The right marketing strategy builds long term relationships with customers. There are 2 types:
Push marketing is about product promotion, reminding your customers about your products. This works well if you are a retailer with products which people often buy. It doesn’t work as well if you are service based or a B2B business.
Pull (or relationship) marketing is about regular communication to build credibility and awareness.
Start a monthly email marketing campaign
This is an easy way to give keep in touch with your customers. Once a month is ample – any more and you destroy rather than build relationships!). Tell them about recent news or services, and share articles that could help them. You can also link to your articles to your website as a way to drive your customers to it.
Start a blog
Write a weekly article something your customers would value. You could comment on a news article that you think they should read. It could be a new product or service or advice on saving them time and money for example. Be consistent – don’t start then stop, use it to build relationships with your customers.
Plan regular calls and visits
These aren’t an opportunity for you to sell something. The purpose is to keep in regular touch with your customers, to ask how everything is and what their plans are. If you see an opportunity for someone to help them, offer a referral if you can’t help them yourself.
Telling your employees to spend more time with customers might seem an expense, but it is invaluable. Many behavioural psychology studies have shown everybody is more positive about service experience when they don’t feel rushed or ignored. Make sure the time is productive – have employees attempt to find out key customer traits. Derek Sivers did this at CD Baby (a business he built from nothing and sold for $22m):
“I used to request all my employees to take a little longer on customer’s calls. I would ask them to pull up customer’s albums and catalogues; have a look at their pictures and gears – to learn a bit about them. Imagine how powerful it is for a customer to know that he is listening to somebody who understands him. It’s much better than saying something like, “Thank you customer 4325. How may I handle your problem?”
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