I’m a customer relationship management (CRM) guy and have been for the better part of the last ten years. These systems help small businesses automate marketing processes to more efficiently close deals, and do a better job of building customer relationships. With more small businesses turning to CRM apps and services to help with marketing efforts, there are a few things that will help you build relationships with today’s savvy customer. Here are 5 Marketing Tips to Keep More Customers in 2013.
A Marketer’s First Job Is Building Trust. We all know how important it is to get the word out about your business and build your brand. And while marketing tools and services have never been easier to use or able to reach more people faster, the challenges associated with marketing are tougher than ever before. Many SMBs have no idea where to start, tight budgets, no strategy, no time to implement, and are very impatient for results.
Here’s a solution: it’s not just the method of delivering marketing messages that needs to change, it’s the message. Building trust and advocacy should be the goal, not yelling “look at how great my product is.” That is unless you want to continue being viewed alongside the likes of The JBs – John Boehner and Justin Bieber. And speaking of The Bieber…
Focus on Everyday Advocates – Don’t Leave It To Bieber. Yeah I know I’m being tough on the kid, but really I’m just using him as an example. Because while many larger companies turn to actors, singers and other high profile individuals to influence regular folks to “buy their stuff”, the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer found regular people – “people like us” – were way more likely to be the ones “we” listen to when it comes to company and product information. And a study of one thousand people from Crowdtap – an influencer marketing platform provider – backs this up. Two main points from the study found:
- 70% said they tried a new product in the last three months because a friend or family member suggested it, or posted about it online
- 61% did so because a friend or family member suggested it to them in person/by phone
The bottom line here is people listen to people they like, know, the people they feel are in the same boat they are. But sometimes these very people are overlooked because we don’t see them as being “important”, or influential to our business success. While it’s tempting to try to connect with just “the beautiful ones” in order to have their beauty rub off on you, it makes more sense to concentrate on “the advocate next door” who might be pretty passionate about what you do – and willing to go to bat for you. I’m betting there are more of them out there than you may think.
Time To Be FAIR. New business models are being created using social, cloud and mobile services from Amazon, Google and other platform providers that couldn’t have been built a few years ago. But now they’re not only being built quickly, but also in such a way that they are able to adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations and needs.
This new FAIR (Flexible, Agile, Interactive, Reliable) approach to business models is also increasingly being built to transition from transaction-based relationships to interaction-based relationships. So instead of selling one-off individual products and services, you’re seeing an emphasis on creating opportunities for ongoing interactions; which hopefully lead to longer, more predictable customer relationships. 2013 should be a significant year in the development of interaction-based business models built on cloud platforms.
More Activity Calls For More Cohesiveness. Customers are demanding a new style of marketing if you want to stay connected with them. The number of content formats, distribution methods and device types are providing both opportunities and challenges to finding, catching and keeping good customers today. This means small businesses will need to have a much better handle on which activities they should execute, which customer segments should be targeted, and how to determine when an individual prospect might need a particular interaction type to move them to the next phase in the sales cycle.
In order to increase the number of meaningful interactions and create customers from them it will call for a more systematic, integrated approach. Companies like InfusionSoft have made it easier to create marketing sequences that are automatically executed based on data and activities. Zoho recently added the ability to execute email marketing campaigns from their CRM service. And Batchbook has re-architected their service and created an integration layer making it easier for their customers to manage and execute Mailchimp email campaigns from within Batchbook.
These types of integrations are important not just because it makes it easier to execute and keep track of things. Looplogic, a video distribution platform, lets you send out a video through MailChimp so you can track watching activity down to a named individual. And LoopLogic founder Scott Mitchell says people on average are more likely to click an attractive thumbnail image to the video when it’s in an email message. But even bigger, you can start pushing people into different groups with different interactions based on who they are and how much they viewed. And this allows for a more efficient relationship-building process.
Marketing Doesn’t End with Customer Acquisition. Use content marketing for customer service. If you do general content marketing that educates people about your industry, they need to know how to succeed with your products or services. The relationship does not end just because they gave you some money. The most valuable customer is the one that pays you again and again and again. Your goal should be to get them to pay you monthly.
The best way to build a brand is to pay attention to the right people (customers, prospects, advocates, influencers) create better interactive experiences based on their needs, and then let them say how great those experiences are. This should allow you to find, catch and keep more customers in 2013.
About the author: Brent Leary is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award winning blogger. He is co-founder and Partner of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. For more information: http://www.businesstechnologyradio.com/
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013
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