One of the biggest challenges for any new company is to “get the word out”. Unless people know that you exist and that you are great at what you do, it is very difficult for a company to get customers and survive. How are we ensuring that we are building relationship with our audience? Are we getting the word out properly? Or are we pushing it too far?
What is Relationship Marketing?
As a new company, I have generated most of my businesses through referrals from past clients, people who have read my blogs or case studies, those who have found my company on Google or those who have seen me interacting on forums and discussions. In each case, I have established sort of credibility as a company or an individual, because of which customers have chosen to trust in me. I have been active in helping people with their SEO challenges. I believe that is the basis of a relationship. I use social media and blogs to share my knowledge in the SEO space. So my readers already have developed some relationship with me even though they may/may not be my customers.
I had one prospect email me saying “I want to be one of your case studies”. This is one of the biggest compliments I can get as a business owner.
Experts always say, you are a living breathing persona of your brand. The way you carry yourself and the way you develop your own brand will feed into the way people will perceive your company. Especially when you are a new company.
However, I have seen companies and individuals taking this personification a bit too far.
Marketing Gone Wrong
Have you ever received a connection invite on one of the social network platforms from someone whose name is "ABC Company" or "XYX Marketing"? If you are a business owner, then there is a high chance you would have encountered such a scenario. What if I connected to you on LinkedIn as RankHigher and not as Raunak Guha? How would you react to it? Will you bother to accept friend request from RankHigher with its Logo as the profile pic? Or would you want to connect to someone who has a face, a nice decent picture and someone who looks like human?
I keep getting requests from people who have profiles in the name of their companies. And usually, I never accept such connection requests. The other day I received a similar connection request from a company (aka individual) which triggered me to write this blog post. I wanted to know who this company was .Therefore I went to the website. I checked their services and offerings. And when I clicked on the "About" page, all I could see was some information on values and what they bring to the table. And no mention of the team or the credentials of the team members. So essentially, I came across a new individual disguised as a company and I could not assess whether the individual is capable or not.
This raises the more important question - Who do we do business with? Do we do business with a logo or a name or do we do business with people whom we trust?
Another example of relationship and sales blunder that I have encountered is spammy emails from people who connect to you on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional network for professionals to know each other, establish a strong relationship and eventually do business which is a win-win. Unfortunately, businesses have been using LinkedIn in ways for which it is not meant to be. The other day, I received an Inmail from one of my connections. Here it goes:
My company doesn’t even do Magento Integrations! So how come the Co-Founder of this company “loves what I am doing”?
She doesn’t even take the pains to know what my business is and what I intend to do. Looks like a simple cut and paste job which she must be doing to all his LinkedIn connections. And how do I know this is a cut-paste job? Check out this email which I received from CEO and Founder of the same company after 1 day:
Will I ever respond to this email? Ever?
Why is it so hard for businesses to develop a relationship with newly established connections.
Julie Huntley, an Associate Professor of Marketing at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma in her research “Conceptualization and measurement of relationship quality: Linking relationship quality to actual sales and recommendation intention”, establishes that relationship is an essential driver in account profitability and sales. You can find the research here.
With advent of technology and proliferation of various social media, businesses now do not have to rely on PR or costly advertisement to get the word out. However, these various social media channels have posed a new challenge for businesses.How does a business differentiate from others, given all are using social media? The answer is simple, build relationship, connect with audience one-one and understand their challenges. Make their lives easier and they will trust you. Do not push your sales and marketing down someone’s throat. Else you will end up as another flush in the pan.
What has been your experience with relationship marketing?