In 2021, customers have more channels than ever before on which to communicate with you. Using these channels, customers enter your sales funnel, interact with your brand – and possibly convert.
While this sounds like a good thing in theory (and it is), measuring these channels can be difficult. How do you know which channels are working and which aren’t?
Measuring the impact of communications and marketing is harder than ever. However, it’s still essential that you put measurement at the heart of what you do. This will allow you to identify the channels that are working so that you can double down on them, save on costs, improve your interactions and ultimately sales.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how to measure your existing communication channels better and how to exploit new ones. But first …
What is a Communication Channel?
Each time you communicate with a client or a customer, you’re essentially using what’s otherwise known as a communication channel. This might be a social media platform, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, it could be video software like Zoom, or it could be email – or even a traditional phone call. It could even be a chatbot or an online review site.
Here are some more examples:
The idea is to know which ones are working well so that you can better integrate them into your strategy, while either tweaking or disregarding the ones that don’t.
How to Measure Your Existing Communications Channels Better
There are multiple ways that you can measure your communications channels. Let’s dive into them:
Check Open & Click Rates
While these metrics (which are typically used to measure email campaigns) don’t give you an exact overview of how effectively you’re communicating with your clients and customers—they do provide useful insights into how much they’re engaging with your brand.
This is crucial to note because if your open rates are below the industry average, it suggests that your subject lines aren’t grabbing your subscriber’s attention. Not only are you not engaging your customers – you’re not even opening the initial lines of communication with them.
When it comes to click-through rates, the higher they are, the more engaged your customers are – and therefore, the more valuable this communication channel is to you. Click-through rates are a key metric because, while open rates demonstrate that you’ve at least caught their attention, click-through rates let you know that your subscribers are clicking to see what’s on your website and want to continue the conversation your email started.
A good starting point when measuring your communication channels is to look at your Channel adoption metrics.
In other words, how much of your audience is actually tuned into your platforms?
Take a look at each channel and perform an audit so that you learn more about:
- The number of people who have followed your channels, such as Facebook or Twitter, or subscribe to your channels, such as email, or YouTube
- How many people have accepted their invite to your private channel on Telegram?
- How often are people interacting with your channels each day, week and month?
- How are they interacting?
- How often are customers reaching out to your brand via your website and live chat?
Being able to see how many of your customers are interacting with your content gives you a good insight into how engaging your communications channels are.
What does an interaction look like?
It really depends on the channel. But it includes sharing content, commenting on content and clicking on links. When it comes to chatbots, it can also include conversation starters. In essence, while it’s normal for a chatbot to initiate contact with a first-time site visitor, it’s much better if in future the visitor initiates contact with a query they have.
When you measure these interactions, make sure to filter by device, content type, timeframe and segments if the tool allows it. This will give you a more concrete picture of what you’re dealing with.
Once you’ve got the results, you can then fine-tune your strategy, targeting different segments in order to a) understand what works and what doesn’t work and b) double down on what works and what doesn’t work.
Average Time to Resolution
This metric is specifically aimed at your customer service contact channels, such as a chatbot. It tells you how long it takes for the bot (or a live agent) to resolve customer queries.
Naturally, the quicker the better is the ideal here. However, some queries will take longer to resolve than others, which is why it’s important to dive deep into the data so that you can draw more accurate conclusions.
Not just that, but you’ll be able to find patterns. For example, it might be the case that some cases are simply more complex than others, which is why they typically always take longer to resolve. If so, you can put these into a separate category and consider switching them to a different communication channel. If a chatbot isn’t working, you could – for instance – have the bot hand the customer over to a real live agent.
Or, you could create a customized chat solution that acts as an exceptional customer communication channel by offering support to online visitors.
Trends & Preferences
When you know which topics interest your customers the most, as well as their preferred formats and devices, you’ve got a better chance of improving engagement on each communication channel.
In essence, this is basic demographic research. When looking for trends and preferences, you’ll learn more about your audience. For instance, you might learn that segment A prefers to watch your videos on their smartphone device, while segment B prefers to read your long-form blogs on their desktop.
Top tip: it’s best to add your brand’s logo to your videos because it tends to increase visibility and trust.
By monitoring device and content trends, you’ll find it easier to a) deliver your communications to the right audience and b) resonate with them while matching their individual preferences.
It’s important to scan public information on digital platforms to search for keywords on a particular topic, especially those related to your brand, industry and competitors. With this key data at hand, it will help you boost brand awareness, facilitate effective competitor analysis and help your brand measure how it is performing and being talked about.
A tool like Mediatoolkit is invaluable because it monitors mentions from 100 plus million sources and it does this in any language.
How to Choose (& Exploit) New Channels
Because there are so many communications channels to choose from, choosing the ones that are right for your brand can be overwhelming. And while it might be tempting to choose just one channel, 64% of small businesses tend to use 2 or more.
That said, when it comes to communications channels, the golden rule is to go where your audience is, and serve them there. This is because you won’t waste valuable resources on other channels and it also guarantees increased reach.
So how do you choose which ones are right for your brand? As well as measuring your existing communication channels, here are some more things you can do:
Prioritize According to Customer Preferences
As a business owner, you could pick from any number of communications channels, including text messages, online review sites, social media, emails and more. However, in order to exploit your channels, it’s a good idea to double down on the best ones according to your specific customer preferences.
For example, let’s say you currently use WhatsApp, live chat and two social media platforms – Facebook and Instagram to communicate with your customers. To plan how you will communicate various messages and announcements, you can rank your channels according to their order of importance.
This might mean that Instagram and Facebook come first because a large percentage of your customers spend most of their time interacting with you on social media. Text messages might be second in order of importance, while you could reserve email mainly for the biggest events.
Essentially, you want to increase your reach by prioritizing communication channels for different announcements/messages. Message A might work on one channel but not on another. It all comes down to your particular customer preferences.
Use Complementary Channels to Promote Each Other
It’s a good idea to leverage two or even three communication channels at the same time to promote each other.
For instance, you could use Facebook to promote your email newsletter. This method can increase your number of subscribers simply by promoting it to a wider audience. However, it will only work on social channels where you already know there is good engagement (check your numbers – see above).
You could also strengthen your reach by exploiting direct mail to promote your social media accounts, as well as your website. You could also promote new web content via your email newsletter.
Essentially, the idea is to bolster your communication campaigns by syncing your channels, as opposed to keeping them apart.
Know Your End Purpose for Each Channel
Before choosing and using a communications channel, it’s really important that you understand what you want to gain from said channel.
This starts by understanding who your target audience is, as well as the type of message that will resonate with them.
Here are some things to consider:
- Will your messages be proactive or reactive?
- Will your messages be personal/private or open to the public?
- What are your end goals with this?
- Do you want people to take action?
- Will there be customer service messages?
For instance, if it transpires that your purpose is to raise brand awareness, it might be a good idea to match this goal with a social media channel.
If, on the other hand, you’re gearing up for a product launch and want to communicate it with your audience, it might be a better idea to use email.
For private communications, telephone or chatbots work well.
Measuring your existing communications channels will help you convert more customers who journey through your sales funnel. But that’s not enough – you also need to look at adding more channels to your repertoire in order to improve your relationships with your audience and boost conversions.
Create a list of potential communications channels before taking a closer look at them. Do your research and investigate how and if they work into your strategy. Learn more about their reach, their usefulness to you, and how much value they will provide to your funnel and your customers.