Benefits and Strategies of Relationship Marketing for Small Business
From aggressive sales techniques to short-term transactions, modern marketing ideas have thoroughly shifted to a whole new dimension – that is creating brand resonance and building long-term relationships with customers. When it comes to modern relationship marketing, customers are everything – they are the determiner of your enterprise's success and so they are by all means the be-all and end-all.
However, building a good relationship with your customers is something that requires some techniques and your dedication as well. Fortunately, with the advancement of technologies and with the modern relationship marketing strategies, you can make it through much easily by deploying them(technologies and strategies) as a go-between you and your customers to build up a sound relationship.
Today we will be looking at how you can become an effective relationship marketer for your small business enterprise applying some simple tips and tricks. Before that let's have a look at some ideas about what relationship marketing is and why it is the bare minimum for your enterprise.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship Marketing is to put the customers at the center of your marketing strategies by spurring on the concept of customer loyalty to mold brand ambassadors who will do the word of mouth marketing. Simply put, Relationship Marketing refers to the process of brand awareness by building a long-term relationship with the customers using the concerned customers' data and their feedback.
Usually, corporations that strive for improving customer relationship marketing adheres to the emotional brand promotion to increase customer lifetime value. The new era of digital marketing creates a more dynamic field for all sorts of businesses to succeed in the journey of relationship marketing.
Why is Customer Relationship Marketing important for your small business?
Here are some reasons why customer relationship marketing is important:
Getting innovative ideas from your customers
A few organizations like Starbucks through MyStarbucksIdea.com gives their customers opportunity to provide ideas. This way, customers can share, vote and discuss each other's ideas. Customers feel honored to help you and you can have innovative ideas for almost free of cost.
This is really a pretty win-win situation for both you and your customers. There are many other ways organizations can invite consumers to share ideas and insights though.
Evangelists (word of mouth referrals)
If you have satisfied customers, you will get the luxury of enjoying free advertisements! Referral advertisements occur when a satisfied customer of yours feel special and so he/she refers your product to another person to buy your product.
Providing with the proper value proposition and consistent communication, you can build a sound relationship with your customer and eventually make referrals.
Getting feedback from your customers
As we mentioned, customers love to add value when they have a good rapport with your brand. Satisfied customers when they are in ‘wow' moments will help you with their valuable feedback regarding your product. These suggestions, in turn, help you to improve your products/services/customer experience.
Being known, liked and trusted by your customers
Will you buy something from the internet if you don't know or have little idea about the vendor? Will you hire a coach or consultant that you have never worked with or heard of? Chances are high that the answers to these questions will be a big ‘No'.
This is why promotion of your brand to your target customers is not everything. You will also have to present your brand in such a way that compels them to like and trust your brand. In order to achieve these, you have to build a solid relationship with your potential customers coupled with existing customers.
Luckily, you have a whole array of options to uphold your brand to your intended customers so that they get to know and trust your brand yet with the minimal amount of efforts.
Relationship marketing strategies for your small business
Here are a few relationship marketing strategies you can consider for your enterprise:
Know your target customers first
To ensure better engagement with your business, consider spontaneous recognition and delighting of your customers in unexpected ways. For all this, you have got to know your customer first. When you get to know your customer base, reach them with various offline and online methods.
Online targeting platforms like Facebook, Google AdWords, Twitter, Perfect Audience are so useful that you can target your customer base based on their demographics such as age, marital status, gender, country, state, city etc to suit their needs.
Listen to customers and respond
The thing that strengthens customer loyalty most is when we listen and respond to customers’ feedback and requests. Use social media monitoring tools to reply to comments and complaints and address customers’ concerns.
Customers want brands to inform them how they plan to use their feedback, what changes it inspired etc. You can use survey forms or emails to take feedbacks from your customers.
Reading Material: How to Create Online Survey Forms in WordPress
Educate customers with free information with relevant content
If you are on the thought of hard sell (or buy, buy, buy) approach then you are on the wrong track. Take the focus away from the dollar signs attached to your products and services, and focus on building a personal relationship by providing priceless information that really matters to them.
Choose topics and interests that your customers have and then create content on those topics and publish them on your blog so that it adds value to your customers. You can create informational videos on products related to your niche, send newsletters that highlight individual customers and share their stories.
Reading Material: How weDevs is Doing Content Marketing and Reshaping Strategy
Uncanny loyalty rewards
It's no secret that loyalty programs are how much important to help retain customers, increase growth, and enhance brand reputation. If you are yet to weave a loyalty program into your relationship marketing strategy, you are probably missing out one of the easiest and best techniques to scale up your enterprise's reputation among your customers.
Another thing is that loyalty programs are paradoxically not that expensive at all. Any business organization can offer perks and rewards but note that whenever you are arranging a loyalty program give people stuff they really love and surprise with it in completely different ways.
Stay top of the customer's minds with communication
A relationship is nothing but communication, so make sure you communicate with customers often via social media, email, messages, etc. Just be sure the communication provides value to customers and does not become intrusive or too frequent.
Try to send newsletters consistently to retain recipient traction. According to Aladdin Happy, a newsletter can be sent once a week for optimal frequency (Source: Growth Hacking Plans Framework, page:80).
Anything more than or infrequent sending of newsletter might seem irritating to the recipients.
Reading Material: How to Create Easy Customer Interaction with WP ERP
Build relationships with complementary industries
You can take a proactive approach to sort out your suppliers and businesses that are offering products complementary to your products. Who knows that you can get referrals back to your business from them.
Examples of such relationship building with suppliers and businesses include graphics designers suggest web designers and vice versa. This referral relationship can also be called a business-to-business relationship.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep
Attaching a date to your release may create an expectation in your customers' mind and failing to meet it might arise a lot of dissatisfaction. Never create an illusion of something that your product doesn't offer at all. But, instead, try to promise less but surprise your customers with astonishing features. This way you can win the heart of your customers.
Make sure your active online presence
Marketing through media like newspapers, radio, television, billboards have become outdated and less popular than online channels these days. Therefore, consider marketing through online channels like YouTube, Pinterest, Slideshares, Facebook, Twitter etc. which are the most popular form of online marketing. These are the channels that will keep you and your customers on the same page.
Reading Material: Growth Hacks To Evolve Your Startups Using Social Media
Provide with helpful recommendations
TARP Worldwide has discovered that most of the customers show a high zeal for consistent services and recommending products they need. Your customer may erroneously choose a product that may not be fully appropriate for him. If you have a better alternative solution to the current plan your customer using then, recommend him/her notifying with e-mails personally.
Over to you
Customers require a lot of attention of yours, not just warm and fuzzies that you may want to ignite in them! Keep profit-making approach secondary but instead, focus on building a sound relationship with your customers. Trust us, the former will come automatically if you can gain the latter.
Most if not all modern enterprise owners are trying to improve their customer relationship marketing with their heart and soul. However, you will be surprised to know that a few enterprise owners are using automated Customer Resource Management tool (also known as CRM tool) to improve their relationship with customers.
With the help of a CRM, you will be able to record all of the customer entries along with their details. You can automatically send them emails, newsletters or anything you want to ensure a better customer relationship management. Now that you know all the secrets, it's up to you whether you grab this opportunity to make the operation of your customer relationship marketing even better and easier with an effective CRM tool.