FLASHBACK! The year is 2013. The Instagram app lives on your phone, and you’re posting pics once every few days (mostly of what you’re eating for dinner) when all of the sudden—BAM! A tiny video icon appears! You didn’t know it was coming, and you never dreamed it would change social media the way it did.
Unlock Client Loyalty with Relationship Marketing
“Business is booming!”
If you find yourself having this thought about your biz—Congratulations!
But make no mistake, the real question is “For how long?” As entrepreneurs, we MUST always be thinking, “What’s next?” In business, like life, you’re either “growing” or “dying” there’s really no standing still.
You know you have incredible products and services and that’s great, but it’s only part of the equation. To make sure business is always booming, you have to keep your clients and customers at the forefront of your thoughts. They are the people who can make or break your brand’s continued success.
Even the most loyal of clients will soon tire of your marketing efforts if it’s always about you. Simply asking them to BUY-BUY-BUY is not an effective strategy for creating long-term clients. It HAS to be a two-way conversation. One that includes your company giving back to the client without any expectations.
This is what’s referred to as relationship marketing and even though it may sound daunting, you can make it easy-breezy-cover-girl when you use the following 5 Principles.
5 Key Principles of Relationship Marketing
1. Focus on Your Target Audience
When you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. So spend some time analyzing your current clients and determine who accounts for ⅓ or more of your sales. This is your target audience and focusing on meeting their needs is just plain good business sense. If you think of your biz as a casino, your target audience is its high rollers.
2. Consistent Engagement Builds Relationships
Once you’ve identified your Target Audience, it’s important to consistently engage with them. It’s unlikely that your biz is the only one competing for their attention and their spending power. They have dozens of choices when deciding what brands they support, so it’s VITAL that yours is always on the top of their mind. Find new and exciting ways to engage with them as often as you can.
3. Keep Them Coming Back
Making a sale is NOT the end of your relationship marketing efforts. It’s just the beginning. The true beauty of relationship marketing lies in creating loyal, repeat clients.
Let them know they made the right decision by choosing to work with your biz. Make sure your brand is constantly offering them support and guidance. This can be done by following up on their purchases, offering tips and advice on how to get the most value from their new purchase, and ensuring your clients that you care about their satisfaction beyond the point of purchase.
4. Reward Loyalty
Loyalty is rare, that’s why it should be valued. Reward your loyal clients by providing them with more than expected. Gift cards, bonus items, loyalty programs, and AH-MAZING client service are all ways you can exceed the expectations of your loyal clients. There’s no better way to assure that your biz is on the top of your target audience’s mind than by delighting them with an unexpected surprise!
5. Welcome Feedback as the Gift It Is
Don’t shy away from feedback, even when it’s bad. Actually, it would be more appropriate to say ESPECIALLY when it’s bad. Negative feedback from your target audience is the perfect opportunity to open up a conversation with them and build a relationship. When a problem is handled correctly, it can turn a frown upside down, convert a 1-star review to 5 stars, and transform an angry client into a satisfied and loyal client.
The opportunity to handle feedback well is such a gift that your company should regularly invite your clients to provide it. Consider forms, polls, and calls to show your clients that you are interested in and listening to what they have to say.
Is All This Effort Really Worth It?
ABSOLUTELY! When you use these principles of relationship marketing, you will be rewarded by turning first-time clients into long-term, loyal fans of your biz. Finding new clients has a much higher price tag than earning and maintaining the loyalty of your existing ones. Happy clients spread the word, and I’m sure you know the value of word-of-mouth marketing for your brand. Put these 5 principles of relationship marketing to work today, and you’ll find you have a thriving biz tomorrow.