Many will argue that email marketing is just a way to spam your subscribers’ inbox. However, if executed properly, email marketing can be the reason for customer retention and long-lasting customer relationships. Do you have those few local customers who have been using your services for years? I’m sure it wasn’t immediate and there were a lot of interactions that led to a loyal customer relationship. Email relationship marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to turn a customer into a repeat customer. I’m going to walk you through steps to building lasting customer relationships through email.
Developing an Email Relationship Marketing Strategy
With clear goals and a fresh mindset, you can easily gain more lasting relationships. Relationship building happens in 3 stages:
No matter the stage that your reader is in, here are some questions to ask yourself before hitting send on your emails:
- Does this message set your company up to provide lasting lifetime value, or is it a less-meaningful, one-time interaction?
- Is this email in line with your long-term goals or short-term goals?
- Are you measuring success in terms of engagement?
- Is your content providing value to your potential customers?
- Is your content relevant to the recipient or are you sending the same message to everyone?
Now let’s walk through what you need to do to nurture customers into a lasting relationship.
Step 1 – Understanding why you need to build relationships
4 reasons why email relationship marketing is beneficial to your local business.
- Relationships get you more customers. When you foster relationships, you either convert a prospect into a paying customer or you nurture a prospect into a brand champion. Either way, if you care about building a relationship, either outcome will benefit your business.
- It enhances customer retention and loyalty. If you are successful in gaining a new customer, relationship marketing will help retain them. Some may think “Retaining customers doesn’t matter because I have many interested prospects lined up” but this is certainly the wrong mindset. Acquiring a customer costs 6 to 7 times more than it does to retain a current customer. Engaged customers buy more frequently so if you have a strategy to retain them, you will have a higher retention rate and return on investment.
- It improves the customer experience. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. If you provide an exceptional customer experience, it will affect a buyer’s behavior and draw them towards brand loyalty.
- It grows your community. If you are on good terms with your customers, they will speak highly of your business. The best marketers are your own customers. When you treat them well, you’ll be able to grow your community as they will start to advocate for your products and services.
Step 2 – Set clear expectations in welcome emails
It’s important to set honest expectations with your customers. A relationship or partnership built on dishonesty will create tension throughout the entire job experience and will likely result in a poor review of your business.
For example, let’s say you’re a remodeler and you’re about to sign a contract with a new customer. Have you set expectations with your customer: scope of work, list of materials, pricing, etc.? You’d likely make sure that everything is laid out on the table prior to letting your customer sign the contract.
The same expectations should be applied to your emails. Your email audience is more likely to open emails when you’re clear about your expectations. From the first moment you email your readers, start to build trust by asking questions and inviting a two-way conversation. You should also think about thanking your subscribers. Consistent email relationship marketing will build trust among your community.
Step 3 – Gain trust and open the door for conversation
We’ve hit home that in order to build a good customer relationship, you must gain their trust. Let’s walk through some surefire tips for stronger customer relationship marketing.
1. Cross engage on channels
This means make the effort to interact with your target audience on other channels and not strictly email. Build conversations around the topics that you talk about on your social media pages to grow your community on other channels.
2. Create videos to get more personal
Prove to your audience that you’re not just a robot looking to get more sales. Create videos to make conversations more personal. Build trust with your audience through authentic videos that are educational, informative, and relevant.
3. Nurture and provide value
Every good relationship needs nurturing. You set up times to meet with friends or call long-distance relatives to check-in, so why not do the same for your valued customers? Maintaining a professional customer relationship requires an ongoing commitment to providing a top-notch experience to each subscriber. Your emails must include content and information that will resonate with them and prove that you are a source of value.
It’s necessary to go beyond the “hard sell”. Let’s say a reader signed up for your remodeling newsletter. First, you’d want to address them by name and thank them for subscribing. From that moment on, you’ll want to offer them customized content that makes them feel like a valued member of your community and not just another number.
4. Listen and learn
When customer’s don’t open your emails or begin to opt-out, be willing to understand why. Take it as a challenge to re-engage with subscribers and customers who haven’t opened your emails in a while. And uncover why subscribers may be opting out of your emails. Create tests to understand what is working and pinpoint what needs improvement. When you continually use email testing and find the source, you’ll be able to scale your efforts and grow over time.
Turn Customers into Loyal Advocates Now
In today’s competitive world, it may seem difficult to win over your customers in their inbox. But when you cultivate a relationship with them, it won’t be long before you turn your customers into loyal advocates. Email marketing is a simple way to stay connected to your audience and build trust with people who can help grow your business.
Email marketing software can help you manage large contact lists, design templates, schedule emails, track results, and more. To stay organized and efficient, it’d be beneficial to have a tool incorporated into your marketing software. That’s why the Surefire Local Marketing Platform includes our email marketing tool. It’s one of the quickest ways to find high value in our marketing platform. When our customers are onboarded, many start by importing their contact lists, building their email, and sending automated campaigns to nurture their leads.
If you’re looking to nurture leads to become lifetime customers through email marketing, request a demo of the Surefire Local Marketing Platform today.