Most business leaders recognize the need for a marketing strategy, a content strategy, and a digital strategy, but only the most cutting-edge companies have developed a connection strategy. Once a nice-to-have, a connection strategy is now a need-to-have that all businesses will want to include in their yearly planning. Here’s what a connection strategy can do for your business and why you should have one.
What Is a Connection Strategy?
A connection strategy is a plan for how your business is going to stay connected throughout the year with one or more people or groups. The specifics of the strategy are tailored to your goals and who you need to stay connected with: customers, prospective customers, donors, members, employees, partners, or investors. A good connection strategy includes different kinds of touchpoints throughout the year based on what is both possible and likely given known conditions. The strategy also incorporates flexibility so that if conditions change, you don’t become disconnected. Lastly, a connection strategy is designed to keep a pace that works well for your audiences.
A Connection Strategy Helps Keep You Top-of-Mind with Clients and Prospects
When clients or prospects have a pressing need, they’re most likely going to contact the most top-of-mind solution first. If a friend were to ask you for a dentist recommendation, are you more likely to (a) think of five dentists you’ve seen in your life and review the merits of each before sending a recommendation, or (b) provide the name of the last good dentist you saw? Most people would choose (b). This is why it’s important for you to be top-of-mind: because it creates an opportunity for you to be the solution.
A Connection Strategy Means You Can Miss an Event without Missing an Opportunity
Two years ago, your schedule was probably full of in-person events that allowed you to have a lot of cursory interactions with a lot of people. Imagine a corporate luncheon you went to in 2019. Try to count the number of people you engaged with on any level, from briefly introducing yourself to a more in-depth discussion. You may have given out business cards, scheduled future coffees or lunches, or made an inroad on a lead. Through small talk with different people, you probably also gained information about what your colleagues and competitors were doing and where your business might face opportunities or challenges.
Now imagine trying to accomplish that with the same number of people but without the event. If you can’t figure out a way to do it, you’ll lose the potential business and the market intelligence. That’s where a connection strategy comes in. Multiple means of interaction are designed over a period of time, so if you don’t attend this month’s Golf Classic (or your client Bill doesn’t), you don’t miss the single interaction with Bill you would have had all year.
A Connection Strategy Reinforces Employee Engagement, Especially for Remote Employees
In organizations with remote employees (whether temporarily or permanently), it’s important to help everyone feel connected with each other and invested in the company. A connection strategy is not the same thing as a virtual time tracker or a project management tool, and companies who try to use these kinds of office management tools to energize employees usually experience high turnover. Instead, a connection strategy focuses on the events, interactions, and touchpoints that will create meaning for your specific employees. If you’re thinking, “But I don’t know what my employees want,” you most definitely need a connection strategy.
A Connection Strategy Can Help Keep You and Your Team Healthy
It seems logical that more human connection would make us happier, but the link between human interaction and a better quality of life is also a conclusion rooted in science. The Harvard Study of Adult Development has shown that “our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.” A connection strategy provides a powerful way for your and your team to improve their mental and physical health while also creating business opportunities – talk about a win-win!
Developing a Connection Strategy
Just like any other kind of strategy, a good connection strategy requires deep insight into the needs, goals, and capacities of an organization. After all, creating a connection strategy that no one on your team can maintain won’t yield great results. Engaging an external partner can often bring valuable insights and approaches without adding to your current workload.