A simple solution to implement relationship marketing on your online store.
Relationship Marketing is all about maintaining a long-term communication scheme with your targeted audience. This can be expensive if you are talking about consumer goods and retail, but I have a suggestion that will blow your mind.
I will present the 2 topics and after that, I will show you how to implement Relationship marketing in your online shop:
1. Linking Niche Marketing with Relationship Marketing
According to Mr. David Shani [resource 1] in this article “Exploiting Niches Using Relationship Marketing“ presents an interesting idea: to link 3 types of marketing in one single strategic plan.
Niche marketing — feeds –> Database marketing — triggers –> Relationship marketing.
- Niche marketing: a small part of the market whose needs are not yet fulfilled
- DB marketing: a load of data about a person, what they like, dislike, their tastes and lifestyle
- Rel. marketing: continuous relationship, interactive, individualized and value-added contacts over a long period of time
2. Brand Management and Relationship Marketing
Riza Casidy (what a beautiful name) studied how building a relationship with your consumer can increase brand awareness in a way that will bring in more returning clients [resource 2].
Her study was all about PBRO (Perceived Brand Relationship Orientation), where:
- PBRO: an indicator of consumers’ perception of the bran’s desire to have a relationship with its consumers
She cites amazingly powerful sentences such as:
Consumer not only cares about a brand’s features and benefits but also about a relational aspect of brand perception (Kervyn, Finke and Malone, 2012).
When consumers regard a brand as a relationship partner, they may develop attachments (Malar, Krohmer, Hoyer and Nyffenegger, 2011).
3. Solution: How to implement relationship marketing on your online store
To apply in real-life the concepts raised by David Shani and Riza Casidy we should, WE MUST, implement Relationship Marketing to increase our PBRO and to keep in touch with our customers for the long-run.
This solution should be implemented in 2 or 3 days and it should be cheap as hell, and here it is:
- Birthday automated emails
Here is what I want you to do: In your shopping cart, you will add an extra field asking for Month and Day of the client’s birthday.
Relationship Marketing and Link Building
How about keeping a relationship with bloggers, news writers, and influencers?
This is what Handshake Links do!
It is a form of Online PR, it can cost you some money and take a while to get traction and translate in more leads and sales, but once we get there, there is no way back. You should sit down and enjoy the long-term benefits of such work.
Relationship marketing is a facet of customer relationship management that focuses on long-term customer engagement and customer loyalty, instead of short-term goals, like individual sales and customer acquisition.
This is why it goes perfectly with link building, which is all about creating linkable content that resonates with people and then creating a buzz around it.
How Relationship Marketing Works
Of course, you will need more than just a birthday reminder to build proper relationships.
How about knowing what people like and dislike? Can we launch a social campaign to increase followers on Facebook? This could help us get this info, correct?
From another perspective, relationship marketing can be defined as an arrangement in which both the seller and the buyer have an interest in providing a more satisfying exchange. Think of it as a culture of reciprocity, which involves the non-market exchange where no return is expected, other than satisfaction.
The ultimate aim of relationship marketing is to encourage customer loyalty. This isn’t to say that individual sales and customer acquisition aren’t important at all. It’s just that customers are more willing to know what you have to say and offer if you work on connecting with them personally.
The proof is in the stats. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, customers who feel connected to a brand are 52% more valuable than customers who are only highly satisfied.
That’s right. You can have a huge list of customers who claim to be highly satisfied, but they will never be as valuable as those you have worked hard to connect with.
To put this in perspective, let’s see how relationship marketing generally works:
Customer Relationship Management
Gone are the days when marketers only used to rely on the 4 Ps of marketing, i.e., product, price, place, and promotion, which are also known as the marketing mix. The concept was pretty cut and dry – you create a product that targets customers need, price it accordingly, place it where consumers are likely to buy it, and promote it (show customers why they need it). In the meantime, you hope that sales come at this point.
Relationship marketing, on the other hand, starts after a sale when you try to maintain relationships with customers. It focuses on the belief that a customer’s likes, dislikes, complaints, activities, and tastes can be used to make the whole experience more engaging for them.
Let’s say that you own an e-commerce platform to sell clothing online. You also maintain a database of how repeat customers use this platform from product selection, review, and purchase to the eventual checkout. By monitoring these factors through CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, you are positioning yourself to develop marketing offers and benefits that can strengthen your relationship with these customers.
To illustrate, if the software shows that a repeat customer hasn’t used your platform to buy for a while, you can use this opportunity to bring them back. This can be in the form of a personalized email offering discounts on the items that this customer usually purchases.
Customer relationship management comes with the following benefits:
The last thing a business wants is to lose customers. Studies show that the average business loses around 10 to 25% of its customer base every year. This isn’t to say that these customers can’t be replaced; it just means that businesses have to spend more time and money to acquire new customers. It also diminishes the possibility of repeat sales.
Even a slight change in factors like price or buying options can sway consumers to change loyalties. This is exactly what relationship marketing prevents from happening. It focuses on keeping current customers satisfied in ways that make them love YOU as well as the products or services you are offering.
