Relationship marketing builds a loyal customer base, through personal greeting cards and gifts. It is widely accepted in the business world that it is easier and far less costly to retain your current customer base than it is to go out and get new ones. Simple concept but the truth is that most business owners don’t really understand “how” they actually attracted a large majority of their customers and are obsessed with constantly chasing the wind using a shotgun approach with the latest new marketing ammunition to hunt the planet for new customers.
Relationship Marketing Builds a Loyal Customer Base, through Greeting Cards and Gifts
The usual first steps to marketing a new business include hanging a “Yes we are Open” sign on the door, spending thousands of dollars on a lighted flashing overhead sign, taking out ads in the phone book and local newspapers, purchasing time on local cable channels and perhaps a local billboard, creating a website that has many of your competitors features, offering huge discount packages, and flooding the market with brochures and discount coupons. All of this takes a lot of time, effort, and labor. Welcome to the marketing rat race where you run around in circles chasing your tail 18 hours/day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks/year trying desperately to gain more customers than you lose. Relationship Marketing focusses on a more targeted, time elapsed approach that gets better results that you can pinpoint, and costs a lot less money. Do I have your attention yet?
You may be one of those savvy business owners that are very thorough and track every advertising and marketing dollar you spend, but do you know if your marketing program is working? How do you know if you spend money on radio or TV ads, if that is what got the customers in the door? You don’t, unless you have included a ‘call to action’ in that ad. For instance, “Bring this in and get 10% off (blank).” “Mention this ad and receive (fill in the blank)”.
In preparation for this article I looked up meanings of “advertising” and “marketing” because I knew that there was a distinct difference between the two and I wanted to be able to articulate it. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary “advertising” is summed up this way:
Definition of advertising
1: speech, writing, pictures, or films meant to persuade people to buy something.
So there is a specific offering, a timeline, a call to action to get people interested to buy, then come in, and ultimately purchase a product or service. On the page there was this too:
First known use of Advertising – 1751
Then when I searched “marketing” I found this:
Full Definition of marketing
1a: the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market;
1b: the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
2a: an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.
First known use of Marketing – 1561
Knowing the difference between “advertising” and “marketing” can be the difference between success and failure, profits and losses, and building or not building a loyal customer base. The following short paragraph could be the most important words you can read that can have a major effect on your marketing philosophy:
My goal: To give you some solid Relationship Marketing examples to help you grow your business, and in some cases, eliminate your advertising budget all together, saving you many thousands of dollars annually. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Let’s start with the first statement in this blog. “It is easier to keep or retain your current customers than it is to go out and get (farm) new ones.”
To accomplish this, we must focus on two things: “Relationship Marketing,” with the key emphasis on the first word, “Relationship”; and the “80/20 Rule.” 80% of your efforts need to be on building solid relationships with your customers. If you have done this the right way it may take some time, but once the “relationship,” has been formed, then you can “market,” your business by asking your current customers for a referral. A referral may also include drawing attention to your other products or services, but the main goal is to build solid relationships that last for years.
Know them and call them by name
Start by making sure you, your staff, and anyone that comes into contact with your customers, knows their names. Get a guestbook, chain it to the front desk, and have your customers write out their names the next time they visit. They should include first and last names of their entire family, a physical mailing address, an email address, and most importantly everyone’s birthday and anniversary. I can’t stress this part enough and will explain “why,” soon.
Make this important exercise a fun game with your employees to see who can learn the most names of your customers. The secret is for your employees to greet each customer by name as soon as they come in the door and for the duration of their visit. Call out their name when they get a high score on a redemption game, make the smallest of purchases, and most importantly, ‘thank’ them for their business when they leave.
If you think I am kidding, think of the last time you went to a big box store. We tend to make big TV purchases, maybe even a cell phone or a laptop. I just bought a cell phone 2 months ago from one of these stores. I spent over $700. I had to go back ½ hour later to ask a question and neither the salesperson that sold me the phone, or the Android expert, remembered my name. I had been there for over an hour, speaking and interacting individually with both of these “sales professionals”. Ouch!
Use Social Media to your advantage
Facebook is your best friend. If you don’t already have a business Facebook page create one, today! Then invite your customers to “like” it. If you are reading this and thinking, “I don’t even have a personal Facebook page,” then I am writing directly to you. Facebook is where your customer base is hanging out. Facebook is like a cocktail party, a weekend BBQ. Maybe you are not active on this social media, but your customers definitely are. Find an employee, spouse or friend that will post for you and then learn this art yourself over time.
After creating your page, NEVER, EVER, EVER, put anything on there that is negative, political, or in bad taste. What you want to do is be regarded as the expert on your craft by putting helpful hints about what you do, but NEVER advertising, or selling ANYTHING. People do business with people they know and trust. They get to know you by the content that you post.
