Relationship marketing might just sound like another bit of business jargon that gets bandied about without anyone really understanding what it means, but it’s more important than you’d think. While your sales department might be more focused on making a fast buck, relationship marketing aims to retain customers and forge long-term relationships with them. Relationship marketing should play an integral part not only in your marketing strategy, but your overall business mentality. Here are a few tips from a customer-facing stationery supplier that prides itself on its healthy relationships with their clients.
Do your research about prospective clients.
It’s unlikely you’ll know a great deal about your customers before they become one – and it might remain that way after several months or years of doing business with them. Making the effort to get to know your customers is what separates a good brand from a great brand. Inviting them out to lunch is a pleasant gesture, but make sure you do your research beforehand. Find out where they’ve worked previously, what their educational background is and whether they have any hobbies – it might turn out you share a passion for cycling, for example. A shared interest is a small but significant factor that’ll give the business relationship a more human aspect. Not only that, your customer will notice that you’ve taken an interest in them.
Personalise your relationship marketing efforts.
Once you’ve started getting to know your clients and customers, you can start personalising your relationship marketing efforts. Instead of sending out golf day invitations to all your customers to make them feel as if you’re going over and above your service level agreement (SLA), send each of them a gift that’ll resonate with them. If Koos is an avid Blue Bulls supporter, tailor his gift appropriately. No sense in inviting him to watch the cricket at Newlands, then. This personal touch will make both the gift and the on-going relationship feel a lot less stiff and corporate.
Maintain a regular line of communication.
Communicating regularly and openly is a key part in creating and maintaining good relationships with your clients. While email might be the communication tool of choice for business, making the effort to talk to your customers over other media like Skype, WhatsApp or even social media makes the relationship feel more relaxed. Adding your clients on Facebook is perfectly fine – just make sure you keep a clean profile. The line between business and personal lives might be becoming more blurred, but it’s still important to keep up appearances for the sake of your brand.
Invest in your more profitable clients.
While in an ideal world all customers would be created equal, the reality is that some are more profitable than others – whether that’s because they place larger orders or because they are more punctual with their payments. Even though you want to form relationships with all your customers, investing more time and energy into the more profitable ones will make sure your business remains profitable. That said, you shouldn’t neglect the smaller customers completely, or you might risk losing them.
Align your actions with your brand.
However you go about cultivating those vital relationships with your clients and customers, make sure that you never lose sight of your brand’s vision and voice. Conveying brand values and personality effectively is the key to creating a strong brand, and something that many businesses struggle with. Interacting with your client is a great chance to convey the character of your brand. If your company prides itself on being friendly, fun and customer-centric – like stationery suppliers OfficeBox – then make sure your actions demonstrate this. Go that extra mile and deliver an invoice in person once in a while to give that thoughtful touch.
Stationery suppliers like OfficeBox understand the importance of creating lasting relationships with their customers. If you’d like to register for a free trial with one of South Africa’s most innovative stationery suppliers, contact us today.