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From a 30,000-foot view, every business essentially has two markets: current clients and potential clients. A lot of businesses focus their advertising efforts on acquiring new clients and overlook the importance of marketing to their existing clients. Today we are going to discuss the important of advertising to your current clients through what’s called relationship marketing.

What is Relationship Marketing?

Relationship marketing focuses on your existing clients by finding ways to consistently add value to them. It also affects how you relate to your clients and the method and frequency with which you communicate with them. Relationship marketing requires you to have a deep understanding of your client’s needs and how a consistent use of your services can grow their business.

Above all, relationship marketing is focused on cultivating three things: customer loyalty, increased business, and establishing long-term relationships with clients. Whether you are business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) focused, relationship marketing will add value to your company. And even if you provide a one-off type service, there is still a lot to gain through relationship marketing … so continue reading!

Why is Relationship Marketing Valuable?

Relationship marketing adds value to your business in several key ways.

  • It Creates Loyalty. When you are focused on your client’s needs, you will create customer loyalty. As you develop a deeper understanding of your client’s business and their needs, coupled with a knowledge of your own product and how it impacts their industry, you will add a tremendous amount of value to your clients and nurture loyalty.
  • It Leads to Referrals. Relationship marketing takes care of your current clients, which also leads to referrals. The key to gaining a referral is to provide excellent service and remain top of mind. The more positive interaction you have, the more they’ll think of you when a colleague presents a need that aligns with your services.
  • It Has a Lower Cost of Acquisition. The cost and time it takes to acquire a new client varies greatly by industry, but most research says it costs 4-10 times more to advertise to a new client than to a current client. There are a lot of formulas available to help determine your customer acquisition cost, but know that it is significantly higher than maintaining an existing client. Additionally, some research also says that existing clients spend more on average than new customers.
  • It Hedges off the Competition. If you work in a competitive space, as most of us do, it’s important to keep your customers happy to prevent them from considering your competitor. There’s an old quote that sounds right out of Office Space, but it’s accurate: “If you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.”

Again, it doesn’t matter whether you are B2B or B2C focused, or even if you provide a one-off service, relationship marketing holds value for your business.

Here Are 5 Ways to Start Using Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing doesn’t just happen. It must be part of your company’s culture and strategy. Here are a few ways to get started:

  • Place customer service as your top priority. Maybe you already tell your team that customer service is important, but how apparent is it within your culture? It should exist within every aspect and department of your business. And it must be authentic and consistent. With relationship marketing, you should never make a recommendation for the sake of your own business’ revenue – it must add value to your client. One of the most essential aspects of customer service is caring for the health and growth of their business.
  • Provide free resources. Knowing your client’s needs allows you to provide applicable resources – and that may not always involve a service. You’ll need to think through the free resources you can provide: helpful blog articles, eBooks, video series, or webinars are all great resources to start with. As you consistently educate your clients through resources, it will keep you top of the mind, demonstrate your expertise, and create trust.
  • Keep data on your clients. You should know everything about your client’s business and interactions with them – which services you’ve completed for them, which services you’ve proposed that haven’t been implemented, and what their growth goals are, to name a few. You should also keep centralized notes from your conversations. A good CRM, such as Hubspot, will help you manage a lot of this data.
  • Be where they are. Your clients are on social media and are viewing their email multiple times a day, so you need to engage them in this space. Even though these are digital interactions, they can still help cultivate relationships. Social media and eNewsletters both offer a low cost, consistent communication method.
  • Involve them in your business. Your clients want to feel like a part of your team, so find ways to get them involved and seek their input. Some great ways to do this are through taking pictures when you are with them and posting those to social, hosting contests together, and conducting customer surveys where you directly seek their input on matters related to your services.

Each of these suggestions will engage your clients and show that you value the relationship.

Time to Get Started

Relationship marketing may require a cultural shift for your business and a realignment of your marketing efforts, but research shows that it will be a valuable pivot. If you need help establishing and maintaining a relationship marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to email us at .

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