If you’re in business today, it’s all about relationships. I have noticed that the more I focus on adding value and deepening relationships with potential and existing clients, the more effortlessly my business grows. I’d like to share a few tips with you that I’ve learned about developing relationships through web-based marketing.
Relationship marketing is the process of attracting, maintaining, and enhancing relationships with clients and prospective customers. It’s taking traditional marketing up a notch. It’s setting out to make strong connections with those who will potentially buy your products or services.
A small business may not have the financial clout of the bigger firms in the marketplace, but there are advantages to being small. You may have less visibility, but you have more personality. You might not have a sizable marketing budget, but you do have something beyond the reach of the big guys – the ability to create truly personal relationships with your clients.
Despite all our technological advances, the truth is that people want to be known and recognized. They make decisions based on their personal affiliations and the level of trust they feel toward someone.
Build Relationships on the Web
You can build relationships on the web by attracting prospects and customers and inviting them to visit your web site. Make it easy for them to find you by listing with search engines and participating in social networking and discussion groups. Join in – or take the time to host – and raise your web profile.
Focus on Them, not You
Often businesses make the mistake of focusing their websites solely on their products and services. You can get an edge in the marketplace by approaching prospects in a more personal manner. Do some research into the needs of your clients and think about how your product or service answers their need – and develop your website accordingly.
First Impressions Count
See your website as a way that you can assist people. Invite them in. Make it an easy and useful experience. Attract them by offering lots of free, valuable information on an ongoing basis. Ask them if they would like to participate in an ongoing relationship… thereby creating a database of visitors, potential customers and clients. People are more likely to trust someone they have a relationship with. If prospects feel looked after and cared about, they’ll come back for more. You market to them by building their confidence in you. They will come to trust your expertise – and the relationship begins.
Let Prospects See You as an Expert Source
In web-based marketing, the relationships you build allow your contacts to see you as an expert resource, someone who knows what they are talking about and is willing to share that knowledge. And this is a vital step in convincing prospects that your product or service is of value.
Stay in Touch
Keep in contact with your current client list by developing a weekly or twice-monthly email newsletter or tips list. When you invite prospects to sign up, make sure the benefit of receiving your newsletter is very clear. Make it easy to opt-in and opt-out of your subscriber list. Reassure subscribers that you will not use their contact information inappropriately – and keep that promise. The purpose of the ezine is to establish your credibility as an expert in your field, so be sure that your ezine provides information of value to your clients, and keep the sales pitch to a minimum.
Build a Solid Foundation
As you grow your business, how you relate to clients and prospects will become more and more important. Your communication skills, the strength of your interpersonal relations, your ability to put yourself in your prospects’ shoes, all play a part in building a solid foundation for creating successful relationships with the people who you hope will want to buy from you. If you build a good relationship with a client and he or she is happy with your services, you’ve not only made a friend, you’ve created brand loyalty. Treasure it – it is the hallmark of success.
Relationship marketing is the ability to build and maintain close relationships with current clients and prospective customers.
There are a number of ways you can develop client trust and nurture long-term relationships:
1. Build credibility by taking a personal approach. Make it easy to contact you. Make sure your telephone, address and email are listed on your website. Invite visitors to contact you with questions.
2. Establish a quick response time to enquiries – 24 hours is good.
3. Use relationship-oriented thinking when developing your website or blog, and update it frequently. It takes five to seven contacts before a person is ready to buy a product or service from you. Give them a reason to come back again.
4. Offer something of value for free. Demonstrate your expertise by making it easy for visitors to your site to find good information. Offer tools that help your clients meet their goals. Include a variety of resources or links on your site.
5. Offer good support for users of your products and services.