A strong customer relationship is what makes the difference between long-term and short-term business success, and automated marketing plays a vital role.
Automated Marketing and Customer Relationships
The world is a “Global village,” and since that word was coined, technology has evolved to a place where virtually every human being on planet earth has a digital identity. Whether it’s on social media, a website, or a blog, more, and more people are spending their time on the internet.
With this trend, business owners moved their marketing strategies from conventional ways to focus on more digitized means. While the change brought about several positive effects, including an increase in sales, and return on investment (ROI), there have also been some drawbacks because of the “Noisy” nature of the internet.
Imagine going fishing in the deep sea, and casting your net. What you’ll catch are all types of fish, and perhaps the one you wanted will not be part of the catch. Now, liken it to the internet; with billions of people leaving digital footprints by the second, if you don’t streamline your search, you’ll end up with people you don’t need, which will affect the growth of your business.
At this point, what you need is a form of marketing called, marketing automation, and at the end of this article, you will know how to best use it to strengthen your relationship with your customers.
Marketing Automation: What Is It About?
Every business, whether it’s a startup or has been existing and thriving for years, aims to make a profit. Zero profit means closing shop, and since that’s not the goal, you must do all you can to ensure you have long-term success.
Having said that, there’s no profit or long-term success without customers. Unlike back in the days when business owners do not care about having a relationship with those who patronize them, things have changed.
In the business world today, what makes you an “Amazon” with a vast and loyal customer base, or a company trying to break even every financial year is how well you relate with your customers.
Marketing automation helps you build a firm, stable, and reliable relationship with your customers. It lets you know whether or not you have the right people using your product and delivers to you a loyal and dependable customer base.
One common mistake business owners make is thinking that what they need to grow their business is new people. Research has shown that old customers bring about an increase in sales and profit than new ones, and strengthening those old relationships is more cost-effective than marketing campaigns to bring in new people.
Marketing automation helps in different ways to strengthen the customer relationship. It provides you with usable, and reliable data that shows you what works best in dealing with challenges in creating content for marketing, and the best means of getting your message across to your customers.
Marketing Automation is about using data collected based on your customers’ needs, wants, expectations, grievances and most used social media platforms, to deliver the best end-to-end experience. It will put you on a level playing field with your competitors, and set you apart from them.
Benefits of Marketing Automation
Before discussing the ways to strengthen customer relationship with marketing automation, here are some of the benefits it offers:
- It gives you insight into the standard of service your customers’ expect, and how to best improve on it.
- It provides research data on customers’ expectations.
- It makes good use of positive and negative feedback and provides solutions.
- It provides answers on ways to satisfactorily meet the needs of your customers.
- It shows you ways to build relationships with your customers, in a way that translates to increased sales and revenue generation.
- It automatically goes beyond the help you can provide with your marketing staff.
- It keeps your customers informed on what you are willing to do for them to continue patronizing your products and services.
Strengthening Customer Relationship
Treat Every Customer Concern as Important
The saying, “The customer is always right,” might be a cliché, but the truth remains that this is one saying that will never go old, or out of fashion. Although there are times when the customer is wrong, it’s in the best interest of your business to agree to disagree later.
You need the later approach because loyalty is quite fickle in today’s world, and an aggrieved customer would not only leave your products and services, the person would give you a negative review to thousands of people around the world, with the click of a button.
Not treating concerns or complaints about a defect or lack of satisfaction from the use of your products leads to the above. But with marketing automation, you can avoid taking longer than five minutes to address concerns or complaints.
Marketing automation addresses simple concerns that do not involve any form of technicality, and it fast tracks, to a human team, more complex ones. This reduces the time it would take to resolve issues and assures your customers that you value their time and business.
It equally ensures that no concern or complaint goes unattended, and it preempts future issues or questions that might arise from the use of your products and provides answers ahead of time. Note that marketing automation reduces the workload of your staff, and gives them time to respond to live chats, voice calls, and emails. Thus it helps foster personal customer relationships.
Take Advantage of Sales Funnels and Email Marketing
Introducing marketing automation to your email marketing campaign would improve your customer relationship management (CRM) and your customer relationship generally. It will equally make your brand do things more smartly.
To achieve this, marketing automation will help divide your CRM into segments. These segments can be in the form of identifying customers who are likely to remain and continue using your products and services, those who are more likely to start using them, and those who need more information before they turn to you.
