- On this blog post, you'll learn:
- What is relationship marketing;
- Top benefits of the strategy for your business;
- Top programs ideas and tips.
Do you want more business opportunities for your company? Thinking about relationship marketing might be the solution. We'll explain: selling to a client is not enough anymore. For some time now customers are expecting the perfect service, usability and experience. Because of it, companies started to pay attention on (and created the term) User Experience, focused on offering the best tech solutions and making it easy for users to interact with systems. This "Customer First" mentality was expanded into Customer Experience, preoccupied with the overall purchasing experience.
The concept of Customer First is to pay attention to the needs and pain points of customers and leads, keeping them on mind when developing a product or building a sales argument. Customer First also has a marketing applicability: relationship marketing.
What is relationship marketing?
Relationship marketing is about relationships, of course. Here, the idea is not just getting new customers; is reaching the right public, the one that's able to perceive and extract the best out of your solution or product, reaching their goals and total satisfaction. And it goes beyond that, focusing on building and nurturing long-term relationships to increase loyalty and make clients loyal to your company.
We are talking about generating more business opportunities, and yes, we do want to improve the company's revenue and get a bigger number of clients. However, relationship marketing aims its attraction efforts on:
- Prospects with fit, those that are able to get results from and with your company;
- Identifying opportunities that can really benefit from that purchase;
- Creating connections and providing a good communication throughout the funnel;
- Keeping clients happy and engaged even after the sales cycle is over.
Bringing all of this into business language, universally understood by business people: many SaaS companies rely on a business model based on monthly subscriptions; others, that work with B2B services, depend on referral and relationship; and others that sell complex products require a different sales cycle, which is basically keeping direct contact with the decision-maker.
This means that a big percentage of the business' revenue will come from already existing clients, either it comes directly by recurrency or by referral programs. In sight of this, keeping clients happy is your best shot to making them stay with your company and creating new opportunities for growing.
One of the best things about relationship marketing is that it can help in different stages of the customer journey. From acquisition to retention, it's possible to reduce costs and increase ROI, and even increase conversions and engagement metrics.
I view relationship marketing as a brand’s ability to create an emotional connection with the consumer
Remember our blog post on customer experience? There, we talk about the importance of creating emotional bonds with clients and even use them as mental triggers on advertising. Well, customer experience has everything to do with your relationship marketing strategy. If you manage to acquire a prospect or client, you're halfway there.
Channels to do relationship marketing
The first step before creating an attractive relationship marketing strategy is to identify who are your targeted audiences and where they are. This is the only way to know their preferences and tastes, create personalized messages and truly cause an impact - big enough that will make them want to buy from you.
After all, customers are motivated to acquire products and services from companies that are able to generate some kind of emotional reaction, preferably one that involves values and beliefs. That's why you should stay loyal to your principles: if your company practices its core values and they are interesting to your audience, you'll attract the right customer much more easily.
1. Social Media
Social media is synonym of direct contact with the public and are great channels to build a trusting relationship. Other than offering an informal environment, they allow a much more efficient and fast communication, where it's possible to manage crisis, ask for and receive feedback, among other purposes.
Besides that, social media has different engagement rules. LinkedIn, for example, focuses on corporate topics and 1-on-1 contact (company head - lead). It's possible to attract a contact through content that solve some sort of issue or pain point and, from that, start up a conversation that results in a valuable relationship and sales.
On Facebook, companies can create a profile (and identity) for the company. Relationship marketing comes as a way to building up proximity between company and lead/client, instead of team-lead/client, as it happens on LinkedIn.
Twitter is much more "on the moment" and, even though it doesn't work the relationship unless it's used as a feedback and complaints channel, the main use for this social media is to make the company be seen. This way, people can see it on their timeline at different times, increasing the reach of your message.
In any case, they're all options to make relationship marketing and bringing prospect/lead and company closer together.
2. Email relationship
Email is one of the main communication tools between company and contact, and it is very useful to relationship marketing. That's the channel you'll want to use to generate new opportunities and talking to leads, nurture them and get the results you're expecting.
We have a bunch of content about email, check them out below:
- 50 best practices for email marketing automation
- Automated lead nurturing: convert leads, close deals, save time
- SaaS lead nurturing: best practices to convert users
Even though it's not a specific channel, thinking about mobile is essential to a good relationship marketing. Why? Well, people are spending more and more time on their phones. Students, mothers, CEOs, VPs of big industries: pretty much everybody spends hours a day on their phones and, by knowing how to deal with that, you can generate a lot of deals for your business.
But we're not referring only to social media strategies. It's important that every single content and point of communication is optimized to mobile, from website and blog to newsletter and rich content. If a lead opens up your page on their phone and is not successful, they probably won't come back another time on another device.
Remember about cross-channel! Yes, up until now we've talked about the importance of working with different fronts to build a relationship marketing strategy that work, but it's important to think that your leads will probably follow you on different channels. Forgetting this can cause a problem called brand fatigue, which ends up hurting your metrics and results. That's why it's so important tothink about how your posts and email launches will relate to each other.
