4 Pillars of Communication and How They Help Your Business Boom
Last modified on August 1st, 2019
From the first baby’s cry, up to the final sigh, we humans are communicating with the world around us. The truth is: we’re expressing thoughts, emotions and dreams to each other all the time.
And we all know how difficult it can be to express something in the right way, at the right moment, to the right person. It is more than a skill – it’s an art.
This artful mastery of powerful communication is the facilitator of connection between people. And needless to say, that connection between people is the building block of every successful business out there.
Beginner entrepreneurs often tend to forget about the importance of communication, thinking it’s something that should be improved later on, as their business grows. So, by learning how to be a good communicator early in your business, you’re already a step ahead of your competition.
Is there a recipe for perfect communication?
Unfortunately, no. There is no Plug ‘n’ Play solution for this, our fellow entrepreneur.
But don’t worry, because there are some general rules and healthy, experience-based practices you can do to improve your business communication skills.
Remember – if you wish to create a solid web of loyal subscribers, you need to communicate with them every single day, either through marketing or customer service.
Today, we’re going to cover some practical steps you can take to build the foundation of your subscription empire. It’s our pleasure.
A connection between communicating and subscription business
Subscription business is all about long-term, solid, mutually beneficial relationship. (Maybe even more than other types of businesses.)
We are not talking about a one time, short-impression purchase, when the product somehow gets to the customer once and that’s it. No, the essence of every subscription is ongoing connection!
So, the goal is to keep the communication between you and your subscribers flowing, month after month and hopefully, year after year. You have a chance to provide constant value and support to your customers. What a beautiful business concept, right?
Smooth communication helps your business bloom
Besides the creation of a long-term relationship with your subscribers, good communication can also help with retention. Also, ongoing, engaging communication makes you more visible to your audience. Meaning, it can be used as a powerful marketing tool.
Becoming and staying visible is highly recommended, no matter the stage of your business. Especially if you’re a beginner, you simply cannot reach customers without reaching out and engaging with them. Not even Chuck Norris could pull that through.
Nevertheless, there is a trap you can easily fall in – spamming.
So please, be careful and do not cross that fine line between regular posting and an obnoxiously boring flood of messages. You should update your customers regularly, but give your best to stay reasonable.
Observe how your favorite brands are communicating with their audience (in this case: you). Analyse the frequency, length, and style they use in emails, ads, social media posts, anywhere. Observe these practices carefully and find ways to implement them into your business.
Did we mention that mastering communication is tricky? Luckily, it’s pretty fun!
Main channels of communication
First, let’s see where can you connect with your (existing and future) customers.
There are two big realms in which you have a chance to connect with people: marketing and customer service.
Now, inside those, there are many channels you could use to share a word about your subscription business.
These communication channels are:
- Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
- E-mail, with two main dimensions: Marketing emails, including newsletters, various promotions, pre-launch and launch campaigns, funnels, etc. and Transactional Emails – informing about the actual order status or similar operations
- Branding on the boxes – slogans, notes from the founder
- Youtube or other video channels + answering to comments
- Podcasts or other audio channels + comments
- Blog posts + comments
- TV, radio, billboards or posters (if someone still uses these, despite the glorious Internet)
- Customer service group – through telephone/Skype, email, live or bot chat
Each and every one of these communication channels holds an immense potential for better connection, impact and finally, the growth of your business. It’s a pity not to use the best of that!Now when you know where you can connect with people, it’s time for some practical tips! We analyzed many successful practices (including our own) and created 4 pillars or essential elements of business communication.
We even gave them a sweet name – 4 C’s. Read on.
Meet the 4 C’s: four pillars of powerful business communication
When the wisest subscription businessman or businesswoman communicates, he or she is always:
- Creative (and candid)
Let’s dig deep into the knowledge.
1 – Being clear in business communication
What does this mean?
It means: be concise, provide direct information.
Firstly, don’t leave visitors wondering where and how can they reach you. Make contact easy-peasy – every visitor needs to know how to contact you or your team. Provide visible information on your website, emails, any channel you’re using.
