“Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard – Mollie Beck
In today’s digitally dominated world, you can connect with anyone at the ease of a click, however, a connection is not a relationship. Maintaining customer relationships and increasing customer retention are an uphill battle. Building relationships requires commitment, nurturing, and time. So, to create strong, emotional customer relationships, it’s not only crucial to keep your customers at the front and center but also go beyond transactional relationships. That’s where relationship marketing comes in – a type of marketing that focuses on customer retention, satisfaction, and long-term customer value.
In this blog post, we’ll take a deeper dive into what relationship marketing is, why building solid customer relationships are crucial in the modern world, and actionable strategies to help you get started with relationship marketing.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on nurturing a long-lasting relationship with your customers. A relationship marketing strategy doesn’t prioritize short-term wins or sales transactions. Rather, it is focused on delighting and engaging customers with personalized communication in the long run.
Benefits of Relationship Marketing
With relationship marketing, you can retain most of the leads you convert into customers. So, not only can you generate consistent income from a loyal customer base but can also win more customers for your business through word-of-mouth. This is just one of the benefits relationship marketing can offer. Here is a quick look at the other benefits of relationship marketing:
1. Personal Connections: When you run a business, you need to listen to people’s challenges. And when you listen to your customers’ needs and offer tailored solutions, you build solid connections with them.
Today, customers want:
- To receive prompt support
- To have their problems and challenges addressed
- To receive regular personalized communication
Addressing customers’ challenges in a personalized way can help develop strong relationships and result in repeat business.
2. Consistent Customer Experience: If you want to offer your customers an exceptional experience, you need to focus on delivering consistent experiences across channels. Why? Because consistency enables you to build a strong brand image. It is a crucial part of any customer experience strategy that should be a top priority for every brand that wishes to blaze ahead of the competition.
3. Word of Mouth: 92%[i] of the consumers trust the opinions of friends and family members more than any form of advertising. If you get customers to like your brand enough to recommend it to others, you’ve just found a brand advocate or a marketer!
What are the Different Levels of Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing has five levels where every level has a different stage in the marketing journey. Let’s take a look at these levels for a better understanding of the concept:
- Basic Marketing: It is the first step in relationship marketing that includes acquiring customers by leading them throughout the sales journey.
- Reactive Marketing: Reactive marketing includes encouraging the customers to provide feedback after the purchase. In this phase, you begin with efforts to form a relationship with the customer. Here you respond and interact with customers when the situation or opportunity appears.
- Accountable Marketing: Accountable marketing expects to see a result and return on every piece of marketing communication. Here, the organization’s representatives contact the customers to ensure that the products and services provided to them meet their needs and expectations. It offers a great opportunity to gather feedback and improve future customer experience.
- Proactive Marketing: This level involves being agile and incorporating consistent efforts to enhance relationships with the customers and provide better products and services. After taking feedback from customers, organizations can work on it to provide the best possible experience and establish a good relationship with them.
- Partnership Marketing: The last level of relationship marketing involves tailoring products and services according to the needs of the customers to build long-lasting relationships and drive sustainable growth.
How to Implement Relationship Marketing Strategy into Your Business
Now that you’re clear with what relationship marketing is and the benefits it brings to the table, let’s deep-dive into the ways to incorporate a relationship marketing strategy into your business. Here are five ways with which you can generate brand loyalty among your customers leveraging relationship marketing:
1. Offer Personalized and Customer-Oriented Service: When you are curating a relationship marketing strategy, your focus should always be on customers. Ask yourself the following questions while creating a customer relationship strategy:
- Is your product or service tailored to your customers’ needs?
- Are you using customers’ feedback to set customer service goals?
- Does your product solve the challenges of your customers?
Additionally, it is crucial that you create a dedicated channel for direct support when your customers need help.
2. Engage with Your Customers Where They Are: Engaging with your customers should be more than just a mass email blast. Creating platform-specific content will help you engage with a diverse group of demographics on different platforms.
Do your research to find out which platforms are most popular for your ideal customer demographics. By engaging them on their preferred channels, you can show a level of convenience and understanding that will motivate your customers to engage with your brand.
3. Go Above and Beyond Expectations: The key to healthy customer relationships and satisfaction is to always strive to exceed expectations. Offering your customers more than they expect will amaze and delight them. It’s an effective way to ensure not only that they keep coming back but also that they will spread good words about your brand.
When you consistently listen to your customers, address their problems, you will stand out from your competitors and make a lasting impression.
4. Offer Loyalty Programs that Go Beyond Earning Points: To cultivate a long-lasting relationship with your customers, continue engaging with them using loyalty or incentive programs after they have purchased a product. For instance, back in 2014, Lenovo bought IBM’s X86 server division. However, Lenovo’s former business partners were not sure how to go about selling the same server.
But Lenovo was determined not to lose their business partnership. So, they educated their partners and helped them learn how to make money through servers. Lenovo’s loyalty program highlights how focusing on your existing customers can help you build a pool of loyal customers.
5. Get Regular Customer Feedback: To truly develop a meaningful connection and show customers you value their opinions, you must ask them for feedback. Customer feedback is a goldmine to delight them, manage relationships with them, and keep them loyal to your brand.
Delve into what they like about your product or services. What could be the areas of improvement? What do they want your next blog post/newsletter to be about? This feedback can help you to enhance your relationship marketing strategy to best fit the interests of your targeted audience.
The Bottom Line
In the modern business world, the importance of developing strong customer relationships grows more than ever. Customers are keen to share their opinions, whether positive or negative and have myriad channels to do so. It’s the nature of the relationship you develop with your customers and how you go about developing it that can really make a difference.
Want to take your relationship marketing strategy to the next level? Talk to us!
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