If you’ve been following along, you know that I’m working on becoming a ‘meaningful specific’ and that the particular specific in question is relationship marketing. It certainly doesn’t stand alone and I hope to examine how it fits into the other categories this blog has traditionally showcased.
I’ll think (out-loud), experiment, and share with all of you. And you’ll no doubt help me digest all of it as we have conversations and learn with each other.
To kick things off I thought I would share with you some of the things that have worked for me in terms of building great relationships with clients. Some of these are probably indisputable, others I probably got lucky, and still some I may be way off base.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Which of these have worked for you? Where am I wrong? How would you expand on one of these?
- Be familiar with the company before you ever approach (or follow-up if they sent an
initial inquiry e-mail).
- Stop talking about your services and listen to their problems. Recall Are You a Marketer or Are You a Seller?
- Alter your deliverables that make it easier on you, and customize them to best fit their needs.
- Take notes during your conversation, send a follow-up e-mail highlighting key points, and asking what other points of emphasis they’d like to include.
- Send clients relevant articles that made you think about them, would be pertinent to them, mentioned them in some capacity.
- If you don’t have the answer, either get it for them, or be willing to introduce them to someone who does.
- Learn about things they’re passionate about. If they’re the type that likes small talk, mention their kids, their recreation softball game, the marathon they were going to run last week, etc.
- Don’t pass off different aspects of the marketing mix. Get others to help you, but see the entire process all the way through with them. Chances are they have a rapport with you, not necessarily your co-workers.
- Or do use the team approach with the expectation that the more touch points the stronger the bond, but ensure everyone is on the same page beforehand.
- Ask a client when the most appropriate time to contact them would be. What is most convenient time for them?
- Ask what the preferred method of communication is? Do they prefer e-mail? A phone call? @replies on Twitter?
- This shouldn’t have to be said, but obtain permission before e-mailing them a newsletter, an affiliate promotion or anything touting your products.
- Ensure that all communications are both accurate and relevant. Always.
- Thank them for their time. Clients are busy too.
- Implement loyalty programs or reduce package fees (those with lots of options) for retentive customers.
- Bundle products, include bonuses; over deliver.
- Do cross promotions and give your customers great deals on someone else’s newest product, beta entries prior to new launches, etc. The most successful online marketers do this stuff all the time.
- Integrate your relationship marketing with your traditional marketing initiatives to increase the strength of your entire approach.
- Effectively communicate every aspect of your terms and conditions, and what they’ll need to do on their end. Ensure this is 100% clear.
- Follow up after a short period of time to touch base and make sure that their activation process is going smoothly.
- Give out your cell phone # to great clients; give them the ability to reach out to you after office hours, on weekends if it’s really important.
- Solicit feedback. Ask for honest feedback of what you could do better next time. Use this information to strengthen your services and the connection.
- Be conscientious of the your body language, the tone of your voice, etc. You don’t want to inadvertently jeopardize the relationship because you were frustrated (even if it was warranted). Great relationships overcome a few setbacks.
- Celebrate your best clients by giving them a shout-out on a blog or other form of social networking site.
- Learn from other companies who are already succeeding in cultivating great relationships.
There’s 25 and I haven’t even scraped the surface, much less discussed relationship marketing as an internal market. What did I miss? Please extend the conversation by helping me build on this list.
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25 Ways to Bolster Your Relationship Marketing Efforts — http://tinyurl.com/caj7q2