Today’s consumer-driven society is full of people who want what they want when they expect it – which usually means right now. Given the innumerable choices at consumers fingertips, businesses have developed the infrastructure to meet this demand, too. For example, consumers look for the 1-day free shipping or even the 1-hour shipping, and they know where to look for it This is why it is crucial to build relationships with your customers, so they keep coming back to you! This is where relationship marketing comes into play.
Relationship marketing strategies are focused on creating customer loyalty and creating long-term relationships. The bonds you create with relationship marketing will lead to ongoing business, word-of-mouth promotion and lead generation from your current customers. If you think your business can benefit from this type of marketing strategy, keep reading to learn about some of the best practices for relationship marketing.
Get Feedback from Your Customers
You will always win when you listen to your customers. Gathering feedback from them and then heeding their suggestions will help build up a strong relationship with them.
Rather than sending an impersonal email or a printed letter, think about reaching out directly. People want to be heard. They want to be seen as a human and not just a number in your customer relationship management tool. . A personal touch can go a long way when you’re developing your relationship marketing strategy.
Any feedback you receive from your customers will give you valuable insight and will help you implement changes that they will appreciate. Remember to give them a small incentive and/or token of thanks for participating. Once again, appreciation goes a long way.
Create a Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs have been around for a long time. Their longevity can be attributed to the fact that they work. Showing your customers your appreciation by rewarding them with points or another type of bonus can endear your business to them for a long time.
When it comes to Loyalty Programs, here at The Expressory we have developed a special formula for giving, which helps us craft unique and meaningful programs for every one of our clients. No matter what type of loyalty program you develop, it must be meaningful to the customer in order to standout.
Because these programs often provide valuable customer data, it’s easy for businesses to lose sight of what’s important to the customer. The result of focusing on this data too much, is a program that lacks value for the customer.
Remember: Your goal is to create happy customers who look forward to doing business with you.
Use Social Media Outlets
Social media is the most popular of outlets for relationship marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are all great outlets for reaching out to your customers.You can promote your company in a place where your customers spend a lot of time, keeping your business top of mind. Remember to post plenty of helpful and relevant content, and invite your customers to follow you, so they have a chance to see everything that you post.
It should be noted that using social media as a form of relationship marketing can only go so far. At The Expressory, our stance is that social media is just the surface to relationship marketing and that there are better alternatives when building meaningful relationships for your customers.
Still, social media sites allow you to have a more relaxed and casual relationship with your customers, which will help you get to know their wants and needs on an additional level.. Just remember that social media is only digital, it doesn’t have the personal touch that a human can provide.
If a customer does reach out over social media, follow up with a non-traditional tactic like sending a hand-written note thanking them for their time and make them feel valued. This will help to not only reinforce your appreciation for the customer, but also help to promote your superb customer service.
Be Mindful of the Messages You Send and When You Send Them
People do not like to get correspondence that does not pertain to them. Sending messages to the wrong customers will not sit well with them. Carefully consider the messages you send and the people you think will benefit from them. Even if it takes a bit of work, it will pay off by keeping your customers happy. However, you cannot stop there.
You also must send your messages at the right time and through the right channels. Let’s say you’re trying to reach an executive over email, remember that this person likely receives150+ emails a day. You should probably be considering alternative messaging tactics. Why not send them something that will stand out, perhaps a physical handwritten card or package?
Personalize the In-Store Experience
Make the customer service experience inside your store one that is memorable. Consumers appreciate a positive customer service experience. When you go the extra mile, your customers will be more likely to come back.
To provide a superior in-store experience, keep in mind these simple guidelines:
1. Introduce yourself to customers and learn about them!
2. Keep track of customer information.
3. Ask your customers about their preferences.
4. Continually surprise and delight your customers with thoughtful and memorable experiences.
Keep in mind that memorable experiences can happen outside of the store and even after a purchase. This is the very basis to a relationship marketing strategy. Experiences (in and out of store) need to be carefully considered, planned, and evaluated regularly.
Create Memorable Moments with Your Customers
You can solidify your relationship with your customers the same way you solidify relationships with your friends: creating memorable moments together. Follow up with a handwritten note. Send a card just because you can, not because you feel obligated to. You can also host launch parties or other events. Use your business’ anniversary or another special occasion to throw a party and invite all your customers to celebrate with you.
Interested in getting your relationship marketing plan audited by a professional? Schedule your audit today.