October 12, 2020

What is Relationship Marketing?

Swag being used for relationship marketing.

We talk a lot about inbound marketing and almost everything we do is based around the principles of inbound. The idea is that buyer habits have changed in the digital age and we want to build real relationships with our customers that go deeper than just getting them to buy from us.

We do that through education and trust. Well, another concept that is very similar to the premise of inbound marketing is relationship marketing. The two are alike, but relationship marketing was actually created more for the B2C world where inbound originated in the B2B world. 

Regardless of which industry you are in, building a relationship marketing strategy can have a massive impact on your customer retention and your brand as a whole. 

What is Relationship Marketing?

At its core, relationship marketing is about investing in your customers to form long-lasting connections that go beyond simply buying a product. Relationship marketing is when you build a bond with your customers that makes them feel passionately about your brand, your people and the product or service you sell.

Why Does it Matter?

Consumer behavior has changed over the last ten years or so because of the internet, and consumers’ buying process isn’t the same as it used to be. Before making a purchase prospective customers are doing far more research about a product or service and the company they are purchasing from. This means it’s more important than ever to not just sell a product off a shelf, but to provide real resources and information about your product or service and your company. 

Building deeper relationships with consumers means that they will stick around longer which can lead to upsells or cross-sells as well as a more reliable and healthy database of customers. All of these concepts help companies scale faster and hit revenue goals easier. 

Learn how to satisfy and retain existing customers to scale your business with  our Customer Success Guide.

The best way to get customers to stick around is to build lasting relationships with them through your product or service, your brand and your commitment to them as a person outside of just gaining their money. 

How to Build a Relationship Marketing Strategy

There are a lot of things you can do to foster a deeper more meaningful relationship with your customers. Anything that helps them view your brand as more human, see more value from your product or service or have a better experience overall with your company will contribute to your relationship marketing strategy. 

Here are a few different tactics you can utilize for your relationship marketing strategy:

1. Swag 

Sending customers things with your company branding on them or things that they can use from your brand is a great way to help stay top of mind with customers. There are all kinds of items you can send as swag like shirts, pens, notebooks or office items. Or, you can find ways to get creative with your swag and stand out even more with personalized items you know your customers will use in their daily life. 

Regardless of what you send customers, swag can create a feeling of being a part of your company which fosters a deeper investment into your brand for customers or prospects.

2. Customer loyalty program 

Regardless of what industry you’re in, once you start seeing success with your product or service you may want to start building out a customer loyalty program. A customer loyalty program is a great way to engage with customers and get them more invested in your brand and keep them coming back. 

Companies with customer loyalty programs typically see those members of the program spending up to 18% more. But, money isn’t the only reason to create a loyalty program. You can also see better retention and referrals as well as an increase in user-generated content or reviews. 

Customer loyalty programs can have a great impact on your brand and the willingness of people to share your company and product with others.

3. Get Feedback from Customers 

One of the best ways to ensure you are focusing on a relationship marketing strategy and putting your customers first is to ask them for feedback. Everything you do in terms of marketing, product updates and overall strategy should be driven by the people who use your products or services day-in and day-out. 

Setting up surveys like NPS or CSAT and ensuring there is a level of two-way communication with customers at all times is essential for measuring and optimizing true customer happiness. The rest of your relationship marketing tactics will all take form from the information and findings from your customer feedback

The Takeaway 

Relationship marketing may seem like a difficult thing to implement among your customer base but the truth is it’s simple at its core: give prospects and customers the best experience possible with your brand and product or service. 

You can do all kinds of fancy marketing things like sending swag or building customer loyalty programs, but if your product or service isn’t providing real value for your customers, they aren’t going to stick around regardless. 

The customer experience is one of the most overlooked parts of the customer journey but it’s also a huge opportunity for growth and retention for your company. 

You can learn all about how to provide the best experience possible for your customers and how to make customer success and service a priority at your company in our guide below. 

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Weslee Clyde

Weslee Clyde is an inbound marketing strategist at New Breed. She is focused on generating results using inbound methods and is driven by the customer experience. When not at the office, you can find her binging a docu-series on true crime or perfecting her gluten-free baking skills.


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