December 17, 2020

The Best Relationship Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

The year 2020 is almost over — how are you planning to improve your B2B customer experience going forward?If you’re not already using a relationship marketing strategy, then now’s a great time to adopt one. Not only will it help with your customer retention rates, but it’ll also grow your revenue.

For instance, did you know 49% of consumers are willing to spend more with brands that offer personalized experiences? If you add bonus features, buyers are willing to spend an average of 13% more. These B2C buying habits are crossing over into the B2B industry.

So we’re going to explore what it takes to build a successful relationship marketing strategy in 2021.

What is a Relationship Marketing Strategy?

A relationship marketing strategy is a mix of tactics used by companies to build strong relationships with customers, including methods to improve customer experiences. The goal of a relationship marketing strategy is to retain customers and promote lifetime brand loyalty.

What are the Different Phases of Relationship Marketing?

There are five phases of relationship marketing strategies:

  1. Attract: This is when the brand and customer first engage.
  2. Connect: Now, it’s up to the brand to pique the customer’s interest.
  3. Courting: You’ve got their interest, now woo them into a relationship. Start by asking for a name and email address.
  4. Relationship: Your nurturing campaign worked, and now the customer is your new beau.
  5. Marriage: You’ve treated the customer so well throughout the relationship that they said yes to your proposal. Congrats, you have a lifetime customer!

What Are Examples of Relationship Marketing?

Remember, the purpose of using relationship development strategies in marketing is to create lifelong customers. This means focusing heavily on customer experience.

One of the ways you can do this is by making it easier to shop with your brand.

Here’s a look at other relationship marketing examples:

  • Creating loyalty rewards programs
  • Asking for and listening to customer requests and feedback
  • Sending birthday and holiday greetings
  • Sending corporate gifts to your customers
  • Implement omnichannel marketing
  • Creating personalized communications
  • Simplifying your website and checkout process (and other customer actions)

How Do Major Brands Use Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s quickly becoming a priority for businesses of all types.

For example, here are some of the firms adopting a relationship marketing strategy.

Starbucks

Starbucks uses a reactive form of relationship marketing. They maintain communication with customers via email, share deals, and ask for ideas.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CGaJ6RgF1ER/

They also share quick videos and images of customers drinking their product on Instagram. Sharing user-generated content shows you appreciate your fans, and it acts as social proof.

Lay’s

This potato chip brand decided to take a different approach to social media by creating competitions. If you haven’t heard of the Do Us A Flavor campaign, it’s a campaign that asks customers to submit their ideas for flavors.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CD1li5fgAL7/

They then turn the tweets and content into short videos, featuring two puppets (Taste Spuds). The winner of the competition receives a substantial cash prize. Campaigns like this help to build engagement with customers in a unique and fun way.

IKEA

The popular Swedish furniture store uses customer feedback as a means to drive the direction of its branding. An example of this is when they chose to change the font in its catalog.

Customers hated it, and they let IKEA know about it all across the internet. The brand took notice and made sure the next catalog contained the traditional font everyone was used to.

How Do You Implement an Effective Relationship Marketing Strategy?

How do you go about planning a relationship marketing strategy and implementation? It requires understanding the various methods available and then selecting the best for your particular audience.

You may find that Instagram isn’t the right venue for your B2B, yet LinkedIn may be.

Let’s review some of the ways B2B marketers can use relationship marketing within their strategy.

Strategy #1: Listen to Customer Feedback (and Make Changes)

We’ve seen this with IKEA, but you’ll also find this strategy used by companies across industries. The internet has made it easier to not only see your customers, but hear their complaints and feedback as well.

Take advantage of this by soliciting your customers for their requests, ideas, and challenges so you can better accommodate them. You can do this via email, SMS, or a survey/poll on social media.

Strategy #2: Invest in Technologies that Help Customer Relationship Management

There are various tools on the market you can use to deliver a great customer experience. For example, you can use CRM (customer relationship management) software to manage customers, personalize messages, and maintain communication.

Another option is to implement an ERP (enterprise resource management) platform to streamline your operations and eliminate departmental silos.

Then you can opt for unorthodox tools like a platform for sending branded swag and personalized gifts. You can use this to send and track corporate gifts sent to new and existing customers (or leads who are still on the border).

Strategy #3: Build an Excellent Customer Service Team

One factor that can make or break a customer’s experience with a brand is its customer service. If your staff aren’t knowledgeable enough, uncourteous, or unresponsive, it’ll fluster customers.

Invest your time and money into hiring and training a team to support your client base’s needs.

Consider creating a customer service Q&A template based on the demands of different customers. This will help your team navigate through positive and negative situations.

Strategy #4: Take an Omnichannel Approach

People today are used to engaging with brands in different ways. They may visit their website one day and then reach out to the company via its Facebook or LinkedIn page the next day.

Making it convenient for your audience to interact with your business in the way they’re most comfortable is vital.

This means having a presence on the right social media channels, email, SMS, phone, fax, and online chat. If you can incorporate a chatbot, even better.

