Business authors Emmett C. Murphy and Mark A. Murphy claim that acquiring a new customer can cost five times as much as retaining an existing customer. Moreover, a 2% increase in customer retention can decrease costs by as much as 10% according to the same authors.
It is a known fact that no company can survive and grow if they are not constantly adding to their customer base. It is considered one of the most expensive and difficult tasks in business to acquire new customers. You need to attract a new customer’s attention, engage them to make a convincing pitch, and then facilitate the accompanying sale conversion process; and every step carries huge expenses.
For most companies, marketing and sales are separate transactions to providing products and services to existing customers. These companies operate with the goal to get potential customers to buy consistently while the current customer experiences are totally divorced from these activities.
To achieve a high customer retention rate, businesses must engage in relationship marketing strategies to continually attract repeat business. The goal, ultimately, is to turn every new customer into a returning customer. Simply put, the customer experience starts with marketing and develops throughout the entire customer journey and life cycle.
This is known as Relationship Marketing and is, in fact, the foundation of all LinkedIn marketing activities.
The focus is on establishing and developing long-term relationships with customers. Instead of trying to achieve regular one-time sales, relationship marketing tries to foster customer loyalty by providing high-value services, at reduced or no cost. It is different from most normal advertising and marketing practices that focus on a single transaction
Relationship marketing should not be linked to a single product, service or offer. It involves a company refining the way they do business to maximize the value of that relationship for the customer.
A great example of relationship marketing is a Webinar. Unfortunately, webinars, like most sales tactics, have now become a marketing or sales strategy where the focus is on sales rather than relationship building.
Take into account the definition of a webinar (as per the Learning HUB) as: “A webinar (a combination of the words “web” and “seminar”) is a video workshop, lecture, or presentation hosted online using webinar software. Often business-related, these sessions can be used to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world. Webinars can also be leveraged to build and nurture relationships, build authority around a brand, or demonstrate a product.”
Almost every webinar hosted today is focused on detailing the product by providing some value, but in such a way that a purchase looms during the lengthy sales pitch at the end. The purpose of a webinar today is typically lead generation, more so than relationship marketing.
For most webinar attendees it is an introduction, their first encounter with the brand and, instead of establishing a relationship, many eager webinar hosts will find the ‘leads’ the webinar generated are nothing more than an unresponsive name and email address.
With powerful marketing tools like LinkedIn, the strategy should always be based on relationship marketing strategies.
As a LinkedIn specialist and a relationship marketing advocate, I ensure that our webinars – as well as our customer acquisition and retention activities -follow these relationship marketing best practices:
1. We always obtain feedback from customers by means of Q&A sessions, polls or surveys.
2. Respect our customer’s feedback and include it in our business practices.
3. Use social media outlets, mainly LinkedIn, to connect and build relationships with our customers.
4. Monitor customer relationship effectively through having supporting technologies in place.
5. Leverage the value of warm leads i.e. customers who have already expressed an interest.
6. Define and maintain a comprehensive customer relationship management strategy.
7. Stay on the cutting edge of product and service offerings.
8. Do not sacrifice quality for innovativeness.
9. Maintain a high customer satisfaction rate in all areas of the company.
10. Make an effort to inform customers how much they are appreciated.
I achieve all this through our weekly Webinar Workshops where our focus is on relationship marketing, by replacing the pesky sales messages at the end with a Q&A, adding more value to our attendees. My goal is to add huge value to every participant by covering aspects of LinkedIn as a relationship marketing tool that simply cannot be found in a Google search.
The MarketingCX Webinar Workshops run every Thursday at 10am (and a repeat at 7pm) GMT+2, and I cover a different topic every week. Join us here:- https://marketingcx.co.za/