Relationship Marketing in 2023: How to Use It to Gain an Advantage
To succeed as a company in 2023, you need to inspire customer loyalty.
According to one study, 82% of companies agree that customer retention is cheaper than acquisition. Another study estimates that companies in the US lose $83 billion because of bad customer retention strategies. More studies continuously publish the same information:
So what is the role of relationship marketing here? Simply put, this is one of the most important marketing strategies that can foster customer loyalty, focusing on creating a long-term relationship with customer intimacy—especially when it goes hand in hand with relationship selling.
Let's dive a bit deeper.
What is Relationship Marketing?
Relationship marketing strategies aim to enhance user experience and not obsess with sales alone.
It's technically the opposite of transactional marketing, where the focus is on acquiring new customers and selling their products and services. It might seem the logical thing to do; after all, you're a business, and you need money to keep going.
However, this marketing strategy doesn't pay enough attention to the existing customer base and puts individual sales at the top.
Let's take a look at the main differences:
- Focuses on customer retention
- Non-stop contact with clients
- Puts customer value at the center of the campaign
- Constant improvement of the customer experience
- Focuses on making individual sales
- Contact stops after the first sale
- Puts the product features at the center of the campaign
- Constant improvement of product marketing
That's why every successful company needs to develop relationship and transactional sales and marketing strategies. Ultimately, the goal is to turn every new customer into a loyal one.
Depending on the type of business you have, there will be many different ways you can take care of your loyal customers.
Let's look at the different strategies you can implement in your relationship marketing strategy.
7 Valuable Tips for Relationship Marketing
If you're ready to build deeper relationships with customers, follow these tips:
1. Implement useful technology
You can use today's technology to gather accurate information about your customers, store it, make in-depth analyses and then use that information to create customized marketing campaigns.
Chatbots are a good example of customer-centered technology. They are skillful at identifying customer queries, even the more complicated ones, and they constantly learn how to communicate best with your customer, whether that is via social media messages, SMS platforms, or as a web virtual assistant.
Another valuable piece of technology is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The right CRM enables sales teams to develop and nurture meaningful conversations with prospects without getting lost in manual data entry or dialing. That focused view allows sales pros to pay more attention to their current clients and not just focus on finding new ones.
2. Use the advantages of social media
Social media is currently one of the easiest and cheapest ways to reach a broad audience and maintain good customer relationships. More often than not, relationship marketing is strongly connected with social media marketing, so this is an area that you can't simply overlook.
It allows businesses to create an emotional connection with their user base, quickly react when something significant occurs, and jump on trends that further increase their reach to the audience.
I recommend getting a separate social media expert than your usual marketing team. It's not as easy as you might think, and there is a lot of research and time that goes into it.
3. Put effort into your customer support
Excellent customer support is one of the best tools a business can have. Any company that doesn't pay attention to their customer service doesn't deserve their clients.
A bad customer service experience can make a customer leave your company in a blink of an eye. A study by Emplifi found that 49% of customers have left a brand due to a poor customer experience in the past year, and 86% said they would leave a brand after as few as two poor experiences. It's what makes them choose between one brand or another.
If your business is selling a SaaS product or service, then an excellent way to be proactive about supporting your customer and increasing retention is to host product onboarding webinars. By using webinar software, you can conveniently schedule engaging webinars that will get your new users up to speed and appreciate the great customer support.
At the same time, make sure that you act and not only react. Show that you care even when there are no problems that need to be solved. A great way to do that is by giving handwritten notes to your prospects and loyal clients.
4. Create relatable branding
People need to connect and make long-term relationships. In the business world, that means that you need to create a unique brand experience that brings positive emotions in every step of the buyer's journey, including after the sale is made.
Users connect with brands they feel reflect their own personality. So, for example, if you're a business that sells products related to sustainability, you have to make sure that your company policies and practices are also sustainable, and it's not just empty words.
Be consistent in your messages, and you'll see many benefits in the long haul.
5. Ask for feedback and implement it
Your existing customers must provide feedback on products and services - it's the best way to improve. However, you also need to make sure that feedback is taken seriously. Unfortunately, many businesses don't listen to their customers, which takes away from their overall value.
It could be how your website is made or a feature that your products and services are missing - it doesn't matter! However, client input is essential not only for your own development as a company but to also make them feel like they are vital to your business and a big part of its future. A good customer feedback software will help you interpret, prioritize, and take actionable adjustments to improve your overall customer experience.
6. Be transparent and honest
I understand that not everything in your company should become public for many reasons. However, that doesn't mean that you can't be completely honest with your customers.
