By Katharine Williams, SVP, Dots & Lines
Good question! It’s one that comes up a lot in the corporate travel industry; after all, you can have an exceptional program in place, but if your communication tactics to your target audience miss the mark, all of that hard work can fall short of expectations. So, what’s the answer? It depends on several factors, such as your corporate culture, audience behaviors, and tools at your disposal, among others, but there are some standard best practices we’ve outlined below. Enjoy!
- Meet them on their home turf. Is your audience active on social media? Do you have an internal company communications portal they use? Do they read and comment on your blog? Is signage by the water cooler the way to go? Or is in person communication/training what really resonates? Wherever your travelers are getting their information today, that’s where you need to be. With the advent of social media, the general population is no longer actively searching out information (or, if they are, it tends to be for a specific question and needs to be easily accessible… as in, the top 5 search results) they are looking for it to be pushed to them.
- Go easy on email. Just because today’s workforce generally expects information to be pushed to them, this does not mean that travelers are looking for a heavy-handed email marketing campaign. Information shared needs to be relevant to the traveler, or it will be ignored, or worse, marked as spam or unsubscribed from. Hone in on relevant information by doing some email campaign testing, or ask your audience to make selections on the type and frequency of emails through your email marketing system. Diligently protect this communication tool for only the most urgent, relevant communications, and utilize other tools (social media, blogs, internal portals) to distribute everyday updates. By doing so, you’re doing some of the filtering for your travelers, and are almost guaranteed an uptick in open rates.
- Let technology lend a hand. Do you have a recurring list of commonly asked questions? Utilize “canned response” email templates to easily, quickly, and thoroughly answer them… and then point your audience in the right direction for more information. This will help ease your daily email overload as well as remind your audience about where to find additional resources. On the social media front, there are several scheduling tools that can help organize posts throughout the week. And if you find you’re better talking through a blog post, or find it faster than typing, check out dictation tools that can convert your spoken word into text (it takes some getting used to, but can be a lifesaver). This is an area that is always changing and growing, so keeping up to date on advancements and continually learning is key.
- Craft a message that sticks. I completely understand that communicating travel policy can be a drag… but it doesn’t have to be! Maybe you are naturally a charismatic, energetic, hilarious individual, and if you are, my hat is off to you. For the rest of us, however, cracking jokes that make you the life of new employee orientation may not be in your comfort zone – and that’s ok! Tell a story, share a funny video or image, or lean on other resources, or people, at your disposal to help you communicate your message and make it resonate.
- Think about medium. Video, audio, images or text? We recommend a strategy that combines all four. Do some initial testing to see what resonates with your audience, then utilize the results to drive your content creation moving forward. Continual testing is key in crafting an effective, agile communication roadmap that can remain relevant as inevitable changes occur over time.
And there you have it – we hope you’ve enjoyed some of our best practices to communicate with your target audience, whether that be travelers, new hires, executives or others. Are there any other tactics you’ve found effective? We want to hear about them! Please send us a message or comment below or via our social media channels.
By Katharine Williams, SVP, Dots & Lines
Katharine will at the IntelliCon DC, 9 November doing an Ask Me About session focused on how you can best communicate with millennials.
This article originally appeared in the GoldSpring Insights, the bi-monthly email newsletter of GoldSpring Consulting. To learn more or sign up, please click here.