Without loyal customers, a business simply cannot thrive. Various organizations have employed all sorts of tactics to grow and retain this valuable base, but relationship marketing is proving to be the most invaluable strategy of all. This is how building relationships can drive customer loyalty and grow your business.
In the 60s and 70s, approaches to mass marketing ignored loyalty as a factor in favor of customer acquisition. Marketing efforts over the following decades have changed their focus to retention, zoning in on the lifetime value of existing customers as well as acquisition.
Loyalty is the maintenance of trust, whether that’s for persons or organizations. It fosters strong feelings of support and allegiance, giving a customer the sense of belonging to the relationship. That might sound as though it only works in interpersonal relationships, but it turns out that customers develop this same sense of loyalty to brands.
This phenomenon is typically called brand loyalty, but a newer focus shifts the power of loyalty bonds to the people instead of characteristics of the brand. Now, customer loyalty is the driving force behind gaining and securing a strong clientele.
Implementing a relationship marketing strategy to foster customer loyalty requires a change in thinking and tactics. At its core, your businesses must:
- Offer a primary service to build relations
- Customize that relationship and tailor it to the individual
- Augment the primary service to incorporate added benefits
- Offer pricing services that encourage loyalty
- Market to employees so they perform better for customers
While each of these are a goal in themselves, they contribute to the main goal of attracting and maintaining loyal customers. Each enhances customer satisfaction, which fosters retention. This takes the focus off single transaction and onto the lifetime value a customer holds with all of the transactions they will ever make.
Instead of plugging in each piece of information for a customer, especially if you run a large operation, there are various tools that can make relationship marketing easier. ValueCloud® for Customer Success is an excellent option and a better way to employ the marketing tactics above.
Build the Bond and Targeting
Determining a customer’s level of loyalty begins with the existing bond your business has created. This bond can be psychological, emotional, economic, or physical. The first, and most important, element of bonding with a brand is pricing incentives. Customers want value, which translates to saving money.
From there, adding in additional value to the price is essential. There needs to be more than a good sale to foster loyalty. You need to provide something they cannot get elsewhere, something that is difficult for them to provide for themselves, and a type of customer service that would otherwise be expensive.
These are just the foundations, but with them you can assess who your loyal customers are. Which come back often, and which spend the most? Those who positively respond to your service and deals hold the potential to be lifelong customers.
Your brand’s image holds immense sway, too. The image you portray must resonate with people on a personal level. As they connect with your brand and the ideals it holds dear, a personal relationship is built that makes them more prone to loyalty.