Retaining the trust of your customers is vital to any business. After all, your aim should be to create happy and loyal customers that keep coming back for more. Hence, you should consider relationship marketing to be a valuable tool in your arsenal. The key to making it work is to establish ongoing communication with them to feel like their needs always come first.
But before we delve into the issue some more, let’s cover the basics first.
What Is Relationship Marketing and How Does It Work?
The core idea of relationship marketing is to portray your business in a positive light and build trust. Of course, you’re going to need an existing customer base to make this work. But once you do, you’ll have everything you need to get to know them more. Your objective is to focus on their needs, goals, and whatever challenges they may be facing and provide a solution.
Apart from providing a great service and building trust, you’ll also gain valuable insights into your market. This is what will allow you to brush up on your offerings even more in the future as you make them even more laser-focused on your target audience.
All of this may sound overwhelming, but it’s rather straightforward with the help of CRM software. Without it, you’d have to remember every client’s needs individually (you can see how quickly this would go beyond the capacity of human memory).
Benefits of Relationship Marketing
In case you’re not quite convinced that relationship marketing is going to be worth your while, let’s quickly go over the benefits:
– Sustainability. Remember that one of the goals is to nurture existing customer relationships, right? This means you’re aiming for the long term. Don’t think only in terms of the customers you’re serving right now, but also in terms of how this is going to affect your word-of-mouth marketing and stack it in your favor.
– Cost-effectiveness. You may not have thought about what you’re doing in the terms that we’re using, but the chances are that relationship marketing is already part of your business activities. However, you may not have had the chance to develop the right strategic approach and system, the purpose of which is to ensure that your time is being spent in an optimal way.
– Increases the lifetime value of your customers. Last but not least, relationship marketing creates loyal customers, thus increasing your customers lifetime value. In a typical scenario, you’d have to spend money on advertising to get new customers through the door, but with relationship marketing, you’re working with what you already have, so no additional costs there.
What Are The Best Practices?
When executing the strategy, there are some important points to keep in mind:
– Focus on their needs rather than delivering your sales pitch. Get to know what’s bothering them and find ways you can help. You can also use what you know about them to personalize your campaigns. For instance, why not send out a coupon on their birthday that expires within a month?
– Incentivize loyalty. The aim is to get repeat business, but also to give something of value. An example is to create a loyalty program that incentivize your customers to spend more money on your products and services as they accumulate points they can spend on freebies and extra discounts.
– Personalize everything. The way you address them, call them by their first name, and ask if they’ve resolved what was bugging them, etc. This will show that you’re thinking about them and that you care.
– Polish up on your customer service. Instruct your team to apply what you’ve learned today and see to it that it gets put to a good use. For instance, let’s say your customer has ordered the wrong shoe size. Promptly remedy the issue and offer expedited shipping and a discount for a future purchase.
– Use a CRM tool. This lets you systematize everything so you’ll always stay on top of what’s going on in the fulfillment process. It’s a one-time investment, but it will definitely pay off down the road.
– Understand that relationship marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. As you grow the knowledge of your customers over time, so will your sales. You could, of course, delegate this task to another employee or outsource it.
– Find ways to customize your offerings. For instance, if you’re selling hosting plans and have an SEO-aware customer, advise them on the best packages regarding speed, uptime, and reliability. Ask them what kind of platform they’re using. Offer to set it up for them free of charge and get your creative juices flowing!
While relationship marketing does take time, keep in mind it’s the only resource it requires – you will not spend any extra money since you’ll be working with your existing customer base. Commit to using the best industry practices and you’ll create long-lasting customer relationships that will keep bringing in the bacon for years down the road.