The base of relationship marketing is about playing at a consumer’s sentimental values towards your business, how they feel about your brand, how they benefit from associating with your product or service and why they prefer your brand over others.
It’s all about creating an emotional connection with your customers and keeping it alive. Through the barrel of relationship marketing, a business can save money by retaining — rather than gunning for — a new customer base, which can be costly. It’s more about nestling your current relationship with loyal consumers; happy customers can turn into evangelist marketers — so your job is to keep them happy! 

media update’s Nakedi Phala explains how relationship marketing can help your business outshine its competitors.  

Here are three points you need to consider for your next relationship marketing strategy:  

1. Utilise customer service 

The greatest way to offer your consumers supreme service experience is by adjusting to customers’ needs differently. A one size fit-all approach is not ideal, as customers may approach you with different problems relating to their own experiences with your business. It’s vital to tailor your message based on context, issue or the complaint given. 

There are various platforms that you can use in order to interact with your consumers, such as email, mobile phone or on your social media pages. 

For example, let’s say that a consumer has had a bad experience with your product and they express themselves on social media, tagging your business profile in the complaint. The first thing to do is to keep calm and follow these steps:
  • Investigate the matter or request someone working in customer experience to look into the issue. 
  • If it's a complaint, respond specifically to the problems brought forward by the consumer. 
  • Don’t rush to respond. Take some time to understand what their grievance is. If you don’t understand, ask them to explain the issue in detail. 
  • Update the consumer and provide them with solutions to their inconvenient experience.
Be proactive, even when dealing with positive comments from consumers or else your risk having your consumers feeling neglected. 

Here are a couple of things you can consider doing or saying when dealing with positive feedback from customers: 
  • Be grateful — say thank you. 
  • Personalise your response — if it’s social media, refer to them by their @name, telephonically refer to the customer with their first name or one they used to introduce themselves. In the email, look at the sign of name and use it to refer to customers when responding to them. 
  • Share positive feedback. For example, if someone says something positive about your business on a social media platform like Twitter, comment and retweet the comment. 
  • Depending on what your business trades in, you can offer an incentive to loyal customers. 
Whether the remarks from customers or clients is negative or positive, it is always ideal to deal with each of these in their own merit. 

2. Locate and interact with consumers in their comfort zone 

Business excellence is due to great customer experience. And what better way to reward consumers than meeting and interacting with them in their place of comfort?

A consumer's place of comfort doesn't always have to be a physical one. For example, a popular food franchise like Nando’s interacts and promotes its brand, for the most part, on Twitter. Why? Because it has established its target audience, and those who relate to some of its marketing tactics are on the platform. 

Nando’s satire has elements of politics, social issues and Twitter trending topics. And the brand was able to incorporate this into its brand and blend in. 
Keen to learn more about how Nando’s does its marketing? Check out our article, Five marketing tips you can learn from Nando’s.

3. Offer consumers rewards to keep them intrigued

A business is like a brand; it can use a rewards system to sweeten its relationship with consumers. Rewarding loyal consumers has the potential to attract even more customers.  

Consider these five tips in your rewards programme: 
  1. Create a rewards programme that won’t make a dent in your sales. You can use money from your petty cash or your business net income, depending on the size of your business. 
  2. Create a rewards programme for your loyal consumers and one for new customers.
  3. Offer discounts on certain services or products that your business provides. 
  4. Create a rewards system that builds trust between you and your consumers
  5. Design a rewards programme that has a referral bait, this will help gain more customers. 
Customer loyalty is the most valuable intangible asset your business can ever have; it means that your business has managed to preserve an unbreakable relationship with its customers even with the competitors that are hanging around.

Don’t stop reinventing your loyalty programme, as consumers like to box-fresh service, products or content — whatever your business offers, always keep it up to the minute! 

Relationship marketing is mostly about keeping a good relationship with loyal consumers, making sure they don’t look in the direction of your competitor. What are your thoughts on this tactic? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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 To keep your marketing game up to scratch, check out these Five ways to keep a co-marketing partnership fruitful.
*Image courtesy of Canva