The most effective marketing focuses on building relationships with the target customer. The opposite of “one and done”, relationship marketing connects your brand with people for ongoing interaction.
How do you build your brand relationships? There’s a lot more that goes into building connections than simply clicking like on social posts or passing our business cards at networking events.
Here are tips that will help you strategically develop relationships and build your brand community.
Identify the Right Relationships
What kinds of people would you benefit from knowing and would benefit from knowing you? Know the types of relationships you want to build.
There may be more than one community that will support your brand – one that helps you find new business, one that nurtures existing customers, one that provides resources for growth. Know the types of people who will help you achieve your business goals over time.
Then, understand the characteristics of the people that fit these communities or networks that you want to build. Be as specific as possible, so you can be focused on who you need to engage with to build the right communities.
Discover the Best Ways to Connect
What are the most effective ways for you to connect? Social media is a common option, but know which channels are best to reach the people you want. Each channel has its own demographic and intent, so you need to find the ones that are most appropriate for you.
There are many sources of user data. One of my go-to’s is Pew Internet. The have data tracking use and social media trends that is marketing gold for any brand.
There are likely other places where you can make the right connections. In-person events that are for networking, professional development or industry development can all provide great venues. Strategically attending or presenting webinars can be another.
Discover where the people you want to reach gather. Those venues should go to the top of your relationship-building list.
Prepare for a Relationship
Healthy relationships are two-way, and your brand relationships need to be the same. Think as much about what you want to say as what your community may need or want. Plan for both give and get with your community.
As you meet individuals you want to get to know better, have a sense of what each of you brings to the table. Everyone has different needs, desires and abilities. Knowing what these are for you and your connections and acting on those insights builds productive reciprocal relationships.
Be generous with your time, energy and willingness to help. Check in periodically. Celebrate their successes. Ask them about things you know are important to them. Express gratitude when they do you a favor, and follow through if you offer to do one for them.
Whatever you do, don’t be the person who only reaches out when they need something.