Digital Sharecropping Risky Business?

Social media marketing is like sharecropping and the game of monopoly. You land on real estate you don't own and you have to pay rent.
Social Media Marketing reminds me of playing Monopoly™.

Familiar with the term Digital Sharecropping? It’s a phenomenon that most people don’t understand. An SEO guru colleague, Heather Lloyd-Martin shared a newsletter email regarding it and got me taking another look.

Digital sharecropping refers to social media channels and how people and businesses interact with them. The earliest concerns about it date back to 2006. 

The term derives from the sharecropping, (aka feudalism) that happened after the end of the US Civil War. People had no money so paid to use a landlord’s property with a share of their crops. They didn’t own the land or even the tools they used. 

In the game of Monopoly™, when you land on a property that is owned, you have to pay rent just like sharecroppers did.

It’s happening today—digitally. And it can be very risky for your business if you are dependent on it.

Social Media Digital Sharecropping

In the last few years, many businesses, especially B2C, have shifted their marketing to focus completely on social media. Some skip a website altogether, focusing instead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Simple. Easy. Sweet.

What they don’t realize is they have no real control over what the social channel does. The channel owns the real estate. The channel is their landlord.

So they post lots to get more likes and more fans. They work hard to build a social empire of followers.

So what’s wrong with that?  It works great to stay in touch with friends. It’s been a way to stay connected during the pandemic.

However, did you know that once you post pictures the channel actually can now sell the images someplace else without your permission and without compensating you?  It’s in the fine print and it’s been this way for years.

Social was designed to be gathering spots, like the water cooler or watering hole. People visit, put up posts, and share for free. In exchange, the channel sells advertising to monetize users. It’s quite profitable, ask Mark Zuckerberg.   

However, what if you are a business owner? 

Matthew Inman, creator of Oatmeal comics got hit with the dark side of his social media empire. 

Inman’s had a website for years where he publishes Oatmeal comics. But to make it easy to stay connected with followers he shifted to build a huge following on Facebook and Instagram. People love his posts. 

According to a recent The Oatmeal Instagram post, Facebook has decided if Inman wants to reach more than a fraction of his followers, he needs to pay them $2000 PER POST. And this is content he’s putting up free for his nearly four million followers. 

In his Instagram post, he explained the situation and invited people to sign up for his newsletter where they can be guaranteed the full dose of his comic goodness.

He’s also started only sharing part of “something too big for Instagram”, or Facebook, and sending the reader to his website to see the rest.

He is moving away from being dependent on social media. Inman has learned the risks of being a digital sharecropper. Now his focus is real estate he owns and controls. His website and e-newsletter where there are no middlemen charging fees.

Why is digital sharecropping important to understand?

With social media, the rules change with little notice. 

Paid posts, or rebuilding a following on a new channel, are expensive.

Inman worked for years to build his following. Then the rules changed. Without paying huge fees, only a tiny portion of his followers would see his posts.

You don’t want your business to be in Inman’s situation.

How would it impact your marketing if you had to pay for every post you put on your business page?

For your business to succeed long term, you need a plan to take control of your social marketing. 

I’ve discovered the ways to fight back and I’ll share them with you. 

First…

Here’s something most people don’t think of…

Where will you be if a different new social channel becomes the big buzz?  Think it won’t happen?  Where’s MySpace? Friendster? Google+? MySpace still exists, but it’s pretty lonely there. It went out of favor.

And a recent Social America report shared that for Gen Z and millennials, Facebook has lost favor. Instead, they are using Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. And this will change again, it’s inevitable. 

Every social empire you build is only temporary. So if you want to depend on social, get prepared for changes and having to rebuild.

3 ways to offset digital sharecropping

When I work with clients we use social media as part of the mix, but we focus on things they have 100% control over.  We focus on enhancing their website, connecting with emails and newsletters, and building a reputation for offering value.

Website

Your website is something you have complete control over.  Wherever you market, drive the traffic to your website. Make it the hub of your marketing efforts. 

Start a post on social and send them to the website to see the rest. Share a new product or service and direct them to your website to learn more. 

Invite visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. You can increase the number of signups by offering something useful or of value as a reward for subscribing. 

Send them emails with links to information or products on the website. 

