Relationship marketing, as I have mentioned in the first part (be sure to read that part to know some classic fundamentals about relationship marketing), is the process of developing a relationship that is not motivated by sales opportunity and is aimed at helping your customers and potential customers by treating them as humans rather than funnel-able leads.
Businesses that practice relationship marketing saw a 450% increase in qualified prospects.
Blogging is also an art of helping people with your ability to solve their problems or educate them about a topic. As a beginner blogger, you can use relationship marketing strategies to get initial boost to your readers in terms of traffic and subscribers.
RM is not only a topic that only big brands should focus on but also one that small businesses, online marketers, and bloggers should try their hands on.
Through practicing relationship marketing concepts, you get more connected with your readers and customers, aim at providing them value (it can be anywhere, on social media or in the physical world or through your weekly newsletter).
By doing this…
… we can not only win their hearts but also their deals.
The additional benefit of focusing on relationship marketing is that the word of mouth of your prospects. It can win you more readers and clients that would otherwise be beyond your reach.
Let’s see how!
Quick Table of Contents
Top 7 Relationship Marketing Strategies To Win Customers & Make Sales (in 2019)
1) Content marketing: An underrated relationship marketing strategy
Your customers or readers are your boss and not the other way round. The biggest mistake we as bloggers do is to underestimate the power of a single reader.
We might think a single reader is not that important but the reality is a single reader has the ability to break or build a business empire.
“There is only one boss; the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton Click To Tweet
Start building relationships with your every single existing customer. If you have only two of them, consider them as an opportunity to get to other 20. Provide them with what they need.
You can also figure out some common problems of your customers (or conduct a survey to find it out) and provide free support on the issue.
2) Use content to inform them and show your dedication.
Almost every company that blogs shows content that promotes its products.
But there are a few like IBM who use content marketing as a tool to build trust and credibility in the minds of their readers. IBM has around a 100 blogs each writing top notch content that is well researched and data-backed blog posts that form the basis of other smaller blogs’ content ideas.
Epic content might be something that you can use till the end of time to attract more potential clients. White papers and researched blog posts are to stay for long and should not be considered as a marketing expense.
a) Write for your readers, not for you
Writing content that can help the readers does not mean keyword stuffing.
If you really want to produce content that aims at serving the base audience of your niche, you have to take care of searcher intent which in a way is writing content according to the demand of your audience.
You optimize your content on behalf of how the reader wants it and not the other way round.
b) Here’s why to communicate a valuable message through writing.
Irrespective of your position in the field in inbound marketing, you need to produce content that continuously strives to be the best value for the time of readers.
Your content should aim at developing a communication relationship that brings the audience a little closer than they were prior to reading that. Your content should depict your simplicity and generosity.
3) How to use email marketing in relationship marketing
Email marketing has come up as a great tool for reaching out to your clients and other potential customers. It is a great tool for relationship building that actually increases your ROI by 3700%.
An average employee receives about 121 emails per day (source: email marketing statistics for 2019) This is more than enough in terms of chances needed to establish a relationship with a lead.
Here are the steps to use email marketing as an effective relationship marketing tool.
a) Offer freebies to your subscribers
You could use email marketing to offer free courses and eBooks to your audience. Most sites aim at just sending the RSS feeds to the newsletter subscribers or an occasional marketing email, which means they are under utilizing the potential of email marketing.
But Startup blogs like HubSpot use emails for establishing relational marketing campaigns. They offer limitless free bounties based on the audience which helps them to build a loyal relationship which can later be converted to selling leads.
They take this further by segmenting email lists so that they can better serve the audience. Here is how to use email segmentation to get a more personal approach and establish a better-targeted relationship with your blog audience.
b) Make your readers feel special by offering premium content to email subscribers
Ace blog Copyblogger Media increased its email signup rates by 400% and needless to say numerous of these subscribers are now the paying customers of the various products Copyblogger deals with.
Copyblogger founder Brian Clark created a membership platform, consisting of premium eBooks and Copyblogger products, which gave access to readers in exchange of their email ids and not Dollars.
This way they helped numerous bloggers and copywriters in accessing premium guides for free. And this relationship marketing strategy helped Copyblogger to build a huge base of subscribers that could eventually lead to sales.
What’s even more is that these satisfied readers spread positive word of mouth that additionally helped Brian to funnel new leads.
They are a great example showing how important is relationship marketing for bloggers and modern marketers.
I was one of those who came to know about Copyblogger from a happy subscriber.
c) Follow up to collect reviews and opinions on your sold products
Following up is always an inseparable part of relationship marketing strategies. You gotta follow up on how your posts have helped your reader.
If you have already sold a good or service to a prospect, email marketing can be best utilized to collect reviews of the buyer for the product.
This is a win-win strategy because it not only helps you to know customer reaction for your product; it makes the customers feel valued too.
If there are chances of improvement or any dissatisfaction accumulating in your buyers’ hearts do everything you can to turn the frown to a smile.
4) Social Media – the easiest relationship marketing tactic.
While social media is considered an easy and working relationship marketing approach, it isn’t quite a bed of roses.
You need to take care to be in the right social media platform in order to interact and build a relationship with the right audience.
Proper market research about key customer preferences is also a part of social media approach of relationship building.
The biggest relationship marketing tip on social media is to be yourself. You cannot ride it long wearing someone else’s shoes. Here is how to be honest and real on social media.
In one of the top and best and miraculous book (yes it is that magnificent!), How to win friends and influence people author Dale Carnegie mentions great social media strategies that could even be used offline.
Here are some of the points that would help you to perform relationship marketing using social media:
- When starting a conversation begin in a friendly way.
