In this digital age, it is easy to feel like the ultimate marketing goal is to connect with as many potential new customers as possible to boost your sales. However, there is a lot to be said for nurturing close relationships with your existing customers. In this blog post, we will explore how nurturing customer relationships through ‘relationship marketing’ is a cost-effective and sustainable way of helping your business to grow, thrive, and blossom in the long term.
Why putting people first matters
Traditional, transactional marketing focuses purely on increasing your business’ sales. But while a customer may choose your brand on one occasion, if they don’t have a strong emotional connection to your business, they may not become a returning customer.
‘Relationship marketing’ or, simply, putting people first, focuses on nurturing relationships with customers so that they return to your business time and time again. This doesn’t just lead to ongoing business, but to word-of-mouth recommendations. By focusing on the people who love your business, you can better understand how your audience uses your products and services. In doing so you can work out how you can meet your customers’ needs and further strengthen the relationship.
What’s more, this method of marketing is much more cost-effective than traditional marketing – it’s 6-7 times cheaper. Not only this but it’s a lot easier to sell to an existing customer. The success rate of selling to a new customer is just 5-20%, compared to 60-70% for an existing customer.
How to nurture customer relationships
1. Get to know your customers
Understanding your target audience is key to any marketing strategy, but it is especially important to nurturing relationships. Trying to understand why your customers are interested in your products and services will help to inform your marketing efforts. As a starting point, get to know your customers’:
2. Engage on social media
Responding quickly to comments or direct messages is key to nurturing customer relationships. Having a direct conversation over social media can significantly influence a customer’s impression of your business. When you show that you are attentive to a customer’s needs, this will boost their trust and respect for your brand.
Taking on board feedback on social media of any kind can bring you key marketing insights. For example, perhaps your customers love the idea of a Mother’s Day hamper but would like a cheaper option to suit their price point. Moreover, dealing with any complaints quickly can save your relationship with a customer.
By closely listening to your customers, you demonstrate that you respect their opinions. Your business goals will be guided by the people who matter most.
3. Nurture relationships with content marketing
While you might think of blog posts and email newsletters mainly as tools for bringing in new customers, producing high-quality content for your existing customers will help to keep them emotionally engaged with your business. As you learn more about your customers over time, you can tailor your content to be more relevant. Your content should aim to show customers how to get more out of your products and services and attempt to connect them to the face behind your brand.
Some examples of content you can use in relationship marketing that would add value for your existing customers include:
- How-to videos or blogs helping your customers to get the most out of your products.
- Behind-the-scenes previews into the day-to-day running of your business. This can help to form a more personal connection between customer and brand.
- Employee introductions: showing your customers the faces behind the business shows that you are human.
- Success stories: have you won an award, or achieved something amazing for a client? Let your customers know.
Sharing organic content like this will inspire customers to return to your business, by keeping you at the forefront of their minds.
4. Relationship marketing via email
While interacting with your customers through social media is highly important, email marketing allows you to reach your most loyal customers on a regular basis. Though you are competing for attention with the other dozens of emails a customer may receive, you are facing far less competition than you are with a social media post, which is competing with an endless number of other posts.
Email marketing is a great way to deliver personalised content to your loyal customers. Email marketing automation platforms like MailChimp allow you to segment your subscriber list into smaller sections. This allows you to deliver more relevant content tailored to the specific interests of different demographics in your audience. If you do not have the time to create an email marketing strategy yourself, you may want to look into enlisting an email marketing agency’s services.
Automated emails are another great way to keep customers engaged, as they are highly responsive to customer activity. Learn more about how email automation can help create a customer journey.
5. Show your customers that you value their opinions
While listening to your customers on social media will provide you with an impression of what they think of your brand, you don’t have to wait for comments to roll in to get valuable customer feedback. Instead, reach out to your customers for feedback in the form of surveys and reviews. Surveys can form part of your email marketing strategy, or you could promote them via social media.
Keep your surveys short and to the point to maximise customer participation. Decide exactly what you want to learn from customers, and base your questions around this.
On a smaller scale, Instagram Stories has many features that allow you to gather opinions quickly and easily, such as polls, Q&A, and quiz stickers. Collecting opinions in this informal manner can allow you to connect with customers on a more regular basis, but bear in mind that it can be difficult to determine the demographics of those that respond to Instagram polls and the like.
We hope that these examples of how you can nurture customer relationships through marketing help your business to thrive.
As the only Approved and Certified Mailchimp Partner in North Yorkshire, we are well placed to help you begin an email marketing campaign that will help your business blossom. Get in touch today to have a chat about how we can help.