How to build lifelong client relationships through effective marketing
Traditional Marketing is often thought of as a funnel and includes 4 stages, one leading onto the next:
Attention – Grabbing your audiences attention with an eye-catching headline or enticing branding.
Interest – Creating a hook and sharing the benefits of your product or service, really igniting their curiosity.
Desire – Stir up their feelings, so they identify with what you’re saying and want to know more. Moving them from just 'liking' your product to 'wanting' it.
Action – Invite them to take the next step and clearly tell them what they need to do and how.
Going through this process allows your potential client get to know you, your brand and the products and services that you offer. Letting your ideal customers get to know you, like you and trust you. It’s as simple as that.
It’s a bit like making new friends… or even going on your first date!
So I thought, if marketing is all about building relationships, what are the similarities between building a romantic relationship and building a business relationship?
Here we explain the traditional marketing model, by comparing each stage to how we start a romantic relationship!
Let’s explore this in more detail…
Before heading to our favourite Friday night haunt, I am sure there was plenty of preparation. This is different for everyone; maybe buying a new top, ironing your best shirt, having your hair/nails done, wearing your favourite perfume/aftershave, listening to your favourite uplifting going out tunes, there will no doubt be a getting ready ritual. This instantly make us look and feel better, we feel more confident and it puts a spring in our step.
To feel confident about our branding, it must look and feel right. It needs to be us on our best day! When we see it, we need to instantly feel that Friday feeling. We want to have our heads held high, to feel proud and to want to share it with others. If it your branding doesn’t give you this feeling, you’ll never feel 100% confident.
Branding can include your logo, colours and a tagline. A consistent look and presentation is required across all your marketing – from your website and social channels to your business cards and uniforms. To get your branding spot on, it also needs to feel right. It needs to resonate with you as a person, reflecting what you feel passionately about. It needs to convey your values and your personal style – your identity. This starts to spill into both your brand story and your branding language.
What you and what your business look like is just about first impressions. But what really matters is who you are and what you’re all about – what makes you tick. And that leads us onto Brand Awareness…
Step 1 dating - Going out, out!
If you stayed at home watching telly on a Friday night, you wouldn’t stand much chance of meeting someone new. So you had to go to the local, pubs, clubs, gyms, cafes or wherever you used to go to meet someone new, otherwise your ‘dream date’, would be just that - a dream! They wouldn’t even know you existed!
Step 1 Marketing - Brand Awareness
The same applies to business. If you don’t join the local networking group, take part in local Chamber events, hang out at the trendy serviced offices, join Mastermind groups, attend trade shows and industry events, then how will your customers even know you exist. This is basic brand awareness. Many businesses understand this concept, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Get your name out and about in the business community and let people know what you do.
Unfortunately, some businesses just focus on this stage and don’t get any further. They just repeat, networking, attending events etc and get stuck at this initial marketing stage. Others rush or don't understand the importance of getting your branding right. When this happens, your messaging will always fall short, it will feel empty, vacuous, and won't give clients the full picture.
Step 2 Getting to know one another
So, you’ve seen someone you like, flashed them your best smile, you may even have plucked up the courage to go and introduce yourself, but that will only get you so far. To start developing a deeper relationship you need to get to know one another better, but how? By spending time with each other, you'll hopefully start to find you like the same kind of music and laugh at the same jokes. Next you might start to share passions, interests and values. All being well, you will share common interests and like each other, but what if this is not the case? Perhaps, you start getting to know them and they’re not what you expected. That’s fine, as long as you recognise this early on, I think the youngsters refer to this and friend zoning! They stay as friends.
Step 2 Marketing - Sharing Interesting Content.
The same applies to business relationships. You don’t join the local networking group and just go once, you have to turn up every week and start getting to know people in the group a bit better. Once you start chatting you'll be able to explain more about what you do and how you help people, but also learn what they have to offer. To do this well, you really need to be open, and start explaining who you are and what you are about.