Direct mail pieces have gained favor since there is a lot more in our inboxes than in our mailboxes. What you send is more apt to be seen. Use mail as another way to bring people to your website. Drive them to a special report, service, or offer.

Assure your website offers a positive experience and is easy to navigate. 

Contact information needs to be easy to find, preferably on every page so the visitor doesn’t have to hunt.  


People have become more skeptical. Use transparency to boost trust. Consider putting a contact number in a narrow banner at the very top of each page. It’s validation you are a sound trustworthy business. They may never call, but it makes you seem safer than a business without it.

Newsletters and emails

Using email to connect and share is one of the best investments in your marketing mix.  They come from you. 

Whether a short post or a newsletter, they can be informational, educational, and entertaining. They can also drive clients back to your website. Introduce an article or blog with a link to where the complete story resides on your website.  

Email communications are a great place to share more about your team, your brand story, and your products or services. Share your uniqueness, your visions, and your social conscience.

Emails are bond builders.  People love to be part of a group or a tribe.  Your emails and newsletter are exclusive for your subscribers—a place they can hear your news before the rest of the world does.

The right emails nurture new buyers. They help them have the best experience with their purchase as well as get to know you as a brand.

According to a recent study by SubjectLine.com, emails that promote a one-day offer get 21% higher opens than if you just announce a sale.  Words like “today only,” or “one day sale,” get attention and people don’t want to miss out. They create a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Value reputation

Use content as a way to share and display valuable information you put out.  Content that’s fresh, relevant, useful, and focused on your target audience’s interests and concerns. 

Avoid any techniques or content that seems spammy or pushy/dodgy. 

Your value content is the reputation your business earns. Quality and value are the keys to attracting and keeping your ideal customers.

So where does that leave social?  Social channels are useful tools to support your website…the real estate you own. Use social as a part of your marketing mix. Mix is the keyword. You are using but not depending on channels that you have no real control over.


Judith Culp Pearson is a digital content marketer helping businesses gain and retain customers for a higher lifetime value. Result-oriented relationship building and empathy-based marketing. Reach her at judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Are Your Business Teams a Magic Power for Growth

Are You Trying to Do it All?

Consumer and business demand are fueling massive growth opportunities in 2021. Get these four business team components in place to maximize your 2021 business growth. It’s all about you and your teams.

When many businesses or marketers think of growth, they focus on new products or divisions. But for real change, you need to start deeper. You need to start with yourself and your business teams.

Consider this business team scenario.

Due to the pandemic, a colleague of mine faced business closure.  Kathy couldn’t meet or help her clients. She decided to go online with consulting and offer retail products.  

Kathy had a website, but it was a basic brochure about her services.  No online scheduling software. No shopping cart or credit card payment system. Oh, and no retail items to offer.

The idea was excellent but needed a lot of support.

The first thing she did was find some retail products that would be useful to her clients during the shutdown.  

Like many businesses, Kathy’s website was in a WordPress format. She’d need to either hire someone to add what was necessary for e-commerce or learn to do it herself.

Of course, she tried to do it herself to save money. After all, with the shutdown, she had more time than money.

Everything Kathy tried to add had its own learning curve. 

One piece of software didn’t want to communicate with another. I felt bad listening to her struggles. 

Finally, she reached out to her webmaster to assist her in sorting it out.  Then she found out he didn’t do e-commerce websites. His expertise was service-based businesses. 

Back to square one.  It took a couple of months for Kathy to get operational.

What went wrong?

As a business owner, marketer, and consultant, I’ve seen this happen many times. 

It’s like building a bridge without supports or a house without any foundation.  You need your business team infrastructure, the foundation first. 

Without it, the product, its delivery, and customer experience won’t be at the successful level.

It’s important to start with yourself.

Start with you. Start by evaluating where you are and where you want to be.  Are you equipped with both the business management and business specialty skillsets you need? 

Each type of business requires its own unique set of what I call technical skills. These are specific to your business model. 

But you also need business marketing and management skills for success. Without them, you’ll struggle. You won’t achieve the earnings or growth your business deserves. 

You need to set aside time to evaluate, plan and then implement.  Make appointments with yourself on your calendar. It’s the only way you can make sure it happens.

