Thanks to social media and online marketing, we’re all acutely aware of the importance of online branding. There are some great tools out there for small businesses to build a brand that spreads virally across the Internet. But most brands are missing something important: a focus on relationship marketing.
Lead generation is a strategy that focuses on getting new customers, using techniques like email, cold calls, and ads to attract new clients. Relationship marketing works differently. It focuses on building existing relationships between you and your clients so they will come back to you and evolve into brand advocates.
Changing the Focus
Instead of wasting money on print ads and TV commercials, you should focus more on relationship marketing strategies. Relationship marketing means maintaining long-term relationships with your customers so they feel comfortable buying from you over and over again. When done right, it’s a lot cheaper than traditional forms of advertising, and it’s also much more effective because real people are talking about you without having to pay them to do so.
Relationship marketing is all about building trust. No matter what kind of product or service you provide, if your customers can’t trust that they’re getting a high quality product or service at a fair price, they won’t buy from you. So it’s important to build a reputation for quality and value in the marketplace. Once you change the focus from leads and sales, to building relationships – you’ll find that your business not only retains more customers and leads to more referrals, but you’ll find the additional satisfaction that comes with building a loyal fan base as well.
Be Active, Not Passive
The key to relationship marketing is creating connections and making people feel special. When you connect with people on a personal level and help them solve their problems, they will naturally want to do business with you again. This doesn’t happen when you focus all of your energy on completing projects. You have to be intentional about building and nurturing relationships for this to work.
There are a lot of ways to build relationships with your customers. In some cases, it might be as simple as thanking them for their business or offering them suggestions based on their preferences. The point is that you need a strategy for reaching out, staying in touch, and following up with your clients and customers.
Collaboration Over Competition
In our society, we’ve gotten accustomed to competing with each other. We’re encouraged to believe that we have to be better than everyone else in order to succeed. But this mindset can end up costing you in the long run because you may find yourself feeling isolated, stressed out, and overwhelmed.
The truth is that collaboration is a much more effective strategy for marketing your business. In fact, the human brain is hardwired for cooperation. We are social creatures who thrive on connection rather than competition.
Build relationships with the vendors, companies, trade shows, and competitors in your industry. You won’t regret knowing these people when you need them and they’ll all know who to refer when someone needs what you do!
Build Your Community
Create a community. In an age where everyone has an opinion and millions of people are posting their thoughts online, it can be hard to get attention. Create a place online where people can connect, share ideas and provide valuable information. No matter what business you’re in, chances are there’s an online community of people who interact on the same topic or are interested in the same product or service you offer. If there isn’t one, why not create one? Provide valuable information and people will come.
Relationship marketing leads to higher conversion rates: Studies show that businesses who invest in relationship marketing see much higher conversion rates on their email campaigns, social media posts and other online communication efforts. People are more likely to buy from those they know, like and trust so creating relationships with customers helps convince them of your credibility and reliability. You’ll also be able to create better social media content that resonates with followers and boosts engagement on your posts.
Relationship marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing out there. It will help your business grow, provide you with new leads, and help you make a name for yourself. But it’s not easy to do. If it was, everyone would already be doing it.
The first step is to shift your focus from sales to service. I promise that if you treat your people well, like friends and family, they will be loyal and they will refer you to others. The sales will happen naturally.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and the tools to manage them.