The world of marketing has been evolving for a long time, but the last few years have seen an unprecedented rate of change, driven by the internet, and particularly by the explosion of social media.
Even in the most basic commodities, companies can now differentiate themselves from one another by how they engage with their customers. It is no longer sufficient to just be known, and to be able to deliver when asked.
Consumers want to know:
- Do their vendors share information and leading thinking?
- Do they care if customers are satisfied, and give them a voice to say so – yes or no?
- Do they reward loyalty with special information, incentives, advanced notice?
- And when companies satisfy these desires, they reward those companies with their ongoing business.
And so your company should have strategy for building and sustaining relationships with one or more of the following techniques.
This is a huge subject unto itself, and the major force that makes it so important to develop and maintain relationships with you prospects and buyers online. The simple fact is that the overwhelming majority of buyers have online relationships that shape and influence what they buy, and who they buy it from. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, and hundreds of other social outlets connect people to each other.
If you shy away from the conversation, you are at the mercy of what others have to say. If you engage and embrace this medium in an organized fashion, you can gain influence and earn new and repeat business.
Write a periodic piece of information about your market niche, a trend, a fun observation, is easy to do. For some businesses, you may need to blog often. If you sell “news” you will blog several times a day. But for most businesses, writing a good blog post every few weeks can go a long way to exposing your personality, and strengthening relationships with your market between sales transactions.
Newsletters and eMail Marketing
While the topic of email marketing is not as a notorious high profile as social media is these days, it is still a strong component in customer engagement. Consumers are more open to email messaging than most other digital marketing, and it still gets results (eMarketer principal analyst – April 3, 2012).
And according to a survey of marketers conducted late last year, email contributes more to building customer loyalty, and to driving revenue, than its social counterparts. If you are thoughtful about your writing, you can repurpose your newsletter content for blogs, and vice versa.