Check out these no-budget tools, from Angela Sinickas
Now there’s no excuse for failing to measure the effectiveness of your communications.
Even if you don’t have a dime to spend, there are tools you can use to establish how successful your campaigns were at delivering bottom-line benefits to your organization.
Measurement eases the approval process
There’s nothing like measurement to transform a communicator from an order taker (“Would you like fries with that brochure, sir?”) into a consultant. Once you start documenting the benefits your communications are delivering to your organization’s bottom line, it’s amazing how your reviewers will stop worrying about whether you’re running the headlines in blue or black.
But about a third of communicators have no budget for conducting measurement, says Angela Sinickas, ABC, IABC Fellow, and president of Sinickas Communications.
“But lack of budget shouldn’t be a barrier,” writes this diva of diagnostics. “Many ways to measure cost nothing, or may even save you money.”
Find existing research
Start by gathering all the communication-related measures that already exist in your organization — employee opinion surveys, customer satisfaction research and the like.
“Ask IT what metrics they’re tracking about email, websites or use of new social media tools,” Sinickas suggest. “Ask operational and staff departments for any metrics they track on an ongoing basis that would show the success of your communication campaigns for them.
“For example, did your safe-driving communications reduce the number of accidents? Did your HR communications encourage more employees to choose a particular benefit option? How many of the leads you generated at an exhibit booth turned into new sales?”
Use these free tools
Then add these free tools to the mix, Sinickas suggests:
- Ask for a show of hands at an “all-hands” meeting to measure how well your audience understands a topic before and after the speakers cover it.
- Use Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics to measure how well your audience is likely to understand your topic. (Sinickas herself used this tool to measure the effectiveness of her Gold Quill Award-winning dashboard articles.)
- Use Microsoft Word’s Word Count to quantify how much content you’ve distributed about a topic.
- Use SurveyMonkey, a free online service, to conduct simple studies of your audience members.
- Piggyback on existing surveys. Add a few questions to formal surveys your organization already conducts. Find out whether participants were exposed to your messages at meetings or via other communication vehicles. Then use those details to filter other questions. You’ll learn whether those who, say, attended the town hall meeting answer relevant survey questions more positively.
- Conduct a pilot in only some locations to measure the outcomes of communication. Track the results in the locations with the communication versus those without it. “Conducting a pilot actually costs less than rolling out a campaign in all locations,” Sinickas says. So this one will actually save you money.
No budget? You can still use these tools to measure the success your communication efforts.
Sources: Angela Sinickas, “Keeping score: making performance data more compelling,” (PDF) Strategic Communication Management, June/July 2007
Angela Sinickas, “Making communication performance data more compelling – Part 2,” (PDF) Strategic Communication Management, June/July 2007
Angela Sinickas, “3 ways to measure a speech,” Ragan.com, Dec. 1, 2010