Relationship marketing strategy is one of the most effective ways to promote your business and strengthen your relationships with your existing and potential customers. But it’s not just a buzzword—there are concrete ways you can use relationship marketing to build lasting relationships that translate into increased sales, referrals, and repeat business. Here are eight strategies you can use today to develop an effective relationship marketing strategy for your business.
Start by Asking Yourself These Questions
Relationship marketing is less of a specific strategy and more of an ongoing mindset. However, no relationship marketing strategy would be complete without first asking yourself these questions: What do I want my customers to think of me? How can I build deeper relationships with my customers? How can I engage them in ways that will keep them coming back?
Make sure you’re giving your target market what they want by keeping their goals at top-of-mind as you’re answering these questions. (For example, if one of your main goals is to increase sales, find out how much time your target market spends researching purchases.) Once you’ve answered these initial questions and developed answers that work for you and your business, it’s time to put some plans into action!
1. Who Are My Ideal Clients?
To develop your relationship marketing strategy, it’s important to understand who your ideal clients are. This doesn’t necessarily mean who you want as clients, but rather who fits well with your product or service and will likely have good word-of-mouth referrals for you. This might include people at different stages of their careers or even others in different industries.
Keep in mind that relationships don’t always have to be between humans; there could be ways that you can reach out and build relationships with organizations and businesses, too. The most important thing is ensuring that your business develops strong relationships with its customers in order to grow over time.
2. What Type of Professional Contacts Do I Have?
We all know how important networking is. As an entrepreneur, you are essentially running your own business and when you start up, relationships may be one of your most valuable assets. This means that you need to find ways to make professional contacts on a regular basis. Whether it’s at a networking event or even through social media, there are plenty of ways for you to make meaningful connections with people who can help your business grow.
However, before doing so, it’s important that you determine what type of relationship marketing strategy is right for your business. For example, do you want customers to refer new clients based on their satisfaction? Or would something like viral word-of-mouth marketing be more effective?
3. How Should I Best Approach Them?
One of your best methods of developing relationships with prospective customers is by giving them something they want in exchange for their contact information. This could be an ebook, a whitepaper, or even just something as simple as an email course that builds upon your expertise and educates them about topics you’re passionate about. Once you’ve got their attention, you can nurture that relationship by regularly communicating with them via email and other marketing channels.
4. How Can I Help Them?
Before you contact a potential client, make sure that your business can actually offer them help. If you’re not sure of what they could use from you, it’s better to just stay quiet and let them do their own research. When you do reach out, be upfront about what your business does and how it can help them.
More often than not, providing too much information is a turn-off for most prospects who will assume that there’s an agenda behind what you’re saying. Instead of talking about your products or services right away, focus on helping that person out with one small question or request before moving forward.
5. How Can They Help Me?
If you can’t answer that question, they probably won’t be interested in helping you. If you’re an entrepreneur trying to grow your business and make some new connections, it pays off to ask yourself how each person can help you achieve your goals. There are people who are simply happy giving advice because they enjoy talking about themselves. But most people have no problem sharing their knowledge if it benefits them as well. Once you’ve established a genuine relationship with them, there will be opportunities when they need someone or something just like you!
6. Time for Action!
Once you have your target market identified, think about what problems they might face, and how your company can help. How will you communicate with them? What is an appropriate frequency? Can you provide value that they are not getting elsewhere? Is there another way in which they could be served by your business?
Now that you know who you want to speak with, what do they need from your business, and how will you reach them; make a marketing plan! It’s time for action. Decide on where it’s best to advertise your company online. Use online chat sessions to connect with potential customers and answer their questions about products and services.
7. What About My Team?
Some of your most important relationships are with your employees. If you ask team members what they think about working with their manager, they will tell you how much they like or dislike that person’s style and approach. They might also suggest ways in which they would like to work together more effectively or provide feedback on how their manager can support them better. So, if you ask team members what elements of your leadership style make them feel good about coming into work each day and make them want to do their best, that could help you identify areas where you could improve.