  • What areas need strengthening?
  • How effective is your marketing? 
  • Do you need to do market research to look at the next add-on you offer?
  • Are your outreaches to new and existing customers effective?
  • How long do you retain customers, and what is their Customer Lifetime Value, CLV? 
  • Are there specialty skills you want or are required to maintain?

Create a short and long-term plan balancing both types of skills. Getting these skills might include self-study, courses, conferences, or workshops either in person or online. 

Three business team support legs of infrastructure

I find these legs often get overlooked until something fails. They are all about your business teams. We get caught in reactive mode, and that never gets the ideal outcome. First, you need to think of your teams—who, what, and why.   

Then you need the other two legs to support your efforts and those of your team. Regardless of your business model, you still need them in place.

Your teams

You’ll probably need two teams.  You’re going to need your home support team to buy into you and your goals. Without this support, building a successful business is much more challenging.

Home team

If you’re the person in charge of everything at home, from cleaning to laundry to shopping and cooking…you need help. Or maybe you and your partner both have careers…you both need support.

Look for ways to get your home team to help out. Build this infrastructure for success, not burnout. Delegate and don’t micromanage. Focus on your big goals. Don’t dwell on tasks not done your way.

Thank them and reward them.  It might be designated family time or a date with your spouse. Often non-financial rewards have much higher relationship bonuses in the long term. Your kids and spouse might both build better life skills that will benefit their future selves.

Not everyone may have kids or family they can involve. Then it’s time to look at hired outside support. 

Business teams

In addition to your home team, you need a business team. Evaluate your strengths and what you can hand off so you can focus on those strengths. Delegating has a financial expense. 

But how much more could you generate if you didn’t have to handle that task?

The question becomes more of a no-brainer if you can hire someone better at the task than you are. Look for someone who can get it done better and more efficiently.

Employees or business team partners? 

Whether you hire employees on a full or part-time basis, they come with significant financial and time commitments. It’s not easy to find the right person with the right skills.

The other option is working with business partners.  

Business partners include accountants, lawyers, business consultants, marketers, and your web host. Independent contractors and freelancers also fall into this category. 

I always recommend contracting with your web host to keep your website up, backed up, and current. If you’re expanding, you will need web design, graphic work, and a copy/content writer to get your message clearly across to your target audience. 

The benefits of the outside team are significant. There is no overhead when they aren’t needed.  No payroll-related taxes. And they excel at the task. 

Find specialists that understand your business model.  For example, an accountant used to working with manufacturers may not understand a small business offering services. 

Find people who “get” your business. That is going to make the most successful relationship.

The last two legs are tied together. Hardware and software.

Hardware business team

These are the physical components you and your team will need to function. And the physical elements that make up your business. 

A brick-and-mortar business needs different things than e-commerce. Brick and mortar need everything from fixtures, displays, equipment, seating to payment processing—computers to routers to your telephone system.

E-commerce is dependent on computer systems, audio-visual, photography, web content, and responsive customer service. The fulfillment department functions are key to handle the delivery of sales to the customer.

There is nothing more frustrating for operations than a slow computer system, out of date, or needing maintenance. Consider contracting with a support business, something like Geek Squad, so you have help when you need them. I’ve found if you only use them once during the year, it offsets the annual fee.

Software team

Software is how you harness your electronic hardware to make it function for you.  

I remember when I wanted my home office to be the dominant place for my writing and consulting business. 

To accomplish that, I needed my business telephone to funnel to the home office without it ringing on my personal line. The cable company advised me I’d have to upgrade my account to a business account (regardless of the level of use). The price would jump from $60 to $180 per month plus any installation charges.

That was a definite no. So I researched and went with a VOIP service. 

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. For me, it was like cutting the cord with my cable provider. 

I eliminated the need for physical equipment beyond my computer and my existing cell phone.  I handle calls on my laptop or answer the distinctive ring on my cell phone.  The cost? About $30/month.  The convenience has been fantastic.

You’ll also need payment processing software, scheduling software, and some sort of client management system. Don’t forget accounting software and backup software, so you never lose your data. 

Online automatic backup means no worrying about lost data. A cloud-based accounting program means fewer or no trips to the accountant’s office as you can grant them access.

