These days, marketing your brand to the masses has gotten a lot more difficult. Or has it gotten easier? It depends on who you ask, but everyone can agree on one thing: simply providing great products, services, and customer service that’s a few levels above horrible doesn’t result in brand growth and success. People – specifically millennials – demand more from the brands they choose to support.

In addition to awesome products/services, customers want brands to provide an experience they won’t find anywhere else. They want to feel like buying something has a meaning, that the process of exchanging cash for goods has a deeper meaning than a simple transaction of cash and product. They want something to cling onto far after the original transaction – and that’s where relationship marketing comes into play.

Relationship marketing is quite the open-ended ideology, but at its core, it describes everything we’ve mentioned above. Additionally, relationship marketing focuses on creating loyal, long-term customers rather than pining for short-term sales. With long-term customers supporting your brand, they may also become ‘brand advocates,’ which results in word-of-mouth promotion that starts the cycle all over again.

In a nutshell, relationship marketing is all about creating a foundation between your brand and every customer that does business with you. It’s also about creating a sense of trust. As you exercise this methodology, customers are more likely to fill out surveys, provide important data that allows you to identify your target audience’s wants/needs better than ever, and so much more.  Ready to get started? Here are a few quick ways you can jumpstart your relationship marketing gameplan. 

Philanthropy 

One of the best ways to kickstart relationship marketing between your customers, everyone loves a brand that ‘gives back’ to the needy. This is especially true of millennials. Entrepreneur.com agrees, as they state that, “[millennials] were the first to embrace brands making a difference, consistently rewarding them with their money and their trust. Businesses have caught on.” 

The article continues by stating, “for a generation raised on instant gratification, this immediate sensation of giving back while making a purchase became a major factor [for success].” 

Craziest thing of all? This article was written in 2014. The feeling that a purchase makes a difference is important to not only the millennial demographic, but arguably every major demographic out there. Doing good is important to everyone, so think about the best ways to make a difference to keep your customers loyal.

Stellar customer service 

While it isn’t correct to say that customer service has never been important, brands traditionally have been able to get away with having less than stellar customer service. With the social media revolution, this is no longer the case. Brands can’t get by any longer by just having good customer service – it has to be stellar.

That means responding to customer inquiries as quickly as possible (within an hour), which is easy because most people will reach out to your brand on social media instead of calling or even emailing you. If they do call/email you, try your best to respond within an hour (having a customer service team makes this easier to manage). This lets them know that no matter what they need, you will be there to respond within a timely manner.

It’s also important to come across as a real person. Take our advice from a previous post, and act like you care. Let’s explain a little more in-depth… 

Be more like a person, not an entity 

Coming across like a real person (and like you care) doesn’t apply to your customer service – it’s also important when it comes to social media. How you engage with your customers, the content you post, the status updates/tweets you post, etc. are judged by your customers. They are observing your tone, your language, literally everything about your brand on social media. How you come across is vital to gaining new customers, so instead of coming across as some faceless entity, be charismatic, be a mixture of fun and informative, and of course, caring. Let your followers know there is a living, breathing person behind your brand, and they’ll be more willing to listen to what you have to say.

From there, you can hook them. Enticing them to do business with your brand becomes much easier afterward – and it’s all thanks to relationship marketing. Use these tactics to your benefit, and you will reap the benefits from relationship marketing!

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