Information you could show are: email address, telephone numbers, Skype contact, social channels and similar.
Now, where can you place contact information?
The most common places to present your contact info are:
- The footer of emails, either marketing or transactional ones
- Support tabs or pop-ups, various widgets can be used for this purposes
- The packaging of your wonderful subscription boxes
- Different promotional material – posters, leaflets, visit cards
- On company’s social channels, your own social channels and/or your team social channels
Be clear on what your policy and rules are. Go beyond the usual policy page and state the inserts you see as important on other places inside your website. Feel free to get creative in this step.
Then, the offer.
Be super transparent on your offer – what does a subscriber get (and what’s not included), how your customer can get the best of your offer, what are the special discounts or promotions, etc.
Another dimension to consider is the safety of your customer’s information. Provide some information on this topic as well.
Once there is clarity on what is important for you and what is important for your customer in straight-forward manner, the overall risks in your business decrease. Also, communication becomes more pleasant for both sides.
2- Being consistent in business communication
Despite all the fanfare and fireworks, if you show up only once in two weeks or worse, once a month – no one will notice. Actually, someone might notice, but you could kiss the sale-boosting visibility goodbye.
Consistency is necessary if you wish to grow your subscription business.
But how can one determine the right frequency of communication? Where is the line between useful updates and overwhelming?
There are three main ways to tackle this challenge:
- One way to decide on this is, as always, observing what your competitors are doing.
- Another way could be to observe and analyze your own data – how many people unsubscribed, when, on which channels, why, etc. Follow those breadcrumbs to understand the pattern and where is that thin line you shouldn’t cross.
- Lastly, ask yourself: what are the brands I like the most, how do they communicate with their audience? Think deeply about how do they do it without spamming and try to implement some of those smart principles into your own business.
3- Being caring in business communication
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (M. Angelou) There’s a great point in this quote, that we could use now.
This is a secret sauce most of business creators (and later on, marketers) seem to forget about. We all tend to focus on advertising our offer, products and subscription model. Do not get us wrong, that is important.
But it’s also important to make our subscribers feel good, both through the great service we’ll provide and the entire messaging they’ll receive from us.
When people (including yourself) feel that their needs, wishes, and challenges are understood, they get involved and naturally also spread the word about the service. Ain’t that a neat way to grow your business, by making your subscribers happy?
Not to mention that it’s fulfilling and enjoyable.
Burning question: what if your subscriber is not right/acting aggressive?
When it comes to customer service, try to keep a caring, kind, and tranquil tone while answering to your subscribers. No matter what is coming from the other side.
That’s right, you must obtain a peaceful, diplomatic, yet sympathetic and helpful attitude, despite anything. Show that you understand your customer’s dilemma, question or an issue. If there’s an misunderstanding, do whatever it takes to resolve it.
This does sound a bit challenging and smells like that ‘customer is always right’ phrase (and we all know that the customer can be wrong, sometimes).
The point here simply is: solve the issue, without making your customer feel bad in any moment.
Sure, the actual effort of fixing the problem is necessary, besides all those nice words. Even the smallest of issues can impact your business, so make sure that your subscribers’ needs are satisfied.
A possible scenario of wisely caring communication
Take a look at these guidelines you can use if (when) something goes wrong, but you need to keep a calm, pleasant tone in any correspondence:
- You can repeat the question and ask further questions to your customer in order to demonstrate how serious you are about the request
- Ask for additional material, such as photos, screenshots, etc. so you could bring the fastest possible solution for them – also, this step is crucial because nobody wants to just sit down and wait (involving your subscribers in the process makes them feel in control and important)
- Provide a practical, effective solution
- In the case you’re certain that the issue came from your (company’s) side, offer a small gift as a token of apology and gratitude for them staying on your subscribers list
- Whoever says that apologies don’t matter, doesn’t have a clue about business communication – even if you did nothing wrong, our dear reader, apologize – for the misunderstanding or a slight delay, at least; apologies can’t fix anything, true, but they can show that you care
- Point out that in the future, they can contact you directly if they need something (providing a sense of personal engagement, which anyone will find comforting).
