This is the final part in a three-part blog series designed to help ag advisors create and send proactive communications to their targeted audiences.
You know what you want to say, but how do you get customers to read it?
Proactive communication is a three legged stool. The first leg is committing and getting started. The second is determining what topics to communicate. The final, and maybe most difficult, is engaging with your audience. With the vast amount of information we receive daily, this isn’t much of a surprise, and as humans we are a bit fickle so capturing an audience’s attention is at the very least tricky.
You are not alone.
While capturing people’s attention is more art than science, there are a few things you can do to increase engagement and drive more customer action. After all, that is what proactive communication is all about, right?
Below are three things that will help you create effective proactive. communication.
Three Elements of Writing Effective Proactive Communication
Relevant – Of the three elements, this is the most important. Customers want useful information and discard information that is not. For example, sending a wheat farmer information about preventing corn disease is likely not usable information, so the message is deleted and the next message will be received with reluctance. With each piece of non-relevant information that comes in, future pieces are met with an increasing amount of skepticism until they are eventually discarded completely.
So what does it mean to be “relevant?”
To be relevant, start by ensuring the information you are providing customers is pertinent to them. Ask yourself, “What will my customer do with this information?” Does the info save them time, lower their risk, make them money, or provide them a solution? If it doesn’t do any of these things, it might not be a nugget of information they will value.
ProTip – While the information may be relevant, it is also not safe to assume the customer will immediately see the connection. Adding additional direction to your message reiterating why the information is important ensures the customer understands their next steps of action (if any).
Simple – From emails, to TV, to newspapers, to general conversations, we received a lot of information on a daily basis. With other companies, coworkers, friends, and family regularly vying for your customers’ attention, how can you make your message stand out from the rest?
Making the message simple.
To simplify your message, narrow it down to its most crucial points. Do not add in every last bit of information or detail. Instead, focus on the main points allowing your audience to understand its gist, and give them the opportunity to further engage with you.
Keeping messages simple means less effort required by your customer to process or remember the information. It also means yours is likely to get read because it is perceived as less of a time commitment, and more likely to cause a customer engagement.
ProTip – Simple does not equate to easy, but the extra time it takes to simplify a message pays off with the increased customer engagement and action.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Mark Twain
Consistent – Even the most relevant and simple messages get missed. Maybe it hit your customer at a bad time, maybe it was meant to be read later, or maybe it just didn’t resonate at that moment. No matter what it was, there is good reason to send it again. How many times have you driven by a billboard or flipped through a magazine before you finally took notice of an advertisement? With so many stimuli in our world competing for our customer’s attention, it is important to regularly stay in front of them.
How often is consistent?
There are no hard and fast rules about what it takes to be consistent, so it may take some experimentation on your part. For starters, try sending something weekly. More than that is hard to keep up with and less than that might be too far apart. After a few weeks take a step back and see the sort of response you received. Talk to customers directly and ask them their thoughts. Did they find it useful? Did they even remember you sending it? Once you get a few messages under your belt and some customer feedback, you’ll quickly gain a sense of the right frequency.
ProTip – In your efforts to be consistent, do not sacrifice relevance. For example, if your goal is one proactive piece of communication per week, but do not have anything of relevance queued up, it is better to skip that week’s message rather than sending something less relevant and risk tarnishing the trust of your audience.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for creating and sending customer communication, but with a commitment to proactively reaching out to customers regularly with simple and relevant information, you will find the formula that is right for your audience and their needs. Good luck!