Relationship marketing is a way of ensuring long-term relationships with your customers by giving them a reason to stay loyal to you rather than dealing with one of your competitors.
Relationships are very important to Filipino retailers, as shown by their use of “suki” to refer to return customers.
Generally, there are three phases to building a relationship marketing strategy:
- Attracting customers. Before you can build customer loyalty, you have to give people a reason to deal with you. This means stressing the unique selling points of your business to potential clients through creative advertising and promotion, including creating an online presence and using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The goal is to make people understand what they can get from your business that they can’t get from your competitors.
- Building trust. Once you’ve built a customer base, you can start to build client loyalty by showing them that you are reliable. For example, they should know that they could trust you to consistently provide the best services or the highest quality products. You can also build credibility by responding promptly to customer complaints and answering criticism in a timely fashion without being antagonistic. When you can do this, not only will your customers continue to deal with you, you will even enjoy good word-of-mouth, which is the most valuable form of promotion since it is sincere and not solicited by you.
- Making a profit. This is a natural effect of the first two phases since you can enjoy consistent profits through repeat business as well as referrals once you build a solid customer base as satisfied customers tell others about you.
Here are some tips for Internet marketers for creating successful relationship marketing campaigns.
- Always provide value to your customers. For example, in order to encourage repeat business, you can provide your customers with something extra, or a discount on their orders. For example, for being a good customer, you can give them with a 10% discount or an extra case of your product.
- Build relationships through social networking sites. Using a Facebook page that your customers can regularly visit to get updates as well as being able to post comments is an invaluable way of making them feel connected to your business.
- Provide services to your customers above and beyond your professional relationship. For example, if you sell them a particular product, you can also offer them advice on the best way to use it. You can make yourself available if your clients need advice on issues related to the product.
- Reward them for spreading the word about you. When you hear that one of your existing customers referred a new client to you, you can send them a token of your appreciation. Or you can formally create a referral program that will provide customers a prize when they refer a new customer who makes a purchase.
- Never take your customers for granted. You can conduct periodic surveys to ask them what they like and don’t like about your service so you’ll know in what areas you need to improve.