PART I: A Framework For Creating Digital Engagement

Are you an early stage startup, or in the pre-startup phase? If so, creating a communications strategy to connect with your audience(s) in those early days can be critically important to success later. To that end, you’ll want to create tactical plans to not only stay in front of those audiences, but give them a reason to believe and become your earliest fans. However, before you try to build an opt-in or sign-up experience, you’ll need to understand who you are talking to, and how you can create content that creates a meaningful connection point. Today we present a framework that can be used to define your audience, and identify elements about your brand and culture that can inform your communications strategy.

High-Level Questions To Think About

Who are the various constituents that will be critical to your future success? e.g. customers, partners, vendors, investors, key influencers, etc. Chances are you have multiple audiences, and some, like investors, may be more critical than potential customers in the earliest stages.

  • What is important to each audience type you may have, and how can you help serve their specific needs or desires? What an investor may want to hear is likely very different from a potential customer.
  • What messaging or content can you create that will appeal to your audience(s)?
  • What type of information/data would you most like to know about your audience(s)? Furthermore, what data is a “need to know” versus a “nice to have”?

Most people form an initial impression of a brand within seconds/milliseconds of seeing it for the first time. What would you prioritize as being the most important thing for them to “get” about what you are doing?

  • What general attributes (e.g. trust, innovation) do you most want people to associate with you right away? There may be several, but identifying what is most important is key.
  • Is your product or service difficult to grasp, or would a single visual or phrase be enough to understand what you do quickly?
  • Are there others with the same (or similar) offering to you that you want to separate yourself from?

What type of culture do you hope to build as your venture takes flight? e.g. highly analytical and numbers-based, or a more visionary approach driven by instincts and gut. While Brand is more external, this is more about what type of organization you are, or plan to be, on the inside.

  • What core belief(s) will guide everything you intend to do?
  • What would a continuous testing structure look like in your world? 
  • While a consistent culture is important overall, how might you tailor your cultural strengths to the various audience(s) you need to be successful?

Next week in Part II of this series, we’ll go into specific recommendations and tactics you should consider when building an opt-in or sign-up experience for your users.