We Want it All. Now!
We want to watch our favorite TV show when we want, and where we want. We want our purchases delivered to our door the same day we buy them. We want instant gratification. Even in business, we want huge profits and an abundance of customers immediately. Oh, and we want all that while working just four hours a week.
It’s this kind of thinking that leads a lot of small businesses to consider marketing that casts a wide net by broadcasting a message to a large audience quickly. Sure it can be done, but will your prospective customer hear that message? And will they hear it at just the moment they are ready to take action? Now that’s the tricky part. You may never really know. This makes broadcast advertising inefficient and expensive. – Particularly for small businesses.
But fear not. Technology and the internet provide a kind of world flattening effect that gives you the ability to market your products and services much more economically and efficiently, and perhaps best of all, it’s an awesome tool for building customer relationships.
What’s so great about that? Well, you could sell a whole lot more of what you’ve got if you knew what your customers needed and then just gave to them. Having a relationship with your customer allows you to do that. It also gives you an opportunity to listen to them. Ask them what they like about your product, and what they don’t like. Make sure you’re responsive to their criticisms as well as their compliments. Showing your customers that you care about their experience goes a long way toward building credibility and loyalty, as does creating a sense of community among users of your product.
The apparel company, Lululemon has had great success doing just that. The company realized that their core demographic, which is mostly women, is active on Facebook. So, they developed a very active Facebook presence as a way to connect with their customers and maintain an ongoing dialog. In keeping with their brand they regularly posted uplifting, aspirational messages, shared information about activities like yoga, in which their customers are interested, and sought feedback about their products. As a result, in the last two years they’ve increased their Facebook followers by 200%, to more than 830,000.
I know you want it all now but, have “patience grasshopper.” Relationship marketing may not be the quick fix you were hoping for but if done right you’ll find it’s a very effective way to build customer relationships and create a community that is loyal to your business. And that is priceless.
This much I know.