Key considerations when building your unified communications strategy

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article |Unified Communications|Key considerations when building your unified communications strategyUnified communications are a hot topic at the moment among businesses, with a unified communications strategy having the potential to offer huge savings and impressive increases in efficiency if it is done right. To be sure that you choose the right unified communications strategy for your business, read on for our list of key considerations.

How many platforms are currently used in your office?

In your office it is likely that work messages are currently sent between staff on several different communication platforms in the mix of different chats, group messages, and inboxes. In this environment it is easy for important information to be missed or lost, and it can take a long time for messages asking for clarification from upper management to reach the top for a decision. Using a system such as Unified Communications by Gamma you can ensure that all internal communications go through one easy to trace system. This will allow for a vast simplification of the flow of information.

Consider the potential for telecommuting and better video conferencing

A large advantage of a unified communications system which should be considered to the fullest is the ability to revolutionise telecommuting. Telecommuting is another way of saying work done from home and can apply to a huge range of work done in Britain today, especially on the administrative side of the job. In the 2015 PGI Global Telework Survey, an incredible 79% of knowledge workers globally reported being able to work from home at least one day a week. The result of this was a massive saving in money and time for the relevant workers, as well as a reduction in health issues caused by travelling through highly polluted air.

However, in Britain the number of telecommuters is far lower than the global average, even though, with a powerful services-led economy, Britain is one of the countries that could most benefit from a radical rethink of the role of telecommuters. It would also offer massive environmental benefits. Investing in a powerful unified communications network can make a big difference in allowing workers the freedom to produce their best work with a lower level of stress.

If you are able to get an effective level of telecommuting going, you may be able to consider rethinking your whole approach to office space, allowing you to reduce the amount of office space you pay to use and heat without getting any use for. If you have a high level of telecommuting with a pool of employees who are not all in at the same time there is the potential to have a suite of office spaces for hotdesking them in rotations when they are in the office. This can represent a massive saving on office space.

Find the right product set for your unique needs

Each company has different requirements, but different bundles are available. Whether you only need phone communications and data in the office, or want them for any company issued device, or want a single integrated system which transfers documents and sends messages and memos, there will be a unified communications solution for you.

Earning Trust Through Communication Skills

Grace Under PressureEver notice that some executives you interact with are instantly likeable, trustworthy and respected? Chances are they apply the following communication strategies in every conversation – eye contact, listening, enjoyment and benevolence.

It’s widely accepted that great communication skills are a key ingredient for business owners, executives and managers. How you communicate can make or break relationships, increase your team’s loyalty, set standards for your team and, strengthen your professional reputation. However, these fundamental skills are all too often overlooked.

Here are four strategies I suggest you use to earn trust in all your interactions.

Eye Contact

Essential for building rapport in meetings, interviews and panel discussions, sincere eye contact sends a message of trust. I do not advocate using eye contact to intimidate – which can happen. Narcissistic or intimidating eye contact sends a completely different message. A narcissistic gaze can be threatening and unnerving. If you want to build real rapport, I suggest a warm, sincere approach.

Listening

A crucial part of being a great communicator. Many clients of mine have realized they’ve gone about listening in a way that made them less effective communicators. Essentially in meetings if you are listening for your chance to interrupt or to add to the conversation or to impress you are exhibiting the opposite of leadership. Effective leaders listen to understand, not to interrupt.

Enjoy Your Conversations

I often advise clients to find joy in delivering their speeches. If you are enjoying yourself, chances are your audience will enjoy listening to you. The same is true for small meetings and 1:1 conversation. Take a moment to check in with your team member or colleague before jumping into work-related matters. This will make your colleague feel valued and appreciated.

Benevolence

Communicating with kindness is a valuable tool in almost any situation. If I have a client seeking a job or job promotion, I remind them that one of the most important goals for the interview is to have a pleasant conversation. The same is true for tense discussions, quarterly reviews and reprimands. In most conversations you cannot control how others will respond to your viewpoint. In an interview, you have no control as to whether or not they hire you, but you can control whether or not you are kind. This can make just as much of an impression as your accomplishments.

