“If you deal with every customer in the same way, you will only close 25 to 30 percent of your contacts, because you will only close one personality type. But if you learn how to effectively work with all four personality types, you can conceivably close 100 percent of your contacts.” — Rod Nichols
This quote couldn’t be more true. Working in this industry for quite some time now, I have seen a lot of brands fail to retain their customers. How come? – Well, because they don’t really nurture their relationships with them. They see these people as nothing more than numbers that keep filling up their bank accounts.
Naturally, this kind of behavior has a lot to do with why these companies eventually end up losing their customers to their direct competitors.
If you’re a soulless money-hungry machine, your consumers won’t have any reason to stay loyal to you. They won’t form a real connection with your brand, so thus, it won’t be difficult for them to trade you in for a different firm who offers them something more than just quality service.
As I already mentioned on this blog, we live in a highly competitively world. It doesn’t matter how special you think your business is, if profitable, there are at least 50 or more companies out there that do the same thing you do, maybe even better.
Wherever you turn, you see companies competing with each other for all sorts of different clients.
These days, if you’re interested in getting more quality customers, you cannot just push generic advertisements on your leads and expect them to convert. No, you need to engage with them on all sorts of different levels. You need to educate, motivate and excite people wherever you can about your work and your activities. You cannot expect them to acknowledge your business as good and trustworthy just because it’s there.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty tough cookie to sell. To encourage people like me to do business with you, you have to give us something more than just discounts and special offers. You need to rise above your products and services and help us identify your company as a brand that’s worth remembering.
Although it’s insanely hard to motivate people to just try your services, encouraging them to stay with your company for a longer time period is a whole different ball game.
It doesn’t matter if you sell web hosting services, cleaning supplies or hot dogs on the corner, you need to convince your customers that you’re the best possible choice out there for them. Apart from that, you need to make it clear to them that they should return back to you whenever they’re in need of products or services that you’re selling.
This is where relationship marketing comes in handy.
What is Relationship Marketing?
For those who are not familiar with the term, relationship marketing represents a series of gestures and practices most businesses use to form strong, up close and personal relationships with their prospects or existing clients.
Relationship marketing is all about gathering information about people who are interested in your business, and doing everything you can, as a company, to learn from their current behavior. Your goal here is to come in terms with what you really need to do in order to make these individual fall in love with your brand.
Although it might not seem like it at first, but relationship marketing is a really good tactic for small to medium sized businesses to get ahead of their competition. Establishing human-to-human connections with your clients and leads could help you drastically grow your business in no time.
How Does A Solid Relationship Marketing Strategy Help Me Grow My Business?
When you really sit down and think about it, every successful business has a solid community. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you sell, if you want to rank high in your niche or industry, you need transform your customers into die-hard brand ambassadors.
Just look at the mobile phone industry. I don’t know about you, but I know a ton of iphone users who would rather live without a cell phone or any other piece of technology, than carry around an android. I’m not exaggerating. It’s just how things are today.
Every brand wants to have that level of loyalty within its consumers. Everyone who’s smart enough to create marketing campaigns which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on sales transactions, will forever stay on top, no matter what their direct competitors do.
Yes, as the image above suggests: Relationship marketing is all about making friends with your potential and current buyers. This often involves buying lunch or dinner, and then breaking their defense by being their friend, and selling them goods through influence, instead of showing them what a seller has to provide directly.
So, How Do I Form Strong Relationships With My Customers? What Can I Do To Make Them Love My Brand?
Actually, you can do a lot of things, but, for now, let’s just focus on the more common ways on how successful brands retain their customers:
Smarter Marketing – Solve Problems For Your Clients
If you read some of our older blog posts, you probably know that AltusHost has around 10.000 active paying customers. We love every single one of them, and we’re insanely grateful for trusting us to host their businesses online. We’re ready to do all that it takes to keep them satisfied.
Apart from providing killer web hosting services, we focus a lot of our energy on solving all sorts of different online business related problems for our client via our blog.
You cannot expect people to keep returning to your website, if you don’t give them something new to see or learn on daily, weekly and monthly basis. That’s why it’s so important to regularly update your content and improve your website, outside and in.