Then there are those great apps that facilitate marketing, research, and client connectivity—plus Zoom or other face-to-face ability. Some are browser extensions. Others connect one program, so it talks to another and reduces tasks.

Take your time and create a checklist of all the software puzzle pieces. Then make sure they are integrated and ready to work for you. Start with you, your goals, and your dream teams. Then add the hardware and software that help you succeed.


Judith Culp Pearson specializes in marketing and coaching businesses in the wellness sector. Through empathy engagement at every client touchpoint, she focuses on retaining existing clients and building new relationships for growth.  judith@jculpcreativecopy.com

Revenge Spending

In 2021 consumers are ready to take revenge on the pandemic and spend pent up savings.

Vaccines and stimulus checks have people thinking of moving toward what we used to think of as normal. Vaccinated seniors are setting the trend to get even with the pandemic by spending money and getting out. They call it revenge spending.

Attending events, going shopping, and travel are rising to the top of consciousness.  People want liberation. 

Revenge spending will typify 2021

Last week an article came across my desk about “revenge shopping” as a rebound from the pandemic. At first, I laughed, then realized I had participated.

It turns out that in China, one of the first places to reopen their malls, sales spiked through the roof. Not only were they buying basics, but they also went for luxury items like Louis Vuitton bags.

After the January stimulus checks started going out, department store sales increased 21% in the US. 

Tired of wearing sweatpants, chasing kids, and working from home, women want to go out. They want to dress up and wear something new.  Even the trip into a store is starting to sound exciting.  

Depending on location, online shopping is still the norm. I ordered something last week and actually went into the store to pick the item up and try it on.  It was just the sales staff and me, which felt a little odd. Changing room signs proclaimed: Freshly Sanitized. It felt so decadent and liberating even with social distancing and wearing masks.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Bloomberg reports that during 2020 many people saved money. No trips, events, or outings. Lots less discretionary purchases. They estimate there is $1.7 trillion waiting to be spent.  

It’s time for businesses to get on board in the right ways for the coming surge.

Consumers are ready for revenge.

I dove through every report I could find on this topic, and there are many reports and articles out there.  It won’t happen all at once, and the timing will be different based on location. But based on conversations with clients, colleagues, and friends, people are ready for change. 

Businesses in the hardest-hit sectors, like restaurants, hospitality, and apparel, are ready too. It was a very long, tough 2020.  

I also researched how our buying patterns have changed and what we expect from businesses moving forward.  There are some shifts that effective marketers are already implementing, and it can help your business too. 

One thing to keep in mind

Consumers are tired of the sea of useless information. Regardless of where your content is, it must have value if you want to keep their attention.  Value equals helpful information.  

I replied to an email a company sent me complimenting them on its content.  It provided useful information on an alternative way to deal with seasonal allergies. Something they don’t even sell!   Unheard of— but very refreshing.

Today’s buyer is looking for authenticity and value.  We also are craving connection. For most of us, it’s been too long since we’ve visited with family and friends.  Without social media and virtual visiting, the year would have been much worse.  

Ramp up sales with these three techniques

To maximize sales, we need to engage and connect with customers where they are looking for information. That means now, and we need to make sure and have the right presence the right way on social media.  

We need to have conversations with prospects. We need to respect what they are looking for, including the increased focus on social consciousness.

Social media

Dependence on social media grew in 2020, and we started using it in new ways. Pre-pandemic social focused on status updates—things like sharing selfies, where we’d been, and what we’d done. 

Today that’s shifted to social being a key place to find solutions. Have a question? Someone has an answer, just post it. Need a solution? Social is where we go.

We want those solutions to reflect our increased need and desire for value and wellbeing. Users need simple ways to cope and manage stress, working from home, parenting issues, or managing a flex work schedule.  They want to know how to take a vacation in the COVID environment.

If you or your product is a solution, you need to be on social media and help them find you. That means more than having a Facebook business page with periodic product posts. It means having conversations.  It even has a new title…

Conversational Commerce

When we were forced to shift to online buying, we lost something. We lost connection with people, and we lost the ability to ask questions or get advice.  When you go into a store, there is usually someone you can ask.  Online? Not so much. 

Conversation Commerce, also called C-Commerce, (CC), is working to fill that need.  It’s considered any way you connect with your buyers using conversation.  

