Many marketers have heard the adage, “Who’s the easiest person to sell to? Someone you’ve already sold to.”
This is one of the many beneficial facets of relationship marketing. Instead of going through the effort to reach, engage, and convert new customers, focus on delighting the customers you already have. By providing excellent customer service, monitoring what is said about your brand online, engaging with your customers on social media, and cultivating a brand that feels accessible, your existing customers develop a heightened feeling of brand loyalty.
Overall, brands that are successful with relationship marketing are creating meaningful connections with people who will talk about their brand and deliver positive messages to their networks, aka prospective customers. If you position your brand as being receptive to communication from customers and potential customers; and if your brand engages in conversations online about your customers’ experiences, your offerings, and the space that you work in, you are building a strong foundation on which you can build successful relationship marketing campaigns.
Thus, there are many relationship marketing strategies that marketers should try in order to expand brand awareness and drive sales. Imagine that relationship marketing is a peacock (just go with it for a minute). The numerous channels that can support your relationship marketing goals are like the peacock fanning out its feathers.
Consider these three strategies to jumpstart your relationship marketing efforts:
1. Target online influencers to spread the positive gospel about your product.
Celebrities, gurus, experts, and organizations that have legions of social media followers often partner with brands to market the brand’s products or services, for an agreed-upon fee. The brand benefits from the influencer’s implicit endorsement and the exposure to the influencers’ many faithful fans and followers.
2. Incentivize your customer base to make referrals.
You already have superstar brand advocates in your customer base. Relationship marketing engages your customers and motivates them to recommend you to family and friends. If you incentivize your customers to spread the word with rewards, monetary or otherwise, you create a pipeline to receive leads that have been warmed up by your customers! (Most customers weigh recommendations from friends considerably, especially so among high-income earners).
3. Create relationships with affiliates who earn a kickback every time they send a potential customer – or conversion – your way.
Affiliate marketing is when online content producers or digital properties link to your product, write about your product, run your display ads, or otherwise promote your product in exchange for a fee or for a percentage of the resulting sales. Affiliate marketing is generally very effective. There’s a reason why companies that are already at the top of their game, like Amazon and Netflix, execute affiliate marketing campaigns.
Because there are so many variables to relationship marketing, it’s important to take a systematic and organized approach. Let’s come back to the peacock with her feathers fanned out. Imagine trying to count all her feathers. Your eyes would blur from the kaleidoscope coloring and you’d be unlikely to get an accurate count: you’d probably miss quite a few feathers.
This is the same with relationship marketing. A piecemeal approach to relationship marketing won’t be nearly as effective if you’re not using the right technological tools. It will be difficult to harness the sheer volume of strategic relationships, affiliates, and top referrers without a system that facilitates and streamlines the relationship marketing process. To truly scale your efforts, partner with a relationship marketing software vendor that offers tools to maximize your engagement and revenue every step of the way.