Strategy #5: Reward Customer Loyalty

Now, there are different ways you can go about this. You can create a loyalty program where customers earn points. For instance, if you’re a SaaS, you can offer points for using your product regularly, which can be used to reduce their next month’s bill.

You can also reward customers for referring leads that convert into paying customers.

Strategy #6: Nurture Relationships with Email Marketing

If you don’t already have segmented campaigns for your customers, then you’re going to need one. Email marketing is a useful tool for nurturing leads into buyers and customers into loyal fans.

But you need to deliver the right message at the right time. This will require implementing tools that can assist with this — like a CRM and CDP (customer data platform) with AI capabilities.

This way, you can quickly analyze customer behavioral data and use it within your campaigns. For example, if you see customers asking about a new product, you can send an email about its features. Maybe even include links to your blog, showcasing how it can benefit them.

Strategy #7: Incorporate Proactive Retention Methods

When a customer’s subscription is about to expire, what do you do? You can either sit back and hope they remember to renew. Or you can reach out and remind them before the date passes and drive customer retention proactively.

By going with the latter, you can boost the odds of customers completing the renewal process. You don’t want to use a reactive approach because it can be challenging to get customers to return after allowing their subscription to relapse.

You can even send along a corporate gift as a friendly reminder vs. a typical email.

Strategy #8: Automate Your Customer Communications

Just because customers desire a personal touch doesn’t mean you have to send each message manually. You can implement automation tools that are faster and more reliable.

For instance, you can create lead nurturing emails that are automatically sent to new customers. Or you can use triggers to automate relevant emails to be sent.

For example, when a customer is logged in and visits a series of blog posts, you can trigger an email with a download for an eBook on a relevant topic.

But email isn’t the only thing you can automate; you can do the same with SMS messages, social media posting, and chatbots.

Strategy #9: Make Tracking Detailed Customer Data a Priority

It’s nearly impossible to win customers’ hearts without collecting lots of the right data. Besides gathering information, such as their name, company, salary, and technologies used, you can track the following:

  • Past purchases
  • Browsing habits
  • Birthdays and anniversaries (excellent time to send a corporate gift)
  • Engagements with your brand (across all departments and channels)

This is easier to pull off when using the right data management platforms.

Strategy #10: Track and Analyze Your Relationship Management Campaign

Not every method is worth adding to a relationship management strategy. And while it’s good to test different options, you want to ensure your tactics are actually working.

To ensure this, you need to use tracking tools to determine whether specific metrics are improving, declining, or stagnant.

Some of the metrics you should be tracking includes:

  • Customer lifetime value
  • Conversion rates
  • # of referral conversions
  • Strength of your network (are your followers engaged?)
  • Website metrics (traffic, social monitoring, CX ratings)
  • Customer support team metrics (case resolution time, duration of calls, # of followups, etc.)
  • Onboarding success

Whatever methods you’re using within your campaign, be sure you’re tracking the right metrics to determine success.

What Are the Challenges of Relationship Marketing?

Figuring out how relationship marketing can help build a loyal customer base is one thing. Overcoming the common challenges you’ll face while implementing it is another.

So to prepare you, here are some of the roadblocks you may have to overcome along the way:

  • Adopting omnichannel methods if you don’t have the staff or tools to do so
  • Responding to customers questions and concerns quickly
  • Personalizing content and campaigns based on data
  • Trying to rekindle interest from an old customer
  • Getting company-wide adoption
  • Dealing with complex software tools

Best Practices for Relationship Marketing

Building a relationship marketing strategy with a solid foundation is possible when you instill best practices. Here’s a rundown of what to focus on when adding relationship development strategies in marketing:

  • Focus on the needs of your customers
  • Listen to the feedback your customers give
  • Be available on your customers’ terms
  • Be authentic and informative with your content and message
  • Add a personal touch to your customer experience (i.e., personalized offers)
  • Offer ongoing support to customers
  • Show customers you appreciate them (i.e., send gifts or use loyalty programs)

How to Use Sending Platforms in Relationship Marketing Strategies

A kind gesture goes a long way when you’re trying to bond with a person. This is true for both personal and business relationships. And it’s why gifts continue to be an excellent way to please people.

By using a Sending Platform you can develop relationship marketing campaigns. And it’s easy to send and track personalized gifts to leads and customers. It’s not a gimmick — it’s been in the corporate world for some time now.

There’s just never been a way to simplify the process of selecting, shipping, and tracking corporate gifts. With Sendoso, these issues are eliminated.

Our customers use our Sending Platform for all sorts of use cases:

  • Congratulate customers for reaching a business milestone
  • Welcome new customers being onboarded
  • Encourage existing customers to renew their plan
  • Diffusing tough situations with unhappy customers

Sendoso enables you to choose quality personalized gifts from our warehouse. Or you can choose items from places like Amazon. Our professionals will ship it for you using unique, branded packaging. Plus, we’ll include a hand-written note.

You can then follow your shipment via the platform to track all of your gifts. There’s even a reporting feature to show the success of your campaigns.

Ready to see how it can help you improve customer relationships? Then contact Sendoso today!

See how companies generate over 200% ROI on new revenue with the leading sending platform.

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