For more successful interactions, try these tools starting today and notice the shift in how others responded to you. Not only will you begin to earn more trust and respect, you will also help to create a more kind and effective work atmosphere.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Lisa WentzLisa Wentz, author of Grace Under Pressure: A Masterclass in Public Speaking, is a public speaking expert who coaches executives and managers from Fortune 500 companies and the non-profit sector.

For more information please visit www.lidpublishing.com or www.lisawentz.com

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

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Reasons to Have a Newsletter

Although social media marketing is having its moment in the spotlight right now, email marketing is still very much a relevant and a powerful tool for your business to utilise. One way you can really take advantage of email marketing is via a newsletter, something which appears to be a dying trend.

When you consider just how many of us use email and have access to it around-the-clock through our smartphones, you start to see the raw potential of properly using email marketing to reach your customers and subscribers. Although you may be sitting on the fence, unsure whether or not to create a newsletter, we recommend that you just go ahead and do it – you have nothing to lose and it is really something that can pay off.

If you are unsure how to create a newsletter, there are plenty of guides available online which can help you from beginning to end, regardless of your skill level or experience. Creating a newsletter is very simple and you can have one ready to go in virtually no time. If you are still unsure, read on to learn just how beneficial a newsletter can be for your business or brand.

#1: Newsletters Drive Conversions & Sales

It’s very easy to understand just how email marketing and newsletters are effective when it comes to driving up sales. When a subscriber opens one of your emails, you have a golden opportunity to make the sale right there and then — you already have the recipient’s attention and you need to take advantage of this moment to describe the product or service, explain its benefits, and entice them to make a purchase.

As we all know too well, human beings are impulsive creatures and by including incentives such as a coupon, promotion or special offer in a newsletter, you can easily convince somebody to make a purchase. If statistics are anything to go by – where 7 in 10 adults make use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email or where over 40% of email recipients make at least one purchase per year based on an email – there is no doubt that newsletters can have a dramatic impact on your sales.

#2: Newsletters Create Connections

Although you may not believe so, consumers actually want to receive promotional emails from their favourite brands; many consumers go out of their way to sign up for promotional emails. By creating a newsletter which is interesting and engaging, you enable your subscribers to connect with your brand or business on a personal level.

Email marketing and newsletters are about more than just making sales, they are about providing value and utility beyond sales and profits by sending customers interesting, well-thought-out email newsletters with which they can resonate. By building bridges and connections with your customers, you establish brand loyalty, something which, in the long-term, can spur growth.

At the end of the day, your customers buy from you because they are loyal to your brand and can trust you, a trust which is established through building connections with customers.

#3: Newsletters Boost Website Traffic & Social Media Followings

In your email newsletter, you can add social sharing buttons for sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. As you are likely aware, these social media channels are vital to your overall marketing strategy yet growing them can be something of a challenge. Email newsletters are very effective at helping you build up your social media following. For the most part, merely having these social buttons there can be enticing enough to encourage people to follow your social media pages, however, drawing your newsletter to a close with a discussion involving your social media channels can be another way to entice your subscribers to like and follow your pages.

Not only this, but your email newsletter can play a major role in boosting overall traffic to your website or online store. If you want people to come and visit your website, peruse through your catalogue and, ultimately, make a purchase, you need to invite and encourage people to do just that. There are multiple ways you can go about this, including promotional incentives, calls to action and targeted emails.

Although email newsletters have become something of a dying trend with the onset of social media marketing, it is important to recognise the important role they still play for online businesses, especially small-to-medium sized ones which do not yet have much of a substantive following.

Newsletters are a simple way to engage the customers and subscribers you currently have and encourage them to share your business or brand and, ultimately, come back for more. It’s very easy to create an emotive and engaging newsletter which encourages a response from its recipient, and every business should be sending email newsletters often.

