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What is Relationship Marketing and How Can It Benefit Your Business?

By: Viral Nation | 4 mins read |
Looking for more business opportunities for your company? That was a rhetorical question because let's face it, who isn't? If you or your brand is one of the countless numbers of businesses looking to boost their number of new business opportunities, consider relationship marketing as a solution. It's 2020, and even in the midst of a global pandemic, selling to a client simply isn't enough these days. Consumers have high expectations, constantly searching for impeccable service, ease-of-use, and a top-quality experience; no matter what type of product or service you offer. These growing expectations have all but forced brands to start paying closer attention to the user experience. The "customer first" approach that has been adopted by brands for decades has now expanded into the customer experience.  

What is Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing revolves around its namesake; relationships. But the idea is not just about developing a relationship built on acquiring new customers - it's about reaching the right segment of consumers. These are the customers that can extract the most value and use out of your product or service while also receiving the highest degree of satisfaction. But relationship marketing goes even further. The concept is focused on building, nurturing, and sustaining long-term relationships, which increases customer loyalty. The goal of every business is to make money, that's why brands focus so heavily on the bottom line when it comes to every practice and initiative that takes place within the company. But while relationship marketing at its core is about generating more business opportunities,  its efforts are concentrated in a few specific areas.
  • Creating connections and providing strong communication throughout the sales funnel
  • Connecting with prospects with 'fit' - those who are most able to get their desired results from your brand's product or service
  • Effectively identifying opportunities where consumers can really benefit from purchasing from your brand
  • Engaging with clients/customers and keeping them happy even after they've completed the sales cycle.
  Let's lay this out more simple terms, and use SaaS platforms as an example. Like a number of other business verticals, many of these companies rely heavily on a business model based on monthly subscriptions. Other sectors like B2B largely depend on referrals and existing relationships to build and maintain clientele. Then you have unique, independent businesses that specialize in a particular niche and perhaps sell complex products and services. These types of businesses may work on a completely different sales cycle than traditional businesses, relying solely on their direct contact and relationship with their buyer/contractor. This reality illustrates that a large percentage of many business' revenues comes from an already existing client base. Whether it's a direct result of recurrency or referrals, your existing customers provide a value that should not be overlooked. This reality presents an opportunity for brands to succeed by giving them the chance to create a relationship built on keeping the client happy in today's business landscape.  

How Can Relationship Marketing Benefit My Business?

One of the primary benefits of relationship marketing is in its ability to help in multiple stages of the customer journey. But outside of the sales funnel jargon, there are few specific ways in which relationship marketing is beneficial for your business.  

It Creates Additional Business Opportunities

Building your relationship marketing skills isn't just good for developing a stronger relationship between brand and consumer; it's also a catalyst for creating additional business opportunities. Creating a personal connection experience leaves a long-lasting impression on both current and potential customers. When your brand emphasizes creating a customer experience that leaves a fond memory for the consumer, it gives your product or service a sense of instant trust and credibility. This means that when those individuals start to think about a want or a need that aligns with your business offerings, your brand is likely to come to mind more quickly. For instance, in a moment when a friend of one of your customers asks for a reference in regards to a business venture, your name will be top of mind.  

It Increases Word of Mouth Referrals

Anybody who owns a business will tell you that word of mouth referrals are worth more than gold. Relationship marketing helps your focus on building your brand’s interpersonal connections with your customer. It's an opportunity to "wow" consumers and create buzz around your product or service. More than ever before, customers want to feel important. In some instances, they don’t often get an opportunity to feel that way in other areas of their lives. It goes without saying that we all seek satisfaction in some form or another. But keep in mind, consumers in 2020 rarely purchase products or services based simply on the product's intent. In their minds, they're asking themselves, “what does this do for me?" And not just what it does for them in a practical sense, in terms of what function it serves or problem it solves. It's also about the feelings and desires associated with that product that determines whether or not a customer purchases from your brand. To create an enhanced customer experience, try and highlight your customer’s successes, stay in communication with them (whether by phone, email, or even social media), and respond to their concerns with genuine concern for their satisfaction in your product or service. By building your relationship marketing skills, your brand is able to provide more than just a product or service - you provide an experience to customers, both potential and existing.  

It Helps You Stay On Top Of Your Customer's Needs

Actively participating in a person-to-person relationship marketing model can help you learn what your audience wants most, in a direct and meaningful way. Listening to your customer base and taking into consideration their wants and needs for their customer experience is paramount in both retaining your current customers, and also attracting new ones. Starbucks is a great example of a brand that listens to its customers. As more and more people began to frequent their shops, Starbucks listened as customers expressed a desire for free Wi-Fi. Knowing that this offering would present great value to its customers, the company began offering Wi-Fi at the suggestion of patrons and loyal customers. Today, the company's thousands of retail locations are consistently filled with customers who know they not only offer a great product but also great customer experience.  

Final Words

Relationship marketing is one of those things that can sometimes be easily overlooked, lost in the sea of business. It's all too common for brands to simply not be paying attention to this sort of thing. But we can assure you that following a relationship marketing model will make a big difference for your company.  

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_About the author
Viral Nation

Viral Nation is a new media innovation group that powers the social ecosystem through integrated solutions that align strategy, talent, media, and technology. As pioneers in the influencer space, Viral Nation is comprised of a full-service creative agency, a creator and athlete-influencer representation agency, and a technology division creating modern marketing solutions for the social media age.