Whether your business sells business-to-business or business-to-consumer products or services, it is important to create and nurture diverse communication channels. Why? For multiple reasons, all of which help expedite the timely and targeted distribution of information.
For example, if your business launches a new product, how are you going to get it in front of consumers? Without fresh, existing channels, you would have to rely on expensive advertising via pay-per-click or be forced to wait months for a search engine optimization effort to take shape. A lack of existing channels creates time and cost barriers that can prolong the dissemination of information and push out the time to realize revenue. Yet, if you created and continually nurtured various communication channels (each with a specific purpose) you can drastically reduce time to revenue by gaining speed and lowering cost.
What are some communication channels worth creating and nurturing? Some of the best involve:
- Creating and consistently updating a quality informational blog that generates a decent readership. Depending on your particular market and circumstances, expect six or more months to build a readership for your blog while posting quality information at least three times week. It takes effort to start and grow but a blog can have powerful results.
- Building an email “house” list based on leveraging not only your prior customers but also opt-in prospects arriving though your various acquisition like search engine marketing or other advertising strategies. By offering a white paper, webcast, or some other report, you can gather a prospect’s contact information and include it in your house email list. Similarly, you can use RSS feeds instead of email depending on your customer type and technology adoption level.
- Contact and build “two-way” relationships with prominent bloggers and traditional media. By providing worth-while news in a format easily consumed by bloggers and traditional media professionals, you can use their prominence to gain attention from a common readership.
- Participate in communities within your market. Similar to the above point, by participating on blogs (by commenting on various blogs and posting on your blog about other blogs) and through offering help in forums, you can develop community relationships. Sincere and mutually-rewarding relationships can help create opportunities where your friends and associates will gladly write about your new product and lend their credibility to spreading the word.
- Setup and develop a Twitter following.
- Gain attention through building a FaceBook or Ning social network.
Executing all of these strategies seems like a ton of work but after the initial setup process you can leverage the same content across channels while also connecting the different channels. Seth Godin, prominent blogger and entrepreneur, does a tremendous job leveraging Twitter to push out his blog content.
The key point is that if you do the hard work upfront and the consistent nurturing work every month, when it comes time to launch your next product or service, you’ll have fresh and established channels to help quickly and accurately push out your communications into the marketplace. Sometimes, the difference between immediate versus delayed communications could be tens of thousands of dollars or a major lead in your competitive advantage.