To successfully capture the attention of today’s busy online consumer, you must effectively woo potential clients. Much like dating, consumers want to be courted by your company long before you shove a product or service down their throat.
Just think back to one of your first-date experiences. Without some courting and wooing, rounding first or second base would have been impossible. In fact, even attempting to “make a move” might have sent your date heading for the hills.
While social media might make consumers more accessible than ever before, pouncing on the opportunity without understanding their needs is a huge mistake.
Not only do you need to know your customers, you need to help them truly fall in love with your business. I recently joined Wade Harman on his weekly Google+ Hangout, focused on relationship marketing, social media, and building connections online and was inspired to dive deeper into the thoughts shared between Jeff Sieh, Lany Sullivan, and I on the show.
Below are three C's critical to using relationship marketing effectively within your business: conversation, communication and community.
1. Create meaningful conversations
Relationship marketing, often defined as “relational versus transactional,” marketing strives to put the relationship between business and consumer at the forefront rather than as an afterthought. No longer an accepted practice to simply push out a marketing message, businesses and brands are now expected to create conversation and establish rapport through their social channels.
It requires that you move away from the transactional mindset and instead work to create meaningful, intelligent, and worthwhile relationships that go beyond a LIKE, share, or comment.
It’s what Jay Baer calls “Youtility.” It’s the ability for brands, businesses and entrepreneurs alike to infuse humanity into the sales process and tie interest to action.
It’s taking a promotional post or tweet and turning it on its head. Making it useful instead of promotional. Creating a conversation instead of simply pushing out a message.
2. Communicate value
Instead of looking at your product or service and saying “what,” look at it and ask “who?” Who can I serve, help, give a little bit more to as opposed to what can I sell them today? I guarantee the who is what will inspire engagement and ultimately, the action to purchase your product or service.
Marketing expert Seth Godin often asks his readers what the value of social media is if your message is dry, generic and boring? The idea behind his message is to create differentiation rather than simply conforming to what others are doing online.
If you want your message to connect, create impact and spread, you must communicate your value in a way that sets you apart.
Relationship marketing allows you to not only start the conversation, but also join the conversation. By doing this in an authentic way, you can offer a substantial amount of value simply by showing up on a daily basis. If you can offer information аnd vаluе bеуоnd whаt іѕ сurrеntlу аvаіlаblе, уоu wіll bе embraced, appreciated, аnd financially rewarded.
On the other hand, if you choose to regurgitate thе ѕаmе tired message others are spreading, then you will quickly fall оut оf favor.
3. Embrace your community
Relationship marketing isn’t necessarily just about building relationships. It’s about nurturing and improving upon them. Be a catalyst for change within your industry or niche.
Step outside the norm and embrace your online community. Identify who they are and how you can raise the bar when it comes to your customer service. Determine who your supporters, promoters, and raving fans are.
Now ask yourself:
- What do they like?
- What do they need?
- What problems do I solve?
- How can I continue to be of value?
The goal is to move away from the days of simply building relationships and into an era where we ARE the relationship.
What do I mean by this?
Strive every day to give more, share more, do more, BE more.
That in a nutshell is relationship marketing.
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.