Christmas Cracker: 12 Digital Communication Insights from 2011

by Joe Pelissier on December 16, 2011

2 Christmas CrackersThe week before Christmas is a good time to think about the things you’ve learned over the past 12 months in relation to your own business.

Who knows, they may even have an impact on any strategic resolutions, you plan to make.

However, for some of you, the clarity of them might be influenced by the quality and quantity of mulled wine and other pre-Christmas tipples…

In the field of digital communication, here’s a Christmas Cracker of my top 12 (in no particular order of priority):

1. Headlines are undervalued and misunderstood

Whether you are writing an online piece of copy, sending out a newsletter or an email, the Headline or Subject Line requires much more of your attention than you think.

It’s 80% of the battle when trying to cut through the clutter and get your reader’s attention.  Most headlines are too short, unspecific and try to be too clever.  The good news is that there are proven headline formulas you can apply.

2. eMail Customer Service is increasingly important

As we buy more and more online products, good communication via digital media is essential.  This means having eMail Customer Service teams who can write well and who understand the digital mindset of their customers. Twitter and Facebook are all part of the Customer Service mix.

3. Web designers are still woefully ill-informed about the psychology of digital communication

An old bug-bear of mine but I see little evidence of designers organising visual communications in the knowledge of how people read and process digital information. Make sure you work with designers who know what works and why.

4. The more time spent online the greater the need for concision

Digital readers now expect you to convey your message in a concise and informative way.  This is true whether they are reading web-text or an email. It’s also influenced by the desire to read on an iPhone or Android device. Short sentences and words with a low syllable count are the mantra for 2012.

5. More and more communication is in ‘real-time’

With so many communication channels to play with they need feeding.  ‘Real-time’ is about what’s happening right now so that there’s a continuous communication pulse. (I’m not too hot at real-time myself but I advise those with established communication teams to develop the habit.)

6.  The Power of the Digital Value Point

Companies that sell via their shops, website and call centre (telephone) have what I call a Digital Value Point (DVP). This is where the three services overlap.  If you can master the DVP communications you have a very lucrative business. e.g. Louis Vuitton.

7. Social Media Strategy is influenced by temperament

The likelihood is that you are either someone who likes to Tweet and use Facebook/Linkedin, or you are not.

If you are not temperamentally suited to it, don’t do it just because you feel you should. Outsource it to an agency with a track record in delivering what’s called Community Engagement.

8. Master the use of Design Text

Very simply, this means learning how to use bold, CAPS, the : and ( )s and any other little symbol that can help your text STAND OUT. It’s increasingly important with TWITTER.

9. No Brand Values = Wooly Communication

It’s revealing to see how unclear companies are about their brand values. Do you know what yours are?  If you do, they they will have a direct impact on the way you write and the words you use.

10. Discover your Tribal Words

All businesses are part of a tribe. Your customers, colleagues and peers feel comfortable when you use the same language. Discover the words that are pertinent to your business or sector and use them.

11. Online videos are too long

Online videos work best if they are only 30 seconds.  Your users are not temperamentally wired to view a video for 2 – 3 minutes. They want you to inform, involve and inspire them as quickly as possible.

12. Offline and Online Personas

As online experiences change the way we neurologically think, your customers (and you) have both an offline and online persona. Design, develop and distribute your communication strategy with this in mind. One approach does not fit all.

Which of these ‘crackers’ resonate with you?

There’s probably at least three.

Find out which they are and think about how they might influence they way you communicate in 2012.

What have YOU learned this year?

Please let me know so I can then add them to the list.

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