Want to sell or fundraise more? Try building relationships with your customers. Yes, it really can be that simple. People like to do business with people. More specifically, they like to do business with people who care about them, who listen to what they have to say, and who are accessible and responsive to their needs. This doesn’t mean hiring several more salespeople or fundraisers to spend the time cultivating one on one relationships (although you may decide to do that anyway). You can build relationships that keep your customers engaged and loyal through your marketing tools.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU HAVE AT YOUR DISPOSAL?
Newsletters, direct mail letters, postcards, and other printed materials are great relationship builders. As you use these tools, don’t always be trying to sell something. Share information. Give advice. Provide useful resources so that your customers look forward to each communication. Consider selecting interesting or unusual substrates, folds, and bindings that take advantage of the unique, tangible characteristics of print.
Data. Knowing your customers helps deepen relationships over time. You will speak differently to the Gen-X crowd than you will to Baby Boomers. You will speak differently to a recent college graduate than you will to the head of a household with children. Using data doesn’t have to mean full personalization, although it can. Segmenting into different target audiences can also be highly effective by allowing you to speak to customers based on their common interests.
Every marketing channel has its own sweet spots, so understand the power of each channel and maximize it. Print creates the sense of gravitas and trust. Email and mobile allow immediate communication and facilitate click through feedback. Social media fosters long-term engagement and community building. Understanding the sweet spots of each medium and layering them over time reinforces your brand and helps you stay top of mind.
Personalized URLs allow you to connect with customers and get their feedback using a simple or more complex, personalized online interface. By asking their opinions on products, services, and their experience with your company, personalized URLs let people know that you care and that their voices are being heard. It also gathers additional information on those customers so you can better target and customize communications
with them in the future. Relationships require two-way communication!
Social media is not a sales channel. It is a relationship channel. Use social media to engage your customers in a larger community. Get your team members interacting with your customers as genuine, caring human beings. Have your team participate in discussions (whether on your sites or third-party sites) so your customers know you are really listening. Sponsor contests. Create discussions around the culture of your business, or fun and unusual ways to use your products. Regardless of the channels you are using, ensure that your phone number, Web address, and links to your Facebook page, Twitter account, and Pinterest boards are included and clearly visible. Give customers multiple ways to contact you and encourage them to do so in the ways they feel most comfortable.
As a marketer, you have tremendous resources for building long-lasting, positive relationships with your customers. The key is that there isn’t one magic bullet, it is a synergy of efforts. So start using the tools you have to build better relationships that drive your business growth!
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© Action Graphics, 2014.