The first thing to know about relationship marketing is that its main goal is to develop a long-term relationship with a client. If you sit down the think about it, chances are you get most of your business from repeat clients, not new ones. Therefore, it’s extremely important to nurture the relationships with those who use you.
I’m not suggesting you become buddy-buddy with your clients. You need to maintain a professionalism, but you do need to look at each interaction as one event that builds on top of other events.
So how do you do this? First, make sure to put in the effort and follow-up with customers. Many years ago my grandpa and his brother ran a business called Client Follow-Up. The entire idea behind it was to send birthday cards, thank you cards, and follow-up cards to clients for real estate companies. My uncle built it from the ground up based solely on the idea that it was important to build relationships.
When you think about it, this achieved two goals. One, it made the customer feel warm and fuzzy that their real-estate agent remembered their birthday, or sent a note to say that they hoped the new home was working out. But two, it kept the real-estate agent’s name in front of their customers. Maybe it was just once a year, but people move a lot, and this way, real-estate agents could feel comfortable knowing they never let a client slip through the cracks.
Today with email, it’s much easier to keep in touch. Companies don’t need an entire business to serve their follow-up needs (or maybe they do), but follow-up really is an incredibly important aspect of relationship marketing.
I’m going to stop here today. I think follow-up is important enough to earn its own blog post. What ways do you use to follow-up? Do you do anything individually or do you use an email blast to hit many customers at once? Do you agree that fostering long-term relationships with customers should be at the top of every company’s priority list?