The same applies to all marketing. It’s no use just sending one flyer, posting one advert or having one article in a magazine, you need to build this up over time. This way people can get to know you, they can start building a picture of your business, and what you are all about. What’s important to you, your values and your principles. So, how do you build interest in your products and services? Do you just talk about yourself and everything you have to offer, or do you listen to what your customers want and answer those questions? If you choose a strategy where your prioritise your client and what they need, you’ll find the relationship gets off to a much better start!
Step 3 - Starting a relationship…
Building a relationship from first acquaintance to friendship to starting something longer term like being in a relationship or even marriage, is of course far more complex, than simply turning up and being in the right places. But there are still similarities we can draw between dating and building relationships in business.
Sharing stories, school days, holidays and allowing the other person to get to know you, learning that you share similar music tastes and laugh at the same jokes, what you love and what you hate. What’s really important to you, what you’re all about and whether they also share those values, are fundamental to a long lasting relationship.
3. Creating desire
So, I’m not advocating you marry your clients, but to be able to build a successful relationship, it helps if you share the same principles and values. If, for example, if you agree trust, expertise and family values are important in business, then you can easily start off on the right foot, can't you?
But how will they know? We can create desire is by sharing what we’re passionate about and best at. By sharing what we believe in and feel strongly about, creates a desire in your potential client to want to work with you, sometimes they’re just waiting for the right time, to start working with you. By being clear, transparent and vocal about our values and beliefs, creates a strong passionate dialogue, that will be appealing to others who share the same strong morals and values. If you think about strong brands, they have spent time getting their values and beliefs right, crystal clear and sharing these effectively.
Step 4 - First date!
So, you’ve invested time getting ready, putting on your best gear and met with your new crush several times. You’re starting to feel more and more interested in this person, you like what they have to say, you share similar values, like the same bands, love walking and adventurous holidays and they take an interest in you too. When you’re together, it’s like no one else matters or even exists. Are you ready and brave enough to ask for a first date?
Step 4 - Take action!
So, your potential client has subscribed to your newsletter, they’ve been reading your blogs and may have liked or even shared a few social posts. They may even have attended an event/workshop that you put on or be part of the same networking group. They have had several touch points with your marketing. Now, there needs to be a compelling reason to act. For some it might be a free trial, made an enquiry or maybe signed up for an introductory offer. Whatever it is, they’ve taken action, that final step to becoming a client. Let’s imagine, some time has passed, the honeymoon period is over, perhaps you’ve been together for a couple of years now, what can we do to keep that relationship alive and fresh?
Building a relationship that lasts a lifetime
Continuing with our dating theme, many consider good communication the key to a successful marriage. As we know good communication is two way, both people are comfortable talking openly and actively listening to the other person too. Do we need to share everything? No. Good communication is sharing the right information, with the right people, at the right time (plus some conversations are better saved for friends!).
Regular effective communication
Again, we can draw comparisons with marketing communication. We need to listen and engage with our clients, not just be the one doing all the talking. We need to choose topics our customers are interested in right now. How? We listen. Learning what our customers are worried about right now, can be gauged in several ways, what our clients ask about, social media conversations or current news stories. To show we still care and are invested in our relationship, we need to keep the other person interested, put their needs first etc.
What have we learned?
Hopefully, this blog has helped to explain how traditional marketing works – with a fun twist.
Getting our branding right, the importance of being clear and vocal about our values and beliefs, turning up regularly to events and continuously raising brand awareness is important for letting people know who you are and what you do. But listening to your clients, sharing information that they’re interested in and answering their questions is equally important. Then you can top all that effort off by offering something that relevant and appealing enough for them to want to take action.
Finally, to retain that client, we need to continuously, listen and respond to their questions and provide them with interesting and engaging information. Keep them hooked and they’ll keeping wanting to come back for more…
I hope you like my dating analogy? For more specific tips and advice for how to woo the most important people in your social circles, get in touch and let’s start the conversation.
Simply fill in the contact form and let me know the best times and dates for you.