According to MarketingSchools.org, relationship marketing is about forming long-term relationships with customers. Rather than trying to encourage a one-time sale, relationship marketing tries to foster customer loyalty.
As Luann Savage, Sr. Manager in Send Out Cards points out, “Everyone loves to be recognized and thanked. They long to feel appreciated. People won’t remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you make them feel.” Creating an emotional connection with the consumer leads to brand loyalty which is the foundation of relationship marketing.
On-line engagement by utilizing both social media and owned properties like a business website is an example of relationship marketing. “Companies can create a more balanced relationship with social networks by continuing to use them for awareness building, viral impact, and new customer acquisition, however, they must complete the loop by making their owned properties just as social and engaging so that they can keep those consumers coming back,” Jordan Kretchmer, Livefyre founder and CEO explains. Another example, is the offering of a Loyalty/Reward program. Some establishments offer buy X and receive X. For example, buy 9 cups of coffee and get the 10th one free. Or spend $100 and get $10.00.
Here are some companies that have such programs.
• 7-11 and Starbucks
• AMC Theaters
• JcPenny, Target and Bloomingdales.
• Credit Card companies
The size of a business doesn’t matter. Even a small mom and pop store (brick and mortar or online), should be offering a loyalty/rewards program. Each business should do some research to see what sort of reward best attracts their consumer.
A forgotten method to cultivate an emotional connection is greeting cards. As Luann Savage, shares in her interview with Business Innovators Radio, “I believe every business has a need for relationship marketing, and that means every kind of relationship building, business and personal. Businesses have a need to touch their customers and clients, and we all have a need to hear from people who are important to our lives. And we need those words of appreciation. With cards, we can hold those words in our hands and read them again and again.” Utilizing a card as a form of marketing should be more about staying top of mind as opposed to salesy. In other words, it should be personal that elicits the feeling of “they remember me” or appreciate “ME.” This creates the connection that results in the consumer thinking of one business over a competitor when they are considering a particular product or service.
Do: Send a birthday card with a special birthday gift or offer that is received only on the birth date.
Don’t: Send a card with the business logo plastered all over it with “Sale, Sale, Sale” everywhere – save that for a Facebook post, Tweet, or email.
Luann provides another example of a personalized greeting card and how it can be used: “A realtor could take a picture of a serious buyer in front of a house they love, and send them a card saying “Welcome home.” The card acts as a reminder of all the great feelings the home buyer had when viewing the home. The card is about the buyer and not about the realtor.
Depending on the size of the business and its consumer base, personal communication such as a text message or a phone call can provide great value. For example, an insurance agent can contact a policy holder in the event of a claim. If it is a car accident, the agent can personally contact the insured to see how they are. As well as offer any assistance in the claims process.
The bottom line for a business to be the choice of the consumer, it has to engage with them on a level that elicits an emotional response. Like any other relationship, the action taken has to make the recipient feel special.
For more information, Luann may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.