As we begin the new year, business owners and customers alike are re-evaluating their business relationships and partnerships. Often, if they are unhappy, they will assess what they need from their partners if they are to continue the relationship and if those needs are not met, they will look elsewhere. However, if they have a good relationship with the company, they will be excited about the prospect of working together more in the future.
This is a paraphrased definition of what we like to call relationship marketing, also sometimes referred to as customer retention marketing. The basic concept of this marketing strategy is that if you and your customers have a mutually beneficially relationship built on providing value, your customers will have no problem staying around. Sometimes, they are even more likely to spend money with you if trust has been established in the relationship.
In this article, we are going to walk you through the basics of relationship marketing. Along with this, we will make our case for why SMS and relationship marketing are a match made in heaven, one that we believe you should be taking advantage of in the new year. Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is relationship marketing?
First, let’s start with a definition. What is relationship marketing? According to Steve Olenski of Forbes, it can be described as follows:
“Relationship marketing is a strategy designed to foster customer loyalty, interaction and long-term engagement. It is designed to develop strong connections with customers by providing them with information directly suited to their needs and interests and by promoting open communication.”
While we will explore each of the components of this definition in more depth in just a minute, we also want you to know that relationship marketing has never been more important than right now. In today’s market, where customers are flooded with choices, brand loyalty is becoming an increasingly rare customer concern.
However, customer retention strategies all seek to build up the relationship between you and your customers. By proving to them again and again that you have their best interests in mind, you are showing them why they should stay with you in the long haul.
Where does SMS come in?
Now, so far we have mainly been talking about relationship marketing, which might have you wondering, “Where does SMS come in?” After all, having a good relationship with your customers doesn’t require a mass text marketing campaign. While it is true that you can don’t necessarily need SMS to practice relationship marketing, it can drastically improve the performance of your strategy.
In order to further prove our point, we are going to review each of the different attributes of relationship marketing and how they can be improved with SMS. As you read through this list, think to yourself how these different strategies can be implemented for your own customers. You never know, this could be the difference between being good and being great.
The first goal of relationship marketing is to facilitate and increase customer loyalty. Not only can customer loyalty increase referral business, but it can lead to a multitude of repeat purchases and increased engagement. Additionally, customer loyalty programs are growing in popularity and have proven to be a powerful retention tool for many companies.
When you running a customer loyalty program, one of the best ways to make sure you are optimizing your chances of keeping customers around with SMS marketing. You can send reminders straight to your customer’s phone about promotions, coupons, and recent news on your company. By reaching more customers with SMS, you can increase engagement in your loyalty program and keep around more customers. Win-win.
Interaction and long-term engagement
Along with customer loyalty, the other goal of relationship marketing is to improve interaction (or engagement) with customers for the long-term. As we mentioned earlier, there are many different ways that you can do this such as email marketing or even hiring a push notification service. However, the best way to increase long-term interaction and engagement is by combining multiple channels of communication, including SMS.
By meeting your customers where they are, whether that is on their phones, computers, or both, you are able to maintain a constant relationship. Not only will customers never have to look far when they want to work with you, but they will be far more likely to interact with your business. SMS can highlight each of these channels (as well as providing a channel in and of itself), allowing you to continue engaging customers with ease.
Meeting customer needs
Like any good mobile marketing strategy, relationship marketing is designed around meeting customer needs and providing them with information that further pushes this agenda. In 2018, it is no longer acceptable to simply hope you are helping your customers. You need to learn from them and use that knowledge to improve their interactions with your company.
SMS marketing is one of the best ways to do exactly this. First of all, SMS makes segmenting your audience easy, allowing you to be more specific with which members of your audience receive what messaging. For example, you would not want to send the same message to customers you are trying to win-back as those you just added to your registry.
The other benefit of working with SMS here is that most of your customers are always by their phones, allowing you to deliver these targeted messages directly to them. Just think about how much value you can add to your customer’s lives by delivering them tailored information that suits their needs directly to their phones. It’s no wonder SMS is so effective.
Creating an open dialogue
The last component of relationship marketing is creating a dialogue for open communication between you and your customers. This is important for a couple of reasons, but most importantly is that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain to you, but will tell 15 friends. Unless you have established an open dialogue with your customers, not only will you have no idea why you are losing them, but you might be losing their friends too.
One of the most popular and relevant uses of SMS when it comes to open communication is running support through texting. SMS is fast, almost instantaneous in fact, which shows your customers that you really care about their concerns. Not only that, but most support messages can be written beforehand, allowing you to automate the first steps of the process.
By harnessing the different strengths of business text messaging to meet the goals of relationship marketing, your company will be well on its way to retaining more customers, increasing the lifetime value of those customers, and building a relationship with them all along the way. With benefits like this, our only question is, what are you waiting for?
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera