Relationship Marketing is defined on cecausa.com as a “marketing methodology by which a business establishes a relationship with their customers and stakeholders in order to foster customer loyalty and purchases over time.”
This simple, but straightforward definition captures the essence of why relationship marketing has to be an integral part of the strategies implemented by small and micro-businesses owned by soloentrepreneurs. The goal should be to develop long-term relationships as it is over time that business owners will be able to continue to provide value, and as they provide value the often repeated factor – the know,like, and trust factor – will develop.
One of the essential aspects of relationship marketing is the retention of existing customers. When you consider that it takes 5 times as much work and effort to attract new customers than it does to retain them, it makes sense that whether you work offline or online; or a combination of both, that you go beyond what is expected to provide value to your existing customers.
Referrals work. Many of my best customers in my offline business have come from referrals. They came to me because a friend or someone whose opinion they valued referred them to me. They came to me with a preconceived belief that I am a professional who must already have provided to someone they cared about. That person is coming from a different place as opposed to someone I got into my funnel through a ‘cold’ connection.
I often wonder about banks and other large organizations that advertise all the wonderful things they will give to new customers. Wouldn’t it be more advantageous to offer wonderful prizes and bonuses to their current clients and customers who refer others to them? After all satisfied customers will tell their friends and can influence their decisions.
Keeping your current clients and customers happy and nurturing the relationship will mean that you always keep your funnel full.