“Relationship marketing” may be the current catchphrase, but the concept is as old as commerce itself. Developing relationships is the key to building a sustainable business.
To do this successfully, though, you need to stay on your customers’ minds and give them a reason to stick with you. Establishing a system of scheduled, consistently branded communication with your past customers lets you do that efficiently and affordably. You’ll reap rewards like:
- More repeat business — The most immediate benefit of relationship marketing is an increase in your customers’ lifetime value. According to some studies, boosting customer retention by just 10 percent can win you as much as an 80 percent increase in profits.
- Premium pricing — Customers who feel connected to your brand will pay a premium to get it, meaning higher profit margins for you. Running customer satisfaction surveys is one way to create the environment of open collaboration that fosters this sense of connectedness.
- More referrals — Satisfied customers who are regularly reminded of your business remember to pass the word along, bringing you new leads at little to no cost. Don’t leave word of mouth up to chance, though. Include subtle referral requests in all your marketing material.
- Clearer market insight — Your true fans are emotionally invested in your brand and genuinely care about your success. When you establish two-way communication, your most loyal customers will be happy to share their successes, frustrations, and suggestions. This insight saves you from aimless trial and error and helps you target your marketing more accurately.
- Easier expansion — Because they trust your brand to provide consistent quality, long-term customers are often the first to try your new products or services and they’ll forgive the occasional flounder. This frees you to experiment and grow. To keep your customers up to date, stay in touch through a mix of print and email cards.
You can maintain your valuable long-term customers and bring in more referrals with a personalized, consistently branded relationship marketing system. What have you been doing to keep in touch with your customers lately? Are there any new strategies you’re planning to try?
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