The consumer experience continues to define success in branding and marketing. You add the most amount of value to your brand when you position your business as a friend looking to help. It is the job of the relationship marketer to create the important engagements that will create long-term alignments.
Here are a few of the most important tips to remember in the relationship economy. Whether you have a dedicated in-house relationship marketer or not, you can employ these techniques to increase the value of your brand in the eyes of your prospects.
Focus on the long-term relationship, not the short-term sale.
Forget about selling on initial contact. The most successful brands in the world use customer outreach strategies to personalize the relationship. Look at past behavior of important prospects to help personalize the messages from the very beginning. Selling comes after a true engagement has been made, not before.
Prioritize the success of your customer, not your brand.
As a business, you should always look to add value to the lives of your customers. Product and brand lifecycles that add value keep the customer engaged throughout the process. You must keep a customer’s attention throughout the journey because the modern prospect has the ability to disengage with you quite easily and turn to a competitor with nothing more than a mouse click. The best way to keep a customer engaged is to prioritize their success at every turn. Prospects will feel that and convert out of respect and loyalty.
Build trust over time.
Not only is building trust important for your brand, but it is also becoming the only legal way that you can communicate with prospects. Antispam legislation throughout Canada and the EU now put the communications ball squarely in the customer’s court. Under these new laws, companies are now responsible for things like double opt-in requirements and opt out education. Customers can legally cut communication ties at any point, and any company caught “spamming” can face serious penalties.
Use automation sparingly, and always personalize.
There are many ways to keep your emails and calls personal even if you automate the beginning of your outreach program. Make sure that you are using a sophisticated automation program that makes use of your buyer profiles and behavioral research. Farther down the sales funnel, prioritize personalization, even if it takes more manpower.
Open up a two-way line of communication.
The more that your customer talks to you, the better. There is no better way to personalize a conversation than to sit back, listen and let the customer speak his own needs. Your job is to begin the conversation, not dominate it. Start the ball rolling with relevant, personal stories. Keep up with customers individually by remembering their past achievements and noting their milestones. Allow them to thank you, offer criticisms and even just shoot the breeze (about relevant topics, hopefully) until they start to view you as a friend rather than a business.
The tips above will only become more important as time goes on. Build relationships, not sales lists, and you will find more success in the new relationship marketing economy.