It’s 9 a.m. Sunday morning. In tradition, you and your family hop in the van and drive seven minutes to Joe’s Family Diner for breakfast. All the wait staff knows you by name and wants updates on your children’s soccer games. Joe, the owner, comes out from the kitchen to give a wise life lesson. The food is pretty cheap and tastes great, but the real reason you drive up to Joe’s Family Diner every Sunday—rather than Big Boy or IHOP—is because of the relationships you’ve made there.
Unlike traditional marketing, relationship marketing focuses on maintaining loyal, long-term customers by building strong, trusting relationships with them. The goal is to give the customer a memorable experience that makes them want to maintain a relationship with the company. If done right, the customer will become a walking advertisement for the company, telling friends and family about the pleasure of working with your company.
Below, we’ve laid out some of the most important strategies to keep in mind when practicing relationship marketing.
Treat Every Customer and Opportunity Genuinely
Being genuine is the most important part of relationship marketing. Every customer should feel like they are the most important one, if not the only one. Being genuine will move you closer to that emotional connection with the customer. As a general rule, maintain that same authenticity in every situation; you never know when someone could turn into a customer.
Create Easy and Beneficial Two-Way Communication for Your Customers
Customers should be able to contact you at all times. The communication should be two-way, like any good relationship. This means customers should be able to ask questions, give comments, express concerns, and expect a sincere, timely response. Likewise, you should reach out to them for questions, comments, and concerns; don’t wait for a customer to make the first move. Staying on top of communication shows customers you truly care.
Stay in Contact Regularly
Make sure communication is frequent. Customers, both new and old, should know you’re there at all times and want to hear what they have to say. Don’t bombard or overwhelm them and don’t make them question your authenticity. Find a happy medium and cater to your customer. Everyone is different!
If Possible, Meet Face-to-Face
Due to the rapid expansion of technology, face-to-face meetings are becoming old-fashioned, like a listening to a record player or using a Polaroid camera. You may not engage often, but when you do it’s a special experience, and one you should give your customers.
Nurture New Customers and Don’t Forget About Existing Ones
Make new friends, but keep the old. New customers may take up more of your time, but the essence of relationship marketing is maintaining loyal, long-term customers. Everyone you do business with should feel special. Reward your loyal returning customers to show that their loyalty isn’t forgotten and it’s just as important as gaining new customers.
Just like Joe’s Family Diner, a genuine emotional connection is the best way to facilitate a loyal, long-lasting relationship. These relationships can be extremely beneficial in marketing. Keep these above points in mind as you continue to work on your relationship marketing strategy.