3 Relationship Marketing Secrets to Take You Through 2018
What if you could spend one-sixth of your marketing budget and not lose a penny in revenue? It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound, especially if your company is willing to change the way it works and communicates with customers.
Bain & Company notes that businesses can expect to spend $6 to acquire a new buyer, but only $1 to keep their brand loyalists. The same study found that retaining 5 percent of a company’s customers can increase profits by as much as 95 percent.
Simply put, the secret to record-high revenue this year boils down to relationship marketing, that wonderful thing that makes brand ambassadors tell their friends, “You have to try this!” However, true purchaser allegiance doesn’t happen without careful planning. If businesses want repeat customers to hype their products and services in the coming year, they must ensure customers do more than fall in love with them — they need to stay enamored even after the honeymoon period.
Relationship Marketing Is for the Long Haul
Most relationships are wonderful at first, but they can fizzle out if a give-and-take doesn’t develop. B2B partnerships are no different, so pay attention to client and customer needs to remain appealing. If you ignore the people closest to you, you’ll foster a “churn and burn” cycle that leaves no one — especially your brand — in a winning position.
Is 2018 the year for you to finally get serious about relationship marketing? Take your customer retention and relationships to new heights by following these three guidelines.
1. Make Your Best Brand Impression
It’s an appearance-driven world where each brand impression counts. Is your website dull and dated? Invest in a spanking new site with user-friendly attributes. Do your social presence or brand lack oomph or pizzazz? Conduct market research to rev up your persona.
Visual appeal leaves a lasting impact on customers. In fact, a Heidi Cohen study revealed that adding pictures, infographics, or other visuals can increase views by as much as 94 percent. The objective of a brand facelift isn’t to generate click-throughs; it’s to think about what your target audience wants and tailor your approach toward it.
PrescribeWellness, a B2B company that works specifically with local pharmacies, wanted to expand its reach and appeal to new clients. It did so by adding a new, aesthetically pleasing page to its website geared specifically toward connecting clients with the pharmacies they wanted to work with. The approach has a B2C-feel to it, but it ultimately opened PrescribeWellness up to more potential leads, while the redesign helped it earn the FWA of the Day award for its website on Nov. 21, 2016.
Remember: No one wants to put their reputation on the line by passing along boring, irrelevant content. Give customers a reason to get on your bandwagon organically and authentically.
2. Deliver High Quality Touches
Search engine optimization marketing giant Moz conducted an interesting experiment several years ago. After posting blog content every day since its inception, the site began experimenting with how often it delivered content and got surprising results: Quality won over quantity every time.
Moz readers were happy receiving exceptional content on a less frequent basis. Rather than disappointing brand cheerleaders, it lost nothing by concentrating on producing high-quality, every-other-day posts over subpar, everyday pieces.
Similarly, instead of bombarding customers with excessive amounts of decent content, deliver high-quality content that touches pain points, but on a less frequent basis. Not sure what your customers want to hear most? Evaluate the questions they ask all the time, then turn those answers into content.
3. Bond With Your Customers
A study by IPSO notes that emotional connections influence three-quarters of consumer purchasing decisions, while subconscious whims drive 90 percent of those choices. Gallup research revealed that forming a connection with potential buyers leads to more conversions and the potential to outsell the competition by as much as 85 percent.
One surefire way to build that bond is through memorable experiences. For example, when a Zappos customer delayed returning a pair of shoes due to the death of a loved one, a representative took care of everything free of charge. Zappos empathized with the customer by offering condolences on behalf of the company and sending a floral arrangement to the customer.
It’s time to move your company to a new era of sales built on a foundation of relationship marketing. In the coming 12 months and beyond, seek out touchpoints that put you and your buyers on the same page. You’ll spend less time and money foraging for clientele, and you’ll get the advantages of committed customers for life.
Jeff Epstein is the CEO and founder of Ambassador, a trusted referral software company that empowers brands to increase customers, referrals, and revenue by leveraging and scaling the power of word of mouth. Epstein is a lifelong entrepreneur with a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, and a degree in business from Michigan State University.