How much money do you spend on acquiring each new customer? It’s a risk, right?

How much better would it be if you could sell more to people you’ve already managed to convince in the past?

This is where relationship marketing comes in. It’s a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty and trust, interaction and long-term engagement.

In this article, we’ll explain what is the purpose of relationship marketing and how to implement it in your business strategy.  We’ll cover the following four topics:

  1. Why Relationship Marketing Matters
  2. Becoming a Brand People Love
  3. Rewarding Loyalty
  4. Keeping the Conversation Going

Ready to ace your relationship marketing? Let’s start.

1. What Is Relationship Marketing (and Why Bother)?

Attracting new customers is the area of business that companies tend to spend the most time, energy and money on. It’s not exactly difficult to see why; without anyone to sell to, you don’t have much of a business! You, Sir, need a relationship marketing strategy.

What if we told you that by improving your customer retention rate by just 2%, you could cut your costs by an impressive 10%? Or that it costs you five times as much to bring in each new customer than it does to retain an existing one?

Your existing customers are, potentially, much more profitable than any new ones you might bring in and yet many companies forget all about them. This is such a wasted opportunity. Relationship Marketing is, as the name suggests, all about correcting that oversight by building on the connections you’ve already made – marketing to people you’ve sold to before. Get it right, and it will do wonders for your business growth.

2. Becoming a Brand That People Love

Relationship marketing doesn’t mean constantly harassing people to buy. It means cultivating a genuine relationship based on loyalty to and affinity with your brand.

The first thing to consider in your relationship marketing strategy is that people don’t form relationships with faceless corporations. They form relationships with people – with personalities. That means you need to a) figure out which people in your team you’ll centre that relationship around, and/or b) develop a clear persona for your company.

Developing a persona means having a voice, a style, a way of communicating. It means establishing clear values and policies that dictate how you interact with your customer base, and it means talking to them like a human being. For example, it encompasses both your attitude to customer care support – how quickly you respond to calls, Facebook messages etc – and the kind of language you use when you do.

Just as importantly, it means having a two-way conversation. In relationship marketing, you aren’t just firing out information at people, you’re inviting them to engage and interact with what you have to say. That means you need to listen, respond, and generally demonstrate that you care about what they say, too.

3. Getting People On Side

A particularly effective way to win over your customer base is to give them stuff for free. This shows that you’re not all about the sell, sell, sell… that you really do care about building a bond. After all, isn’t relationship marketing precisely that? 

For example, why not offer your loyal customers early bird access to new services or products? Give them free add-ons to thank them for their loyalty? Exclusive offers and deals?

And why not show that the relationship matters to you long after money has changed hands by checking in to see how they’re getting on with their purchase, or by providing free how-to guides, tutorials, or tips & tricks?

Investing in these kinds of retention and relationship-deepening methods costs you far, far less than bringing on new customers while bringing you far more value in the long run.

4. Stay In Touch (and Top of Mind)

It’s much easier to build a relationship with someone if you hang out where they hang out. Online, that means communicating with people via social media and email. After all, communication is key; especially in relationship marketing.

Email your existing customer base on a regular basis to make sure you remain a feature in their world. Again, focus on offering value and freebies, being friendly and approachable, and avoiding the hard sell.

When it comes to social media, again the idea is to be engaging and available to your audience, rather than to push your products. First and foremost, people follow companies on, say, Facebook or Twitter because they want something from them (discounts, free stuff, tips and resources, news about early releases and limited runs, and so on), because they have a question they want to be answered, or because they want to voice their own opinions and have these dealt with. Make these your starting point.

Ultimately, the big secret to relationship marketing is this: make sure you focus on what you’re providing, not what you’re getting out of it! Keep investing in your relationships, and before you know it, you’ll be reaping the rewards.

If you want to learn more digital tips and tricks – not only about relationship marketing – make sure you’re keeping an eye on our blog.

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