Relationship Marketing: Not Glamorous but Essential

Rae Steinbach Rae Steinbach · 4 min read

One of your key goals as a marketer should be to optimize the overall lifetime value of your customers. These tips will help you achieve that goal.

As a marketer, your goal shouldn’t be to simply make a single sale for each customer. You ideally want customers to continue making purchases in the future. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a relationship with them.

The following relationship marketing points will help. To turn one-time customers into loyal followers, keep them in mind.

Understanding Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing isn’t about creating a customer base. It’s about generating loyalty with your existing base.

The value of a relationship isn’t merely increased sales. When you have lasting relationships with your customers, you can better understand your customer base in general, making it easy to develop more effective products and marketing campaigns in the future. Of course, you also need to have some degree of familiarity with your customers’ interests and preferences if you’re going to begin developing relationships with them in the first place. Make sure you conduct thorough research to identify what you can do to boost loyalty.

That said, there are general ways you can go about doing so. While certain specific tactics may be more effective for one business than another due to the nature of its customers, these strategies typically work across all industries.

learning cultureFocus on Customer Service

This may seem like a no-brainer. However, the value of focusing on customer service can’t be overstated.

Consider the example of Zappos. This extremely successful brand has achieved major success in part because its CEO has described the company as a service company first, shoe company second.

One way Zappos delivers unbeatable customer service is by training its customer service representatives to make genuine connections with callers. For example, a customer called Zappos complaining because they found it difficult to find a narrow shoe for an upcoming event. The customer service representative’s reply? “Honestly, ‘narrows’ are the worst! It’s almost like the whole industry has conspired against people with narrow feet. It seems like every other conversation I have with my aunt, who has elegant, narrow feet like you, has centered on this.”

It’s easy to see how this would result in a more positive experience for the customer. The connection they made with the representative likely yielded a greater sense of loyalty to the brand.

That’s just one example. The main point is, treating customers with sympathy and humanity when they have complaints is key to making a lasting impression.

learning cultureOffer Extras

Odds are good yours isn’t the only business customers can choose from when they need products and services like those you offer. That’s why you need to go above and beyond, offering more than the competition does.

Airlines are known for handling this well. They frequently award members of their loyalty programs with unexpected upgrades. This creates a “VIP” experience that customers appreciate.

You can modify this tactic to suit your own industry. For instance, if you’re in retail, you can surprise repeat customers with discounts, thanking them for their loyalty.

Loyalty programs in general can be very useful. For instance, Starbucks customers love the loyalty features of its app so much that Starbucks Rewards now holds more money than some banks.

customer experience
Emphasize Personalization

You’ll make a much better impression on customers if you personalize your services and marketing content. This isn’t just a baseless claim either. According to research, the majority of consumers want brands to deliver personalized experiences.

There are many ways you can go about providing them. For instance, if you have a mobile app, you could leverage AI to learn about each customer’s individual habits and preferences whenever they use it. The app can then tailor its features accordingly.

Perhaps a retail brand’s app tracks what customers purchase through its eCommerce features. Every time a user opens the app, it could provide them with product suggestions based on their specific purchase history. It could even use geotracking to alert them to relevant discounts when they are near brick-and-mortar stores.

You should also personalize your marketing efforts. An example of this would be segmenting a verified email list. Research shows that when lists are segmented so that followers only receive content that’s relevant to their interests, those followers are more likely to open marketing emails.

seasonal rush

Offer Value

The value you provide to your customers shouldn’t merely be in the form of your products and services. It’s also necessary to provide customers with valuable content. This gives them a reason to engage with your brand on a regular basis.

For example, Nerdwallet has become a hugely successful financial services brand thanks to its blog. In the early stages of growing the company, its marketing team focused on generating a large amount of blog content that provided readers with valuable financial advice. This has been cited as a major factor in the company’s success.

The type of value you can provide your customers will depend on the nature of your brand. For example, a fashion brand could run a blog providing customers with style tips. A hospitality brand may let tourists know about things they can do in the regions around their properties. Basically, you want to determine what types of content your customers would find valuable (even if its “value” is simply entertainment), and determine how you can deliver that type of content.

A blog is merely one example. You can also host a podcast, provide a free online course, post videos on YouTube, and much more.

customer-focused contentWhy Relationship Marketing is Important

Relationship marketing offers several benefits to brands that use it. First, when you have loyal customers who continue to make purchases in the future, you don’t have to spend as much time and money on constantly attracting new customers. Your loyal customers will also be likely to recommend your brand’s products and services to others. This allows you to also save money through word of mouth marketing.

You also don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to put relationship marketing tactics into practice. After all, prioritizing the human connection during customer service calls isn’t exactly expensive.

One of your key goals as a marketer should be to optimize the overall lifetime value of your customers. These tips will help you achieve that goal.

How did you like this blog?


Rae Steinbach Rae Steinbach

Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

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