Every year, a brand promotes itself as a marketing game-changer that’s expected to revolutionize the industry and your business. For 2016, it’s been everything from virtual reality to updated mobile platforms. While these are great new trends, the biggest marketing game-changer for 2016 really is relationship marketing.
With more consumers relying on technology for information, relationship marketing presents new ways to connect with customers to build brand awareness. But what exactly is relationship marketing and how can it help your business?
Basics of Relationship Marketing
Back in the days before the internet and social media, businesses used marketing strategies for one reason: making sales. But things are changing in 2016.
While every business wants to optimize sales and lead generation, customers no longer want to be sold to. Instead, consumers are more interested in learning and getting to know your brand better.
On paper, it doesn’t seem like you can give the customers what they want and meet sales goals. However, you can with relationship marketing.
Relationship marketing is based on developing better customer experiences. Rather than a one-time engagement, it works to build a deeper, more meaningful connection with potential buyers to boost your business’ reputation as well as sales and lead generation.
How It’s Changing the Game
Relationship marketing is revolutionizing the industry in a way you wouldn’t expect.
According to Ambassador, customers are showing increased interest in a brand’s reputation. They want to know that your products are reliable. Most importantly, they want know if you’re going to do what it takes to satisfy them and that you’re willing to listen to their concerns. Relationship marketing lets consumers know that do you, in fact, care.
So how does this help your business succeed?
Rather than pushing hard selling to make goals, relationship marketing focuses on ensuring an exceptional experience on your website, social media, and blogs. By better engaging consumers on all accounts, you can build more favorable brand reputation. Satisfied customers are more willing to shop again as well as promote your business to others, which means higher organic traffic, lead generations, and sales
How to Implement Relationship Marketing
There tons of ways to use relationship marketing to promote your brand online. Here are a few to consider for your digital strategies in 2016.
Attract an Audience with Shareable Content
Creating shareable content for your target audience is the first step to building that emotional connection that comes with relationship marketing. It can be anything from videos to blog posts, but what you post has to be something consumers want to read and share with others.
To help you understand just how beneficial this can be, take a look at the marketing done for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In the months leading to the movie’s release, social media posts, videos, and articles went viral regarding the movie all went viral. Design changes in mobile applications such as Google also gathered some buzz.
When the movie was released, it broke box office records. It had the biggest opening weekend with $529 million in box office sales, and it became the fastest film to gross $1 billion dollars.
Now I’m not saying its success all stemmed from its more personable marketing tactics, but they definitely helped. Digital Dealer states that their promotional success is because Disney’s marketing team simply posted what they knew the masses would like and want to share.
Let Consumers Know You’re Listening
As stated, customers want to know you’re listening. So if they comment on your social media accounts or company review sites, respond to them politely.
Addressing their concerns or just giving thanks for a great comment opens a two-way conversation and personal connection every customer wants. This builds your overall brand reputation, which makes it easier for consumers to become returning buyers and attract more potential leads.
Make It Personal and Follow Up
Relationship marketing doesn’t end once you generate a lead or complete a sale. Consumers want to know that you consider them more than a transaction, so you want to keep that connection open for as long as possible. Sending a personalized follow-up email is a great way to do just that.
You can send your customer an email asking them how they liked the product or service a week or so after the purchase. You can also give them a personalized list of some recommended goods you offer that can enhance what they initially bought.
Just keep in mind that you want the suggestions to coincide with what they purchased. For example, if they got a new car at your dealership, you can suggest some of the top accessories for that particular vehicle.
Hard selling is a thing of the past for business marketing. For 2016, relationship marketing is where you’ll find success. So incorporate ways to better engage with consumers into your digital marketing strategy.
Relationship marketing is the name of the game today. But on the tech side of the equation it’s virtual reality. VR advertising is the next big thing in all of marketing. Facebook is already in place to dominate. Google is setting up a whole division for VR in its company. Apple dumped iAd and Tim Cook says VR is “cool” — a foreshadowing statement for sure. The coolest thing at ad:week NY was Airpush’s virtualSKY (a virtual reality ad network). Samsung and Sony are all over VR content and tech. There’s no one who can tell me that VR is a passing fad. It’s effecting everyone and everybody sooner or later and the early adopters — especially those in marketing — stand to gain more than most.