Your CC could be an AI-driven chatbot, a person you can chat with online or via phone, or another messaging program like WhatsApp. Even Alexa is included because of the way you use words to tell her what to do.

The process puts the customer in control. They reach out and initiate the conversation. They hope you will guide them to the right purchase. If no one is there or doesn’t respond promptly to messages, they’ll look elsewhere.

As the quality of these interfaces increase, the process will become even more valuable.  If you’re stuck with a poor-quality chatbot, replace it or go back to a person.  

IT Cosmetics uses live chat. Their phone lines and chat lines are open 9-5 Eastern, six days a week.  If you’re on the opposite side of the country, it’s not a perfect answer, but it’s better than a chatbot that has limited capabilities. 

If your chatbot can only respond to specifically limited choices, the shopper is left stuck and frustrated. It feels like going into a department store with no salespeople. If you can’t get the help you need, you leave with a negative feeling.

Globally, 84% of people surveyed said customer support is equally essential to what is sold. That makes it critical to get conversations going and help your shoppers.  

Revenge shopping will embrace social consciousness

2020 brought lots of changes, including the trend for social consciousness. From mental health to equality, social justice, caring for the planet, and inclusivity, it’s all part of the package. Awareness is accelerating even more in 2021.

Social consciousness isn’t something a business can afford to ignore. It’s not going to go away, and it’s part of the new normal. Hiding your values isn’t a path to success.

Sharing your position is also a way to connect more emotionally with buyers. When you develop and share a mission-driven campaign to help people or the planet, you build connections. They become your avid fan because your message resonates with them.   

Getting prepared with social media, enhancing conversational commerce, and embracing social consciousness will position you to tap into the coming spend.


Looking to increase lifetime buyer value, build sales, and more engagement? Let’s have a quick chat. You can message me: Judith@jculpcreativecopy.com

CLV–Buyers Need More than a Receipt

CLV is a Customer’s Lifetime Value. It’s how much they make you in the time that they stay a customer. Focusing on CLV means you keep them longer and have a higher ROI.

Many business platforms are set up to allow an automated response for a purchase.  To maximize the buying experience for the customer, this should be the beginning of a nurturing conversation…not the end. It’s a perfect opportunity to start building a relationship that will lead to more sales and a loyal long-term customer.

A series of emails? 

I was recently working with a business manager who hated getting emails.  He was the techie type and a very straight-forward type of buyer.  

“I get tons of emails every day. Just send me the receipt and let me get on with work. I hate getting a series of emails,” he told me.

“I have a question for you. Who are you selling to?”

“You know that,” he grumbled and sighed. “Mostly women salon owners looking for supplies.”

“It’s been my experience women buy differently from men. We know they think differently.”

He laughed. “That’s an understatement.”

“How quickly do they tend to go through their supplies?”

He paused, thinking about the answer. “Some customers buy almost monthly, others it might be three to six months.”

“Okay, why don’t we do a split test and see whether a single email or a series results in more orders or sales over the next six months?”

He nodded. Analytics made sense to him.

We targeted new customers. When we reviewed the analytics six months later, he was surprised at the higher level of sales from the group that received the series of emails. It is always easier to keep a customer than find a new one.  

What I’ve learned about CLV…

It’s been my experience that caring for customers pays off with a much higher and longer-term customer lifetime value. I saw it in my clinical service practice. In consulting and coaching clients on products and services they could benefit from. The experience has been repeated in over 20 years of e-commerce. They aren’t just a list of customers…they’re an online family.

As a business owner who had to deal with purchasing from the other side of the table, those same qualities impacted my decisions.  My buying and customer support experiences had me leaving or staying with suppliers for years.

People like easy.  When we find a business that we like, trust, and feel they respect us, we stay with them. Every positive experience with that business reinforces those feelings.  

One secret to enhancing CLV success.  

To maximize your results you will need to split your audience. First-time buyers need more nurturing. Repeat buyers like to hear from you but need a different type of nurturing and information. 

Give each segment its own thankyou sequence. 

Convert new buyers to loyal customers to increase CLV

The initial buying experience sets the tone with new customers.  They are hungry for information. Since most businesses don’t do a sequence…just a receipt, you set your business apart.  You give more value. Give it without expectations, (they can sense the difference) and it’s cash in the bank. Keep each email SHORT! You know they, like you, have full inboxes. Keep your emails brief and useful.

