How Do You Implement an Effective Relationship Marketing Strategy?
“Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction, and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”
In a world where fewer customers are in “Buy Now” mode, people have been forced to flex their creative muscles more than usual. Whether it’s coming up with unconventional ways to drum up revenue or repositioning your brands for when the market bounces back, many of you have been growing outside of your comfort zones.
Your success is dependent on how how much time are you willing to put into it, like anything, showing up and participating makes all the difference in the world.
How Do You Implement an Effective Relationship Marketing Strategy?
Strategy #1: Listen to Customer Feedback (and Make Changes)
We’ve seen this with Amazon and Companies like Dominos and Starbucks, but you’ll also find this strategy used by companies across industries. The internet has made it easier to not only see your customers but hear their complaints and feedback as well.
Take advantage of this by soliciting your customers for their requests, ideas, and challenges so you can better accommodate them. You can do this via email, SMS, or a survey/poll on social media.
Strategy #2: Invest in Technologies that Help Customer Relationship Management
There are various tools on the market you can use to deliver a great customer experience. For example, you can use CRM (customer relationship management) software to manage customers, personalize messages, and maintain communication.
Then you can opt for unorthodox tools like a platform for sending branded swag and personalized gifts. You can use this to send and track corporate gifts sent to new and existing customers (or leads who are still on the border).
Use tools like Sheildapp.ai to monitor customer engagement or Crystalknows.com to understand your customers personality type and get a playbook on better communication methods.
Strategy #3: Build an Excellent Customer Service Team
One factor that can make or break a customer’s experience with a brand is its customer service. If your staff aren’t knowledgeable enough, uncourteous, or unresponsive, it’ll fluster customers.
Invest your time and money into hiring and training a team to support your client base’s needs.
Consider creating a customer service Q&A template based on the demands of different customers. This will help your team navigate through positive and negative situations.
Strategy #4: Take an Omnichannel Approach
People today are used to engaging with brands in different ways. They may visit their website one day and then reach out to the company via its Facebook or LinkedIn page the next day.
Making it convenient for your audience to interact with your business in the way they’re most comfortable is vital.
This means having a presence on the right social media channels, email, SMS, phone, fax, and online chat. If you can incorporate a chatbot, even better.
Strategy #5: Reward Customer Loyalty (affiliate programs)
Now, there are different ways you can go about this. You can create a loyalty program where customers earn points. For instance, if you’re a SaaS, you can offer points for using your product regularly, which can be used to reduce their next month’s bill.
You can also reward customers for referring leads that convert into paying customers.
Strategy #6: Nurture Relationships with Email Marketing
If you don’t already have segmented campaigns for your customers, then you’re going to need one. Email marketing is a useful tool for nurturing leads into buyers and customers into loyal fans.
But you need to deliver the right message at the right time. This will require implementing tools that can assist with this — like a CRM and CDP (customer data platform) with AI capabilities.
This way, you can quickly analyze customer behavioral data and use it within your campaigns. For example, if you see customers asking about a new product, you can send an email about its features. Maybe even include links to your blog, showcasing how it can benefit them.
Strategy #7: Incorporate Proactive Retention Methods
When a customer’s subscription is about to expire, what do you do? You can either sit back and hope they remember to renew. Or you can reach out and remind them before the date passes and drive customer retention proactively.
By going with the latter, you can boost the odds of customers completing the renewal process. You don’t want to use a reactive approach because it can be challenging to get customers to return after allowing their subscription to relapse.
You can even send along a corporate gift as a friendly reminder vs. a typical email.
Strategy #8: Automate Your Customer Communications
Just because customers desire a personal touch doesn’t mean you have to send each message manually. You can implement automation tools that are faster and more reliable.
For instance, you can create lead nurturing emails that are automatically sent to new customers. Or you can use triggers to automate relevant emails to be sent.
For example, when a customer is logged in and visits a series of blog posts, you can trigger an email with a download for an eBook on a relevant topic.
But email isn’t the only thing you can automate; you can do the same with SMS messages, social media posting, and chatbots.
Strategy #9: Make Tracking Detailed Customer Data a Priority
It’s nearly impossible to win customers’ hearts without collecting lots of the right data. Besides gathering information, such as their name, company, salary, and technologies used, you can track the following:
- Past purchases
- Browsing habits
- Birthdays and anniversaries (excellent time to send a corporate gift)
- Engagements with your brand (across all departments and channels)
This is easier to pull off when using the right data management platforms.
Strategy #10: Track and Analyze Your Relationship Management Campaign
Not every method is worth adding to a relationship management strategy. And while it’s good to test different options, you want to ensure your tactics are actually working.
To ensure this, you need to use tracking tools to determine whether specific metrics are improving, declining, or stagnant.
Whatever methods you’re using within your campaign, be sure you’re tracking the right metrics to determine success.
Some of the metrics you should be tracking includes:
- Customer lifetime value
- Conversion rates
- # of referral conversions
- Strength of your network (are your followers engaged?)
- Website metrics (traffic, social monitoring, CX ratings)
- Customer support team metrics (case resolution time, duration of calls, # of followups, etc.)
- Onboarding success