of communication.
- Forums: A place where people from all over the world come together to talk about a particular topic. That is some really powerful stuff and an amazing opportunity to get your message across to a ton of relevant people. Forums allow businesses to address customer issues, talk to them and help them out. It’s no surprise they’re still going strong.
- Your Godd@#n Website: What can be better than your own website to talk to customers. It’s your space and it’s virtually unlimited. It’s no hold barred with regards to what you can say. Use this space wisely for everything you do depends on this. It’s the starting point for everything.
As amply visible, there are a ton of way to reach out to a customer but most businesses struggle with getting their message out there. The problem is not with the media but the message. We believe if what you say has value, people will find you and keep their eyes and ears peeled. That said, we know it’s hard to always be on point and relevant in this ocean of information. Unfortunately there is no specific path to glory here. The trick is to keep evolving and using a combination of these media that you have at your disposal. Let us know what media works best for you and do share you take on this article in comments section below.