Thank you email 

The receipt email should be warm, friendly, and personalized.  Thank them for their order and share key information. New buyers all have similar questions.  How quickly will it ship?  When can I expect delivery? 

Include links to articles or blogs on your website to bring them back again.  You don’t want them to forget where they purchased. 

Suggest they white list you so they make sure not to miss the free bonus guide and additional information you’ll be sending.

Free bonus guide

Some businesses start throwing discounts to buyers. At this point, they would rather have information.  Share a free bonus guide or graphic. Answer questions they may not have thought of yet.  Maybe use your FAQ sheet and share them as bullet points.

If your product or service is complex, you may have a lot of questions that people ask, split the information into a couple of emails.

This email can go out one or two days following the thank you email  

Maximize your results

Everyone likes to get the most out of a purchase.  If there are tricks to having a maximum benefit, share them.  

If your product has a “how to use” protocol, it’s great to get this into the hands of the customer on or before the arrival of their order. This maintains the excitement and lets them know you are really trying to help them.

This email can also help them have realistic expectations with and for the product.  Weight management doesn’t happen overnight. Supplements take time to have their impact. 

In 2020, with major ordering online, I realized a lot of vendors don’t include much information or an adequate instruction manual. You end up having to go back online and Google how to use it.  That’s a pretty mediocre buyer’s experience.

Give them the information they need and more. Over-deliver value.

Follow-up 

Once their package has arrived, it’s valuable to followup with the buyer.  Ask if they have any questions.  Let them know how to reach you to get those questions answered.  A rapid response email or phone number where there is a live person, please.  You’re trying to bond with them…not drive them away.

Testimonial request

Some businesses like to combine this with the follow-up.  Give them a week or so to use the product before letting them know you’d love to hear their experience.  

Other customers may make their buying decision on these testimonials. It’s more helpful if the buyer has actually used the item.

Make it easy for them by providing a link where they can post. Let them know you appreciate their time doing so.  Perhaps a bonus of a small discount or free shipping on their next order by a specific date.  

It’s time to ramp up your CLV

Heightened Customer Lifetime Value makes a huge difference in the bottom line of your profit and loss.  It’s a marketing game-changer. Once done, the sequence can work for you for months or years.  That’s a high return on the investment.  If you’re just sending an automated receipt, you’re leaving money on the table, and customers who don’t know if you care about them.   www.jculpcreativecopy.com  . Let’s problem-solve.

Relationships First for 2021

To maximize your business success in 2021, you need to look at how you connect with your prospects and customers.  Think of them as family, treat them as the best possible version of a family. It’s about building relationships first.

I recently had an experience on a social media channel that you might have had yourself.  

Pitch forward marketing

Someone reached out to me to connect.  It was a woman whose interests were in my niche. Her message said, “I think I have something you might be interested in.” How could she know that? She didn’t know me.

Being someone who is generally friendly and open to networking, I accepted her invitation. My acceptance triggered another message from her that was a pure pitch.  And it was the type of offer that I always steer clear of.  A business opportunity that doesn’t resonate with me.

In her response, she asked, “are you familiar with XYZ? They are the company I work with”

I responded, “Yes, I’m familiar with them. I’ve had numerous people try to get me to participate in this. Not interested. Thank you.”

She didn’t try to get to know me nor build a relationship. If she had, she might have picked up this isn’t my direction. She took afront at my lack of interest. She lost the opportunity for a relationship. While it isn’t something I would do, she will never learn if I know someone who might be interested.

I’ve practiced relationship selling for years

I’ve always practiced treating people with respect and TLC. This is essential to earn their trust and long term business.  I’ve practiced this for over 25 years. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a virtual summit where some of the greatest minds in marketing shared their best thoughts for 2021. Marketing giants you might recognize. Bob Bly, Brian Kurtz, Kevin Thompson, Eric Partaker, and more.  

Each had their own version of the “One Thing” to keep in mind for 2021. Yet, they were unanimous in their conviction on the importance of relationships as we move forward. 

Relationship versus transactional selling

We shouldn’t ignore…relationships are opposite of transactions.

