Everybody talks about it but does anybody really know what it means?
It simply means you sorta/kinda/really get to know your customers/prospects and others who might be interested in your products or services. It also means you build relationships with others who compliment your niche. This second group can be a powerful resource when it comes time for referrals!
There seems to be one constant in business that has stood the test of time.
People like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Period.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Now, having your business completely online presents a whole new set of intricacies. How do you make this happen?
For starters, you have to be visibile!
Of course, you hope people will find your blog, and you hope they will follow you on Twitter, and you hope they are getting to know you through your Facebook Fan page.
Sound familiar? All that hoping is nothing more than passive behavior and I have to ask. How’s that workin’ for ya?? It’s a simple fact that if you want your audience to grow and to get to know you, it takes being pro-active on your part. Relationships aren’t built on hope and this includes your online marketing relationships!
You have to know how to keep your brand “front and center!”
Quickly, can I use the example of a young man wanting a relationship with the cute girl he just met? A simple “Hi” won’t produce anything. He must call her, pursue her, invite her out, have conversations with her, etc. That’s how relationships grow and the same is true for your biz!
Some examples for you . . .
Use E-mails. Be sure and e-mail your customers and potential customers on a regular basis. I know. Some say e-mail is dead, but I disagree. Use the e-mails to “talk” to your list. Let them get to “know” you in a very friendly, easy-going way through e-mail. Of course, be sure and let them know about special offers on your products and new content on your blog, but, regularly give useful information in the form of tips or links to other useful sites. Be helpful!
Newsletters. This is a popular method because people love news! If you fill that newsletter full of great info, people will begin to know and like you. If your newsletter is beneficial to your target audience, they will begin looking for it in their e-mail box!
Social Networking. You knew I’d go here. It has been the catalyst that has driven my own business forward and I am a firm believer in it! Be visible! “Talk” to your customers on Twitter, “friend” them on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn, and let them see you in pictures on Pinterest! The more places you connect, the better!
Be accessible. Make sure that people know you are easy to get in touch with. Now, I’m not suggesting you let any one dominate your time but you should try to answer your e-mails, respond to comments on your blog, re-tweet a good Twitter message, contribute to a FB thread, and recommend somone’s services on LinkedIn.
Are you starting to “get” what relational marketing is?
OK, get out there, be pro-active, and build some relationships! Virtually, that is