TOP TIPS FOR CHANGEMAKERS #14
THE COMMUNICATIONS EDITION
At Actually we believe that there are three things that you need to grow your business and your impact as a purpose-led entrepreneur: the right communications, the right mindset and the right support.
In this blog, I share five lessons about communications that I hope will help you to get your communications on track to make your difference in the world.
CLARITY ABOUT YOUR PURPOSE
From a communications perspective, it’s your ‘PURPOSE’ that your customers will buy into. It’s the beginning of the journey that you take them on.
I believe that your purpose is a combination of your vision and your mission. Your vision is the world you want to see or the change you want to create. For example: ‘Imagine a world in which every business is driven by purpose…’. Your mission is the greatest contribution that you and your business can make in this lifetime towards the achievement of that vision.
I’ve written about purpose a number of times. If you’re not clear about your purpose, you might want to read the very first TOP TIPS blog.
CLARITY ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS PRIORITIES
Communications – whether that’s PR or marketing or social media content – is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. It’s a means to help you to achieve your business priorities. You need to understand where you’re at in the lifecycle of your business and therefore what you need to achieve so that you can be clear about what your communications needs to do to support you. For example, if your priorities are to increase revenue by X% then your communications may need to focus on growing your list or your community of ideal clients.
I recommend Darren Shirlaw’s work on business lifecycle to get a sense of where your focus needs to be.
CLARITY ABOUT YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
“Know your audience” is widely regarded as the first rule of communications. I believe you need to do more than know them, you need to truly understand them: their hopes and dreams; the challenges they face; what motivates them; what they want and need from you and where you can find them.
This work – if done properly – will inform everything in your business from product development to pricing. It is also the starting point for refining all of your communication including your positioning and media selection.
The advertising guru Dave Trott once said ‘You’re only ever talking to one person’ – so it makes a lot of sense to get to know them, right?
I recommend to my clients that they research their ideal clients at least once a year and that they update that research every time there is a major shift in their business – or the world – or they are planning to launch a new product.
I recently ran a challenge on Facebook to help people do this research and really get to know their niche. If you want to be sure to hear about the next time I run this challenge, you should join the Actually mailing list here.
CLARITY ABOUT YOUR PLAN
At Actually we believe in the power of planning – for your business and your communications. And I am constantly surprised by how many entrepreneurs don’t plan especially when you bear in mind that research by the Palo Alto software company business owners with a clear plan are TWICE AS LIKELY to grow their businesses.
I’ve had a number of clients who resisted planning; who felt that planning was constraining or restrictive. I’ll say to you what I said to them: there’s nothing more restrictive than getting three quarters of the way through the year and realising you’ve not actually done enough work to meet your revenue needs.
And in the context of your communications, having a good plan means no more sitting in front of the PC scratching your head and wondering what to write on Facebook / in your blog / in your newsletter for hours on end.
The Actually Planning Cycle is a series of workshops starting with an annual planning workshop in November to get your plan for the following year mapped out. There are then quarterly workshops to review your plan and map out the next three months in more detail. To find out more, click here.
CLARITY ABOUT YOUR POSITIONING
If you don’t know what you want to say how can you expect people to listen? You need clear positioning for your business so that the people who need you, know that you exist and what you can offer them. There are multiple variations on the format for your messaging – at Actually we help clients to produce:
One-liner: an explanation of what their business is and who it’s for in one sentence.
Elevator pitch: a thirty second description of their business explaining the problem that they solve – and what they do and who it’s for.
Message house: a comprehensive positioning tool that then underpins all messaging on their website, marketing materials etc.
One of the questions I get asked about positioning – or messaging – is: ‘Isn’t it boring if I just keep repeating the same message?’ To which the answer is – no. For two reasons. The first is that most people don’t see, hear or read ALL of your content. They may notice 10% of it. So what you think of as mind-numbingly repetitive, they will not. And secondly, the human memory works best with repetition. That’s how we end up remembering song lyrics, dates in history etc. You want people to become so familiar with your core messaging that they can repeat it back to you. That way – when they need what you offer, they will think of you.
By the way, my ‘one-liner’ is: Actually exists to support purpose-led entrepreneurs to unleash the power of great communications to grow their business and their impact.’
You see, it all comes back to CLARITY – which is why that’s one of the guiding principles at Actually. We help you to get clarity so that you can grow your business and make your difference. That’s one of the reasons that we created the Actually quiz: so you can get clarity on what’s most holding back your business growth – your mindset, communications or support – so that you’re clear about what to focus on. You can take the quiz – and get some personalised recommendations on next steps – here.
Let’s ACTUALLY make a difference.
WHAT'S ACTUALLY HOLDING YOU BACK?
From growing your business and your impact?