One way to get a hold of this is to observe other successful businesses, preferably those which you personally like, follow and whose service you’re using. Brainstorm on various ways you could apply the similar strategies to your own communication.
4 – Being creative and candid in business communication
Ever hear about the ‘brand voice’? We hear about it too much as well.
Which doesn’t change the fact – a distinct, personality-infused company voice helps. You can call it tonality, tone of voice, personalized messaging – whatever you wish to call it, there are general rules to its success.Why creative and candid?
Because creativity can distinguish you from the sea of competitors, true, but the secret ingredient that will lift you way up over their heads is your unique personality.
Explore different ways to communicate in a creative way and then add a bit of your own, personal touch and you’ll see the difference in the response. People love genuine, honest people behind businesses, to whom they can relate to.
Remember: communication -> connection -> blooming business.
Meet the evil twins of 4 C’s
Here, you had the pleasure of meeting the good 4 C’s of subscription business communication. Trust us, you can notice a drastic improvement in your business if you follow them, even just partially. A lot of growth potential lies in here.
Now, it’s time to meet their evil twins as well. Consider this part as the particularly important one. As much as good business behaviour can lift your performance, bad one could seriously sabotage it.
So, these are the dangers hiding behind each of our communication pillars:
- Clear –
You can sound boring if there’s too much clarity, technical info or rules. That’s why you need our C no. 4 – creativity, to break that grayness a bit.
- Consistent –
As you already learned, thin is the line between consistency and spamming (jumping out of customer’s closets, like some of the brands out there, ahem).
- Caring –
Is there such a thing as being too caring? Obviously yes. You might forget about your own needs and turn into a red cross, nearly almost unprofitable, humanitarian foundation, offering free boxes to everyone, all the time.
- Candid and creative –
Couple of things here. If you wish to attract people with a creative strategy and personal contact, you could share too much about yourself or slide into some kind of weird narcissistic brand (though some of the businesses out there flourish from this, as controversy might be good sometimes).
Next, you can go too wild with creativity and become so postmodern you couldn’t even understand yourself. Unrelatable branding? No, thanks.
A business owner has to do all this – alone?
There’s no need to go through all this alone, if you have a team by your side.
Have you noticed that someone in your team tackles correspondence and support tasks more easily than others?
Natural-born communicators find answering to an angry customer challenging, but rarely stressful. They are calm, but proactive and well-spoken. It’s a fine balance between control and creativity.
Observe carefully and identify these strengths inside your team, then think how you could use them for better business management. We are not saying that you can’t come to grips with communication, you surely can. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to.There are too many dragons every business owners fights every day, a part of communication efforts can be assigned to someone else (especially the recurring ones, such as customer support).
- Be flexible –
And we don’t mean in yoga, I’m-kissing-my-toe kind of way. Even when it’s obvious that your subscriber did or understood something wrong, stay kind and offer a solution. We’re not suggesting for you to work against yourself (your business), but do show that you’re always here to help.
- Be clear in your advertising as well –
Yes, you learned how important it is to be perfectly transparent in customer service. But also, make sure that your promotional materials and other marketing efforts lead people directly to your offer. Provide details, links, photos (be careful not to go too far on this, a pinch of mystery is welcome).
Nothing’s perfect. Which doesn’t mean it can’t become perfect one day!
Never stop reflecting on your strategies, especially when it comes to communication. It’s a tricky field, easy to make mistakes in. Trust us, we’ve been there.
Analyze, revise, optimize and then, add something new to improve how your business communicates with the other world. The better your messaging is, the bigger impact you’ll create. Profit, it comes as a consequence of durable connections.
Your entire business, your brand and its appearance communicates, with both current and potential subscribers.Also, remember, time flies. And when it comes to starting or growing your business, time flies faster than a bullet on steroids.
A wise idea might be to schedule a monthly meeting (it’s easier to actually remember these if you’re not the only person involved), in which the current communication strategy could be revisited and improved.
“And on that bombshell…”