Simply put, relationship marketing puts the word custom back in customer.   It seems pretty simple , right? It seems to be a no brainer, but relationship marketing relatively rare in  business and marketing circles.  The focus now is on attracting customers rather than keeping them – a term referred to as offensive marketing.  It is absolutely crazy that businesses no longer have a focus of keeping existing customers, or even a balance between generating new customers and keeping current ones. Relationship marketing will make all the difference in the world, not to mention it can save you and your business money.

Relationship marketing evolved from direct response marketing in the 1960’s, emerging in the 80’s to become a system that places emphasis on building longer term relationships with  customers rather than simply a single transaction.  This marketing philosophy means that you understand the customer’s needs as they change and go through their buying life cycle.  Put another way, offering a range of products/services, as your customers need change and they actually need those products or services.

Why is focusing on your existing customers be more profitable?  Many reasons. If you’re constantly spending money and resources to land new clients, you aren’t paying attention to your loyal customers – the ones who are keeping you in business now.  This means you are losing out on their business, and the referrals they can send your way.

This is called churn and burn, or the customers who won’t come back to you if you alienate them.  Another term for trying to keep customers and increase their loyalty is called defensive marketing. Customers who have already bought something from you are your bread and butter, your key to continued profitability. Bottom line?  You NEED them and can’t afford to lose them.  They are your assets.  And you value assets and treat them accordingly. Customer loyalty is worth A LOT of  money to your business, since the cost of keeping an existing customer is only about 10 per cent of the cost of getting a new one.

The key here is to pay attention to your current customers, use greeting cards, post cards, Facebook updates, and more to do this.  It needs to be a mix of ALL of The Above, not just  FB, email , or something free.  Take the time to drop a card in the mail a few times a year.  You can do this very inexpensive, and it will get opened, and the results are fabulous.  I have many articles on using greeting cards to build your relationship marketing strategy and new business referrals.  Read them.  Implement them!


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