Crafting a winning communication strategy for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)

Email Marketing
Sep 19
12 min read
Small and medium-sized businesses must evolve their communication strategies past internal efforts to grow or scale their business. A concise and uniform approach to communication can help improve credibility and align with customer's expectations. The problem is many SMBs have limited resources and don't have the budget to make meaningful adjustments in their communication strategy. 
Woman infront a table with art material and computer. Photo by Antoni Shkraba - Pexels

To grow your business, you must develop a results-driven communication strategy that aligns with your needs. With the help of tech tools and your communication, you can diversify your communication channels and take your efforts to the next level.

We're here to walk you through what is needed to craft a winning communication strategy for SMBs. 

Here's everything you need to get started:

Set Clear Communication Goals

Before investing in tech tools or adjusting your approach to your communication strategy, you want to set clear communication goals. This will help you measure the effectiveness of your efforts and help your team stay aligned on the purpose. Without a clear set of goals, you'll never understand the ROI of your initiatives or find meaningful ways to adjust your approach. 

Here's how to get started:

Follow the SMART Goals Structure 

SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. With this structure, you can ensure the communication goals you set for your team are realistic and align with your needs as a company. It can be challenging to know if your strategy is working if you set goals that aren't attainable, measurable, or realistic.

Establish Your Target Audience

Establishing your target audience is vital to the success of your communication strategy. When you take the time to better understand your target audience, you can improve your approach to content and messaging. 

You can create 2-3 personas of your ideal customer. When you're creating content for social, email, or your sales process, you can use these personas to ensure your content is aligned with their needs.

Set a Budget

While you're setting goals for your business, you'll also want to set aside a budget that you can put toward your communication strategy. This budget may be used for paid initiatives, tech, and software you can use to enhance your efforts. 

Ask For Feedback From Your Team

Many of your employees are client-facing. This means they spend most of their workweek building connections with your customers. When setting your communication strategy, you'll want to ensure you ask for feedback from your team. They can provide insight into what will and won't work, leading to long-term success. 

Different Types of Communication Goals 

When exploring the different types of goals, you'll want to consider how your communication strategy can complement your bottom line. What are you hoping to achieve from improving your communication with clients or stakeholders? Are you trying to enhance your online presence or your presence in your community? Here are five communication goals you can consider:

  • Increase Web Traffic 
  • Increase Brand Awareness 
  • Increase Revenue or Sales 
  • Improve Employee Satisfaction
  • Increase Sales For a New Product Launch

You'll want to then take these communication goals and make them more specific. For example, let's say you want to "increase web traffic by 20% in Q4." This measurable and attainable goal aligns with your communication strategy and company goals.

The Importance of Audience Segmentation

We live in a digital age where customers, employees, and stakeholders don't resonate with the same messaging. If you aren't tailoring your messaging for different audiences, your strategy may fall flat for half your audience. There are many benefits to segmenting your audience and getting more strategic with your wording. This includes:

  • Better Conversion Rates: Relevant and personalized content leads to higher conversion rates. When you take the time to tailor your messaging for every type of customer that lives in your target audience, you can align your content with their behaviors, driving them to take action on your website. 
  • Improved Relevancy: Customers who play basketball don't want to receive emails or text messages from your company about baseball. When you fine-tune your approach and hyper-segment your content, you can improve the relevancy of your communication and build a stronger connection with your customers. 
  • Personalization Communication: A personalized touch isn't just a like-to-have anymore: It's expected. A recent study suggests that over 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that offer a personalized digital experience. Whether it's adding their name in an email or targeting them with a product they were actively shopping for on your website. These small details can yield next-level results. 

Ways to Use Audience Segmentation in Your Communication Strategy

Audience segmentation can deliver next-level results for your strategy. Tailoring your content and marketing initiatives to align with different interests and user behaviors can help you increase conversions, boost sales, and improve your SMB relationship with your customers. 

