For decades, businesses have focused on marketing to drive sales and conversions, and they often rate their marketing success based on the number of leads who convert into purchasers. As marketing and the way that customers engage with businesses evolve, that conversion-based marketing focus is fading out. Instead, businesses are marketing for connection.
Marketing for connection embraces a more gradual, long-term relationship with customers, and it offers many benefits. If your business is still focusing on marketing to drive conversions, rather than to create relationships, you might be getting a poor return on your marketing budget and missing out on significant long-term sales.
Why Market for Connection?
More and more businesses are understanding the value of marketing for connection, also referred to as customer relationship marketing. Traditionally, businesses focused on marketing in order to make a sale, but with customer relationship marketing, the focus shifts to building long-term relationships with customers in which the sales and conversions can come later on. With less focus on sales numbers and more focus on brand awareness, businesses prioritize the connections that customers feel to their brands to drive customer loyalty.
This long-term approach to customer relationships makes financial sense. Attracting a new customer can cost businesses up to five times more than what they would spend in retaining existing customers. And if businesses can increase their customer retention rates by just 5 percent, that can result in a 25-95 percent increase in their profits. Customers who are pleased with a business are more likely to spread the word about that business, potentially bringing in additional customers. Alternatively, customers who are unhappy with an experience can leave negative feedback publicly on social media, potentially damaging a business’ reputation. There are many reasons why building positive customer relationships makes sense for companies.
Focusing on connection-based marketing offers additional benefits, too. Marketers who use predictive analytics can gain valuable insight into the effectiveness of different marketing strategies and materials. These analytics can help to determine the types of marketing that will most likely result in building more relationships with potential and current customers, therefore giving the business the greatest reward for their marketing dollars. Analytics can help businesses to refine their marketing even as they transition into a focus of relationship marketing.
Perfecting Branding and Exciting Marketing
Developing and perfecting a brand image is a core element of marketing for connection. Customers recognize your business because of your brand, so the more unique your brand is, the more memorable your business will become to your customers.
To solidify your brand and create marketing that will stand out, a business needs to learn how to cut through the noise and the marketing competition from other businesses. Developing creativity and innovation among a marketing and branding team can help with this. A business that does things in new and refreshing ways is exciting, and it’s easier to get customers on board when they’re excited about a business, its products, or its unique approach.
It’s important to get the entire marketing team involved in creating the marketing content that will be used, ensuring that everyone understands new strategies and approaches for cohesive marketing across the board. Having a well-defined brand and marketing strategy can help with this. Researching competitors and their marketing approaches can also help a business to identify a new and refreshing marketing strategy of their own.
Current online marketing trends such as augmented reality and personalized messaging offer businesses creative ways to stand out from their competition with their websites and marketing strategies. By embracing and using this new technology, businesses can better engage with both potential and current customers to establish and maintain relationships.
Building Strong Customer Relationships
While it’s easy to focus on using marketing to build relationships with customers, the way that a business performs is equally as important in building and maintaining those relationships. A customer’s perception of a business is essential to its success, and that perception is built on a number of factors. The products or services that a business offers partially build a customer’s perception, but the overall experience a customer has when interacting with a business is another important contributor to the perception of a business.
There are many ways that businesses can optimize its customer experience. If customer service representatives are a customer’s first point of contact, then it’s important to provide these representatives with training, up-to-date policies, and the tools and decision-making power they’ll need in order to address customer concerns and ensure that customers have a positive buying or returns experience. Establishing a policy that makes returns fast and easy for customers will make them more likely to purchase again in the future.
Other small details can go a long way toward creating a positive experience. Loyalty programs and rewards can make customers feel appreciated, and birthday coupons or discounts allow businesses to connect with customers in a more personal manner. Honest and frequent communication, especially when there’s an issue with an order, makes customers feel valued and shows a business’ dedication to ensuring that a customer has a good experience. Companies can also ask for and respond to customer feedback to help prove to customers that they matter.
Marketing for connection isn’t difficult to accomplish, but it does require an adjustment in a business’ strategy. When businesses embrace relationship marketing, they can get better, long-term results from their marketing efforts.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.