Picture this: Someone stands behind a cardboard box selling lemonade. A passerby sees this, stops, asks questions, gets persuaded and buys the lemonade. A few streets down, the same passerby sees another person standing at a beautifully decorated table also selling lemonade. The passerby stops and asks the same questions they asked the previous seller, but conversation doesn’t flow as easily and while the table looks better, the passerby walks away and the relationship is severed by the abrupt seller.

The buyer seems fickle right? But, this is exactly what people do, and if you think back, you’ve done it too. The relationship you build with your customers is just as important as your product/service. In fact, in some cases, people would rather support someone who develops this relationship even if their lemonade is worse than the other lemonades they’ve tasted. This is good relationship marketing.

Relationship marketing is all about keeping the customer for the long-term so that you can benefit from the lifetime value the customer has to offer.

I think we are at an advantage in this day and age where we have tools that make it easier for us to engage in relationship marketing.

We can use social networks. When people like or join your business Facebook group, for example, you are provided with a lot of information about that person, which you can use for relationship marketing. You can thank the person once they’ve used your product; you can post something encouraging about seeing them/doing business with them; you can post an image of the kind of services you offered them, etc.

You’ve also got their ages, their interests and needs. This also allows you to meet the needs of your audience. For example, do they like to read blogs, or watch videos? You want to paint a picture in the minds of your readers that will help them better grasp and relate to your content.

A great way to include your customers in your thinking, you can invite them to participate in the content creation process. For instance, if you’re writing a blog post about organizational tips, you can ask your audience to contribute tips and ideas. This makes your customers feel like they have a vested interest in your content, and they will be more likely to interact with your posts and share them online.

The last point I want to make is one you already know, but is so often forgotten: follow up with customers after sales! You can ask them to give feedback in the form of surveys or reviews (these are easily created on Typeform or Survey Monkey. Once you receive feedback, make sure that if their experience wasn’t a positive one, you make an effort to remedy that.

What kinds of things do you and your business do to make sure that you keep your customers?