If history has taught us anything, it’s that the way you market your business can either make or break your company. There are countless examples of a mediocre product with great marketing beating a better product with poor marketing. I’m not saying that you should cut the costs for your product or service development and redirect them to your marketing. I’m saying that you need to position yourself as a source that is interested in far more than just earning profit.
Show Your Customers That Your Brand Is A Product Of People Who Stand Behind It
A great way to increase website and social network traffic, and get people to form a deeper connection with your company, is to humanize your brand and creating a more personal connection with your audience.
In my experiences, people don’t like doing businesses with corporations. They see them as this big, evil, giant entities that are only interested in robbing them out of their money. My team doesn’t want that. We don’t want people to think of AltusHost as just another web hosting company. No. That’s why we constantly do our best to engage our customers, form personal relationships with every single one of them, and position ourselves as a source where they can come when they’re in need of help or guidance.
If you want to humanize your brand, you have to create personas and make sure that your clients see that they’re always interacting with real people, not just random bots.
There are a few ways on how you can do this:
1. Make authorship prominent in your writing.
2.Address the recipients of your messages/content by name. Make them see that you know who they’re and what they do.
4. Pretend everything you write is to a particular person. Help your clients/customers feel special.
5. Be casual. Don’t be afraid to joke around or use slang in your communication.
6. Follow their work, like, share, retweet, mark important dates, makes sure to congratulate them on their success.
Don’t Just Preach, Learn How To Listen As Well – Establish a Two Way Communication System With Your Customers
Next to visually humanizing your brand, it’s of crucial importance that you show your customers that they’re interacting with actual people when they converse with your company. The best way you can do that is by establishing a two-way communication system.
What’s the point in reaching out to certain people if you’re not interested in hearing what they have to say?
It is in your best interest to gather as much information from your customers about your products and services. Nothing can help you improve your work and grow your revenue like knowing what people like and dislike about your business.
That’s why a lot of the biggest brands out there insist on asking their audience to complete all sorts of different surveys and polls.
When it comes to developing steady and lasting relationships with your customers, your feedback plays a crucial part here as well. You cannot just ask them for information, without ever giving anything back. It’s really important to let people see that you acknowledge their thoughts, and not just reply to them automatically, using all sorts of preformed sentences.
Be sincere. Don’t try to manipulate them. Above everything else, don’t just send emails when you need something. Be there for your customers. Try to show support, whenever possible. People are not idiots.
If I know anything about people, it’s that they don’t like to wait. Most customers, when they really need something, don’t have the patience to sit steadily for hours and hours for someone to acknowledge their existence and answer their questions. No one wants to stare all day at their inbox and wait for that one email, like it’s being shipped from China in a metal container.
Be sure to speed these things up a bit. It’s necessary to create a good email etiquette, if you want to establish real and lasting relationships with your clients.
When I send an email, my reply expectations are the following:
* Urgent: Less than an hours. Two hours, max.
*Work-Related: No longer than a day. Everything above 6 hours is great.
Before we move on to a different tactic, I just want to say, right here and now, that you should solely rely on email when it comes to communicating with your customers. Feel free to mix up a bit. Some people like to talk over the phone, social media and even Skype far more than they do via email. Be sure to reach out to them on all sorts of different channels and give them the opportunity to talk to you wherever and whenever they please to.
Establishing trust is one of the biggest challenges every small or medium sized business has to face in its life cycle. Building trust on the Internet can be a tricky thing because most of your potential users/customers/clients will see you as nothing more than a piece of data.
Until they at least once do business with you, they can never be certain if you’re the real deal or just another phony who’s trying to rob them out of their hard earn money.
There are a lot of ways on which a certain company can establish trust online. I wrote an entire separate blog post about this subject on my Linked page. Read it, if you have some time to spare. It’s not long.
Thank you for reading this blog post. I hope my writing here helped you understand the value of good relationship marketing. If you have anything to ask or add on this subject, feel free to share your thoughts in the email sections below.
That’s it for now,
Thank you so much for reading,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.