Having a strong relationship with your customers is worth a fortune. So turn your internet marketing into relationship marketing and make it key for your organisation!
The purpose of relationship marketing is to put human contact back in business. Organisations should emphasize their warm and trustworthy image by nurturing their online presence in order to create meaningful, ongoing relationships. Let’s go into relationship marketing a little further and let’s talk about what is exactly is and why it is important for every (small) organisation…
Relationship marketing is not a new concept in the world of internet marketing. It has been growing because the rise of the social web, making it vital that you interact with your clients on a personal level. Social media made it possible to demonstrate your integrity and trustworthiness. This makes it possible to build up a good reputation and a loyal and satisfied customer base.
Say goodbye to the “touch points”
After reviewing several online shops and their social media pages, I have noticed that many organisations focus on just the “touch points” during the marketing and sales process. With touch points I mean hooks that are related to personal, inspirational or humorous content. Rather than just touch points, marketers should now use social technologies to form meaningful, ongoing relationships that involve frequent online interactions.
It’s paying off!
I ensure you, that little extra effort to keep customers loyal is paying off: companies that engage with their customers via social media have more loyal customers than companies that don’t interact with their customers online. Take a look at the table below, you can see that customers who engage with brands online report spending 20 to 40 percent more on that company’s products.
Yes, customer engagement is no longer a one-off experience; it’s an ongoing dialogue between your organisation and your customer. Your organisation needs to prove yourself as good listener, especially in this digital age. So start listening to your (potential) customers, jump into conversations and connect with them in a human way. Make sure you create positive experiences and outcomes for your customers; answer questions quickly, solve problems, listen to their ideas and support their messages. I’m sure you will be amazed about the growth of your social fan base.
As we are talking about key online relationships, I cannot leave out this great example of building and maintaining strong relationships by KLM Airlines:
Willem Nout (customer) says: “KLM, dude, I need ya boy! I would like to fly to San Francisco and I prefer to have a stopover in New York City to chill out for a day or 3. But how do I book that via the KLM “werelddealweken” thingie? I donts gets how it works!”
KLM replies with: “Ey man, Willem! Where’s the other side of the Twix, my friend? Chillin’ in the Big Apple for a few days is super relaxed. But with the “werelddealweken” you can only book a pure return ticket. We reccommend you to… (…).
So in short: KLM greatly matches its language with the customer in order to communicate on the same level.
Master peer-to-peer relationships
Another very important aspect of maintaining relationships is the peer-to-peer relationships on the social web. Your customers will not only interact with you, but also with their friends and family (or even with random strangers) . They will share their perspectives and opinions with others on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even on YouTube. It’s your job to keep your online community alive, so facilitate an active online community around your products and brand, and make sure they keep on talking about you and your products.
Customer service; off you go!
In the past, interactions between companies and customers happened in closed-off settings. Customers had to make a phone call or write an e-mail and other was witness of the communication between the company and customer.
However, now we are living in an “always online” world that is ruled by the mobile experience. Research done in 2011 shows an astonishing number of 78% that used mobile apps for customer service purposes. So in other words, if your organisation is not engaging interactively with the target audience, you are missing an opportunity to nurture the relationship through an open and honest interaction.
It’s all about friendship
The relationship you will build is two-way communications. On the one hand, your customers will feel heard and they would like to see that they’re actually contributing to your company. And at the same time, you get free feedback and have the possibility to improve your business in order to attract more (loyal) customers. This new way of customer engagement should feel less like a marketing or sales campaign, but more like a well-developed friendship founded on the basis of mutual needs and respect. It’s important to interact with your customers in the context of their daily lives. When providing them with better and more immediate service, you will stay in the forefront or their minds. In this way, when customers are at the point of purchase, they will choose the products and brand they trust because of positive previous experiences.
If you decide to turn your internet strategy into a well-established relationship strategy, review your online presence and start thinking about your objectives and particular goals. Win your customers’ trust by giving them the control. In this way, you are more likely to be able to meet their needs. Next to that, you will also win their trust, and ultimately, you will build a loyal customer base that will help you to become a successful organisation or brand.
Are you building relationships with your internet marketing? And how have you set your strategy? Please let us know in the comments below!