There are many ways you can start segmenting your messaging for your audience. This includes:

  • Create custom landing pages 
  • Add personalized tokens to your email marketing
  • Add product recommendations to your website and email marketing
  • Hypersegment your email marketing campaigns 
  • Switch up your social media posts to align with different audiences
  • Segment your content based on user behaviors on your website

For example, think about the effectiveness of an abandoned cart workflow. Abandoned cart emails are triggered when customers add products to their cart but don't check out. These customers are actively shopping with your brand, but something is standing in their way from purchasing. With an email workflow, you can remind these customers what products they left in their cart, encouraging them to complete their purchase.

Abandon cart emails have an average open rate of 40% and a click rate of 20%. They are some of the most effective campaigns you can include in your strategy. With this personalized approach and hyperpigmentation, you can take your efforts to the next level. 

Choosing the Right Communication Channels

Every business is different. This means the channels you find the most success will always be different. When deciding which channels are the best fit for your communication strategy, you'll want to consider:

  • Industry
  • B2B, B2C, or DTC
  • How you connect with clients and customers 
  • The sales process

You must meet your customer where they spend most of their time. This is the best way to get the most from your strategy. 

For example, if you're a B2B company that sells software to corporations, you may find better luck closing deals with in-person meetings and Zoom calls. With a few adjustments to your sales process and communication, you can generate a higher ROI and close more sales. But if you're an eCommerce, you may find more luck with social media, paid advertising, or email marketing. 

The Different Channels

Most SMBs find the most success focusing on at least 2-4 different channels. This can help you maximize your brand visibility and ensure you have touchpoints at every customer journey stage. When choosing which channels to prioritize you want to use your past data and insights. What channels have the highest engagement rates or ROI? What is the most effective channel for bringing in new customers or retaining your current customers? From there, you can restructure your priorities. 

Here are five popular channels to consider:

In-Person Meetings 

The communication you use during in-person meetings might not be top of mind, but it's vital to solidifying relationships with current customers and prospects. When you help your team think more strategically about their communication, it can help them close more deals, upsell, and build better connections with clients. 

Email Marketing 

Email marketing is arguably one of the most effective marketing channels you can use. In fact, it's expected that for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a $36 return on investment. To improve your communication strategy with email marketing, you'll want to focus on enhancing your communication efforts for every stage of the customer journey. Whether that's with hyper-segmented sends, abandon cart workflows, or email follow-ups from sales reps. 

SMS Marketing 

SMS marketing is quickly becoming a popular marketing channel for SMBs in the B2B or DTC space. With SMS, you can geo-target individuals in a specific location or send personal texts based on customer behaviors. Clean, concise, and direct messaging works best since you have limited characters.

Social Media 

Whether it's LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook, each social media platform provides a different opportunity for SMBs. When deciding which social media platforms you want to include in your strategy, consider where your audience spends most of their time and the type of messaging that works best for the platform. It's also important to remember that not every business needs to build a presence on every platform. Choose what works best for you and your audience. 

Cold-calling and Phone Calls

While the success rate for cold calling is around 2%, you only need one call to turn into a deal to see success. To increase your success rate with cold-calling and phone calls, you must adjust your messaging to align with the different audiences you connect with. 

Creating a Consistent Brand Voice

Consistency is key to building credibility and establishing your business as an industry leader. While you want to adjust your messaging for each platform and audience, you still want to maintain consistency with your communication. Here are some tips for improving your brand identity while staying strategic. 

Here are ways you can stay true to your brand voice, while still getting creative with your approach:

Develop a set of Brand Guidelines

This will ensure everyone at your company is aligned on your brand’s voice, tone, and personality. With a set of brand guidelines, you can ensure you create a consistent brand voice while still giving your marketing or sales team creative freedom to tailor their communication with different audiences. 

Think About Your Brand Persona

Are you professional and serious? Or playful and fun? Choose at least 3-4 adjectives that align with your brand’s persona, and keep your content aligned with this tone across the various channels you use. 

Stay Organized With a Content Calendar 

A content calendar will help leadership review all content that the company produces. This will help you identify inconsistencies and stay organized. 