This is especially true in crashes (as you will see a bit later) or when you make a mistake. People appreciate honesty at all times. Trying to look perfect and flawless just doesn't work. It will only make your brand feel out of touch, and you will fail to retain customers and gain new clients.
7. Offer incentives and rewards
Customers enjoy receiving rewards and getting special perks, and, as a business, you have many opportunities to do so. Public holidays, company birthdays, and client anniversaries are just a few of the options here.
Whatever it is, make sure that you adequately research your customers and truly know what they want and need.
4 Relationship Marketing Examples that Inspire Customer Loyalty
To make things easier, I've gathered a few examples of strong customer relationship marketing strategies so you can get inspired and implement them in your company.
I'm not sponsored by any of them (even though I wish I was); it's just awe-inspiring how much they offer to their client base.
Revolut is a UK fintech company that allows customers to manage their finances (and much more) through a user-friendly mobile app. Its competitive advantage is that the basic account is entirely free, and it already offers so much more than regular banks.
Using the Revolut app, customers can track precisely how much they spend each month on restaurants and groceries, set monthly spending budgets for these categories, manage subscription fees, quickly send and receive money from friends, round up accounts of their card payments, and accumulate the remaining amounts into a savings vault. Revolut customers can also spend and transfer money globally without hidden fees, hold and exchange 29 currencies in the app and send money quickly to family and friends.
These are only a few of the benefits that users get with their free accounts; I would probably have to write a separate article just for that. However, even though there are paid memberships, Revolut puts equal efforts into innovating the app for all existing customers, not just the ones that give them money.
Slack is already quite popular amongst business professionals, but that doesn't mean they don't put in the effort to maintain strong company-customer relationships. The entire focus of the app is customer satisfaction and making life easier. Here is what Slack offers its loyal customers:
- An extremely user-friendly interface that is easily understandable, so people don't need any complicated tutorials and explanations
- A bright and colorful app that works equally well on both mobile and desktop
- Single login for all possible devices
- An option for integrating other apps such as Notion, Google Drive, Asana, Office 365, Canva, and many many more
However, no matter how great an app is, mistakes still happen, and this communication platform learned that the hard way earlier this year. On the 22 of February 2022, Slack had its first major outage that affected users worldwide.
It happens to the best of us, so there's nothing really special about it. Still, customers went wild with their workday fully disrupted by the app fail, and they went on Twitter and LinkedIn looking for answers.
Despite the panic growing amongst the Slack team, they still found time and answered, if not all, then a very large number of people, thanking them for their patience and updating the crash status.
I saw many of those replies, and they were unique for every comment, not just a generic copy and paste. Slack understood the problems this outage caused their clients, so they kept them updated and demonstrated that they don't take the issue lightly.
The outage happened, and it was fixed, but the way Slack handled the situation will leave a long-lasting impression on their current customers, as well as the potential ones.
Supernote is a productivity gadget that has recently started growing its audience, with people all over the world pre-ordering and enjoying the product. Whenever you're looking for reviews online to compare it with another brand, something that everyone notices is their amazing Customer Support team.
Supernote is great at creating long-term customers because of many reasons.
- They listen to customer feedback on every channel - even the public Facebook group
- They are extremely quick to answer emails, messages, and queries by their clients
- They include major features for free, while other apps rely on the subscription method
- They are 100% transparent with their clients when it comes to pricing, import taxes, as well as their development plans for the entire year
It could be the fact that this is still a relatively small company, so its client base is not the same as most tech giants. But it's still a very good example of how a business should take care of their existing customers, so they don't go looking for an alternative.
Spotify is a music and podcast platform that also has a free version, but they do offer a relatively cheap option for a Premium account that gives the user all the extra features. What makes Spotify really good with its relationship marketing campaigns is the customized interface and specially curated playlists.
Spotify's algorithm studies the user and makes different playlists every day. They could be related to the user's favorite genre or a band they keep listening to. Spotify also makes lists based on current playlists and albums.
However, one of their best features is the Spotify Wrapped.
It's a personalized statistic about the user's most listened-to bands, artists, music genres, songs, and podcasts. Spotify Wrapped is something all the users look forward to because they can see how many hours they spend listening to an artist or their favorite podcast. Customers can also share all of this information on social media, helping them connect with other users immediately.
It's a unique feature that only Spotify offers at the moment, and it's a great example of a carefully-thought customer relationship marketing strategy. It inspires brand loyalty because users know they can't find this anywhere else.
Ready to Forge Better Relationships?
Relationship marketing is all about building a connection with your customers that goes beyond the purchase or use of your product or service.
It's about understanding their needs and wants and then providing them with something that meets those expectations. To do this effectively, you need to be able to communicate with your customers in a way that shows you care.
Make your customer communication feel more natural with Close today!