- Start with questions that would fetch positive answers like “yes”, “agreed”, “how true” etc.
- A person’s own name is the sweetest sound to him. Use your followers name when interacting with them.
- Make your clients feel special. Show them how important they are for you.
- Arouse a sense of eager or want in your followers (for your product or services). Do it cleverly.
Add value to your social connections
Social Media is of no use once you don’t aim at adding value to the conversation.
Try to boost engagement by helping people out of their problems. It is the most potent relationship marketing strategy for bloggers. If people in your reach are talking about an issue try to solve it even if it doesn’t belong to the niche you deal with.
That is what Seth Godin the marketing king conveys here (a must watch if you want to excel in relationship marketing & sales).
Recommended reading: 39 tips for Facebook Marketing For Businesses.
5) Customer service as a source of return on relationship
If you are someone selling something or offering a service, then customer care is a concept you would already know.
If you use customer service effectively to build provide value to your buyers this could be a great source for return on relationship.
According to Ted Rubin, return on relationship is entirely different from return on investment. Ted defines Return On Relationships as:
ROR is the value (both perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations and sharing, and is used to define and educate companies, brands, and people about the importance of creating authentic connection, interaction, and engagement.
Bloggers and online marketers can use their knowledge and experience to help the newer ones make a better start in the field. This way they are not only showing their expertise and authority to their juniors, but also building loyal and strong followers for them.
There are numerous examples of relationship marketing where solving the problems of readers have helped bloggers gain an even stronger following.
Pat Flynn’s Ask Pat series is successfully helping thousands of bloggers and marketers do their job better.
Want some more working tips and tricks on relationship marketing?
6) Reward the loyal buyers to make even more sales
Who doesn’t like incentives?
I am sure our followers would also love this extra token of gratitude from us. So why not give our readers what they want and in return they do what we want.
Customer loyalty programs as the process is called, is entirely different from bribing. Here we giveaway some free gifts, discounts or bonuses to our loyal followers as a sign of thanking them for choosing us.
The added benefit of loyalty programs on relationship marketing is that we gain even more sales in return of a little investment in discounts to the customers.
In order to get on the right track first figure out a reward that the customer is willing or eager to get. The second step it so find a process that makes them get this reward easily. Then you can sit back and enjoy while your customers give you recurring income.
Sometimes, if the reward is lucrative enough your customers might refer you to their friends and they in return would refer you to a new set of potential clients. This system of getting help by actually helping others is a great relationship marketing tactic.
“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.” – James Cash Penny Click To Tweet
7) Relationship marketing best practice: Help out people reaching to you
Bloggers enjoy an advantage in this. Since bloggers have a reach to a wider audience, they can build lasting relationship marketing approach for them. Even if you know a particular lead has never ever stepped your zone, don’t hesitate to help him in his troubles.
This is one of the very basic relationship marketing strategies.
When I first contacted Sue Ann for a help I needed at my blog, I did not even know Sue or her blog that nicely. But Sue treated me cordially and offered me her help and promise of being there at other times too.
This made my bonding with her even stronger and I now am a regular reader of her blog. Needless to say, Sue got a great admirer of her work by practicing relationship marketing.
8) Things not to do while practicing relationship marketing
Relationship marketing is all about reaching out, helping every human around you and building an organic rapport. Do not get caught into transactional marketing which aims at building relationships as an after sales process.
Transactional marketing and relational marketing are poles apart.
Also, stay away from (or at least minimize) interruption marketing which is nothing but the annoying version of traditional relationship marketing strategies.
Interruption marketing actually leads you to piss off your potential lead by bombing him with promotional emails, telemarketing (in an aggressive manner) and even spamming.
Relationship Marketing Examples
Here are top 5 best relationship marketing examples:
- Brands like Jet blue care a lot about their customers and don’t fail to show them a bit. They try every way to help with prompt customer interaction, even through twitter and let you know what they are doing to help you.
- Other brands like Taco Bell and Zappos are the best examples of brands practicing relationship marketing and actually building a dedicated and strongly woven relationship with their followers.
- Dell created a special online store for it’s high-volume corporate users. By doing so, it helped them have a hassle-free and speedy shopping experience which surely helps making your customers more loyal to your brand.
- Harley Davison used relationship marketing to win back the nearly failing bike market by creating a customer centric environment for its users. A new community named HOG (Harley Owners Group) was formed where it allowed owners of Harley bikes a free 1 year membership. Various events like rallies and charities were conducted which helped Harley win back the love of it’s users plus stay in the news by making its users feel they’re a part of the company’s journey.
- Starbucks is another example of companies that use relationship marketing to bring more loyal customers and business by offering personalized drinks (with your name on it), free WiFi, stay in your seat for as long as you want, and more.
Over to you
These were the basic relationship marketing strategies for bloggers, small businesses, and online marketers, that you must know in order to use it to make more sales and more followers.
While the first 7 relationship marketing strategies talk about the best practices relationship marketing, the 8th one deals with certain terms that get confused with the process in order to carry out your effective relationship marketing campaign.
To sum up,
Relationship marketing is nothing but trying to reach more people, serve even more people and have an positive impact on humanity by adding your values to it.
“Relationship marketing for small business is nothing but adding value and serving people.” – Swadhin Agrawal Click To Tweet
This post is a part of five part “The ultimate guide to Relationship Marketing” series:
- What is relationship marketing and what are its benefits.
- The definitive guide to relationship marketing strategies.
- Relationship marketing and bloggers. How can bloggers and online marketers use RM? (Upcoming)
- Advantages and disadvantages of relationship marketing: (upcoming)
- The future of relationship marketing for bloggers. (Upcoming)