I’d like to use a term you may or may not be familiar with: relationship management. If you were asked to provide a business definition for relationship management, I’m sure you could do it; it’s pretty much just as it sounds. I like:
“A long-term arrangement where both the buyer and seller have an interest in providing a more satisfying exchange.”
“A form of marketing that recognizes the long term value of customer relationships and extends communication beyond intrusive advertising and sales promotional messages.”
The entry in Wikipedia can take you deeper behind the definition and into related areas, but bottom line is: relationship marketing is a strategy for increased profitability because:
- The cost of keeping customers is far less than the cost of acquiring new customers.
- Long-term customers tend to be less inclined to switch, and also tend to be less price sensitive.
- Long-term customers are more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
- Long-term customers are more likely to purchase related products and/or high margin supplemental products.
- Customers that stay with you are less likely to switch to competitors, making it difficult for competitors to enter the market or gain market share.
- Increased customer retention and loyalty makes your job or your employees’ jobs easier and more satisfying. Happy employees provide better customer service leading to better customer loyalty, and the cycle goes ‘round again.
What, Pray Tell, Does This Have to Do With the Title of This Blog?
Email marketing is your main online venue for relationship marketing. Email marketing, as a rule (and this IS a rule), sends to lists of people/customers/clients that you know, have done business with, or that have requested to be on your list. These are exactly the people with whom you want to nurture a business relationship.
What Do I Say to Them?
You give them something they want: relevant and interesting news, tips, how-to’s, announcements, “preferred customer” initiatives, coupons, special deals, insights, follow-ups, seasonal information, ideas, recommendations, testimonials, product reviews or comparisons — to rattle off a few ideas.
Email marketing is not “email sales.” You’re not a used car salesman (apologies to these salesmen and women): “Buy NOW before this deal ends!!” Remember: you’re nurturing a relationship. Be helpful and informative. Treat them like they are important to you because THEY ARE.
But You Were Going to Tell Me How This Differs From My Blog
Often times, the informational portions of your emails can be repurposed (you like that word?) for your blog. Think of your blog as a way to reach people/customers/clients you don’t know yet but you want them to like you. You want them to become a customer or client. You want them to sign up for your email so you can build that special business relationship with them also.
With blogs, you want your readers to share, like, and provide comments to your postings. A blog is a better way to engage in online discussion and socialization, so be sure to ask for feedback, pose a question, or take one side of an argument, encouraging others to take the other side.
With email marketing, you can encourage your readers to share the information with their friends, or not. It’s up to you based on the content of the message.
The content of your blogs and the content of your email messages can be similar, but the purpose of each venue is different. Be sure to think about and plan how to use each effectively for your business.
Any questions? Does this make sense? Leave your thoughts or comments below.
Next time: Building a Relationship Through Email Marketing