More Brand Ambassadors
If customers start loving you, they are more likely to recommend your brand to other people. For instance, responding personally to a follower’s comments on one of your Facebook posts can show that you care about their views and opinions. Actions like these “condition” customers to become brand ambassadors and rave about your business wherever they can.
You don’t try to improve customer relationships to generate sales – that’s not the end goal anyway. The real purpose of relationship marketing is to encourage loyalty. It ensures that customers have a reason to stay with your brand for longer, and are always willing to buy (or advertise) whenever you launch a new product or service. According to Forbes, even a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability.
Little Chance of Switching Loyalties
Studies show that 88% of US consumers are willing to engage with brands that set new standards in meeting their expectations. So, unless your competitors come up with something better, your relationship management strategy might just keep your customers from switching loyalties.
This one goes without saying. Customers are likely to stick with brands that show they care. The focus on customer experience makes sense when you take these stats into perspective:
- By the year 2020, customer experience will replace product and price as the key brand differentiator [resource 3]
- The estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service comes at $1.6 trillion in the US [resource 4]
- 70% of buying experiences are based on what customers feel about making purchases [resource 5]
Relationship marketing is all about focusing on clients who are more aligned with your business and are likely to buy from you again. It enables marketers to segment these audiences and deliver exactly what they need and when they need it.
How to Use Relationship Marketing with Link Building
In order for any online marketing strategy to work, it must be a mix of both traditional and relationship marketing. That’s why it matches perfectly with link building. The former relates to branding, while the latter is all about creating linkable content to drive more traffic, establish domain authority, and achieving a high rank in SERPs.
To put this in perspective, consider the six markets model from Payne and Ballantyne which they claim are essential for relationship marketing. These are recruitment markets, referral markets, customer markets, internal markets, supplier markets, and influence markets.
Off all these, link building is mostly concerned with referral markets, influencer markets, and customer markets.
Link Building through Referral Traffic
Referral marketing refers to spreading the word about a business through word of mouth marketing or your own existing customers. It’s a great strategy for link builders to create valuable links for any marketing campaign.
In the simplest sense, referral marketing means giving customers a good experience, letting them share their experience with others, and using the reactions that follow to your advantage.
Consider backlinks which you can use to monitor your referral traffic. To make this work for you:
Register on Referral Websites
Referral websites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest, are your best source of referral traffic. Why? Almost everyone on the planet is on one of these social media networks, and chances are that your target audience will be using these sources too. Consider the fact that around 70% of smartphone users are frequent Facebook visitors and 81% of millennials use Twitter at least once a day.
So, if you are looking for ways to capitalize on customer relationships to get your links out there, register yourself on these platforms.
Create Link Bait
A popular link building strategy is to create content that is interesting enough to be shared and let your links “piggyback” on it. Think of a blog post or infographic with hyperlinks that lead to your product pages or other blog posts on your website.
To make your relationship marketing strategy work, you need to create a link bait. Customers need a reason to see what you have to offer – it’s what makes them click on your links more.
Keep in mind, a linked piece of content isn’t valuable only because it’s receiving dozens of clicks every day. Instead, content that receives a lower bounce rate, longer session duration, and plenty of conversions is what adds true value. The website that the content is on also has a part to play. It must have a high DA (domain authority) and be relevant to your niche.
Consider posting an insightful blog from your app development website onto a high DA technology website, like SEMRush. If your content is published, you can get tons of referral traffic from the links that are embedded in the post.
It’s a good way to promote your links. Create content that people will actually enjoy and watch them promote it for you.
Link Building Through Influencer Campaigns
Link building is all about creating relationships that benefit you. For instance, you can use link building to associate your online presence with key industry influencers.
Link building helps you generate interest in your brand, and only a few things are as interesting as influencers are. Find out which influencers your customer base is likely to follow and use the following techniques for link building opportunities:
Some websites publish posts that are provided by a sponsor. The cost for this is usually higher if the influencer has to write the post themselves, but it’s well worth the expense, especially if it can expose your links to your target audience.
Use Mentions to Your Advantage
Relationships are all about trust. If your target audience sees content with your links on an influencer’s website, they will trust it enough to click on it. It can also work the other way around – maybe your target audience loves blogs from a particular influential website. So, you use their links on your own website’s blog.
The traffic starts flowing in like there’s no tomorrow.
Facilitate Customer Satisfaction
Here’s a good strategy: monitor your social media feeds for mentions about your brand and use them as linking opportunities. Consider a Facebook post that asks followers to review a marketing campaign for a product that you’ve launched. You can use positive reviews about the product to your advantage by replying to the reviewer and strategically placing a link to your campaign in your message. The link will be in full view of other followers and might entice them enough to click on it.
Relationship marketing focuses on honing relationships with existing customers with the hope that they will shout out their satisfaction to the world. Marketers can easily use link building to facilitate this strategy. In the process, they retain their customers, ensure brand loyalty, and gain a competitive advantage for their brand.
- Shani, D., & Chalasani, S. (1992). Exploiting Niches Using Relationship Marketing. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 9(3), 33-42.
- Nayeem, T., & Casidy, R. (2013). The role of external influences in high involvement purchase behaviour. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 31(7), 732-745.