Great marketing depends upon great communication. Some might say, in fact, that marketing is a type of communication. Conversions happen when consumers feel inspired by emails, advertorials, product descriptions and other marketing endeavors. But what are the principles of communication, and how can you use them to improve your marketing content?
In this blog post, we’ll explore seven principles of communication and teach you how to incorporate them into your delivery strategy. Ready to morph into a marketing maven? Excellent: read on.
What Makes Communication Effective?
When one person successfully conveys an idea to another person — or a group of people — that’s effective communication. Going further, effective communication in marketing is always persuasive. Conversions depend on your ability to persuade customers that your products or services are essential — or at the very least, extremely beneficial to them.
Let’s think about the characteristics of persuasive content for a moment. Effective communication must be:
Effective communicators don’t just broadcast a message: they listen, too. We’ll explore this in detail later on, but effective communication is a dance between sender and recipient. You’re the sender; consumers are the recipients.
What Are the Seven Principles of Communication?
Some people are undoubtedly better natural communicators than others. With that said, any of us can learn the seven principles of effective communication.
#1: Listen Carefully
Communication is a two-way street. Experienced negotiators and diplomats know that to achieve results, they need to listen as well as speak. You can use this principle to create truly compelling marketing content. To find out what your consumer base wants, use a service like SurveyMonkey to create a questionnaire; then, use social media and email to distribute your survey.
#2: Create a Goal
What do you want your audience to do after they read your marketing content? Let’s look at a few examples:
- Marketing emails: Ideally, recipients follow a link to a landing page on your website and make a purchase.
- Advertorials: Advertorial text must compel readers to enter your sales channel and purchase your product.
- Product descriptions: Descriptions have to answer visitor questions about function, price, size, shipping costs etc. to create conversions.
Think about goals for your marketing content and then pinpoint a few trackable key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you review your progress. Great content marketing KPIs for websites include:
- Page or social media post shares
- Unique page visitors
- Time spent on pages
- Inbound links to pages on your site
- Social media interactions or comments
- Cost per lead (CPL)
Organize Your Thoughts: Winners keep score, so create a well-organized outline for your marketing plan and stick to it.
#3: Think About Your Medium
You might need to adjust your message for each medium you use. Social media demands a different marketing approach than an advertorial, for example. Twitter and Facebook posts are short and to the point; advertorials can be thousands of words long. To generate a decent click-through rate (CTR) on social media, your message must be both compelling and succinct.
#4: Clear, Persuasive Writing
Let’s get one thing straight: jargon doesn’t add credibility to marketing content. Leave jargon behind — and make sure you check your content for spelling mistakes and unnecessarily wordy sentences. Long-winded declarations don’t lead to conversions; short, precise statements do, though.
To write persuasively, you have to appeal to consumers’ emotions. In his 2011 book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow, psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman explores two separate thought processes. Readers react intuitively and emotionally first — logic gets second dibs. Think of emotional triggers and rational facts as ingredients in persuasive writing, and combine them equally for best results.
Less is More: Stay on point and avoid repetition to ensure busy readers receive your message.
#5: Tell Stories
Early humans came together around communal campfires to cook, create tools and tell stories. Leading anthropologists agree that we’re hardwired to learn from storytelling — and that’s something you can use to your advantage whenever you create marketing content. Well-crafted stories convey information in an entertaining and engaging way; stories also humanize your product and your company.
#6: Get Visual
People learn in a lot of different ways. When educator Neil Fleming unveiled his VARK model design in 1987, he proposed four sensory modalities — more commonly known as learning styles:
Most of us use all four modalities to learn new information. Many people are primarily visual learners, however, which is why it’s so important to use images in your marketing. Photographs, illustrations — even cartoons — pique the reader’s interest, while diagrams and infographics translate text into digestible pictures.
Images Rule: Are your readers in a hurry?A 2014 MIT neuroscience study found that people were able to absorb information from images in as few as 13 microseconds.
#7: Stay Curious
As your business evolves, your customers will also evolve. If you decide to concentrate on a niche market, you’ll need to target a specific consumer subset. If you expand your range, you might decide to market your products via a greater number of channels. In either case, keep your ear to the ground to make sure you continue to communicate effectively with your customers.
Effective Communication in Marketing
We know the seven principles of communication; now we’ll talk about how they apply in your day-to-day marketing strategy. Let’s look at marketing emails, advertorials and product descriptions.
Marketing emails need an eye-catching subject line, or they risk being tossed in the trash — or even worse, being relegated to your recipient’s spam folder. Marketing emails also benefit from concise, compelling content and a bold call to action (CTA) link or a clickable button. You’ll also need to create a sales funnel for your marketing email — a custom landing page, for example.
Advertorials use the power of storytelling to promote and sell products. They’re the marketing equivalent of a really great salesperson on a shop floor. Laced with emotional hooks and carefully selected information, advertorials turn mundane items into must-haves. Genuinely great advertorials don’t even sound like adverts — they sound more like blog posts, or enthusiastic (but genuine) endorsements.
The best product descriptions (PDs) use a combination of hard fact and entertaining prose to convince visitors of an item’s value. Most shorter PDs begin with one or two descriptive paragraphs and continue with a relevant list of product features. Customers need to be able to see key facts at a glance. To avoid losing consumers at the checkout phase, make sure you display shipping charges clearly on each product page.
It’s a Marketing Wrap
Product descriptions, press releases, emails, advertorials and other marketing content are all built on the principles of effective communication. Let’s end with a quick recap of each point:
- Listen: Communication flows both ways, so listen to what your customers want.
- Goals: Create marketing targets and identify and monitor KPIs to stay on the ball.
- Medium: Adjust your content to match your publishing medium.
- Clarity: Stay focused and make your writing persuasive.
- Stories: Tell stories to draw your readership in.
- Visuals: Use infographics, photographs and illustrations to reach your visitors.
- Curiosity: Stay curious about your customers — and modify your marketing methods if your base changes.
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