Leveraging Technology

In today's digital age, there are countless resources, tech tools, and software to automate your communication initiatives and stay competitive. If you aren't already incorporating tech into your workweek, you risk falling behind with the trends. When exploring different tech tools you can use for your strategy, you'll want to consider the platforms you want to leverage and how you plan to leverage them.

Here are three modern-day tech tools to consider:

CRM Systems

Customer relationship management tools help you manage your communication with customers and prospects. With these tools, your sales team can send emails, set appointments, keep notes on customers, and close deals quicker and more efficiently. 

Collaboration Software

Collaboration software is software that helps your team work together more efficiently. This software is a must for workplace productivity, especially if you have a hybrid or remote workforce. Most of these tools can help streamline processes, improve project management, and ensure your team communicates effectively. 

Automation tools

Automation tools take the stress out of mundane tasks. Whether it's email marketing, social media, SMS, or customer service, these tools streamline your daily operations and enhance everyday productivity. Once you automate your marketing initiatives, your team will get time back in their day to focus more on bigger-picture projects and strategy. 

Effective Internal Communication

While the focus of your communication strategy may be improving communication with your customers, you don't want to forget the importance of your internal efforts. To find success with your internal efforts, you must focus on building a company culture that thrives on open communication, collaboration, and teamwork. 

To do this, you'll want to focus on finding creative ways to inspire team building and improve the communication between team members. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Plan monthly or quarterly team-building events 
  • Create a recognition program
  • Use icebreakers and mini-games to keep your team engaged
  • Use collaboration tools to keep your team connected (Slack, Teams, etc.)
  • Host town hall meetings to improve transparency and communication
  • Create shoutout, random, or social channels on Slack or Teams 

Measuring Communication Effectiveness

Once you've made strategic changes to your communication strategy, you'll need to use KPIs and data tools to track the effectiveness of your efforts. KPI stands for key performance indicators. These are formulas you can use to ensure your strategy is helping you stay aligned with the goals you set for your communication strategy. 

It's best to have at least 3-4 KPIs you can reference monthly or quarterly. When exploring different KPIs, keep your communication goals in mind. For example, let's say one of the main goals of your communication strategy is to increase web traffic. A few KPIs you can use to track your performance would be:

  • Number of Pageview
  • Click-Through-Rate
  • Average Session Duration
  • Customer Acquisition Cost 

All four of these KPIs provide insight into your overall performance and can be used to help you revise your strategy in the future. 

Case Studies and Success Stories

Local Eclectic: SMS Marketing to Increase Web Traffic 

Local Electic is a small fine jewelry company that sells pieces crafted by independent designers. They use SMS marketing to alert their newsletter subscribers about deals, offers, and new products. 

In a recent SMS marketing push, they told their prospects they hid a pickle on their website. Anyone who can find the pickle receives an exclusive 15% discount. This is a great tactic that not only aligns with their brand voice but can also increase web traffic and customer engagement. 

STRIDE Fitness: Email Personalization 

STRIDE is a treadmill-based interval training fitness program. This SMB uses personalization in marketing to try to get more sales. The added personalization helps humanize the brand and can make individuals more inclined to take the deal. They also use personalization in their subject lines to catch prospects' attention in the inbox. 

Boochcraft: Capitalizes on Instagram Stories

Boochcraft is a small local organic hard kombucha business in San Diego, California. They focus on being a certified organic business and have a younger, health-conscious audience. 

To make their brand more relatable, they use their Instagram stories to share curated Spotify playlist they can enjoy while they sip on their favorite booch. This is a great example of using different channels to align with your audience’s likes and interests. 

Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level

It takes time, strategy, and patience to develop a next-level communication strategy for SMBs. Cakemail is an email marketing service designed with SMBs in mind. With our platform, you can streamline your SMB communication strategy and get creative with your email marketing strategy. Our platform can help you segment your audiences, automate your workflows, and help you develop captivating campaigns that deliver next-level results. 

Create a free account today to get started.

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