In addition to setting up my office, the home settling also progresses. I have a "country" home at last. Even if it does sit in the middle of the city, I have room for a few goats and chickens, if I wanted them, and an orchard, which is already planted. The making of my "country" will be a continuous process for many years to come and no doubt will change with each season. Little by little it will evolve into my ideal.
Business is like that too, continuously evolving to meet new challenges. Those that don't usually disappear. With changes there always comes the need to update marketing materials, employee manuals, brochures, and so on. A good communication audit helps to assure that all of your written and electronic materials stay fresh and effective, and that you have the tools to deliver them efficiently and effectively. When's the last time your office updated its communication tools? If it's been a while, it probably time. Here are some tips.
Develop a communications audit schedule.
Effective communication strategies often involves technology, online presence, and paper-based materials. They should also include what is said in face-to-face conversations, at meetings, and in presentations. Any time you speak, write, or even smile you communicate. If it's important to your business, you should have a plan in place and part of that plan should include how and when you will audit, review, or assess.
Don't try to do everything at the same time.
You may schedule for your in-house technicians or outside technology vendor to look at your technology once or twice a year or more often, and your marketing crew to look at your brochures, fliers, business cards, etc quarterly, annually, etc. Whatever makes sense for you or your business. If you're a one person show, you may also need help. An audit could be as simple as looking through your written materials to see if they need refreshing or as extensive as looking at your technology performance data to decide if your technology is doing its job or even if you are spending too much. You leave no stone unturned! That brings me to data.
Data driven decisions.
You should be able to tell in an audit if the million dollar mailer you spent 6 months developing gave you an acceptable return on investment (ROI). When planning any communication, you should always plan how you will know it's working. Do you ask your customers how they found you. If 500 said your web site and no one said "paper-based phone book," maybe you should not be spending money placing an add in the same publication the next year. You may need to just ask customers about their experience when you see them or you may need to send out a survey. Whatever it takes to know if your communications are effective! I think you get the idea.
The bottom line here is that all of your communications affect the success of your business. You need to know whether you're getting an acceptable ROI. In future blogs, I'll focus on a single aspect of communications audits. I have my plan. However, if you have an urgent need, comment here or send me an e-mail. I'll address customer immediate needs first. Keep in mind that I will share the response here so that all my readers can benefit, protecting your identity of course. Look for more to come soon!