What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing refers to the process of marketing with the goal of customer retention and loyalty for your brand.
Less about sales, more about the impact your brand has on your customers and driving them to come back time and time again.
Especially in our current global situation, where politics, climate change, human rights and company transparency are up in the air – your customers want you to radiate trust now more than ever.
Gone are the days of buying a product out of necessity. Digital marketing has become a journey of relationship building and relatability.
Here are our 5 relationship marketing tips to ensure your brand is accountable and encourages customer loyalty.
1. Create a brand with purpose and drive for change
When a new brand starts up, there is always an underlying motive for creating their new product; and with that, an opportunity to share a story.
Yes, making money is at the core of every business, however the purpose behind the brand extends much beyond this.
WHY did you develop your product? What VALUE does your product bring to potential customers? Relationship marketing flips around the typical “why should I buy?” and changes to “why should I support you?”
The key to building a loyal customer base, is to offer the same support back to them. Show that you value their support and thank them for joining you on your journey.
If your brand is tackling sustainability or offering accessibility for example, highlight this. Show the bigger picture in what you are trying to achieve. That’s what customers want to see.
For example – clothing brand, Lucy & Yak create sustainable handmade garments using organically sourced materials. They are driven about producing sustainable, small batch pieces that have minimal impact on the environment and are inclusive for all shapes and sizes.
They regularly talk about the environmental impact of what they do, and if something changes – they let you know. Read more about Lucy and Yak’s mission here.
2. Be transparent and clear, show the process
Loyal customers are invested in how you’ve got to the point you’re currently at. They want to grow with you, supporting you and you supporting them back.
Show behind the scenes insights, new product prototypes, packing and shipping – highlight the team behind it all. People love people, show that your brand is more than factories and machines!
Be honest about any changes you have made. Whether this is due to tooling and manufacturing delays, or simply an update in branding.
Especially if you are crowdfunding, the more you engage with your audience, the more likely they are to back. Trust and accountability is key.
Build a product journey that your audience is invested in and wants to follow along.
If there’s areas you need to improve on, be clear about your proposed next steps – don’t let your reservations hold back opportunities to grow.
State your mission clearly, set goals and work to them in the public eye.
3. Provide what your customer needs, exactly when they need it
Getting the customer acquainted with your brand is one thing, but knowing your customer is just as important.
We recommend honing in on your customer journey to ensure that it exceeds expectations at every stage.
If they are umming and ahhing about buying their product and it’s in their basket, trigger a perfectly timed email. Or offer them an extra discount to reward their interest.
This is where relationship marketing and email marketing blur. You can add value and encourage loyalty by offering insight, incentives and reminders at exactly the right time in their checkout journey.
Create a regular and engaging newsletter series, use new stock and production updates to catch the attention of customers who haven’t bought in a while.
4. Support and shout about initiatives that matter
You have a platform, you have a voice – use it. Show that your brand cares about initiatives outside of your bubble.
Perhaps a portion of your proceeds from every product sold supports charitable campaigns or initiatives.
Or if this isn’t viable, raise awareness to relevant news and trends that you care about via social media.
Customers are more likely to build a relationship with brands they like the ethos of and feel they can support in more ways than one.
An example of this would be Wild; a brand dedicated to bringing refillable, natural deodorant to the market.
They ensure all their range are plant-based, eco-friendly and regularly add new scents for retained interest. Plus, they plant a tree for every purchase.
Here, they highlight their mission for sustainability loud and clear, going that extra mile to ensure their impact is minimal.
5. Listen to your community and make active changes
Our final tip would be to LISTEN to what your audience are saying. Whether it’s via social media stories or email surveys, ask their opinion. Get feedback and learn from it.
The more you show adaptability and willingness to improve, the longer your customers will stick around and the more they will show loyalty to your brand.
Incentivise their loyalty – if they support you with constructive criticism in an email survey, maybe offer an extra 5% or 10% off their next purchase as a thank you.
If you’re crowdfunding, email sign-ups are a brilliant way to source an audience before you launch. Make them feel special by offering an early adopter discount and exclusive previews of your progress.
So that’s relationship marketing
When it comes to relationship marketing, it’s really about making your customer feel special and like they are supporting something bigger.
Be transparent and honest and they will give you support and honesty back. It’s a win-win!