Relationship Marketing is a relatively unknown concept for most small businesses owners/sales professionals or, if people are aware of it, the meaning is often completely misconstrued, so what is Relationship Marketing? Relationship marketing is a strategy used in business to foster customer loyalty and also emphasises customer retention and satisfaction rather than focussing on sales only. It is most often used by small businesses and sales and marketing professionals who realise the importance of really connecting with their prospects/clients and the benefits for their business, over the longer term, by doing so.
When in business it is all too easy to focus on your marketing generally rather than honing in on specific aspects of marketing to help grow your business. There are also many small business owners who shy away from any form of marketing altogether as they view marketing as an expensive commodity that they can ill afford. If this is you, this could really be doing your business a disservice.
Businesses owners, generally, are all too often more than happy to ‘shell out’ for an expensive website but then overlook that the fact that they need to market their website in order to gain business as people will not magically find their website unless it is at the top of Google’s search engine.
Many businesses aren’t aware that just through communicating more effectively on a regular basis with their existing contacts and customers, they can reap the rewards of more business and referrals just by implementing a simple system, without having to go out and look for new customers. This can be done relatively cheaply too.
As a practise, relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognises the long-term value of customer relationships and extends far beyond just a one-off sale.
The main reasons businesses are often not committed to relationship marketing is due to: a lack of resources, not having a clearly defined strategy and not having a simple system to keep in touch effectively. Loyal customers are extremely important to any business as referrals are free, whereas attracting new customers is a much more costly process.
In today’s technological age it is more important than ever to develop and maintain a good relationship with your customers, clients or prospects. E-mails often remain unopened or aren’t even received due to spam filters. Phone calls and text messages are easily forgotten or ignored. However, a greeting card or postcard is often kept or passed on if it includes a personal message and includes your business details discreetly.
Many top sales professionals have built their businesses on the strength of their personal relationships with clients, which are built over time through the sending of personal notes.
What if you took a picture of a customer or client, their business, product or their staff and turned it into a greeting card? What if you downloaded an image that was quirky and different and would make your contacts smile so that they would remember you and pass your name on? If you sent just a Christmas Card or New Year Card and birthday card twice a year, this in itself would ensure they remember you for as little as £3.60 including postage per client, with the cost being spread evenly throughout the year if you budget for it. Don’t you think this would make you stand-out from your competitors who simply do not do this? If they remember you, it will be you they ring when they next need the type of service/product you provide.
Nowadays only 3% of post received is personal, so why not be different and show your business contacts that you care about them and their business and ensure they remember you.
If you would like any help or advice on how to build long-term relationships with your business contacts please connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Would also love to hear your comments below if you found value in this post.
Until next time