We Need to Talk… About Building Customer Relationships

February always gets me, and I’m sure many others, thinking about relationships. February 14, depending on your relationship status, is either Singles Awareness Day or it’s Oh No Did We Make Reservations At That One Restaurant day. In thinking through that, I realized we say “relationship” a lot in a corporate setting. “We value our relationship”, “you should have a relationship with your customers”, “this relationship is key”, the word almost becomes entirely meaningless. It shouldn’t, though, because if you think about it, you and your prospects do have a relationship, and it deserves a lot more thought and consideration than something that randomly gets told to you in a corporate setting. I’ll be walking you through that in today’s post!

First Impressions Made Easy

Of course, any relationship, be it friendship or dating, starts with a good first impression. You see a cute person across the room, or a good looking prospect across the Internet. Maybe you put out a whitepaper to pique their interest. This is your chance to really sparkle and draw them in, so you do so with a well put-together website. Maybe you flirt a little bit, by asking them to opt in through your forms to get more information they couldn’t get just from a first impression. Most importantly, you ask and check if they’re actually interested, so you both can decide if you want to move further in the relationship. Your forms should have an email autoresponder, so you can let your prospect know what they can expect from them indicating their interest.

What you do not want to do is start with an awful first impression, as that will not only sour your relationship with them, it will likely give you a bad reputation amongst that person’s friends as well. An awful first impression would be you seeing the person and one day showing up on their doorstep, demanding their time. In email terms, this would be you purchasing a list and sending them email they never wanted, asked for, or expected. You barged into their lives with no thought or consideration for them, so you’re already starting off on a bad (and reputation damaging!) foot. You want your prospects to love you, so don’t ruin that by buying their information!

Striking Up the Right Conversation

So, let’s assume you aren’t doing the wrong thing and have made a positive first impression. Your prospect signed up to get more information from you and they’re excited to hear from you. Now what? In a marketing sense, a lot of people will say “well, we put them on our monthly newsletter and leave it at that”, or worse, they neglect their form signups entirely for a few months. Yikes. Why not make it a bit more personal for the first few weeks? Put them on a drip program, thank them for signing up for your email, and give them an introduction into who you are, what your company does, and why. Attraction doesn’t end at that first form signup, so now is still an excellent time to show them your best self. You’ve got them interested now, so you should be working to keep them interested in what it is you have to offer. You’re selling more than just a product, you’re selling your brand and your reputation, so it’s important to make your prospects feel like they are a welcome addition to the family and aren’t just a bunch of dollar signs.

Keeping Up With the Customers

Eventually, you move on past that honeymoon stage and things get more comfortable. They’re still excited to be with you, and you still love them, so you put them on your monthly newsletter and keep them there indefinitely. That’s okay, but why not spice up the relationship occasionally with a fun outing or a gift card? Consider rewarding your most involved, most interested prospects with special deals and exclusive events. If you make them feel special, you can keep the relationship alive and keep that prospect interested in your brand.

Now, it’s entirely possible they may lose interest in you and your brand and will eventually unsubscribe from your email. It’s unfortunate, but hey, there are many other prospects out there for you to spend your time and effort on. Unsubscribing isn’t a bad thing, and it won’t hurt your overall reputation as a company. It’s just an experience to learn from, so you can use that data to tweak your overall strategy and keep your other prospects engaged and in love with you!

That sums it up for today’s post. Anything I missed, or want to continue the relationship conversation? Tweet to me @holobachgirl!