4 benefits of relationship marketing
This is the age of consumption. Clients not only find more information but they also have more options. Relationship marketing comes as an option to stand out from competition and acquire (think captivate) the customer right from the start. Otherwise, there's always a risk of churn.
Now, customer experience is on first place, to guarantee that they'll be satisfied at each and every opportunity. We separated some benefits of working with relationship marketing. Check it out:
1. Segmented public with fit
Relationship marketing allows you to focus on clients that are much more aligned with your business, making it possible, through a number of relationship marketing strategies, to segment them and deliver exactly what they want and need. This way, the entire nurturing and opportunity identification process gets even better.
2. Sales funnel optimization
When you have segmented and better nurtured leads, the sales cycle is shortened automatically and there are fewer leads due to lack of fit. Besides, the conversion rate improves, generating a bigger number of new clients that have a real chance of staying with your company. This means…
3. Client retention
A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%
Retention is another great benefit of relationship marketing. When you work to build relations with clients, and are not just thinking about closing the deal, you start to encourage loyalty. This means that the chances of keeping them as clients for longer are bigger.
4. Better ROI
From the moment you focus on the right public and is able to retain your clients, a high ROI comes as part of the package, and that's excellent! Along come more revenue, more deals for the company and new investment opportunities!
As you can see, if investments are made to creating relations based on trust and credibility, your company will already be ahead of the competition. If you don't know where to start, we'll give a few valuable tips. Keep on reading!
Thinking about Relationship Marketing: options for your company
There are a few actions and programs that are interesting for the success of a relationship marketing strategy. Check out below:
Choose influencers and evangelists
You want to have brand advocates, right? Well, pick one or a few, among your success stories, to become spokesmen-clients for your brand. They'll always be ready to give you a testimony when needed, participate in presentations and events with you and show the value of your product of solution in the most honest way possible.
Special discounts and deals are always a good way to retaining clients and attracting new ones. Even though there are tens of strategies of relationship marketing, mouth-to-mouth advertising is still very powerful.
84% of consumers say that the recommendation of a friend or family member is their most trusted source when making a purchase decision
After all, once the prospect becomes a client, and if they are satisfied with the service/product and the experience, the next step is to recommend it to someone else. A referral program can include discounts or services, for example. See what the company can offer and start your own!
Affiliates are people or companies that get some sort of reward when they manage to make business for a third company. The upside here is that relationship marketing allows companies to become partners and grow together. But that, of course, depends on whether or not there are enough common benefits and real perception of value of one another.
If this program seems interesting to you (it could be with an agency, for example, or an important market player), start thinking of one. We have a content that will help you to start your own program right here!
Tips for your first steps with relationship marketing
We've already said that cultivating a relationship thinking of the client's needs can help you get ahead of the competition. There are platforms and technologies that will help you to do that, but first you need to have your internal processes well aligned. Your company must have, as well, the right mentality to succeed in relationship marketing.
See below what are the main steps so that you can succeed with a relationship marketing strategy, according to the company's section.
[MKT] Relevant and educational content
Good content will help you win over the client's trust, in addition to contribute to your company's credibility. This is the start of relationship marketing. When you offer to the client the information they want, your keep them linked to - and even dependent of - your company.
You can ask for your readers' feedback in order to create customized content and increase the time visitors spend on your website or blog, for example. The important is to think and deliver the type of content they're interested in.
Relationship marketing focuses on the individual experience of leads and clients. Collect information using the right tools and personalize different messages, from email to in-app notifications. Create personal approaches to talk to them in a natural and believable way, improving the quality of the relationship.
[CS] Offer great service
Are you attending to your client's demands? Remember that they are your main focus. The company and the entire team needs to treat them on the best way possible, understanding their need and exceeding expectations. Be always available when they need you and prioritize them.
[CS] Customer Experience is essential
If you offer a good service, there is a great chance you're also delivering a great experience - and that's half of the relationship marketing job. Give your clients what they need in order to keep them happy while using your product or service. The entire journey should be pleasant, from start to finish.
Every time the customer has something to say, listen to them and do something about it. Part of showing that you care with their experience is to take action. This is the opportunity to improve the quality of your service and cultivate the relationship. This definitely will make customers happier.
Listening to feedback will also help you understand which functionalities and services should be kept and which ones should be eliminated. This way, you'll have more satisfied clients that won't go running to the competition. Remember: feedback is one of the pillars of relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing is the way to success
These tips are only the beginning of a great journey to master relationship marketing. If you wish to be a growing company, you need to be ready to communicate with leads and clients, wherever and whenever.
If the service if so good it becomes a market reference, and the content is useful as well, both will help in reaching even more people. That's how this strategy will help conquer new clients while retaining the existing ones.
Now that you know what are the main benefits of relationship marketing and what's necessary to build a strategy that works, it's time to turn ideas into actions!
Have you already started building your relationship marketing strategy? Tell us if you've used any of these ideas and if they worked out.