When they post something or ask a question, acknowledge it, by “Liking” it, and then respond to it. When people are part of a group they will get a notification on their smartphone or computer. Engage people by asking questions that will require them to respond. These are passive activities that have nothing to do with selling, promoting, or advertising. Your credibility and visibility will just grow organically. Watch and see.
Celebrate your customers on your Facebook page. Celebrate the birthdays (that you captured above!), the corporate events, the family reunions, by taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. This is easy to do. Whether you own a weekend bounce house business, own and operate a bowling center, or a family entertainment center, learn to celebrate your customers’ lives. Encourage, no demand, your employees step it up and actually engage with the customers too. They will follow your lead.
Join LinkedIn. Someone said once that LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. Connect with people and stay connected. You can find out about events that may help you to create your online footprint within your several related communities. Post articles that are informative and helpful. Join related groups and “ask” questions. All of this elevates your online “presence,” and helps to keep you top of mind, should someone need your product or service or even advice. Reach out and “Friend” requests who could be a good source of referrals for you. Find out their birthdays and celebrate their professional achievements, or milestones with a company.
Get involved in community events
Be known as the thoughtful, caring, and generous person in your community. Take pictures and post them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Again, this is where your customers are hanging out. Get to know people and you start to build a relationship with them first. Sponsor or take out a booth at local and regional charity events. Incentivise people visit your booth for a photo and a chance to win something of personal value and post the pictures about the event. Whether you believe it or not, people pay attention to what you do or don’t do. As you create your “brand,” know this: Your brand is what people say about you when you are NOT in the room.
Join networking groups
People do business with people they know and trust. You may have a storefront that drives people in the door that one time. But if you have a business or service that is not an everyday purchase, you need to find ways where people will think of you first, far ahead of your competitors.
Networking groups are an excellent visible reminder of what you do. Most businesses operate on the principal of referrals. If I bring (give), referrals, then people will give (get) me referrals. A majority of people leave networking groups because they did not receive a lot of referrals. Show me someone that is consistently there on a weekly basis, shows up early and stays late, brings referrals, and makes a positive impact on the group, and I can guarantee you that they stay because they are getting quality referrals.
If you are one that has participated in a networking group and left because you did not receive any referrals, ask yourself what your level of participation was. Be a giver and the results will come your way. It just takes time.
For the price of a small ad in a magazine, networking groups over time will garner you a more loyal customer base, and you may even save money on products or services that YOU need, by doing business with a new “friend”. If you do business with those in the group they are more likely to give business to you.
These are just some of the examples in a long list of activities that can help you in “Relationship Marketing,” They seem very common sense, but believe me, they are underused by most businesses. These examples are very inexpensive, they get easier over time, and add real value to what you are ultimately looking for: To work smarter, not harder. If you think about it, remembering people’s names, celebrating “life,” and creating a visual and internet presence, take the same amount of time as it does to take out an advertisement and just sit back and pray that someone will hopefully see it, and then actually “act” before the deadline listed on the offer.
The company that I work for, Send Out Cards, teaches us as distributors to do these very same things, so my personal results are evidence that these tactics really work. There is also a “Mastering Relationship Marketing” online course that teaches these concepts. Send Out Cards also leverages the power of our products to actually initiate these marketing relationships.
With over 15,000 cards to choose from, I send a card when I first meet someone, and I also send cards in advance to someone that I might want to meet. People are more likely to answer your call, return a call, or reply to an email, if you have sent them something really personal first.
I mentioned before about getting people’s physical mailing address and birth dates. Here is why. Everyone loves to receive a birthday card. I don’t care who says they don’t want a big fuss on their birthday. They are just being modest but not entirely honest. Everyone wants to receive a personal handwritten birthday card. Everyone also loves to see their picture on the front of a birthday card.
If you are involved in any way in an entertainment business that specializes in birthday parties and group/corporate events, then this next tip is golden:
Take pictures of the birthday guest during their party with other guests. Try to get a group shot. Post them to your Facebook page, and then send a card to every person that attended the party. For less than $2.00 a card (that is not a typo and the cost also includes the 49 cent first class postage stamp and envelope), I can promise you hugely positive results. These special cards will remain on people’s desks out in the open, on refrigerator doors, and mantles for months or even years to come. You can offer a bar coded redeemable coupon on the back of the card or include a gift card or your pre-loaded facility debit card as a ‘call to action’. You can do all of this to create a more loyal client base, receive hundreds if not thousands of referrals, and you will be doing it for a fraction of the cost of a full time advertising budget.
Jay Baer, in his book, “Youtility” writes: “If you sell someone something, you have a customer for a day. If you give someone something, you have a customer for life.”
For more information on how to use Send Out Cards as a Relationship Marketing tool, to build better professional and personal relationships, to generate referrals, and to even change someone’s life, you can contact me using the link below. Look for the (3) horizontal lines on the homepage and click on “More videos”. There is a short (3) minute retail video that explains the concept of how to send greeting cards and gifts using a point system.