Effective Communication For Your Small Business

Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills you need to have as a business owner. Every element of what you do is based on some form of communication, whether it’s with suppliers, staff or customers. Communication takes many different forms as well, including face to face, letter, email, phone call, video link, text messaging and collaborative online groups. Mastering the skills to be effective in all these formats and with a diverse range of people can be a challenge, as they all require a different approach to work well. Examining the communications generated by your business is well worth your time, and improving both your own and your team’s communication skills will have a significant impact on your success.

Being able to say what you mean

One of the problems with effective communication is the common situation where you think you’ve said one thing, but the recipient understands what you’ve said as something entirely different. Ensuring absolute clarity in terms of what you provide, and the message you are trying to send is paramount for any business. Understanding what you can offer so, you can present this to your customers in a concise manner is always worth establishing early on. Clear communication and an obvious understanding can be misconstrued if you stray too far in terms of your creative energies. This will especially be the case if you, understandably, have in-depth knowledge of what you’re offering, and may forget that some people aren’t familiar with what you are offering and are finding out about your business for the first time. The first rule of communication is to make sure that what you think you’re saying, is what the person you’re communicating with thinks you’re saying too!

Clarity and conciseness

The simpler your message, the more easily it will be understood. Adding lots of unnecessary text to a marketing campaign or an email will just put people off reading it because with so many emails being received every day, it’s only the important ones and the ones that catch your eye that you’ll bother to read. Make it crystal clear what your message is in the plainest language you can, without leaving anything important out.

Construct your message around the key facts, dates, times, prices, product details, whatever the essential information might be in your case, then add your call to action. Leading with a lengthy paragraph about how excited you are to be launching a new product will leave readers cold, but if you have a headline at the top of your message that is short and snappy. This way you’ve hooked them straight away, and then you can follow up with the essential details. Linking through to in-depth information is fine because readers can choose whether to read more or not, but you don’t want to have pages of writing obscuring the vital initial message.

Quality

Seeing poorly written posts, emails and web content is very off-putting. It speaks of a lack of care, of there not being attention to detail, and comes across as being unprofessional. When buyers are looking for products and services, they want to feel they can trust the supplier, which means they need to be demonstrating their care and attention, and the overall quality of the work they do.

Having well-written content on your site is also important for boosting your search engine rankings, as the quality of articles is one of the factors used by search engine algorithms to determine how far up the list of results your site will appear. The odd typo won’t be a deal breaker, but frequent mistakes, badly written sentences and content that is more filler than helpful article will all lead people to believe your business is of equally poor quality. Writing well is not a skill that comes naturally to everyone, and if you struggle with writing articles for your website or posts for your blog, you need to either improve your own writing or find someone who can do a better job. You might have someone on your team who would be better suited to the role of writer, or you could outsource your content writing. There is an army of highly skilled freelancers available that you can hire, and it’s worth finding out more info on how to engage them and what rates you’ll be paying.

Consistency

Communication needs to be consistent to be effective. Don’t start a blog and then forget to post for months on end; you need to communicate regularly, and the most effective frequency can differ according to the mode of communication used. Tweets, for example, are best posted daily, but you might want to do Facebook posts every other day, or three days a week. You don’t want there to be a bombardment of information, or you will be seen as a nuisance; but if you don’t communicate regularly, people will either forget about you or think you aren’t reliable. If you’re looking at maintaining a valuable online presence you need to be using a scheduling tool that will send posts out for you to all or some of your accounts, and have the ability to send posts out at allotted times, so you are never late and don’t miss days because you haven’t had time.

Communication skills can be learned, and indeed training should be considered as mandatory for your team. So much depends upon your ability to communicate effectively, and very often the lack of clear, positive communication results in missed opportunities and lost sales. If you can’t make clear what you’re selling or promoting, or if your message is delivered using poorly constructed sentences with misspellings and grammatical errors, your communication efforts will have been largely wasted. No matter how brilliant your company, your product or your service, unless you can tell people what you do in a way that they understand and that appeals to them, you will fail to get the message across. Look at the effectiveness of your own communications and see how you could improve them going forward.