Transactions are all about the short term sale. Relationship selling is about connecting, engaging, and focusing on helping the buyer find what they want and need. The differences are huge. 

Think traditional used car salesmen, versus an automotive consultant.  Used car salesman were pushy. The don’t listen, they sell.  Get the deal no matter what. It got them a terrible reputation.  

Our automotive consultant doesn’t show the prospect anything until they have listened to the customer.  They actively listen and then help the prospect find what they are looking for.  

If we have a great buying experience, we are far more apt to return to that business the next time we have a need.  We look forward to hearing from them because they “took care of us.” they didn’t try to rip us off and sell us what we didn’t want or need.  Customer-focused.  

3 Techniques for relationship marketing

Once you have embraced prospects as an online family, you’ll engage with them differently. They aren’t just names or emails, they are people you want to help. For the best success, you need to be very clear on your purpose and your goals.  From there you need to give, be open and sincere, and see every touchpoint as a relationship event.

Give abundantly

Focus on how you can help/serve others. Give abundantly. Information, inspiration, and value. People respond when we give our best.  Focus on connecting with people who want what you are offering and give them your best.

Peloton has this down perfectly. Peleton offers high-end fitness gear. Their focus? Athletes committed to fitness. They know exactly what their customer wants. Peleton makes sure they provide it.  They focus on reaching their target market. Targeted quality versus quantity in marketing responses.  They only want the very committed in their inner circle.

This is an expensive brand with a high entry bar. This means members are more committed. The more we have to pay to access what we want, the more committed and engaged we become. The more we will connect and use the “value” the business has provided. 

Their customers are more successful in reaching their goals and more apt to stay with them long term.  They have a much higher lifetime customer value. 

Be real, open, and sincere to build relationships

If you aren’t real, open, and sincere with your audience, they will know it. In today’s world, people look for businesses that are supportive and transparent.  They don’t try to hide things by withholding or dodging issues.

Customer service quality is paramount in the mind of today’s customers. Let them know how to contact you and when they can expect a response.  

2021 will have continued unique challenges. We have to be nimble and quickly adjust to rapidly evolving situations.  Being open and honest with your audience will keep them with you as you have to make changes. 

As a consumer, I don’t mind that your business had to change my packaging due to shortages. Please, just let me know. If the regional weather or other issues are impacting shipping and delivery, let your customers know.  Customers like to be in the loop.

Social and environmental positions are also something that most customers respond to. They want to know how you’re helping others and helping the planet.  If you haven’t added them, share them via social channels and on your website.

See touchpoints as relationship events

Every time you reach out or connect with your audience, it’s important to think of it as a relationship event. Don’t think list building, think relationship building. Don’t think transactions, think connectivity and engagement.

Relationships encourage a two-way conversation. Invite them to respond and interact with you. 

Be aware of what competitors are putting out there. Look for a way to present your message a little differently to increase engagement.  Keep in mind that members are much more engaged than a general audience.  The easier the access, the lower the level of active engagement.

Businesses that make relationships their focus have the most loyal clients and fan base to help share their message. Their ROI and lifetime customer value will be higher than any transactional approach can achieve.

When I work with clients

I start with a review of what they publish on their website and social channels.  I look for the level of relationship building. Then help them see opportunities to increase value to customers. This always converts to an enhanced lifetime customer value.

Conversational Commerce

Ogilvy’s Social.Lab recently published a report on “conversational commerce”. In 2020 more people than ever are choosing online. They buy groceries, shop, and connect with friends.

It uses chatbots or humans. It also uses language interfaces like Whatsapp and like Alexa to communicate with customers. Businesses are using it to set themselves apart from their competitors and enhance customer service.

The key takeaway? Be useful, be relevant, be trustworthy in every customer interaction.

Ogilvy’s Social.Lab recently published a report on “conversational commerce”. In 2020 more people than ever are choosing online. They buy groceries, shop, and connect with friends.

It uses chatbots or humans. It also uses interfaces like Whatsapp and like Alexa to communicate with customers. Businesses use it to set themselves apart from their competitors. And to enhance customer service.

The key takeaway? Be useful, be relevant, be trustworthy in every customer interaction.

You can request the full report from Ogilvy Ideas