Relationship marketing has always served as the backbone of any successful organization’s marketing plan. So what is relationship marketing? It’s really about how you as a business interact with your clients and your potential clients. Getting clients, keeping clients and dealing with difficult clients have always been on the front burner when it comes to management attention. The advent of the Internet Age and the explosion of Social Media have only exemplified how important it is for businesses to developing a proactive relationship marketing plan if they are to succeed in today’s global market place.
It used to be businesses relied heavily on direct marketing, radio and sometimes TV. The Internet has changed all of that. It has put any business with a Web presence literally at the fingertips of clients and potential clients. The middle men have been removed and businesses have complete control over how information is disseminated and presented. It’s a fabulous time to be a small business owner. Social Media has taken over the way we interact as a society. If we are curious about something, we no longer go to the library or phone book. We Google it. Today, a business without a Web presence is severely handicapping itself. When consumers look for products or services on the Internet they have a plethora of choices. Getting them to choose you is what relationship marketing is all about; as is keeping the clients that do choose you.
So how can you start implementing relationship marketing into your business if you’re not already doing it or strengthen an already existing plan? The easiest way is to take advantage of the many Social Media venues available. It goes without saying that every business should have a Facebook page. Businesses used to rely heavily on email campaigns to reach clients but that technique has fallen by the wayside and is now seen as a very passive way of reaching clients. Something like Facebook is very interactive, allowing clients or customers to interact with you and you them on a much timelier and intimate level.
Small business owners can use Facebook and other social media outlets to nurture relationships with their customers. People buy from people they like and trust. Familiarity tends to build trust and in turn a relationship that a savvy company can successfully market to. You may hear relationship marketing referred to as branding and while that is true, branding is only a small part of the overall plan. Building an identity, image, reputation and brand are all key elements and once that is in place it certainly helps create continuity for your clients.
What are you doing to make sure your clients and customers are happy? Do you have a strategy for dealing with upset or frustrated clients to be sure that they don’t damage your online reputation? Think about the plan you have in place to reach out and build relationships with your clients. Are there things you could be doing to enhance their experience, offer them new information, or improve their day? If you can, do it. That’s relationship marketing and it will go a long way toward growing and improving your business.