Expert Advice on the Importance of Business Relationships
If you ask someone about the term inbound marketing, you will hear a lot about creating great content, implementing calls to action to generate leads and then nurturing those leads and converting them into customers. Each of these strategies is tangible, but often in marketing your business, it’s the intangible that sets you apart from your competition. One of those intangibles would be the relationships formed through using inbound marketing.
Below you’ll find expert opinions on how to cultivate business relationships, how to build relationships with the Connected Generation (a generation marked by high adoption of technology) and techniques to nurture customer relationships.
On Building Relationships through Social Media
Social media plays an important role in inbound marketing by helping to connect you with like-minded followers and making thought leaders accessible to you in ways unheard of just a few short years ago. But social media isn’t just a way to aggregate your blog posts and talk about yourself, as many companies use it. It is a way to foster relationships and become more to them than just a logo and a mission statement.
In her article on social media and relationship building for startups, Katie Leimkuehler points out that this process of cultivating relationships takes time. While it can be frustrating to start using social media with just a few followers, it’s up to all businesses, startup or not, to engage in other ways when getting active on social media. Katie defines engagement as promoting other companies, talking about new products on the market and sharing articles that would be interesting to your following. To make this work, being active daily on social media is essential.
On Relationships and the Connected Generation
Relationship building may seem old school compared to all the new technologies and tools available to the Connected Generation. Instead of relationships, some companies think cool apps and flashy websites are needed to reach what seems to be a relationship-resistant generation glued to their phones and the Internet.
Ryan Hanley’s post on content marketing to attract the Connected Generation reveals that this generation isn’t resistant to relationships at all. In fact, what they’re wanting is more authentic relationships marked by intimacy, vulnerability and humility shared via the use of rich media such as video, podcasts and content that tells a story. Ryan also shows that the content other people create about you in the form of testimonials, recommendations and reviews convince the Connected Generation that they can trust doing business with you.
On Nurturing Customer Relationships
Inbound marketing isn’t just about building relationships to attract new customers. Blogging, social media and email are essential to keep in contact with your current customers and increase trust in your brand and grow your repeat business. Remember, it’s current satisfied customers that will leave you positive reviews on sites such as Yelp and leave you testimonials about your services or products.
To nurture these relationships, Lashanna Ross’ post on building solid customer relationships highlights the importance of keeping the lines of communication open. Lashanna stresses creating a communications plan using blogging and email that engages your current customers on a regular basis. She also insists on finding opportunities to thank and nurture your loyal customers. Building customer loyalty can simply be expressing your gratitude and thanks to your customers and providing incentives for referrals. Using inbound marketing techniques to reach and serve your current customers is a practice that will also help you serve new customers more effectively.
What has been the most effective technique for you to build new relationships or strengthen the relationships with your existing customers? Leave a comment below to share your experiences.
Jeff Machado is a content marketing strategist at Fiore Communications. You can follow him on Twitter and ask him your inbound marketing questions.