How does today's online marketing venue HURT your ability to develop REAL and meaningful relationships with your customers?
Some digital marketers confess that they fail in this very important effort by actually trying to filter out customer comments. They make it as difficult as possible (instead of as easy as possible) for customers to provide relevant feedback.
Other marketers flatly state that digital/computerized marketing actually stops many companies from getting to know their customers...and they feel this is a GOOD thing.. They seem to believe this lack of communication is somehow helpful to all parties concerned. (How could this possibly be true, I wonder...)
Online marketing depends on relationships - building and maintaining
The fact of the matter: most online marketers forget that earning market share and improving profits is based on building customer relationships, period! And let's never forget that in a perfect world, people want to do business with people, NOT companies.
Several recent studies and blogs have found that more than 80% or so of businesses thought that more and better customer data would be very helpful in building stronger and longer-lasting relationships with customers. I think this realization is like "discovering" that a light bulb goes on when you flip the switch.
And, all you online marketers, I might also suggest that some “old-fashioned”, face-to-face meet-ups, video meetings, or phone calls with customers could be extremely helpful relationship-builders, too!
How to improve your customer engagement
Here are some principles Evergreen Direct has found very effective for a small and medium-sized companies as they work on improving customer-engagement:
- Increase, or at the very least, maintain the life cycle of your customers. This ultimately means increasing the Lifetime Value of your customers, especially the better ones/higher deciles. Work to increase Lifetime Value as long and relevant as possible. Extend the relationship beyond just one purchase, and also begin to engage with your customers' friends who might have similar interests.
- Some companies may be looking at the wrong data, or missing data such as market channel analyses, behavioral data, web site analytics. Just make sure you have a good overall read of ALL of your relevant customers' buying data.
- Pretend you are a big company, then act in a nimble. small-company manner. Yes, it is often true that big companies have more resources but your smaller company can and should be a lot more nimble in staying in touch with your customers. You can act more quickly after reviewing data, even to the point of calling your best customers, sending them unexpected delights, personal letters, etc. Being small also allows you the flexibility of testing some of your gut feelings, too, while large companies get mired in their bureaucratic style of thinking and acting. And, cross check your hunches with all of your social media data and personal contacting, too. Sometimes, our answers are right before our very eyes.
- Look for clues and gather info. Some of what you find in #3, above, can help you figure out key customer life events or trigger points that might be useful in your marketing. Dig deeper and identify those key events and their timing to help you build a more meaningful relationship(s), especially with your best customers in the higher deciles.
- Test, test, test your hunches and theories, and do not assume the results will stay the same forever. So, continue to test, test, test—and stay in contact with those valuable customers who can provide you with the best marketing ROI going forward!
Want more info on Building Customer Relationships? Email Bob