Attracting a new customer, making a convincing sales pitch and facilitating sales can be really expensive and time consuming and can take up to 5 times more effort, expense and time than it takes to retain an existing one. It is no denying the fact that customer retention drives profit and retaining your customer base is vital for your business. If you don’t provide reasons for your customers to stay, your competitors would offer them a reason to leave. So, how can you retain your customers and build relationships with them? It can be done through relationship marketing.
As the word itself suggests, relationship marketing is a facet of customer relationship management focusing on building strong and lifelong relationships with your customers. It emphasizes more on customer retention and satisfaction and facilitates two-way meaningful conversation beyond sales promotions and advertisements.
Relationship marketing has taken a central stage in the marketing strategy due to a confluence of factors from advancement in communication technologies, advent of social media and the transition of service based economies. These trends have played important roles in enhancing the salience of ‘relationship-based loyalty’.
Relationship marketing stands in contrast and is different from other form of traditional marketing as it is rational in nature instead of being transactional. It represent a paradigm shift within the marketing division with lesser stress on acquisition transaction and more stress on building relationship. Relationship marketing focuses on providing an overall brand experience for your customers and doesn’t just focuses on making sales. Relationship marketing aims to create strong connection with customers that could lead to ongoing business, reference and word of mouth promotion. Relationship marketing goal is to create and increase brand loyalty. Relationship marketing is a cross-functional marketing involving all aspects of an organization. Some of the benefits that a relationship marketing offers are:
- Retention of long term customers.
- Increases the likelihood of Word of mouth promotions
- It also help create more opportunities for referrals.
- Offers good avenue for feedback
- Provides competitive advantage.
Check out some of the best tips for creating a robust relationship marketing to enhance your business.
- Get To Know Your Customers
The first thing which you need to do is to get to know your audience base. What kind of people are they? From what social strata they come from? How old are they and where do they live? What brought them to your business? Get to know these information without being intrusive and utilize these information to offer a personalized services and to develop relationship marketing strategies.
- Make it About Them
Instead of making it about your services or products, focus on how you can benefit your customers. Be attentive, offer great and personalized service and make them feel like they are your most important customers. Even if you don’t have face to face interaction, you can still make your customers feel happy by being attentive to their needs and by being empathetic to them over calls or emails. Find ways to offer value to your customers (as defined by them).
- Don’t Have the ‘Selling’ Attitude?
Relationship marketing is similar to gardening. You do it because you love it and not because you some specific outcomes. Obviously the end result is important but the process is more important. Building meaningful relationship can be done only when you don’t worry about ‘selling’ to them. Know your customers, their priorities and then offer solutions to the problems instead of ‘pitching’ your products and services.
- Engage with Your Consumers on a Continual Basis
Go where your customers are! Know where they hang out and become part of their conversations without being intrusive. Have meaningful communication with your customers and not just pertaining to business.
- Deliver on the Promise
If you have made a certain promise, ensure that you deliver on it even if you have to go an extra mile. Always try to outdo and over deliver as it is a sure shot way to win the hearts of your customers. Never make false claim and never promise something you cannot follow through.
- Treat Customers as Individuals
Instead of treating your consumers in collective and sending mass emails, have personalized relationship with them. Address them with their names and treat them with respect. Offer specials and wish them on their special days like birthdays. Remember their preference and keep them apprised on the latest trends and developments in your niche industry. In short, offer them useful information.
- Nurture the Relationship
Nothing strengthens a bond more than appreciation. Thanking customers for sticking to your brand will go a long way to make them know they are important. Introducing a loyalty program is also a very effective relationship marketing strategy.
Building relationships take time. Make your customers feel like a part of your company and work on to create long lasting relationships.