This would create personalized journeys for everyone who uses your products, thereby strengthening relationships and driving up sales. Always remember that the step taken by a customer from the time the person picks interest in your product till checking out is vital.
Thus, creating emails in a way that it connects directly, and on a personal level with a customer leads to a positive experience, which will, in turn, strengthen the customer relationship. Also, it sends a message that you understand what each person needs and that you value the customer as more than a means to an end.
Note that a happy and satisfied customer stays loyal to your brand, and brings about profit maximization. A perfect example of how to take advantage of sales funnels and email marketing is encouraging purchase by offering a discount.
When you notice a customer is interested in a product but doesn’t go through with the purchase, send an email offering a discount. It shows you want the person to own the product, and you’re willing to make concessions when necessary.
Be There for Important Occasions
Firstly, this does not mean you have to be there physically or send a gift; doing that would defeat what marketing automation does. Secondly, let’s refresh our memories of the fact that marketing automation gathers very important and necessary data on your customers.
It gives you information on things ranging from birthdays, anniversaries, and how a customer interacts with your products and services. It even lets you know what a customer thinks about your website.
Armed with this information, all you need to do is capitalize on them, and use them to strengthen your customer relationship by showing you care about the important days of their lives. It shows that you care about what matters to them, and want to share in their joy and triumphs.
A perfect example of how marketing automation works under this head is the bank-customer relationship. Banks are famous for sending personalized emails to their customers on birthdays, and anniversaries; especially on the former. In as much as a lot of people are aware that it is computer-generated, it still sends a message of “We care, and want to celebrate with you.”
Most people look forward to it every year, and it has helped solidify the bank-customer relationship. Another way to use marketing automation to celebrate special occasions is by offering freebies, and gift cards that give a discount.
Connect Using Multiple Platforms
We mentioned earlier that the world is digital, and more and more people have an online address; it could be in the form of social media accounts, a web, or a blog page. While web and blog pages are not that common for individuals, more than half of the world’s population are on social media.
A person spends an average of 2 hours on social media, but with so many platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Reddit, among others, the question becomes how do you connect with your customers, and use the platforms to strengthen your relationship with them?
The answer lies in using marketing automation to effectively sift through the information that is essential, and the one to do away with. After filtering, send targeted messages to the social media platforms your customers frequent. You can do this by creating content that are designed to send a message showing care, and dedication, and creating campaigns they can be part of.
Also, marketing automation helps you manage multiple platforms efficiently, to avoid sending the right message to the wrong people. It also lets you know the peak period to post updates on products, and engage your customers on a question, and answer segment.
Other Ways Marketing Automation Helps Strengthen Customer Relationships
Aside from the points mentioned above, marketing automation helps strengthen customer relationships by letting you know your audience. Just as you can’t build personal relationships with people you don’t know, you can’t expect to have a relationship with your customers if you know nothing about them.
Another way it helps is by segmenting your contact base. Knowing the age demographic, occupation, location, and the duration of a customer has been with you would give you insight on how to best relate with that person. Knowledge will always put you ahead, so arm yourself with it by using data collected using marketing automation.
Thirdly, it helps you know when to sell, and when to back off. Data collected using marketing automation shows you the time of the month, or year your customers make large purchases, so you can tailor pushing for sales at those times. That way, you won’t, for example, push for sunscreen sales in Winter, and sale of head warmers in Summer. It’s about applying emotional intelligence and using CRM effectively.
A strong relationship with your customers would improve your retention rate, which, in turn, increases your company’s profit. Business has left the era of competing based on price. Reducing the price of your products and services is not a guarantee that people would leave the company that responds to them swiftly, and remembers their birthdays to “Be with you.”
Business competition in the 21st century is about “Experience.” Maya Angelou described it accurately; people might forget what you said or did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. And ultimately, it’s your words and actions that create the feeling.
Also, a strong customer relationship is “Free marketing for you.” Companies have testimonials of customers who started using their products after a recommendation from a friend or family member. Never underestimate the power of referrals. A good product will get you noticed in the market, but customer relationship is what will keep you there.
If you doubt it, take a look at companies like McDonald’s, Apple, Samsung, Amazon, who have been around for a long time. If they lacked loyal customers, they would have gone out of business a long time ago. Therefore work on using the tips shared with you, and marketing automation to build a bond with your customers that would withstand boisterous winds, and pass the test of time.