If I can show you an easy way to make money using your smartphone, with an app that everyone loves, would you want to see it? Open yourself up to Relationship Marketing and click on the link www.sendoutcards.com/126406.
This is no joke. Frank ‘the Crank’ himself is now working with me and he has already put together a 12 member Alpha Team to help me cover the entire leisure out-of-home entertainment industry for those that understand the strength and potential of Relationship Marketing.
Written by Carol Crain
Send Out Cards is Recommended by Jan Stribling as one of the Top 7 Direct Sales companies:
‘Send Out Cards’ (SOC) is growing by leaps and bounds! We all send greeting cards and Send Out Cards makes it so easy. I use them for my Christmas cards every year and then some. Your customers create their own cards or choose from the more than 15,000 designs available, enter the address where the card is going, and SOC prints the card and the envelope, seals the envelope, puts the first class postage stamp on it and mails it (all within 24 hours!). You can also send a gift with your card (from a list of gifts that include brownies, exotic nuts, chocolates, flowers…), add your actual signature to your cards by turning it into a specialized font, and so much more.
If you decide to become a business owner, you earn money every time one of your customers sends a card and not just with one party or one catalog order. The consultant actually has nothing to do besides promote the company. Plus, your customer base is greater with SOC, as not only do individuals send cards but so do many businesses. 70% of all Send Out Cards customers are business owners. This is a company definitely worth checking out.
Frank the Crank’s Comments: SOC saves each business a lot of labor costs. Currently an entertainment center employee (paid an hourly rate, say $10/hr.), would need to order boxes of standard cards, envelopes, and stamps, and take an entire evening (or several evenings) to write thank you’s to each child that attended that week’s parties. In most cases the facility only sends out thank you’s to the Mom & Dad of the birthday party child or to the group leaders of a large group or corporate event. For that matter, many entertainment centers do not even see the point in sending out the party invitations, and leave that to the Mom to do, losing a golden opportunity for Relationship Marketing and creating a value-added “service”. Worse yet, the current marketing program of most family entertainment centers has at its core, the flawed concept of stuffing bounce back discount coupons in each birthday party child’s ‘goodie bag’. This practice desperately hopes that the discount coupon (for example, ‘Have your child’s next birthday party in 2016 at XYZ Fun Center and get 10% off the then current discounted price’) will get to the parent of each child. Did you ever track how many of these bounce back coupons actually end up in the hands of the parents? If you went through all of your trash cans, floors, outside grounds, and the cars that these kids ride back home in, you might discover that 80% or higher never make it—this is known as the reverse ‘20/80 Rule.’ That is not how the ‘80/20 Rule’ is supposed to work. With Send Out Cards, 500 cards can go out with approximately 15 minutes of just one of your employee’s time.
Once you upload the contacts into the database, with the click of a mouse, you can send these cards to a targeted group. Send Out Cards prints the cards, stuffs the cards, and mails them out within 24 hours of you clicking the send button. You can even add gifts and gift cards and bar coded bounce back offerings on the back of each card, making your simulated hand-written cards even more special.
Carol Crain is a well known professional marketing expert and a Send Out Cards distributor. Her background in sales, advertising, and formerly with the old Inflatable News magazine makes her an ideal content expert in the relationship marketing field.
Carol was charged with building the IIPGA (International Inflatable Products and Games Association) back in 2003-2005. Starting from scratch, she grew the IIPGA to over 300 members in just a few short years. IIPGA was made up of small bounce house rental companies, manufacturers of inflatables, insurance companies, family entertainment centers, and other leisure entertainment suppliers.
She spent 13 years at Walt Disney World, culminating as Operations Manager at one of their major theme parks. Her job responsibilities included supervising ride safety logs and training cast members on all things safety related.
Carol was listed by the Consumer Products and Safety Commission as an industry expert. She was the Marketing Director for Ninja Jump, based in Los Angeles, CA, the largest manufacturer of licensed inflatable bounce houses. There she reached out globally to the independent bounce house owners to encourage obtaining insurance, and training to increase awareness of safety standards that were not required in an unregulated industry.
Since then Carol has moved on to other corporate roles in the private education sector including compliance with the Department of Education as it relates to Title IV funding requirements.
Relationship Marketing became a turning point in her life as a Network Marketing professional.
“I love Send Out Cards and I love the principles that we live by and teach. Send Out Cards is unlike any other Network Marketing franchise. 90% of the others are good companies, but they tend to fall into the lotions, potions, and supplements categories. With Send Out Cards, I can help people grow their businesses by 20% to 400%, depending upon how they use our proven system.”
“Relationship Marketing definitely helps to decrease or in some cases eliminate companies’ advertising and marketing budgets. I do this by encouraging others to celebrate the lives of their customers, friends, coworkers, etc. one card and gift at a time. It is my personal belief that every business owner should be using Send Out Cards to grow their business.”
Please feel free to contact me: