Happy Customers. That what we all want as business owners, right? If customers are just satisfied, they may come back to you. However, you can go a step further to make them truly happy with your product or service. When this happens, they are not only likely to come back to you, but they are also likely to recommend you to others. This is at the heart of what Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) is all about. In this article you will learn the 4 ways to get started and improve Customer Relationship Marketing in your business.
What is Customer Relationship Marketing?
Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) means employing strategies to build bonds and loyalty with your customers. It’s not just about the next sale or raising brand awareness, as with more traditional marketing tactics, like a sales promotion or advertising. CRM is more about the long term, emotional connection between your brand, product, and business with the customer.
There are 4 stages of customer relationship lifecycle: acquisition, conversion, retention, and loyalty. You are likely spending much of your marketing resources towards acquisition and conversion – finding customers and getting them to try your product/service. Check out this article from to see 5 Recommendations to Strengthen Your Relationship with Buyers during the acquisition and conversion process. But the real work toward building that long-term relationship lies in the retention and loyalty stages.
While conversion means trial, retention means repeat purchase. It means that customers come back and they purchase again. Loyalty is where you now have a bond with the customer. They are now connected to you and become brand ambassadors, recommending you to everyone they know. Here are ways to improve your marketing during these stages.
1. Retention Tactics
There are many tactics available to strengthen the relationship with your customers and increase retention.
First, is asking for feedback. Feedback helps you improve your products and services. Beyond this, it makes your customers feel valued, that their opinions matter. Feedback is different than reviews in that it goes directly to the business. It can be feedback on their experience with your products, on a new idea you are exploring, pricing, and so much more. To collect feedback, email marketing with a provider list Hubspot or MailChimp or sending a survey with Google Forms or SurveyMonkey work great.
Once you have a relationship, sometimes having an added bonus can make all the difference. One of the most used Customer Relationship Marketing tactics for businesses, Loyalty programs incent your existing customers to buy more of your products or services. For example, you may have a points system for products purchased online or a loyalty card that accumulated points or dollars for every dollar spent. These programs work great for product or services business, online or offline businesses. A massage salon may give you a free massage for every 4 massages you get. A coffee shot may use a punch card with a free coffee when 8 coffees are punched out. An online business may have points in customer accounts that accumulate and can then be redeemed.
Communication: the heart of Customer Relationship Marketing
Finally, every business should communicate and communicate often. Email marketing tends to be the best way to do this. Email means that you can send valuable information to customers whenever you need to. You can schedule emails ahead and can send them as often as you like. Of course, you want to be careful that your emails are thoughtful and truly valuable. You don’t want to over-communicate and risk being seen as spam.
Communication can also be through social media channels. Finally, do not discount communication through phone calls. When calls come in to your business, having a live person to answer those calls and provide valuable information to customers is critical. A Virtual Receptionist is an easy and professional way to do this!
2. Client reviews
Customer relationship marketing is about creating value. When customers feel like they are heard, they feel valued. Client reviews are a great way for customers to be heard and an easy and critical way to gain credibility! Asking customers to post about their experience wherever possible will help generate awareness for your brand. It will also persuade potential customers to try your products or services. Reviews can be on your website, on your business listing with Google my business, on a retailer site where your products are sold, or in other marketing materials that you use to sell your products. These are quick wins for increasing word of mouth and credibility.
Upselling current customers means that you are enticing them to buy more. More may be another service, the same product again, a new product, or increasing their quantity purchased. They bought from you once, they are more likely to buy from you again! This is where leaning on customer feedback can be very helpful. See what your customers love about the product they bought and then sell them something else with similar benefits. Or if they give feedback on something that you don’t currently sell, you can use that to create new products or services to meet those needs. While customer relationship marketing is about the long term loyalty, you still can leverage opportunities to sell.
4. Referrals – Customer Relationship Marketing Gold!
Of course, we all want customers to be so thrilled with our offer that they want to refer us to everyone they know! But sometimes customers need a bit more incentive. Referral programs incent your existing customers to refer your business. Generally, referral programs give your customers a discount off their next purchase when they refer a new customer. You can check with your Payment Gateway Provider to see how to give discounts or promotions through your provider.
You can also set up an Affiliate Program which is a referral program that tends to be for other businesses vs. individual customers. The benefit of an Affiliate program is that other businesses will start to promote your business using their unique code or link on their social media pages and/or websites. More exposure, more trial, more customers, more referrals! It’s a beautiful cycle. Have a look at providers/networks such as ShareASales.com to get started with Affiliate programs. These types of networks can take care of all of the backend process for you.
If you are looking for the next opportunity to uplevel your business, check out these articles.
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