Ever since the inception of business and economics, relationships have played a vital role in maintaining a profitable ecosystem for all parties involved. Even today, the concept has not changed in its root concept but has undergone rapid evolution.
Online businesses spend lots of time in learning the best ways to market their products on social media and the Internet in general. Most the times, continuous marketing efforts with a promotional and sales driven approach fail to create meaningful online relationships with target audiences and customers.
The nature of customer relationships has changed from a passive support and promotional approach to an informational and intensely active one
According to HubSpot, 78% of Internet users use product research to make purchase decisions. This means that you and your business have umpteen chances to create an excellent first impression.
You can do this by becoming the information provider, the problem solver. Your content marketing and online activities should aim at helping these purchase decisions and not just promote your product.
84% of people in the age group of 25-34 have unsubscribed or left a favorite website due to intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
If you are developing your content campaigns with such practices, then you may get traffic at first, but it will soon die out without any conversions. Customers are highly active these days and want to make smart decisions rather than succumbing to brainwashed media.
Meaningful online relationships help develop a recurring customer base and bring in more potentials through word of mouth
57% of businesses have successfully acquired a customer through their company blog. This trend is increasing. It is important to speculate why this is happening.
Quality blogs are always solution providers. Nobody likes a blog filled with product advertisements and banner ads. Blogs with relevant content, genuine reviews, unique solutions, and engaging content help customers in making decisions and thus stick with them.
They help in generating a word of mouth cycle where satisfied prospects share your blog with other prospects in their network and enhance your outreach.
People who benefit from your blog posts share it on channels like Facebook and people with similar interests in their network are exposed to your blog. Thus your outreach increases from every single satisfied customer. This is true as on average 9.41% of B2B and 67% of B2C companies are already acquiring customers through Facebook.
Online Relationship building and lead nurturing have become an integral part of the new marketing mix
HubSpot recently found out that the number of marketers who find Facebook as critical to their business has increased by 83% in the last 2 years. This is because by being an unrestricted social media channel, it allows marketers to build content and information based relationships with prospective customers.
Businesses are increasingly interacting and providing instant communication and support to customers over channels like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Here are some pinpoint reasons for the importance of relationship building in Online businesses
1. Communication Establishes Credibility
The more you communicate with your target audiences, the more they get to know your business and what it offers. Increased communication leads to further exploration on both sides.
You also get to know various metrics about your target market. You can do A/B tests to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. There are many other ways, but the crux is that communication establishes trust and hence brings you strong followers who find what you offer credible.
2. Customers Like Being Involved
The Internet has made the customer a smarter entity that ever before. More and more people today are active on social media through smartphones, and the almost all the questions about stuff they need are asked to search engines.
When you as a firm start offering engaging content and interaction, the customer also gets a platform to interact and clarify his decisions.
People today are highly involved online and making them a part of your process makes them feel more involved in your business process. This makes them more prone to choose you in purchase decisions.
3. 2-Way Relations Last Longer
This is universally true. A one-sided equation is always imbalanced.
When you start doing stuff like:
- Creating groups/communities/forums to interact with target audiences
- Publish and share informative blogs
- Comment on and share your customer’s viewpoints and feedback
- Follow leading influencers in your niche and bring them strategically on board
You create the other side of the marketing equation and thus start building relationships. Such relationships are based on content-based conversions and are here to stay. You create a loyal fan base for yourself that helps your outreach through interpersonal interaction and word of mouth.
4. Relationships Breed Loyalty
Extending from the above point, loyal business relationships especially with influencers and customers has a wide arrange of benefits such as:
- Increased brand outreach
- Third party content that refers to your business (BACKLINKS)
- Word of mouth marketing
- Recurring customers
- Increased web traffic
5. People Start Trusting Your Products and Services
The ultimate effect of creating relationships that last is Brand Reliability or Brand Trust.
When you engage with your audience on a personal level through content and interaction over channels you establish a trust channels, which believe it or not, ultimately supports your sales.
Ultimately, your business can only survive if you have a market of customers to sell to. Given the online nature of most businesses today, the only way to stand out is with a unique story telling approach that builds long-term business relations. What do you think?