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Relationship Marketing: Can it make the difference for your business?

Mommy Perks logoI recently clicked over to read a post on the Mashable site titled, “5 Marketing Predictions for 2013.”

After reading the article, I would certainly agree with number one regarding mobile ads. In my own business, I’ve seen a drop-off in banner ads for well over a year now. So I also agree that many Brands are rethinking banner ads in pursuit of something more effective.

After years of working with small businesses I believe that any time we saturate the market with any advertising/promotion strategy, it quickly loses speed. Numerous articles have been written now about how ineffective quick-sale sites are for generating return and loyal customers (Groupon, Daily Chicken, etc). We offered consumers too many deals, too often, and began a sales-war between businesses: who could offer the most, for the least, to get those fast sales? Many of my own clients lost big bucks in those deals, sometimes dropping deep into the red, to fill the orders below cost. In the end it wasn’t worth their efforts and sadly, they gained very few (if any) return and loyal customers.

Just like banner ads lost speed over time (especially when every blog under the sun was jamming them into every empty space they could find), customers will ignore mobile ads, too, soon enough. Then we’ll be looking for another new and interesting way to promote that will grab the buyer’s attention and talk them into clicking or taking action upon the promo.

{Or we can go back to believing that relationship marketing works for many of us…even as other trends come and go.}

Embedded links inside articles has been another over-done choice for many business owners who hired SEO companies to quickly boost their rankings. Again, saturating the market. Many of us read posts now and skip over the embedded links, knowing full well that they are ads.

In the Mashable post, the section about “Looking beyond the total number of likes” states:

Having more fans or followers on social networks doesn’t necessarily mean having greater engagement; in fact some recent studies suggest that the opposite is often the case.

I’m not sure why this isn’t talked about more but it’s not difficult to understand why some of the people with large followings have low engagement: many of their fans and likes are often fake. They are not always real people. Facebook cracked down on this not long ago, dropping some fan counts from millions to thousands. Some of the well-known brands had been buying fans for years, stacking their numbers. They woke up one day to find the fakes…gone.

I tested this out for myself, not long ago, buying fake fans in order to see what would happen. I wrote about what happened along the way. Within one month, all of my fake fans had been stripped from the wall, taking me right back to where I was before I paid for them. My engagement levels haven’t been affected, though, because we have an active wall on Mommy Perks and many of the people have been there for years now. We talk and engage often. We have terrific new fans, also, who reply and chat.

On the flip side, I have a few clients who insisted that I buy their fans in order to show high counts and yes – their engagement levels are very low. One previous client in particular has maintained their fake likes for months now. Facebook didn’t strip theirs away; I’m not sure why. However, no one ever engages on their wall. No one. Ever. Because the fans are all fake. They are posting to thin air.

At any rate, it’s not hard to figure out why many of these pages would have low engagement rates. Their fans are not real.

Similarly, Twitter followers can be purchased. Some folks have very high twitter follower counts with a low engagement rate. Why? Because they are tweeting to a high percentage of fake accounts. You can check out pages for yourself, in fact, by visiting fakers.statuspeople.com.

Sure – we need to rethink our impression of a business based on their likes and followers. We also need to understand that many of those super-duper-high-fallut’in counts are nothing but paid-for fakes. You can’t accurately assess engagement levels when you are basing your findings on “fake.”

Moral…

I suppose the moral of the story is this: If you believe that relationship marketing works, then build the relationships you have with customers, clients, social media friends, fans and followers. Build up organically and naturally and your engagement levels will likely be high. Even if your network is smaller than others. Bring back some of the old school marketing techniques that still seem to work for many people: phone calls to check in with clients and customers, hand written notes being mailed out to say “Thanks for your business!,” emails asking customers to let you know how you can improve the customer service experience, etc.

Your business may need the advertising and promotional ideas that are trending for 2013, as well, sure. Don’t underestimate relationship marketing, though. Don’t put relationships on the back burner in search of the next hot trend. Trends fizzle out. Relationships built to last can bring you business and referrals for years to come. My husband has multiple clients who have been with him for 20+ years now. I have clients and customers who have been with my businesses since the start, in 2007. They come to us when something is needed and they refer us to others when they hear of someone needing our services.

Relationships matter. Relationships work. Relationships are not a trend.

More reading:

11 Ideas For Helping Your Business Grow

Advanced Twitter Tips

Twitter Etiquette Tips

Take Your Organization From Engaged To Entangled

What Is Your Favorite Thing About Owning A Business?

Creating Value In Your Business

When My Business Is Slow, What Should I Do?

Ways To Promote Without Running Reviews or Giveaways

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Author Bio:

Shara Lawrence-Weiss is the owner of Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources, Kids Perks and Parenting Tips with Dr. Sally. Shara and her husband Rick both work from home. They have four children, one dog and one fish. They co-own a local news site and are actively involved in charity service, mentoring and small business events. They drink too much coffee and never get enough sleep.

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3 Responses to “Relationship Marketing: Can it make the difference for your business?”

  1. Ava says:

    This is fantastic I love it this is you!!!
    And why we all want to work with you !
    Relationships matter. Relationships work. Relationships are not a trend.
    That’s a phrase we should all put on our website!!
    Again great writing

  2. Shara says:

    Thanks, Ava! I appreciate the nice comment and the cheering you do for me. You’re a great friend.

  3. Shara,

    You take the cake on this. You can teach others much when it comes to the importance of making relationships a priority when it comes to biz!

    Wendy =)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Old School Ways To Build Relationships With Customers: A Return To Relationship Marketing | Small Business Tips - [...] was wrong. After writing a blurb about Relationship Marketing a few days ago, my friend Ava said, “Shara – …
  2. Old School Ways To Build Relationships With Customers: A Return To Relationship Marketing | Mommy Perks Blog - [...] was wrong. After writing a blurb about Relationship Marketing a few days ago, my friend Ava said, “Shara – …
  3. "But building relationships takes too much time!" - Mommy Perks Blog - [...] discussing relationship marketing with clients, we often hear, “But building relationships takes too much time!” These [...]

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