Communication is what makes the world go ‘round. If you can’t communicate effectively in the business world, you’re just S.O.L. Having problems communicating with clients is no reason to give up though; we don’t want to see you waive your white flag. We’re here to help you reach out and make connections.
For starters, let’s go over the basic communication model. The model is a visual representation of how a message goes from sender to receiver.
The sender is the person who wants to deliver a message. Pretty self explanatory, right?
For a sender to transfer a message, they must first translate the message into symbols for the receiver (the one who receives the message). This means taking thoughts, emotions and images and translating them into something the receiver can understand. These symbols often include:
The process of translating these messages into symbols is called encoding.
After encoding the message, it’s time to communicate the message to a receiver. To do this, we must pick a channel for the message to go through. The channel is the type of medium used to transmit messages between senders and receivers. Examples of channels are:
Once the message is received by someone, it’s time for the decoding process. Just like a sender must encode messages to communicate, receivers must sense and interpret the symbols to fully understand the message. They then decode the symbols back into images, emotions and thoughts to make sense of them.
The receiver is the person who receives the message.
Now that you know all of the steps of the communication process, it easily connects. When messages are decoded exactly as the sender has intended, the sender and receiver have matching perceptions of the message being communicated. When everyone is on the same page, effective communication occurs.
We have to remember that everyone is different. People differ in their personal histories, which gives them different experiences and emotional responses to your message. This leads to differences in the way messages are encoded, transmitted, received and understood. People attach different meanings to the words, pictures, sounds and gestures used during communication based on previous experiences.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. This includes customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals. The more detailed, the better. Buyer personas will help determine where to focus your time and guide product development, which results in the ability to attract the most valuable visitors, leads and customers to your business.
These buyer personas are like pure gold for your marketing. You need to hit your target audience, and buyer personas give you a clear idea of how you can reach each demographic.
Keeping in mind everyone is different, remember their preferred way to intake information is different as well. Some people are visual learners, some are kinesthetic, while others may prefer audio. Reach these different audiences by using multiple message channels. Radio, TV, print and web (our favorite) can all be utilized effectively once you understand your buyer persona. MayeCreate consults predominantly on web marketing practices, and fortunately the web offers ways to share with each learning style. After reviewing buyer personas we can build websites including text, photos, videos, or podcasts based on the preferred communication style of the receiver.
You aren’t going to talk to your grandma like you’re going to talk to your 5 year old nephew. As you’re encoding and personalizing the message channel to learning styles, imagine you’re having a conversation with each buyer persona. For example if your audience is a group of small kids, short easy words are going to work great. For your grandma, the words can be more advanced and maybe have a higher volume or larger font depending on your medium. For both groups, you may want to consider a larger text size for easy reading. Think about your buyer persona, how they will decode your message and how to best win them over using this information.
Now that you have captured the attention of your target receivers, there may be a range in interests within that group. This is when segmenting comes in handy. Again, it’s about personalization- think about your buyer persona. People don’t want to be swamped with information they don’t care about. If you’re Walmart you sell to both college students and elderly citizens. If you plan on sending out ad sheets with coupons, you aren’t going to send college-aged students coupons for Depends underwear. That age group most likely doesn’t care about that product (yet) and that ad is most likely going in the trash. On the same token, the elderly citizens may not be as excited about the sale on Ramen Noodles.
We have segmented emailing lists at MayeCreate. Our bi-weekly blog email has a higher open click rate than our monthly email sent out to clients. The people on the blog list have subscribed, of their own free will, because it’s information they want to receive. Naturally that list performs better. Segmented lists generally have higher open and click through rates, because you’re sending people information that they want to know, not just a bunch of random garbage they don’t care about.
This ties in with the Walmart example above. You can create multiple ads that appeal to the different buyers and send them to the different segments you have within your audience. Shoe companies that advertise on facebook think about their recievers when creating ads. The shoe company’s ad for teenagers and young adults may have a high heeled shoe as their feature image- but that ad would not appeal to my 86 year old great grandma. She would prefer to see a comfy shoe with arch support. If my great grandma only saw a shoe ad with high heels, she wouldn’t buy from that company because she wouldn’t know they even had shoes suited for her age group.
Even blog posts are tailored to buyer personas. MayeCreate works with many commercial construction companies and wants to work with more, so our blog’s content has a lot of information geared towards marketing and webdesign in the commercial construction industry. We realize our buyer personas have a more laid back approach to communication, so our blog’s tone is a more relaxed and relatable one. Blogs tailored for young women interested in getting a modeling contract may be written differently than our blog style. And that’s okay, because our buyer personas most likely aren’t the same.
When we utilize all of the tips above, the receiver sees, feels and hears the message we’ve encoded. The message is personalized towards each audience and now they’re decoding it exactly how we want them to. This is an example of effective communication.
Now that you know the process of communication, use it to your advantage. The basic communication model allows communicators to really think about how they are going to get their point across at the most basic levels. Keep in mind the differences between people and use a channel that’s most appropriate for your receivers. You’re ready to communicate with clients now, young grasshopper.